Five places to go in Mexico
There’s more to Mexico than the resorts and crowded beaches of Cancun. The incredible wilderness, wildlife, Mayan culture and delicious food is only an ADO bus ride away.
Starting in Playa del Carmen take a day trip to Tulum. Built between 1200 and 1450 the Mayan ruins in the jungle sit on a cliff that drops down to white-sandy beaches. It is pretty crowded during the high season, June – August, so make sure you get there early to enjoy the views.
An early start to leave the resorts of Playa del Carmen behind. Spend the afternoon learning about the history of Chichén Itzá. This enormous site is the best known Mayan archaeological site and includes a 30m high temple, the Pyramid of Kukulcan and a cenote. It is one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” and attracts over one million visitors per year.
Uxmal Ruins, Merida
Mérida is 400 years old and the largest city in the Yucatán. It makes a great stop to explore the city and a base for seeing the sites of the surrounding area. The Uxmal Ruins are around an hour out-of-town and a quiet contrast to the better known Chichén Itzá. Uxmal was founded in 700 AD and according to UNESCO, “the ruins of the ceremonial structures at Uxmal represent the pinnacle of late Mayan art and architecture in their design, layout, and ornamentation, and the complex of Uxmal and its three related towns of Kabáh, Labná and Sayil admirably demonstrate the social and economic structure of late Mayan society.” The temples and pyramids can be climbed on, unlike Chichén Itzá, but are incredibly steep so watch your step.
After visiting the Uxmal Ruins it’s time to cool off in the beautiful Cenotes the Yucatan peninsula is famous for. The porous limestone is hollowed by water erosion creating an underground, crystal clear pool. The most popular cenotes are online but the less touristy and quiet ones can be found by driving the coastal road.
Travel into the Chiapas region to explore the Palenque archaeological zone, where a few dozen excavated structures are surrounded by lush rainforest. Stay at the Mayabell right next to the National Park. When you’re all done exploring the ruins chill out next to the swimming pool with a mango margarita.