Need some help with a perfect itinerary for Mexico? Great! Keep reading…I won’t disappoint.
Ah Mexico, you were my first and therefore I fell in love with you! You were the first country I visited during my current year long trip that is. You were special, different, although to be honest I have not yet travelled extensively in Central or Latin America to know if this was true. I’d only been to Costa Rica for a two week holiday and Colombia as part of a work trip. Not comparable at all! Nevertheless I discovered how special Mexico was to me when we decided to go back for a week after travelling through Guatemala and Belize. I was so excited! Especially coming from Belize where road signs were in English, it was horrible…
Mexico has a lot of different states and the experiences you have in each state will differ. Here in this post I am talking about Southern Mexico. No higher than Oaxaca City, this is where we chose to spend our time. The Mexico that most Europeans know is the South Eastern corner, Quintana Roo which is home to Cancún and Tulum. As well as the Yucatán Peninsula, where you can find one of the seven wonders – Chichén Itzá. However there is so much more to see. Here is an ideal itinerary for Mexico to help you experience a small part of this diverse country in just two weeks:
Two Week Itinerary for Mexico:
(Within the Quintana Roo and Yucatán Peninsula states)
Check out my edited map below to visually see the distances of this suggested itinerary for Mexico:
Fly into Cancún. However, leave as soon as you can. Don’t waste any time here, there are more interesting places to see when you are on a time limit!
Valladolid – 3 Days
Summary: First stop on this itinerary for Mexico is to travel to an inland colonial town in the Yucatán Peninsula. Valladolid is a small, colourful town. It’s also a great stop if you wish to visit Chichen Itzá, as it’s just over an hour in a colectivo. Valladolid is also a perfect spot to experience a slice of Mexico away from the usual beach towns in this area.
Stay: Hostel Mamacha is a very pretty hostel, huge dorms, as in a lot of room within the dorms, not filled with lots of beds. Small lockers though. Good big shower. Kitchen usable but small. No breakfast included.
Things to do:
- Oxman Cenote – 80 pesos just entering the Cenote. However, you can buy a day pass which you can then spend some of your entrance fee at the onsite restaurant set into a Hacienda. Plus the taxi return fare.
- Zaci Cenote – 30 pesos.
- Chichen Itza – 480 pesos (quite a lot!). Plus colectivo or bus costs.
- Light show at the convent, Gives you some history of the town – Free to watch. English version is at 21:25.
- Walk down Calle de los Frailes – the prettiest street in town. Also where you can find Verde Morada cafe.
Eat at: Verde Morada. It’s a hotel, but you can go through to their stunning back garden for coffee and food. It’s one of the reasons I loved Valladolid.
Transport: Downtown (not the hotel zone) Cancun to Valladolid – 2.15hrs.
Tulum – 3 Days
Summary: Tulum is a great location to base yourself in order to visit the surrounding attractions. Tulum is a typical party town, it hosts a lot of techno parties. Stay in Tulum town not by the beach, unless of course, you can afford it. Visit some of the many cenotes, this area of Mexico is famous for them! There are so many, so pick your favourites. Some you can dive in too, so if you fancy some cave diving, the cenotes (I hear) are a great diving spot. Some can be reached with bike from Tulum town, others you’ll need to grab a colectivo from town. Visit the Tulum beach ruins as well as the nearby ruins of Coba. Although transport can be tricky with Coba ruins. Getting there is easy with Mayab or ADO (bus companies) from Tulum bus station but there is only one bus back in the mid afternoon. You may have to grab a taxi…
Stay: LUM Hostel, young crowd, small hostel, like to have drinks most evenings and music until 11:00.
Things to do:
- Tak Be Ha Cenote – 450 pesos, yes it’s expensive but its underground!! See below photo.
- Azul and/or Jardín de Edén Cenote (they are next to each other) – 120/200 pesos.
- Calavera Cenote – 100 pesos, cheapest cenote. Can bike here from town.
- Visit the Tulum beach ruins.
- Visit Coba ruins.
- Cycle to the beach strip, stop at all the instagrammble places along the route.
Eat at: Antojitos ‘La Chiapaneca’. Tacos for 10 pesos each. Order at least 3 though. Don’t look stupid like we did and order one. It was our second day in Mexico, let us off!
Transport: Valladolid to Tulum – 1.30hrs.
Bacalar – 2 Days
Summary: A small town on the edge of the lagoon, nicknamed the lagoon of seven colours. I counted four but I’m sure they’re not lying! Here is where you can indulge in as many watersports as you desire.
Stay: The Yak House is located right on the lake, therefore it has great views. Plus an amazing breakfast, honestly the cereal was so damn good! Also if you stay there you have access to kayaks for 100 pesos an hour (2 people). As well as access to SUP tours – sunrise and sunset.
Things to do: Sailing, Kayaking, SUP, Windsurfing, Kitesurfing.
Eat at: Mr Tacos, great food, great owner and best prices in town. Serves mainly tacos, quesadillas and burritos. Go for a burrito you will not regret it.
Transport: Tulum to Bacalar – 2.50hrs.
Caye Caulker – 4 Days
Summary: Ready for some real beach time? I thought so. It’s pretty easy to hop over to Belize, the neighbouring English speaking country. I preferred Caye Caulker to Isla Holbox (a Mexican island paradise, see below for more details). It seemed that little bit more like paradise. A little bit more structured with buildings. Plus if you like watersports the diving in Belize is amazing! Hosting the second largest coral reef in the world. Although, unfortunately it is not so beautiful anymore.
Things to do: Snorkelling or diving are THE things to do on Caye Caulker! Tours can be expensive but you can budget for them. A half day tour will be about 35USD and a full day tour can be around 85 USD. You can also go and try and see Manatees in the research area Swallows Caye Wildlife Sanctuary.
PLUS Take a bike ride round the island, it won’t take you long…
Eat at: Chef Juan’s Kitchen great priced food, very few tables so it has a cozy atmosphere. Veggie coconut curry was my favourite!
ALSO: Try and find, although he will find you first I’m sure. The island baker, he wanders around the island, singing, selling his banana cake, brownies and more at a good price.
How to get there: From Bacalar you can catch an ADO bus to Chetumal, then get a taxi to the ferry terminal. Get a boat straight from Chetumal to Caye Caulker. You will stop in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye to go through immigration. The total journey is; Bacalar to Chetumal – 35/40 mins. Taxi to the ferry terminal. Then Chetumal ferry to Caye Caulker 2 hrs, immigration can take a while though.
Transport: Bacalar to Chetumal – 40mins, Then catch a taxi from ADO bus station to the ferry terminal.
OR Isla Holbox – 4 Days
Swap Caye Caulker for Isla Holbox if you wish to just stay in Mexico and keep this purely an itinerary for Mexico. Plus possibly avoid the additional re-entrance fee. I think (not 100% sure though) if you leave and re-enter Mexico by sea you will need to pay 575 Pesos per person to enter. The exit fee you can bypass as your departing flight from Mexico should have the departure fee included in the price. Print you’re flight details as proof if you want to leave Mexico.
How to get there: To and from Valladolid you can easily get to Chiquila, where the ferry is to Isla Holbox. So either fit it in straight after Cancun or if you do the itinerary in reserve order go to Holbox after Valladolid.
Things to do: Isla Holbox is equally a great island to relax, take a boat trip whilst there and see some bird life and marine life if you’re lucky.
Transport: Valladolid to Chiquila – 2.25hrs Then from the ADO bus station in Chiquila, walk to the ferry terminal 10 mins walking.
WANT MORE? – Got more time in Mexico? Check out my other post about other amazing places to explore in Mexico http://www.travelwithpip.com/mexico-itinerary-oaxaca-chiapas/