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The Yucatan Peninsula Loop (Long)

As we already mentioned, the Yucatan Peninsula is a popular tourist destination. While it has risen in fame for spring break parties, there is more to see and do in the Yucatan Peninsula than to party in Cancun. To truly experience all the Yucatan has to offer, you need at least three weeks on this Mexican road trip through the Yucatan Peninsula.

Highlights of the Yucatan Peninsula Long Loop

The Yucatan Peninsula long loop follows the journey of the Yucatan Peninsula short loop to Tulum. From here, this Mexico road trip continues further south to the popular, yet stunning Bacalar. A small village on the shores of Lake Bacalar, the drawcard for visiting here is the brilliant hues of the lake. Known as Lagoon of Seven Colors, its blue and turquoise hues will transfix you immediately upon arrival.

The best thing to do in Bacalar is to relax. To spend your day lazily in a hammock overlooking the incredible beauty of the lake and pinch yourself every few hours to remind yourself that the beauty is real and you aren’t dreaming. Outside of simply enjoying life, other things to do in Bacalar include visiting one of the nearby cenotes or ruins, kayaking on the lagoon, grabbing a pint at the new cervezaria, and, of course, dining on Mexican food!

After relaxing in Bacalar, continue your journey inland into the wild jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula to Calakmul, one of the most powerful cities in the region during the Mayan period. Due to its location, Calakmul is one of the lesser-visited ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula which is a great reason in itself to visit. With fewer crowds to contend with, you will be able to better imagine life in Calakmul in the past compared to other ruins which may be a bit more crowded (like the ones closer to Cancun).

After soaking in the history lesson of Calakmul, get off the beaten path in the small and charming the port town of Campeche. Perhaps it is the pack of tourists, colorful streets, or ancient walled city that make visiting Campeche worth it. but we recommend spending at least one night here.

After Campeche, head north towards Merida for your chance to see the flamingos in Mexico. Before traveling through the Yucatan Peninsula, we had no idea there were even flamingos here to see. I am not sure if it is their bright pink feathers, their lanky legs, or the fact that they sleep with one leg up that makes seeing flamingos fun, but we definitely recommend visiting them while in Merida.

Next, head onward towards Valladolid famous for cenotes and ruins which you would also visit on a short loop of the Yucatan Peninsula before continuing onward to the windy, fishing village of El Cuyo. Relatively unknown on the tourist circuit, El Cuyo reminds me of what Tulum must have been 20 years ago. Dirt roads connect family inns, cafes, and seafood restaurants. The wind, swept beaches are perfect for kitesurfing.

It is one of the most authentic Mexican beach towns that we have visited in all of Mexico and one we recommend you visit before the secret is out.


Author Travel mode Distance Duration Countries Download
AH Driving 1377.9km (8πŸ“) 19:19 🇲🇽 KML, GPX