Exploring Mexico's magical places
We went to Mexico looking to find the best Caribbean beaches and visit the most emblematic Mayan landmarks. In this itinerary, I will show you the most outstanding places of the trip so that you can enjoy it as much as we did.
Discovering Mexico's best spots in 5 days
Learning to dive in Cozumel
We had breakfast at sunrise and met Ray, our diving instructor. In our case, we did 2 dives that were amazing. The first stop was in an area called "El Cielo", where I saw the most crystalline water. We were able to snorkel with turtles and stingrays. It was our first time diving and we loved it.
Diving in Palancar
The second dive was in Palancar. It belongs to the Mesoamerican Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world. The dive was approximately one hour long, where we were able to enjoy the currents that drag you through the barrier. After the dive, we ate fruit and returned to port. It was a highly recommended experience.
Sunset and chill in Cozumel
To end the day, we decided to go enjoy the sunset accompanied by a delicious piña colada. The sunsets in the northwest of the island and precisely those beaches do not have sargassum, so they are great to enjoy in a beach club next to the red skies of the sunset.
I recommend you to go to a beach club called Hemingway lounge restaurant, where you can enjoy some great tacos and nachos. The place is all made of wood and is accompanied by very chill music.
Motorcycle ride through Cozumel
On our second day on the island, we decided to rent a motorcycle to be able to go around the island. Cozumel is a tiny island and there is a very well-marked, specific route for it. Its roads are beautiful, where you can enjoy amazing views. You won’t have problems renting a motorcycle, as soon as you arrive on the island you will find many people offering you this service.
I recommend that you buy food and drinks in a supermarket and spend the day on the island visiting every magical corner that you find.
Our first stop with the motorcycle was on the beach of Palancar. An infinite beach with crystal clear water. I recommend that you get away from the area where there are tourists and walk towards one of the 2 sides of the beach so that you can enjoy yourself.
Wear diving goggles! Cozumel has an amazing seabed, so on every beach, you go you can enjoy snorkeling. We found starfish, colorful fish, and natural corals. All next to the sand!
Snorkel in Hemingway Beach
Mexico's coast is known for its seabed and in Cozumel apart from marine life, we can find sunken vehicles and ships. To end our second day in Cozumel we decided to go snorkeling in a sunken ship that is near the hemingway lounge bar.
From the same lounge they do tours to visit it and snorkel. It is a 100% recommended experience since it is very impressive to see the ship. It is about 10 meters deep, so if you want to see it up close you will have to be able to hold the air well!
Visiting Chichén Itzá
The Yucatan peninsula is famous for its Mayan structures and cenotes, so we had 2 days to enjoy the most iconic places!
The first stop was Chichén Itzá, one of the 7 wonders of the world! It is an ancient Mayan archaeological zone, where you can enjoy amazing constructions. I recommend that you go first thing in the morning since afterward, it becomes very crowded. Also, don’t forget mosquito repellent!
Izamal, the yellow town
Izamal is an iconic town known for its yellow buildings! It is a town with a lot of history, in many corners of the city, you will find small plaques where legends are explained. The best plan in Izamal is to get lost walking through its narrow streets and visit the Convent of San Antonio de Padua. In the town’s square center, as in all the towns of Yucatan, you will find the letters of IZAMAL in a large and colorful format. You can also sit down to have a drink and watch the locals!
At the end of the day, we went to visit the town of Valladolid. It is one of the most beautiful towns on the peninsula. Like all of Mexico, it has a lot of color in its architecture.
You can enjoy a pleasant walk and try the Yucatecan food. Also, every night at 9:00 p.m, a light and sound show is projected on the facade of the convent, where the city’s history is explained. We loved it!
On the second day in Yucatan I recommend you go to visit the archaeological zone of Coba, it is an ancient Mayan city built between 7 lakes, which was very important in its time.
In it you can visit different structures, cave paintings—you will also find the Nohoch Mul pyramid, the highest pyramid in the north of the peninsula, measuring 42 meters! Currently, due to Covid-19, you can’t ascend it, but it is still worth your visit. The entrance costs approximately 4 dollars, but be careful because it closes at 3:00 pm.
Swimming in Cenote Oxman
After a hot morning, the next stop will be Hacienda Cenote Oxman, one of the most amazing cenotes in Yucatan.
The best time to visit the cenotes is during midday since the light rays enter directly and you can take amazing aquatic photographs—so don’t forget your camera! There is a rope on which you can jump holding onto it. It also has a restaurant where you can eat and swimming pools and showers. It is a must-see!
Mercado municipal, Valladolid
To end the morning in Valladolid there is a mandatory stop to eat, El Mercado Municipal, my favorite place in Mexico to eat! It is a local market where there are many stops to eat Mexican food that is delicious!
There are many juices and all the Yucatecan gastronomy. You cannot leave without trying the ""Relleno Negro"" and its delicious nachos with guacamole.
After lunch, we set off by car to Chiquilá, a fishing port where we slept for the next morning to go to the most paradisiacal place in Mexico, Holbox Island.
Manglu - Waffle House
On our last day in Mexico, we went to the island of Holbox, an island located north of the peninsula with some impressive beaches.
Our first stop was Manglu - Waffle House, where we went for breakfast. It is a place where they make abundant and delicious breakfasts. A very cozy and cool place. We tried several dishes, but our favorite one was the Waffles with pistachios.
After a good breakfast, we started to explore the island! The first beach we decided to go to is Punta Mosquito, a natural space full of dunes in the middle of the sea. It is a magical place where you can enjoy a beautiful walk.
To get to Punta Mosquito, it is best to rent a bicycle or a golf cart and park at the La Clouds hotel, where the road ends. There the excursion begins walking approximately 3 to 4km.
Our recommendation is that you carry a bag that can get wet and put on a lot of sunscreens!
Our last afternoon we decided to go to Holbox beach, a mandatory stop! It is an infinite beach with crystal clear water! We recommend that when entering the beach you walk towards the end since it is an area that is not so crowded, and you can enjoy it practically alone.
Don't forget about the mosquito repellent—when the sun goes down, a lot of mosquitoes come out.
Before you travel
- Mexico is a tropical destination, so don't forget to always bring sunscreen! The sun is very strong, so if you are not careful you can get serious burns. Also, always carry water with you to keep hydrated.
- Be careful with the water you drink, make sure that it is always bottled and that you have to open it yourself.
- To move around the Yucatan peninsula, it is best to rent a car, since this way you will have much more freedom. You will also be able to reach the sites early in the day, avoiding tourists.