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Pyramide des Kukulcán, Bild: IR Stone / shutterstock

10 round trip tips for the beautiful Mayan Peninsula Yucatan

Would you like to shorten the cold season and enjoy pure sun in winter? The Yucatan Peninsula, which is located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, offers the perfect destination to combine culture, history, beach and nature in the German winter months. A round trip followed by a bathing extension at Playa del Carmen is the most popular form of vacation.

Explore the most famous Mayan site “Chichén Itzá”

Tips for the most famous Mayan site Chichén Itzá on Yucatan can be found in every travel guide. Nevertheless, there is a reason why this place rich in history should definitely be visited, because here you can follow the traces of the Mayans most intensively and collect impressions from that time and take them with you. The 30-metre-high imposing step pyramid “Castillo” is the biggest attraction in the heart of the complex.

You can’t climb them, but it is incredibly impressive to marvel at them up close and to guess how such buildings could be built without many technical aids at that time. An important tip for the visit: Be sure to be at the entrance when the complex opens, because during the main visiting hours the complex is full of tourists. It is really worth it to be able to walk through the ruins in a more relaxed way for the first two hours after opening.

Stroll through the yellow town of “Izamal”

Izamal, the yellow city
The yellow city of Izamal, Image: javarman / shutterstock

Izamal is called “the yellow city” because the important small town consists almost exclusively of yellow house facades. This is particularly beautiful to look at and a wonderful photo opportunity, because the partly very pompous buildings are built in Spanish colonial style. There are also several Mayan temples in the city area. Typical of the city are the “Calesas” – horse-drawn carriages that offer romantic city tours.

Stop at a typical Mexican cemetery

At first, a stop at a cemetery as a tourist may sound macabre. However, this is a typical European way of thinking. For Mexicans, death is a reason to celebrate. This is visibly shown in the graves. They are usually in the form of small houses with several floors and are individually painted in all the cheerful colors of the rainbow. For Mexicans, death is part of life and for many it is the thought of redemption that is in the foreground. November 2 is one of the most important holidays of the year. Here, the dead are remembered, candles are lit and even festivals are celebrated in cemeteries.

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Take a bike tour through the historic “Coba”

Mayan Ruins Coba
The Mayan ruin of Coba, Image: Joke van Eeghem / shutterstock

The Mayan ruin “Coba” is located in the middle of the jungle and has fewer visitors than Chichén Itzá, which does not make it any less worth seeing. The temples seem partly overgrown and enchanted by the many trees and plants. A special feature of this complex is that you can still climb the 42-metre-high pyramid. From up there you have a dizzying but beautiful view over the jungle and the entire Mayan ruins. Since the site is very spacious, it makes sense to rent a bike here to be able to discover each area.

Taste typical Mexican food in “Mérida”

Mérida with its small cozy streets and colonial flair is definitely worth a visit. On all corners you will find typical Mexican restaurants where you should definitely stop off. Surely you already know the famous “Quesadillas” from Mexican restaurants in Germany. In Mexico , however, you don’t eat them filled with vegetables and meat like here, but only with cheese – mainly as an appetizer or with the main course. Accompanied by a delicious guacamole with tortillas or a delicious rice dish with black beans? Mexican cuisine is very versatile and leaves nothing to be desired!

Swimming in one of the mysterious cenotes

Attention nature fans, snorkelers and divers – here comes their absolute highlight! The partly underground lake and river systems are adventurous, enchanted and romantic at the same time. There are both tourist cenotes (the most famous is the Cenote Ik ́kil), with changing rooms and lockers that also cost admission. But also a lot of small, unknown cenotes, where only one or the other local stays.

The lakes are connected underground by rivers, making it an absolute paradise for divers . Here, however, you should definitely take a guided tour, because the corridors are sometimes very narrow and confusing, so that exploring without a guide could end life-threatening. The various stalactite caves that are part of the cave system are an incredible sight and should definitely be discovered by you. So always have your swimsuit with you on your round trip for a spontaneous cenote stop!

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Boat tour through the “Sian Ka ́an”

Sian Ka'an, Yucatan
The Sian Ka’an Laguna in Yucatan, Image: Gimas / shutterstock

The national park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986 and offers the most diverse flora and fauna in all of Yucatan. It is the natural habitat of many creatures such as turtles, starfish, dolphins and various rare bird and fish species. The crystal clear waters and the beautiful white sandy beaches are unique. A snorkeling trip in this absolutely paradisiacal environment is a highlight of every Mexico vacation. As an excursion from Tulum in combination with a boat tour lasting several hours, the national park is best explored.

Swimming with turtles in the Yucatan

25km south of “Tulum” is the town of “Akumal”, where snorkeling tours with giant tortoises are offered. The fascination of being able to observe these elegant animals in their natural environment is a very special experience. The chance of seeing several turtles at the same time is very high, because the water in the bay near Akumal is only about three meters deep and the habitat of the animals. Species protection is the top priority here, so that the turtles are of course not allowed to be touched and only a limited number of people are allowed to enter the water at the same time.

As a combination to this excursion, the famous Mayan site “Tulum” is worthwhile, which is located directly on the sea and forms an insanely beautiful contrast with the white sandy beach and the ancient ruins by the sea.

Soak up the sun at the famous “Playa del Carmen”

The well-known beach and holiday resort of Playa del Carmen offers a Caribbean white sandy beach, a crystal clear sea, many water sports and entertainment facilities. The further you stroll towards the town centre, the more nightlife options await you. If you prefer to spend your holiday more quietly, the “Playacar” section with its many residential houses, resorts and hotels is a good choice. Playa del Carmen is the perfect place to end your vacation after an interesting and exciting round trip through Yucatan.

Exploration of the offshore island “Cozumel”

The island of Cozumel is located directly off the coast of Yucatan at the level of Playa del Carmen. It is regularly visited by cruise ships and offers famous diving sections for all underwater fans. The island can be explored very well with a day trip from Playa del Carmen. When planning your excursion, make sure that you avoid cruise tourism, because then the island is very original and quiet.