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The states of Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo form the huge wedge of low-lying, forest-covered territory of Mexico’s south-east. It is here that vestiges of the Mayan civilisation loom out of the undergrowth at every turn. Sites replete with temples and pyramids festooned with sacred carvings were, once abandoned, swallowed up by a rapacious jungle but are now gradually being revealed. The best known sites, Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, Tulum are easily accessible and have been spruced up for visitors. There are lesser-known sites rising from an untouched natural setting including Edzná, a huge ceremonial centre featuring the 30m high Temple of the Five Storeys, and Calakmul, the biggest archaeological area in Mesoamerica with 7,000 buildings in the central zone. 

There are some pretty Spanish colonial towns too, the arched colonnades of Izamal and Mérida, a  bustling  place where colonial churches and mansions cram the grid of streets;  plazas host markets and impromptu musical and  theatrical performances. 

The Riviera Maya spans the peninsula’s soft-sand Caribbean coast with its resort hotels and fishing villages, while the coastal mangrove-draped marshes at Sian Ka’an host a biosphere reserve heaving with wildlife.


Our holidays to Yucatan Peninsula

View all holidays
Beach at Esencia

Luxury Mexico: Yucatan in style

Private journey

12 days from £3,216pp

yucatan car hire

Self-drive Mexico: Discover the Yucatan Peninsula

Private journey

13 days from £1,388pp

El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza

Signature Mexico: Cultural heartlands to Caribbean coast

Private journey

14 days from £2,289pp

Campeche Car Hire

Luxury Mexico: Self-drive Yucatan haciendas and Caribbean coast

Private journey

11 days from £1,879pp

Things to do in Yucatan Peninsula

City at night

Walking tour of Merida

Yucatán Self-drive

Yucatan self-drive


Mayan building

Visit Edzna, Mayan site

Market

Visit a Yucatan farmer's market

Weather: when to go

Jan

Great time to go

Feb

Great time to go

Mar

Great time to go

Apr

Great time to go

May

Good time to go

Jun

Good time to go

Jul

Good time to go

Aug

Good time to go

Sep

Not a great time to go

Oct

Not a great time to go

Nov

Good time to go

Dec

Great time to go
More information

Essential information

Language

Spanish

Time difference

GMT -6 hrs.

Key events

Carnival
International Gay festival
Festival de las Aves de Yucatán
Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

More essential information

Our insider tips for Yucatan Peninsula

Rafe Stone

Rafe Stone

Mexico is vast so if short on time (or want to avoid internal flights) then stick to the Yucatan. Wonderfully varied, you'll find the finest Mayan pyramids, sleepy colonial villages, freshwater swimming in cenotes and flocks of flamingos in Celestún natural reserve. Lively Merida boast exquisite colonial architecture, great restaurants and frequent live music, not to mention excellent handicraft markets. The palm-fringed white sand Caribbean beaches are also the best in the country, from chic Tulum to low key Holbox.

Alex Walker

Alexandra Walker

Sunsets on Holbox are incredible and Punta Coco, in the island's northwest, is the place to watch the sun go down and the pink sky light up. A few basic stalls sell frozen margaritas and the same sellers rent hammocks and sun beds so you can make an afternoon of it. Its also a great spot for seeing the night time bioluminescence, best observed after a new moon between March and November. Flamingos can also sometimes be seen here between June and November and snorkeling with Whale Sharks is a great reason to visit between June to September.
Hannah

Hannah Donaldson

Head off the beaten track and walk or bike through the dense jungle to the ruins of Kohunlich, where the Temple of the Masks has a central stairway flanked by 3m high stucco masks of the Sun God. The roar of howler monkeys in the early morning or late afternoon adds to the feeling you have just discovered these ruins, which are never crowded.

Ben Line

Ben Line

The Yucatán peninsula is very family-friendly for kids of all ages, as was proven by the great holiday we enjoyed with our 3 year old! With little traffic outside of the main towns and excellent roads, it was ideal to explore with a hire car. The freedom of being able to chuck everything into the trunk and head when it suited us to explore the amazing Mayan ruins (you can hire local guides at entrance of all the ruins), nature filled reserves and idyllic Caribbean beaches made it really easy.

Start planning your trip

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

Our travel experts all have first-hand experience, which they are excited to share with you.

97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.

What our experts say

My son’s words say it all  - walking and climbing the pyramids (at Chichen Itzá) reminded me of my PlayStation games and the stories I have read on the Egyptian pyramids, only better

Antonio Vaquero

Antonio Vaquero

Operations

 

Tailor-made holiday

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.

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