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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

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Mestizo dancers in Merida.

Value Mexico: Mayan Yucatan and coast

8 days from £992pp

Ruins at Tulum on the Caribbean coast.

Self-drive Mexico: Discover the Yucatán Peninsula

13 days from £1363pp

El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza

Signature Mexico: Cultural heartlands to Caribbean coast

14 days from £2179pp

VW taxis Mexico DF

Value Mexico: Highlights of Mexico City and the Yucatán

12 days from £1522pp

Things to do in Yucatan Peninsula


Visit a Yucatan farmer's market

Stone sculpture

Visit Chichen Itza, ruined Mayan city


Visit a historic henequen hacienda

Mayan building

Visit Edzna, Mayan site

Weather: when to go


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More information

Essential information



Time difference

GMT -6 hrs.

Key events

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

Coming across smaller, little-visited Mayan sites as you drive around the peninsula in a hire car – you may well be the only people there, and really feel the atmosphere of antiquity.
Alex Walker

Alexandra Walker

Swimming in the cool, clear, jade waters of a limestone cenote: these sink holes are scattered throughout the rainforest across the peninsula.

Hannah Donaldson

Walking or biking through dense forest 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.

Ben Line

Ben Line

Surveying the flocks of feeding pink flamingos in the lagoons pitting the nature reserve wetlands at Celestún, on the Gulf coast.

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



For advice on travelling to Yucatan Peninsula

Speak to an expert on 020 8747 8315 or enquire online

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