Yucatan Road Trip: Ultimate Itinerary

After spending a month in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula we have put together our recommended Yucatan roadtrip itinerary. The Yucatan Peninsula is a stunning place to visit in Mexico. We love the party-loving Tulum, Uxmal and the historical Chichen Itza and Uxmal. We have compiled a guide to the Yucatan that will help you plan your trip. It includes the top things to do, and the best places to see. Enjoy!

Yucatan Road Trip Itinerary and Route Map

The Yucatan, with its beautiful roads and high driving standards makes it the ideal place to take a road trip. There are also stunning sights in the area. We took a circular route that began and ended in Cancun, which is the main point of departure and arrival for most Yucatan travelers.

How to travel around the Yucatan

Cancun visitors can either rent a car and drive themselves or hire cabs/private drivers to get around the country. We rented a car and drove the Yucatan around Cancun.

Cancun car rental

We have rented cars in the Yucatan Peninsula, and it is one of our most enjoyable places to drive a car. The roads in Yucatan are of high quality, the driving standards are excellent and fuel costs are very low (compared to Ireland and the UK). ).

The best time to visit Yucatan Peninsula

The best time to visit Yucatan Peninsula is November through April. Prices reflect the high number of visitors to Christmas and New Year.

Due to the warm temperatures and calm waters, dry season is November-April in Yucatan.

Wet Season: Because of the high humidity and temperatures during the rainy season (May-October), it is less enjoyable to visit interior sights like Chichen Itza or Coba.

Hurricane Season: The hurricane season runs from June through November. The most dangerous months are September, October, and November

Sim Card and Internet

Mobile data is essential for research and navigation, as it is in most countries. We had many options upon our arrival at Cancun Airport. However, we were unable to get coverage until we reached Tulum. We eventually purchased a Telcel sim, which offers a wider network and good coverage for the remainder of our trip.

Daily Yucatan Road Trip Itinerary

As a guideline for planning your Mexico trip, we have outlined the suggested Yucatan road route from day to night over three weeks.

Day 1 and 2: Cancun

We were pleasantly surprised by the variety of activities and sights that Cancun has to offer outside of its resorts.

We recommend that you spend the night at Cancun Airport and then take a day trip up to Isla Mujeres. This will let you see the best of Cancun, and allow you to experience island life.

You can find more information about Isla Mujeres at the Best Things to Do on Isla Mujeres.

Cancun: Where to Stay

There are many hotels in Cancun, from all-inclusive resorts at the beach to convenient airport hotels. We were only in Cancun for a short time to explore the area, Isla Mejures and didn’t choose an all-inclusive resort. They might be an option if you are planning to stay in Cancun for more than 2 nights.

Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina – We chose to stay there and it was ideal for a few nights exploring Cancun. The hotel is in Puerto Cancun’s newer hotel zone. It has stunning views of the marina and bay. The hotel is near a great restaurant and many shops/restaurants.

Hard Rock Hotel Cancun is a top-rated all-inclusive hotel in Cancun. The Hard Rock Hotel Cancun has 5 restaurants on site, numerous amenities, and beautiful pools. This hotel is a great choice for anyone looking to relax and take in Cancun’s sights.

Marriott Cancun Resort is another excellent all-inclusive hotel option. This hotel offers a spa, an outdoor pool, and 8 on-site restaurants so you won’t want to leave.

Day 1: Explore Cancun

The majority of Yucatan Peninsula visitors arrive in Cancun. Many choose to relax and enjoy the sprawling resorts, beautiful Caribbean beaches, and vibrant party scene before embarking on a Yucatan roadtrip.

  • We love to explore and these are our top picks for things to do in Cancun.
  • El Meco Ruins: These ruins are just north of Cancun’s downtown and home to a 40-foot tall pyramid. El Meco is one of our favorite Mayan ruins in Cancun.
  • Playa Tortugas is a popular swimming spot with calm waters
  • Maya Museum and San Miguelito Ruins are archaeological sites with ruins that date back to the 13th century.

Playa Delfines: Take a dip in the Caribbean Sea, and then take a photo with the colorful Cancun sign. Swimming is not an option due to strong currents.

Day 2: Day Trip to Isla Mujeres

A 20-minute ferry ride takes you to Isla Mujeres. This island is very popular and is well worth the trip. Find out how to get there.

Things to Do on Isla Mujeres

Playa Norte is a beautiful beach with turquoise waters, white sands and a perfect place to start your day. Drive the length of the island from Playa Norte to Punta Sur, where you will find rugged coastline, small Mayan ruin and interesting sculptures.

The island’s Turtle Sanctuary is another great stop. If you love snorkelling, the Underwater Museum for Art in Isla mujeres is a must-see. You can find a detailed guide to Isla Mujere here.

Days 3 through 5: Tulum

Tulum is known for its beautiful beaches, Mayan ruins, and hip vibe. Tulum was once a quiet beach town. We loved our few days spent exploring the area during our Yucatan tour.

Tulum: Where to Stay

There are a variety of accommodation options in Tulum. These include exclusive resorts that have private beach access and lodgings close to public beaches. These three options are excellent. The most expensive hotels are located in the hotel-zone, while the more affordable ones can be found in Tulum town.

Casa Santiago – A small boutique hotel that is located near the main street in Tulum. The modern and clean rooms were great and the prices are very reasonable.

El Pez a Colibri Boutique hotel – Located right next to Sunrise Beach. El Pez a Colibri Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in the area. It’s a stunning location and one of the best on the beach.

Hotel Poc Na Tulum is a wonderful option for anyone looking for a beautiful beachfront hotel that is away from the bustling hotel-zone. The Hotel Poc Na Tulum can be found on the beach or inside the Tulum Archeological Site.

How to Get to Tulum

You have a variety of options when traveling between Cancun & Tulum. There is a rental car, public bus, and private/shared transfer. For more information, see our guide on travelling from Cancun To Tulum.

Things to Do in Tulum

The 13th Century Tulum Ruins, with their stunning cliffside setting, are one of the most remarkable Mayan sites on the Yucatan Peninsula. You can take a dip in the clear waters of the beach after you have inspected the ruins.

You can spend some time at both the south and north ends of the beach road. Playa Paraiso, or Paradise Beach is the best public beach in Tulum. It’s a great spot for a relaxing morning or afternoon.

You can find luxurious resorts along the south coast of Tulum, which you can access through their restaurants or beach clubs. This is the best place to party if you are coming to Tulum for fun! You will also find shabby chic boutiques along the road, as well as shack-style food options. You will find Matcha Mama, Ahau Tulum, and a “Follow the dream” road sign. This is where you’ll find many of the most popular Instagram spots in Tulum.

Another essential thing about Tulum is a swim in a cenote.

We love the Cenote Zacil-Ha, its neighbor Cenote Carwash, and the Cenote Dos Ojos double sinkhole. These are great places for snorkelling and diving. It is a wonderful place to explore the cave system of the popular Gran Cenote. The shallow waters of Cenote Azul are a short drive away towards Playa Del Carmen make it an ideal choice for families.

Check out our guide to the top cenotes in Tulum. Click here to read!

The incredible natural attractions of Sian Ka’an Biosphere or Kaan Luum Lake are Tulum jewels if time allows.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of our favorite things to do in Tulum. Si’an Khan is home to quiet beaches, beautiful coral reefs, and even crocodiles that sunbathe on the banks of mangrove canals.

The Lagoon, surrounded by lush green jungle, is a relaxing swimming spot for locals and the ideal place to escape from the Tulum crowds.

Day trips to Tulum

Tulum is an excellent Yucatan base. Many of the places we visited from Valladolid can also be reached from Tulum.

The famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Ek Balam, Coba, and Coba.

Valladolid, and the beautiful cenotes nearby Valladolid. They include Cenote Suytun (the Instagram-famous Cenote Samula), Cenote Xkeken, Cenote Oxman and Cenote Xkeken, all set in a traditional hacienda.

Rio Lagartos’ flamingos and Los Colorados’ pink lakes are two examples.

You can also take a day trip to:

Akumal is a beach resort with white sands, resident turtles, and beautiful beaches

From Playa Del Carmen, you can take a ferry to Cozumel for amazing snorkelling and scuba-diving.

Island Life: Isla Mujeres or Isla Holbox, Cozumel

Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox offer island life experiences. It’s up to you to decide what your itinerary includes. We chose to spend a few days in Holbox (see our last days for more details) and then visit Cozumel as day trips.

Although Holbox is more difficult to reach, the turquoise waters and relaxed island vibes make it worth the effort. The island retains its undiscovered charm which is difficult to find on the busy Yucatan Peninsula. It was a highlight of our Yucatan roadtrip. We loved Holbox.

Days 6-9: Merida

Merida, the capital city of the Yucatan state, is a great place to stay for a few days and explore the surrounding area.

Merida: Where to Stay

El Palacito Secreto – This is where we chose to spend our time in Merida. This boutique family-owned hotel is located in the heart of Merida. Each room is beautifully decorated and there’s a small pool that can be used to cool off after exploring the surrounding area. It’s easy to see why El Palacito Secreto has been so well-respected. We cannot recommend it enough.

Casa Lucia Hotel Boutique is another boutique hotel that’s centrally located for Merida. Casa Lucia Hotel has a small swimming pool and a tranquil courtyard for relaxation.

Boutique by The Museo – For those who want to spend a lot, Boutique by The Museo is the place for you. It offers 15 beautiful 1,2, and 3 bedroom suites, and is centrally located.

Things to Do in Merida

Merida is an exciting city filled with amazing architecture, great food, museums, and rich culture. Its central location near the Yucatan Peninsula’s north west tip makes