A few weeks ago, I had the chance to experience an exceptional adventure in Mexico, specifically in the Yucatan Peninsula. Accompanied by my friends, I explored fascinating destinations, tasted delicious food, and immersed myself in the vibrant culture of this enchanting region. Here is the story of our journey through the magical cities of Yucatan.
Yucatan road trip!
Our adventure began in Playa del Carmen, a seaside town that immediately captivated us with its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. The "Riviera Bliss" hotel welcomed us with exceptional service and breathtaking views of the sea.
La Quinta Avenida, famous for its boutiques, restaurants, and bars, became our favorite spot to stroll and shop. We spent two days there, recovering from our flight with a long layover in New York. Playa del Carmen is the perfect starting point for exploring the region's cenotes (natural sinkholes).
We discovered the Azul cenote, a hidden gem with crystal-clear waters, ideal for a refreshing swim.
Isla Cozumel, diver's paradise!
After a short ferry ride, we reached Isla Cozumel. The island welcomed us with lush nature and spectacular coral reefs.
In the afternoon, we dived into the incredibly clear waters of El Cielo, a true diver's paradise. The water is transparent... You can spot rays and all kinds of fish! In the evening, we savored delicious tacos at "Mr. Tacos" while enjoying a stunning view of the Caribbean Sea.
The next day, we hit the road to the southern part of the island, where we met Carlos, our guide for the day. We explored the Chempita cenote and the El Cedral Mayan village on quads, seizing the opportunity to taste the local Maya liqueurs, delicious but strong!
Carlos explained that some regions of the island are inaccessible due to dense forests and the crocodiles that roam there. He even told us that some crocodiles sneak into hotel pools at night to cool off!
Tulum, for beach clubs and cocktails.
Our next stop took us to Tulum, where we stayed at the "Cobà" hotel. This town transported us to the past with its seaside Mayan ruins. History was at our fingertips, and we were amazed by the contrast between the ancient ruins and the sparkling Caribbean Sea.
In the evening, we tried a beach club by the sea, with very fast service and comfortable facilities, including an infinity pool and oversized sofas. Beware, cocktails cost around twenty euros, and guacamole about fifteen euros. Prices are practically the same along the kilometers-long beach.
After a good night's rest, we explored mystical cenotes like the Gran Cenote for a refreshing swim. We lazed in the sun all afternoon.
Fun Fact: Tulum's beaches are home to sea turtles that come to lay their eggs, creating an incredible natural spectacle during the nesting season.
Bacalar, the Lagoon with 7 shades of blue.
After a 3-hour drive, we arrived in Bacalar. The Bacalar Lagoon, nicknamed "the lagoon of seven colors", was a true natural wonder. Our accommodation at the "Hotel Laguna Bacalar" offered a breathtaking view of the lagoon's various shades of blue.
We spent a relaxing day on a boat in the crystal-clear waters, discovering the hidden secrets of this magical lagoon. Beneath this crystal-clear water lie immense cenotes over 100 meters deep, some of which formed millions of years ago after significant meteorite impacts.
We had the chance to see Pirate Island located in the center of the lagoon. The water there is transparent, and everyone can stand in it! You can sip a cold beer with your feet in the water and spot protected bird species. Bacalar Lagoon got its name from pirates who once used it as a refuge. The seven colors of the water result from varying depths and minerals present.
The next day, we went to the "Rapidos de Bacalar", a river downstream from the lagoon with rapids. There, you can dine at the restaurant, rent a life jacket, walk along the riverbank, and glide on the water for about a hundred meters.
The experience is very relaxing, but be cautious about the time of your visit. Between July and September, the place is crowded, and the experience can become a nightmare.
In the evening, we dined at Kai Prez, a legendary restaurant offering excellent seafood. Its pier allows you to take a dip in the water while enjoying your cocktail: a true paradise.
Valladolid, and one of the seven wonders of the world.
Valladolid welcomed us with its impressive colonial architecture. The "San Clemente" hotel was our choice for this stop, where we were warmly welcomed. It faces the cathedral, the central piece of the city.
We explored the famous Zací cenote, a spectacular underground cavity, before savoring traditional dishes at the "Yerba Buena de Sisal" restaurant. The Zací cenote was once considered sacred by the Mayans, who performed religious rituals there. Today, it is a picturesque spot for swimming.
We took the opportunity to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza, a Mayan marvel, left me fascinated during my visit. Its imposing pyramid, El Castillo, is an architectural masterpiece that seems to defy time. I learned that this structure served as an accurate astronomical calendar, reflecting the ingenuity of the ancient Mayans.
Watching the shadow of the feathered serpent, Kukulkan, descend the steps during the spring equinox, I understood their mastery of astronomy. The ball game courts and sacred cenotes also revealed the importance of religion and rituals in their culture.
Chichen Itza is a historical treasure, a journey through time that taught me about the deeply rooted heritage of the Mayans. Located just a 45-minute drive away, this visit is a perfect pastime when you're making a stop in Valladolid.
Rio Lagartos, crocodiles and Co.
Our passion for nature led us to Rio Lagartos, where we booked an excursion to observe flamingos and crocodiles in their natural habitat. "Las Coloradas" eco-lodge was our accommodation for the night.
A boat excursion allowed us to get close to these majestic pink birds, creating unforgettable memories. The crocodiles of Rio Lagartos are majestic predators that inhabit the waters of this Yucatan region in Mexico.
Their presence adds a touch of mystery to this ecosystem. The crocodiles of Rio Lagartos are an essential part of the local fauna, contributing to the ecological balance of the region. If you're lucky, you might even see Las Coloradas Lagoon. The pink waters of the Las Coloradas lagoons result from microorganisms and salt, creating a unique natural spectacle in the world.
To conclude our journey in style, we took the ferry to Isla Mujeres from Cancun.
We stayed at "Trigneta" and explored the pristine white sandy beaches. Don't miss renting a golf buggy to fully explore this picturesque little island.
We had the opportunity to go snorkeling at the "Underwater Museum of Art" (MUSA). Diving into the crystal-clear waters, you'll discover amazing underwater sculptures created by local artists. It's a unique fusion of art and nature, where corals gradually colonize these works, creating an ever-changing underwater landscape.
Snorkeling in Playa del Carmen and visiting MUSA will leave you with unforgettable memories and a deep appreciation for underwater art. It's an adventure that awakens the senses and nourishes the soul.
As for nightlife, the island is full of small restaurants and bars where you can dance into the wee hours of the night. I highly recommend "Fredy," a bar where the owner serves the best micheladas on the island!
Our journey in Yucatan was a memorable adventure, full of incredible discoveries, exciting adventures, and moments of relaxation. If you dream of paradise beaches, fascinating archaeological sites, and delicious cuisine, Yucatan is the ideal destination for you. So, pack your bags and set out to explore this wonderful region of Mexico!