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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
El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza

Signature Mexico: Cultural heartlands to Caribbean coast

14 days from £2179pp

Tulum

Honeymoon in Mexico: Lost cities and beaches of the Mayan Riviera

12 days from £3245pp

Ruins at Tulum on the Caribbean coast.

Self-drive Mexico: Discover the Yucatán Peninsula

13 days from £1363pp

Mestizo dancers in Merida.

Value Mexico: Mayan Yucatan and coast

8 days from £992pp

Things to do in Yucatan Peninsula

Mayan building

Visit Edzna, Mayan site

Market

Visit a Yucatan farmer's market


City at night

Walking tour of Merida

Uxmal building

Visit Uxmal ruined Mayan temple complex

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

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.
Rafe Stone

Rafe Stone

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

Alexandra Walker

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.

Hannah

Hannah Donaldson

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

Ben Line

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

 

For advice on travelling to Yucatan Peninsula

Speak to an expert on 020 8747 8315 or enquire online

Request an itinerary
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