Caribbean Beach Towns in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

Posted on December 1, 2009 by

Entering the last leg of our trip through Latin America, we’d been looking forward to some long overdue bumming. Enough of the heavy backpacks and volcano-climbing, it’s time to play tourist. Crossing over from Corozal, Belize, we headed into Mexico, rented a car and hit the coastline.

Enroute to our final destination, Cancún, where we would be catching our flight back to Spain, we meandered along the stunning Caribbean coastline slowly, taking our time to explore one beach town at a time.

Cancun beach

Peace and Tranquility – Tulum

A hippy magnet these days, Tulum is the only patch of the peninsula miraculously free of large-scale hotels and hordes of tourists. With wide stretches of white sand and huge emerald surfs, you’ll only find basic beach huts and small resorts here. Those in search of privacy and tranquility will surely find this a dream come true. At least I did.

Swinging on a hammock

A dreamy pavillion at Zebra Resort

Definitely one of the best beaches in Mexico, Tulum not only has clear waters and perfect natural settings, it’s got rich ancient history that goes thousands of years back. Even the Mayans wanted a piece of the sea – a huge fortified city was built on the edge of the sea cliffs to ward against attacks. With a backdrop as such, palaces and temples must have been ravishing in those days.

Tulum Temple

Party Town – Playa del Carmen

With loud pumping music, American franchises and giant hotel chains, Playa del Carmen is where the tourists flood to. It’s not exactly my cup of tea, 2 days there were almost enough to suffocate me. But if you’re looking to party till dawn, feast on American ribs and meet other young holidaymakers, then this should be the place for you.

Playa del carmen by day

By night

Holidaymakers’ Playground -  Cancún

Sandy beach of Cancun It’s got a reputation as a spring break destination, with wild foam parties and a crowd looking to let down their hair and go crazy.

Most holidaymakers come here to enjoy the facilities of world-class resorts and barely step out of their luxury boutique hotels. Who could blame them? All-inclusive resorts have got it all – from shops to restaurants and a private beach at your doorstep.

As I’d discussed in my previous post, an all-inclusive vacation had cost us half the price of a one-way ticket back to Madrid – so off we went, to a 4-star hotel (for the first time in the entire trip!) for endless drinks and exquisite food.



Grand Oasis hotel

Exquisite food at the hotel's Asian restaurant

Swimming pool by night

After four months on the road, we were ready to bum around in the hotel and practically do nothing. We did just that: lazing by the pool, sipping up cocktails at the pool bar and playing with waves. By the third day, we were already getting bored of bumming, and had to drive out to Chichen Itza (3 hours away) for some action – guess the traveler in us took over.

Main pyramid of Chichen Itza

Symbolic carvings on walls 

The ancient Mayan temple of Chichen Itza proved to be impressive and immaculately preserved. The entire area was big and took us quite a few hours to explore everything. Although it doesn’t come close to the sheer majesty and spendour of Tikal in Guatemala, it contributed  significantly to the archaeological and historical world. 

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

15 Responses to “Caribbean Beach Towns in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula”

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    JEALOUS! I want to go to those beaches!

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