The Ultimate Yucatan Guide Part II: Mérida, Valladolid and Cancun (9-10 days trip)
In my previous Yucatan Guide I talked about a trip to the beach, the first idea of the Caribbeans that tends to come to our minds. But, to be absolutely honest with you, if this is your first time in the area and you want to explore it a little bit more, here I am bringing you a great alternative to have a bit of everything in 10 days: Mexican life and beach. There we go:
Days 1 to 3: Stay at a Mexican Hacienda
I would suggest that you fly directly to Merida (the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán that has a rich Mayan and colonial heritage) and start your trip at a nice Hacienda either in Mérida or around the area. We cannot talk about the history of architecture in Mexico without mentioning the colonial influence. The Haciendas or Fincas are large farms that were dedicated to agriculture, mining, cattle, tequila, among other activities. This viceroyalty system successfully survived until the beginning of the 20th century when the revolution took place. These buildings were developed throughout the country, some have been abandoned since then, but many others have survived and become beautiful hotels which are worth visiting once in life.
So, 2 or 3 days in a place like this will help you to recover from your flight and also have a good approach to the Mexican life, something that you do not get to have if you go to an all inclusive (Also, much cheaper than the beach areas). I highly recommend Hacienda Xcanatun.
Hacienda Xcanatun, Mérida, México
What you can do in the area: First of all, Mérida is one of the safest cities in Mexico and the favourite for many Mexicans to live.
- Visit the historial centre of Mérida. The colonial houses and their colours and the gastronomy will make you love the city!
Mérida City, México
- Day trip to Uxmal and Kabah (1 hour drive), two Maya archaeological sites located in the Western Yucatan, South of Mérida. You can do the two of them the same day.
- Mare sure to take a tour of your Hacienda and have dinner there one night ;) The food is delicious and the vibe even better!
- You can visit a Cenote and have lunch there: Santa Bárbara
Days 3 to 6: Explore the Mexican life
If you look at the map of Mexico, you would realise that Merida is in the West of Yucatan, so in order to keep moving to the famous beach area, where I recommend to spend the last days of your trip, you should move East. That is why, our next stop will be Valladolid (A beautiful colonial city, very charming town center, colourful homes and colonial churches. An authentic Mexican experience). Here you can either go for another Hacienda (Hacienda Temozón, one of the most luxurious in the area with 28 colonial rooms) or stay at a Hotel in the Centre. Also, if you do not want to miss anything, I strongly recommend to do a stop at Izamal on your way to Valladolid, the "yellow town" of Mexico.
Have you ever heard of the famous Chichen Itzá? Chichen Itzá was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period. Well, if you heard of it, this the right place to visit the area. You will be impressed!
Chichen Itzá, México
Honestly, this is something that you should not miss. Also, in the area you will find lot of wonderful Cenotes to visit, specially Cenote Suytun. Yeah, the typical Instagram picture that you might have seen plenty of time and you were wondering where to take it. There you go!
Cenote Suytun, Valladolid, México.
Days 6 to 10: Enjoy the Yucatan beach (and rest!)
If you are my kind of traveller you will feel tired after these adventures, so this is the moment where I suggest you to take a break and enjoy the beach! Here you have plenty of options, either Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum. In my previous post I talked about my experience at an all inclusive, because this is something that can easily go wrong if you end up at the wrong place. I strongly recommend Atelier Playa Mujeres at Cancun. To be honest, I have been in Cancun and Playa del Carmen before (where all these massive hotels are) and I cannot recommend this one enough. If you are looking for good service, high quality food and drinks and a honeymoon experience adults only, Atelier Playa Mujeres should be your choice. This 5+ Hotel is located in Playa Mujeres, a close area 30 minutes away from the typical Cancun Hotel Zone and it is more private and special. You just need to put a foot at the Hotel to become a king.
Atelier Playa Mujeres, Cancún, México
Atelier Playa Mujeres, Cancún, México
Do you have more days?
One option is to head to Tulum, but I need to warn you: it is insanely expensive for what you get. I rather to go Playa del Carmen or somewhere to chill. At this point you know me, I am not the backpacker profile, but I do not like when they steal my money. If you are like me, just go and spend the day and visit the Cenote Manatí or enjoy your time at the beach (they are really beautiful). Other beautiful places less touristic but equally wonderful are: Bacalar (a bit more South), and Cobá (Very mystic).