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The Yucatan Peninsula Loop (Short)

The Yucatan Peninsula is one of the most visited areas in Mexico. With Cancun (and now Tulum) firmly on the tourist circuit, you may think the Yucatan Peninsula is all about college spring breaks and over-priced all-inclusive resorts. But those who take the time to explore the areas outside of these touristy hotspots will be surprised by the diversity and culture found on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Highlights of the Yucatan Peninsula Loop (short)

After landing in Cancun, it’s time to get in the car and head toward the beautiful Tulum. Tulum rose in the rankings as one of Mexico’s best travel destinations in the mid-2000s and its popularity does not seem to be waning. Before giving pause as to why I would send you to one of the most touristy places in Mexico, keep reading.

Despite its apparent over-tourism, Tulum does have a few redeeming graces about it. Firstly, if you are headed to Mexico to party, then Tulum is your best bet. Chic beach resorts, late-night DJs, and trendy bars, Tulum hits everything you would want in a party destination.

Secondly, Tulum is close to a few of the best cenotes in Mexico. Cenotes are sinkholes from fall limestone filled with water located on the Yucatan Peninsula. The best cenotes near Tulum include Grand Cenote and Cenote Carwash.

Lastly, Tulum may be overtly touristic but you will have all of your creature comforts. If you are worried about things in Mexico being “too rustic”, head to Tulum. With chic hotels, trendy and modern cafes, you will have all of the things you love from home in the Mexican paradise of Tulum.

After partying down in Tulum, it’s now time to head to the archaeological site of Coba for a quick history lesson into the ancient civilizations that once called the Yucatan Peninsula home. Believed to have been settled between 50 and 100 AD, the Coba was once a powerful force on the peninsula and constant rival of nearby Chichén Itzá. Coba is also home to the largest network of stone causeways of the ancient Mayan world.

Continue onward on this Mexican road trip to the pueblo magico, Valladolid. Valladolid is most famous for two things, cenotes and ruins. Valladolid is surrounded by some of the Yucatan’s most iconic ruins, Chichén Itzá and Ek’ Balam. Whether you enjoy history or not, no trip to the Yucatan is complete without visiting at least one of these ancient ruins if only to be impressed by the skills of the people designing and crafting these enormous structures without cranes and the modern conveniences of today’s construction world.

Outside of these ancient Mayan ruins, Valladolid is also synonymous with cenotes. In fact, Valladolid has a cenote, Zaci, in the center of town. The perfect way to cool down after walking around in the hotel Mexican sun visiting the ruins.

This Mexican road trip is the perfect combination of beach lounging, history, and off-the-beaten-path destinations on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.


Author Travel mode Distance Duration Countries Download
AH Driving 467.6km (5📍) 6:29 🇲🇽 KML, GPX
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