For my FINAL blog post of 2020, let me share with you 9 of the best places to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula that are NOT in Cancun!
VIDEO: Places to Visit in the Yucatan Peninsula
1. Lake Bacalar
Known as the “lagoon of 7 colours”, Lake Bacalar is an inland lagoon in the very south of Quintana Roo, quite close to the border with Belize and a few hours south of Tulum.
Sometimes referred to as the “Maldives of Mexico” the varying shades of blue and turquoise waters found in this magical lagoon make it one of the most unique places to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Book into one of the cute lakeside hotels and spend your days lounging in a hammock, taking a boat trip around the lagoon, snorkelling or jumping off various platforms into the bluest water you’ll ever see in your life.
2. Isla Cozumel
By far one of my favourite places to visit in Mexico, I adore this island so much I’ve been there 4 or 5 times. It’s paradise both in and out of the water, famous for its incredible scuba diving and pristine untouched beaches.
Rent a brightly painted jeep and drive around the island in search of fun beach bars, mouth-watering tacos and incredible wildlife. A few days in Cozumel will leave you feeling relaxed and most likely wanting just a few days more.
3. Las Coloradas Pink Lakes
Another unique place to visit in the Yucatan Peninsua is the incredible pink lakes of Las Coloradas. I’ve never in my life seen water this colour, and flying the drone over the artificial lakes and comparing the pink waters to the nearby waters of Rio Lagartos was phenomenal.
4. A trip to Las Coloradas is best combined with a night or two in the sleepy fishing village of Rio Lagartos – one of the best places in all of Mexico to go bird watching. Plus probably one of the quietest villages in the Yucatan. Be sure to pay a local fisherman to take you out into the reserve – who knows what sort of birdlife you’ll spot!
5. Xpu Ha beach
If the beaches of Tulum, Playa or Cancun feel a bit too crowded, then it’s time to take a trip to Xpu Ha beach, located close to the turtle paradise of Akumal. Think cute little beach bars, fine white sand, crystal clear water and only a handful of other intrepid travellers escaping the crowds of Cancun.
6. Isla Mujeres
My weekend in Isla Mujeres was one of the most memorable trips of my time in Mexico. My friend and i had so much fun renting a scooter for the day and driving to the southern tip of the island, to Punta Sur lighthouse. Similar to Cancun, the waters around Isla Mujeres are that shade of blue that makes your eyes pop and will have you saying, on repeat, IS THIS FOR REAL?
If you visit between June and September you can also do a whale shark tour and swim with some of the oceans largest creatures. An experience I’ll never forget!
7. Isla Holbox
If you’re looking for sleepy island vibes, where cars have been replaced by gold buggies, the streets and made of sand and its a firm favourite with backpackers, then a few days on Isla Holbox is a must.
This is also one of the top places in Mexico to spot hundreds of wild flamingos – with daily trips taking you around the island to visit magical pink birds.
8. Coba Ruins
While Chichen Itza is the most famous ruins in this part of Mexico, and anyone visiting Tulum will no doubt spend a morning wandering around the famous Mayan ruins overlooking a spectacular cliff in Tulum I loved visiting Coba Ruins where there are way fewer tourists but just as much history and culture.
Hard to believe this was once a city of 50,000+ people that had a sizeable population by the 1st century!
9. Tulum’s cenotes
Tulum is no longer that undiscovered and sleepy fishing village it once was, and is now one of the most expensive places to visit in Mexico. That said, I still believe spending a few days in Tulum to check out Tulum’s incredible underground swimming holes is worth your time.
Some of my favourites include Cenote Car Wash for scuba diving and cenote Calavera and Grand Cenote for taking photos, chilling and swimming with baby turtles.
And that’s a rap on my favourite places to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula. Do you have any places you would add to this list? If so leave a comment!