15 things to do and see between Yucatan and Chiapas
Cenotes, Caribbean beaches, one bursting nature and a very interesting cuisine, there are many peculiarities and things to do and see in the Yucatan peninsula, a fantastic piece of the world ... let's see what they are:
1 - See the turtles in Akumal
I would say to start with the Caribbean sea. How not to mention Akumal on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. In its bay you can see and admire (with much respect and attention) turtles in their natural habitat.
Equipped with a mask and snorkel, I recommend taking a few hours to relax immersed in the coral reef. If you want some more information about this experience and also about where to rent everything you need, I have talked about it better in this article: Akumal: snorkeling among the turtles in Mexico
2 - A day on the Cabalar Lagoon
Call the lagoon of seven colors, it seems almost more beautiful than the sea. Indeed, it is difficult to understand whether it is the sea or a lagoon that runs parallel to the Caribbean Sea. In this stretch of Yucatan (or rather Quintana Roo), geographically below Tulum, you can relax in comfortable hammocks in a spectacular setting. Don't expect to see a large city center though. Bacalar I must admit that it is particularly ugly and in poor condition compared to other Mexican cities, but the strong point is obviously the lagoon. There are several cheap hostels along the coast and some have wooden platforms directly on the water. A day here is a must!
3 - Sunbathing in Playa Delfines
Ok, I'm telling you to go to the most complete brothel, which is the Cancun hotel zone, but this beach is truly phenomenal. A wonderful sea and the opportunity to try your hand at surfing. All in the frame of the hotel area. Maybe some of you may not like the context, preferring something more isolated but still follow my advice.
Although I also prefer remote beaches, I had a great time here. The sunbeds and umbrellas of Playa Delfines are free and free, the beach is huge and sandy. Recommended!
4 - Take a photo on the Playa Paraiso palm tree
Another interesting place to get a tan is Playa Paraiso in Tulum. Caribbean water, white sand and palm trees on the beach. Here there are establishments for the rental of sunbeds. It is an equipped beach but does not border on chaos. During the weekend it gets crowded like any other seaside place, but it is still very liveable. Don't forget to take your photo on the world famous leaning palm.
5 - Visit the Mayan archaeological sites
Between Yucatan and Chiapas, southern Mexico is dotted with Mayan archaeological sites. There are so many to see and it is impossible to see them all. Then, let's face it all, after 4/5 archaeological sites boredom prevails as, for better or worse, they are structured in the same way. There are a few that though you can't miss it and they are absolutely among the things to see in the Yucatan Peninsula. I recommend the mythical Chichen Itza, Jumpsuit with the site directly on the sea, Try and finally the two best sites in my opinion: Uxmal e Palenque.
I told you more about the various Mayan sites in this article: 5 of the most beautiful Mayan archaeological sites in Mexico
6 - Visit a biosphere of the Yucatan Peninsula
Another exceptional experience is to visit one of the Biospheres present in the Yucatan peninsula, such as the Biosphere of Sian Ka'an near Tulum, or the Celestun Biosphere near Merida. Not bad the idea of staying an extra night in Merida in order to visit Merida and then allow yourself a whole day in contact with nature. Not to be missed are the pink flamingos that you can find not only in Celestun but also in the Rio Lagartos Biosphere.
Here I put the map, obviously you do not take into account the route. I only did it in such a way as to better report them to you.
7 - Eat an Arrachera
More than what to see in Yucatan, this is what to eat… you won't be able to go home after tasting this delicious cut of Mexican meat. I tasted it in a place in Tulum run by Italians, it was very good. Some people eat it inside tortillas, but I recommend it grilled. Both in tortillas they always put everything, so it is better to enjoy it simple and simple in order to appreciate it.
8 - Fall in love with San Cristobal de Las Casas
For me it is absolutely a "must do". San Cristóbal de las Casas is one of the most interesting places in the state of Chiapas. It is located at 2000 meters, nestled between the mountains and to reach it you have to take a road that is not to say absurd. 190 km of curves to arrive at what we could consider the pearl of southern Mexico, the cradle of Zapatismo.
Absolutely a place to see and explore in every alley with colorful and lively houses. A poorer population compared to the Yucatan peninsula, which is extremely poorer than the Mayan Riviera. In San Cristobal, many people live in hardship and therefore local crafts try to revive the economy. Many of the souvenirs found on the glossy Mayan Riviera come from the beautiful town of San Cristobal.
Here I have talked about it extensively: San Cristobal de las Casas: the Mexico that conquers you
9 - Sumidero Canyon and San Juan Chamula
Enough Caribbean beaches, we need a little adventure !! Then whiz a spear into the middle of the Sumidero Canyon between the alligators and the walls hundreds of meters high. It is a beautiful excursion starting from San Cristobal, absolutely to be combined with a visit to the indigenous village of San Juan Chamula where it is possible to get in touch with a population that is still closely linked to local traditions. Absolutely worth seeing is the very famous aqua green church which is the main point of interest. In reality, do not dwell only on the church, but gracefully try to understand the soul of this small community.
Find the article on the two excursions here: Sumidero Canyon and San Juan Chamula: excursions from San Cristobal
10 - See a sunset in Campeche
Campeche is a beautiful town on the west coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is bathed by the waters of the gulf and has a history linked to the pirates who attacked it several times. Campeche is truly a delightful city deserves more than half a day, possibly enjoying its fantastic sunset. Unfortunately I didn't arrive in Campeche in time to see it, but this is absolutely one of the things to do along a itinerary in this peninsula of Mexico. Enjoy a beautiful sunset over the malecon!
11 - Swimming in the cenotes
The Yucatan Peninsula is full of limestone caves that have formed over time. You can find them in different sizes, many are also completely underground and to access them you have to go through some slippery steps. These are probably the most beautiful cenote because, inside them, the few beams of light that can illuminate only some areas, make these places even more suggestive.
I told you about it in depth here: Cenotes in Mexico: what they are, what to do and where to find them
12 - Swim with sharks in Holbox
This is also missing from my palmares, but it is something to do absolutely. I am very sorry not to have been able to give myself this extraordinary experience. Near Holbox you can hike and swim with whale sharks. You can find more info in low cost travel post.
13 - Eat corn on the cob on the way to San Cristobal
I told you about the road between Palenque and San Cristobal, I explained to you how this piece of road is a journey within a journey. A journey that allows you to see many facets of the Mexican people. On this road you will see boys and girls trying to sell you some products of the land in exchange for a few pesos. But, along the way, there will not be only these "checkpoints", there will be many, if we can call them that, open kitchens, the poor version of street food. I had the pleasure of stopping by and admire a bit of their everyday life enjoying a corn cob with lime and salt ... an experience to do!
14 - Appreciate Mexican cuisine
It may be that a not very fresh ceviche put me in bed for an internal day, but with Mexican cuisine I have a love / hate relationship. A cuisine with strong and intense flavors, in some ways perhaps heavy, but which leaves no room for phrases such as “it was not very tasty”. Here the taste is felt. Don't think, however, of going to Mexico with the same Mexican culinary conception that the various chains of our house have created. Dishes like chilli or burrito are more Tex-Mex dishes, not pure Mexican. As mentioned elsewhere in this post: do not miss the arrachera and in the area of Merida absolutely taste the cochinita pibil and the sopa de lima.
15 - A swim at the Agua Azul waterfalls
Le Agua Azul waterfalls, together with those of Misol Ha, will be one of the images of an itinerary in Mexico that will “stay inside” the most. An extensive series of more or less high waterfalls, fresh water and an entire indigenous village that lives and survives thanks to the tourism generated by the falls. This place will upset and involve you so much that a bath will be a must.
I told you more about it in this article: The Agua Azul and Misol Há waterfalls in Mexico