Start your exploration of the Yucatán Peninsula in the original resort town of Cancun, before heading to the iconic Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá. Next, head to the Yucatán’s self-proclaimed cultural capital Mérida, where you can unwind in the impressive Plaza Grande and visit the stately Mérida Cathedral. Travel to photogenic Tulum, where the turquoise waters and sandy beaches of the caribbean sea frame impressive Mayan ruins dedicated to the gods of wind and rain. Lounge on Playa del Carmen’s beaches and dive amongst pristine coral reefs, before ending your trip back in Cancun.


Key information

Destinations Destinations Tulum, Chichén Itzá, Playa del Carmen, Mérida, Cancun
Activity Activity Beach, Family, Culture
Physical Level Physical Level Easy
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Arrive in Cancun, the gateaway to the Yucatán

Arrive in Cancun, the gateaway to the Yucatán

Day 1 in Cancun

Arrive at Cancun International Airport and head to your hotel, ready for a busy day of sightseeing tomorrow.

See Mexico’s most famous pyramid at Chichén Itzá

See Mexico’s most famous pyramid at Chichén Itzá

Day 2 in Chichén Itzá

One of the new Seven Wonders of the World and the best restored Mayan site in the Yucatán, Chichén Itzá remains one of the most iconic images of Mexico, and a must-see for many travellers visiting the region. At the height of its power in the 10th century, Chichén Itzá commanded large swathes of the Yucatán peninsula and its cultural, administrative and ceremonial centre stretches over 2.5 square miles of cenote speckled landscape. Avoid the inevitable crowds by heading to the site early or late in the afternoon. With ongoing discoveries still being made, a good guide is highly recommended — they will be able to give you up-to-date findings not even listed in a guidebook yet, and a better understanding of the complex history and culture of the Mayans who built these famous pyramids.

Don't miss

Take a trip to the charming colonial town of Valladolid

Take a trip to the charming colonial town of Valladolid

Beat the crowds — and the tour buses — at Chichen Itza by staying an hour away in the peaceful bohemian Valladolid. With good public transport, beautiful pastel-coloured colonial architecture and a number of attractions, it is a worthy destination for any traveller touring the Yucatán.

Escape the resort crowds in cultural Mérida

Escape the resort crowds in cultural Mérida

Day 3 in Mérida

The Yucatán Peninsula’s largest city and self-proclaimed cultural capital is a delightful blend of colonial heritage and cosmopolitan living. Nicknamed “The White City”, Merida’s charming narrow streets, grand central plazas and abundance of colonial buildings make it a worthy stop for any traveller exploring the region. Make sure to visit the colonial-era, white limestone Iglesia de la Tercera Orden and the imposing Mérida Cathedral, which was erected amidst the ruins of the Mayan settlement of Ichcansiho.

Explore picture-perfect Tulum

Explore picture-perfect Tulum

Day 4 in Tulum

Perhaps Mexico’s most photogenic archaeological site, Tulum’s clifftop Mayan ruins are framed by the pristine beaches and turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Between the 13th and 15th centuries it served as a major port town for fellow Mayan city Cobá, and accordingly the temples were dedicated to the gods of wind and rain, with offerings made to plead against the hurricanes which frequently battered the coastline. If stunning beaches and well-preserved ruins aren’t enough to sway you, the area also boasts fantastic cave diving and plenty of refreshing cenotes (sinkholes) to explore.

Relax in Playa del Carmen

Relax in Playa del Carmen

Day 5 in Playa del Carmen

Hipper and more laid-back than its Northern cousin Cancún, Playa del Carmen’s trendy nightlife and pristine beaches continue to draw tourists near and far, and this once-small fishing town is now one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico. Thanks to its easy accessibility from Cancún International Airport and key location on the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen is a fantastic base for day trips to Tulum, Cobá and nearby Cozumel Island.

Don't miss

Dive pristine reefs at Isla Cozumel

Dive pristine reefs at Isla Cozumel

A 12-mile boat ride from the shores of Playa del Carmen, Cozumel boasts some of the best reef diving and snorkelling in the world. With the world’s second largest reef on its doorstep — the Mesoamerican Reef — Cozumel’s tropical waters are home to an incredible array of colourful fish and pristine coral structures.

Return to Cancun and depart

Return to Cancun and depart

Day 6 in Cancun

Head back to Cancun for your onward departure.

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