1 month in Mexico: The Ultimate 30 Days Itinerary + My Best Tips


Itinerary: One Month in Mexico – The Best Places to Visit

Are you planning to spend 1 month in Mexico?

That’s awesome!

To make your trip easier, I have created the best 29, 30 or 31 day itinerary in Mexico, from Mexico City to Cancun.

You will start in Mexico’s capital, then head to Oaxaca, where you will meet its artists, see its highlights and learn how to make the famous mezcal.

Next, you will explore Chiapas, known for the ancient site of Palenque, its traditions and its amazing natural wonders like the Sumidero Canyon and the Montebello Lagoons.

After that, you will discover the Yucatan Peninsula, starting with the archaeological site of Calakmul in the jungle of Campeche, then the Bacalar and its beautiful lagoon, Merida, Valladolid and the famous Chichen Itza.

You will enjoy the most beautiful attractions of the Riviera Maya by spending a few days in Tulum, then you will visit the island of Holbox before returning to Cancun.

For each stop, you will find my practical tips, my suggestions of hotels for all budgets, and the details to do the tour by car or by bus.

So, are you ready to find out what to do in Mexico in a month, and where to stay?

1) Mexico City (2-3 days)

Welcome to Mexico!

Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport is the most important airport in Latin America and receives numerous domestic and international flights.

This makes it the ideal starting point for your trip to Mexico.

When you arrive, pick up your rental car at the airport.

To find the best car for this 30-day route through Mexico, I recommend you to use Rentalcars.com‘s car rental comparison tool.

Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

If you prefer to do this Mexico itinerary by bus, you will need to take an official taxi from the airport to your hotel (Uber is not allowed anymore).

Here are some ideas to visit Mexico City in 2 or 3 days:

An interesting way to get to know Mexico City when you arrive, is to take a ride with the tourist bus to see the main tourist sites of the capital.

I’ve done it several times and have always loved the experience. Besides, the ticket is valid all day long, in the 4 routes they have, and you can get on and off as many times as you want. 😁

Buy your bus tickets here:

Mon conseil
To know everything about the capital of Mexico, you can check:

Where to stay in Mexico City?

  • Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral (historic center): one of the best hostels in Mexico City. Clean dorms and rooms, amazing rooftop terrace with bar, great atmosphere and an exceptional view over the cathedral and the Zocalo, starting at 15$usd for a dorm and 32 $usd for a private room!
  • Hotel Villa Condesa (Condesa): if you are looking for a romantic hotel in Mexico City, this is a little oasis in the heart of La Condesa. It is an elegant house with small green terraces and tastefully decorated rooms. Rooms are spacious, breakfast is very good and the service is particularly attentive. Around 160$usd per night!
  • Casa Goliana (Roma Norte): high-end hotel with the best value for money in its category, located in an early 20th century house, typical of the Roma area. Rooftop terrace, comfortable rooms, very attentive staff, and good breakfasts. Around 190$usd per night
  • Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City (Juarez): this 5 star hotel is one of the best hotels in Mexico City, ideal for a business trip or a romantic stay. Located on Paseo de la Reforma between Colonia Juarez and Roma Norte. A large indoor garden, gym, swimming pool, spa, restaurant, and bar, Around 640$usd per night!

My advice
For the best areas and hotels in Mexico City for all budgets, check out my complete guide: Where to stay in Mexico City?
mariachis plaza garibaldi méxico
mariachis plaza garibaldi mexico

2) Oaxaca (4 days)

This 30-day trip in Mexico continues in the region of Oaxaca, known for its cultural and gastronomic richness.

Day 1You will spend the day on the road from Mexico City to the city of Oaxaca de Juarez.

Since you are just starting your trip, I recommend you take the direct route, but if you want to do it in 2 days, you can also make a stop in Tehuacan (3h30 from Mexico City).

You can visit the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve, to see the Helia Bravo Hollis Botanical Garden in Zapotitlán, with a local guide.

You can stay overnight in the reserve or in the city of Tehuacán.

How to get to Oaxaca from Mexico City:

  • By car: 5h45 by highway Mexico – Puebla/Mexico 150D and Mexico 135D to Oaxaca de Juarez.
  • By bus: 6h-7h trip (day and night) with ADO from the Terminal del Norte or with AU from the TAPO Terminal
  • By plane: 1h-1h15 with Viva Aerobus, Volaris and Aeromexico

Day 2 Stroll through Oaxaca de Juarez, the beautiful capital of the state of Oaxaca

You can see:

  • The church and former convent of Santo Domingo de Guzman, home to the Museum of Cultures and the Ethnobotanical Garden.
  • The 20 de Noviembre Market and its grilled meat section called “Pasillo de Humo”, a must-see for food lovers. The Benito Juarez market is also worth a visit.
  • The main square (the zócalo) with the cathedral, the Palacio de Gobierno with beautiful murals
  • From the zocalo, walk down Dr. Aurelio Valdivieso street which becomes Macedonio street with stores, cafes, restaurants, etc.
  • Oaxaca’s handicraft market, where you can find typical colorful clothing actually made by local artisans (and not just imitations).
  • If you are interested in handicrafts, I also recommend you the Textile Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art

Check out my definitive guide: The 20 best things to do in Oaxaca!

Spend the night in Oaxaca

Day 3- Monte Alban

Monte Alban is only 20 minutes from Oaxaca.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient Zapotec capital is one of the most important archaeological sites in Mexico.

Check out this article to get into detail:

You can visit: the tombs, plazas, stelae, the Mayan ball court, the Palace and the Great Plaza, and the interesting on-site museum.

After Monte Alban, take the opportunity to explore the villages in the area:

  • Go to Cuilapam de Guerrero to see its former Dominican convent (16th century).
  • Discover the workshops of alebrijes workshops (important figures of Mexican folk art) in San Antonio Arrazola or San Martin Tilcajete.
  • Visit San Bartolo Coyotepec to see the best examples of black clay pottery.

You can also book the tour to Monte Alban with pick up at your hotel in Oaxaca, which also includes the artisans’ route:

The archaeological site of Monte Albán

Day 4 – Hierve El Agua

Start your day with a visit to Santa María el Tule, where you will see “El árbol de Tule”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is said to be one of the oldest trees in the world!

Then, continue to Teotitlán del Valle, known for its quality wool crafts, and then visit the archaeological site of Mitla, which was the second most important ceremonial center of the Zapotec culture.

Not far from Mitla is Hierve el Agua, petrified waterfalls that were formed thousands of years ago by the high concentration of minerals in the water.

Here you can see the stunning rock formations, get a breathtaking view of the surroundings and swim in the hot springs.

There is also an irrigation system and terraces built by the Zapotecs 2,500 years ago.

Return to Oaxaca for the night.

How to get to Hierve el Agua from Oaxaca:

  • By car: take Highway 190 to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, then take the detours to Hierve el Agua on Highway 179.
  • By bus: take a colectivo or bus from this bus stop to this bus stop to Mitla (50 min), then another colectivo from the Mitla bus terminal to Hierve el Agua (50 min).
  • With a tour: this is the best option so you don’t have to worry about transportation as it includes pick up from your hotel in Oaxaca. The tour takes you to the Tule tree, Teotitlán del Valle, Mitla, Hierve el Agua and a mezcal distillery with tasting.

Book it here:

Hierve el Agua, Oaxaca

Where to stay in Oaxaca?

  • Andaina Youth Hostel: Located in the heart of Oaxaca, only 300 meters from Santo Domingo Church and 800 meters from the Zocalo. Cozy and colorful dormitory or private room with shared bathroom, from 16 $usd per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the friendly atmosphere, the rooftop terrace, the free activities and tours. This is my choice for a budget-friendly hotel in Oaxaca!
  • Casa Barroco Oaxaca: Elegant room with balcony, just a few steps from the main square in a listed colonial house, with two beautiful patios, from 89 $usd per night. Strong points: the beautiful colonial-style building, the charming garden, the helpful staff.
  • Casa de Sierra Azul: Located in the historic center of Oaxaca, 200 meters from Santo Domingo Church and 600 meters from the Zocalo. Classic and cozy room with private bathroom, from 140$ usd per night. Strong points: the central location, the bicycles available for guests, the free parking, the delicious breakfast.
  • Quinta Real Oaxaca: Located in a former convent from the 16th century, 500 meters from Santo Domingo Church and 700 meters from the Zocalo. Elegant room and romantic atmosphere, from 260 $usd per night. Strong points: the stunning architecture, the outdoor pool, the gourmet restaurant. This is my choice for a luxury stay in Oaxaca!

3) Tuxtla Gutierrez (2 days)

Day 1– It is an 8h trip that awaits from Oaxaca to Chiapas

Mexico is a huge country and you will have to travel a lot if you want to see as much as possible in a 30-day trip in Mexico

Make your first stop in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of the state of Chiapas.

You will probably be tired after a long day, but I suggest you take a walk to the Marimba Park, where people dance (from 6pm to 8pm) to the rhythm of the marimba. It’s a lot of fun!

Spend the night in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

How to get to Tuxtla Gutierrez from Oaxaca City:

  • By car: 8 hours by Highway Oaxaca – Tehuantepec/Tehuantepec – Oaxaca/Mexico 190; La Ventosa – Salina Cruz Superhighway 185D; San Pedro Tapanatepec/Mexico 190 to Tuxtla Gutierrez and finally Highway 190D to Tuxtla Gutierrez.
  • By bus: from 10:00 am to 10:30 am on the OCC and ADO night buses, with departures at 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm and 10:30 pm.
  • By plane: there is no direct flight to Tuxtla Gutierrez from Oaxaca, you have to go through Mexico City, with Volaris or Aeromexico.
parque de la marimba tuxtla gutiérrez
parque de la marimba tuxtla gutiérrez

Day 2Sumidero Canyon

The Sumidero National Park covers more than 20,000 hectares and protects a canyon carved by the Grijalva River.

It is a Must-See In Chiapas that you should not miss on a month-long trip to Mexico.

You will get a great view from above, following the scenic route with 5 viewpoints, but I also suggest you to take a boat ride on the river from the pier of Chiapa de Corzo: they are two totally different perspectives.

After the Sumidero Canyon, take some time to walk around the quaint town of Chiapa de Corzo: the main square with “La Pila”, a Mudejar style fountain, the craft market with its local sweets, the little streets with colorful murals.

You will probably be back in Tuxtla by mid-afternoon. If you have some time left, you can see the cathedral of San Marcos, the marimba museum, the regional museum, the botanical garden.

Overnight in Tuxtla Gutierrez.

How to get to Sumidero Canyon from Tuxtla:

  • By car: 30 min – take Avenida Central to the exit where Plaza Poliforum is located. Go straight ahead and you will reach the bridge over the Grijalva River, where you will see the signs to Chiapa de Corzo.
  • By public transportation: if you travel by bus, I recommend you take the boat ride, but without the viewpoints (because it is complicated). Take a colectivo “Chiapa de Corzo” (35 min, from the corner of Av. Central and Calle 12va Oriente Sur) and get off at the central plaza of Chiapa de Corzo. The pier is a 3 block walk away.
  • With a tour: this is the option I chose and I enjoyed the experience. It is a small group tour, with pick up at your hotel in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the boat ride and the viewpoints, with a stop in Chiapa de Corzo.

You can book it here:

El Cañón del Sumidero viewpoint

Where to sleep in Tuxtla Gutierrez?

  • Hostal Tres Central: is a cozy and colorful hostel, it has a terrace with hammocks and a view over the mountains. Shared dorms and private rooms, very clean and with wifi. It offers the best value for money in town for its category, from only 13usd!
  • Hotel Madrid: if you are looking for a little more comfort, this hotel is very well located in the center of Tuxtla Gutierrez, a few steps from the Marimba Garden and the main square. King bed and breakfast included, from only 35usd per night!
  • Marriott Tuxtla Gutierrez Hotel: a high-end hotel at very affordable prices with very comfortable beds, very good wifi, gym, pool, restaurant open also for dinner. With breakfast buffet, starting at 73usd per night!

4) San Cristobal de las Casas (3 days)

For the next part of our 30-day road trip through Mexico, leave Tuxtla Gutierrez for San Cristobal de las Casas, where you will spend the next few days.

Day 1- Spend the day visiting San Cristobal de las Casas, the charming cultural capital of Chiapas.

There is much to see in San Cristobal:

  • The Zócalo and the cathedral.
  • The church of Guadalupe on a hill.
  • The Na Bolom Cultural Center dedicated to the lacandones.
  • The Textile Center of the Mayan World, displaying 500 magnificent pieces of Mayan textiles.
  • The Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman, a beautiful example of the baroque architecture of Chiapas.
  • The markets: Mercado de Dulces y Artesanías, Mercado de Artesanía de Santo Domingo and Mercado Viejo.
  • The pedestrian street of Real de Guadalupe with restaurants, bars and cafes.

For more information, check out The 15 Best Things to Discover in San Cristobal de las Casas!

Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.

How to get to San Cristobal de las Casas from Tuxtla Gutierrez:

  • By car: 1h15 following the Tuxtla Gutierrez – San Cristobal de las Casas/Mexico 190D highway.
  • By bus: 1h25, departures (almost) every hour with ADO and OCC.
museo na bolom san cristobal
na bolom museum san cristobal

Day 2El Chiflón Waterfalls and Montebello Lakes

In the morning, head to El Chiflón.

This is a series of 5 turquoise waterfalls that are located between the mountains and the jungle: El Suspiro, Ala de Angel, Velo de Novia (492 ft high!), Arcoiris and Quinceañera.

It is a very enjoyable walk because you only have to follow a 1km trail that lets you get close to the waterfalls. It is a very beautiful place!

My advice
The best time to visit El Chiflón is from November to May (outside the rainy season). When it rains a lot, the water loses its beautiful turquoise color and turns brown. 

Continue your one-month itinerary through Mexico to the Lagunas de Montebello National Park, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Ramsar site.

It is impossible to see everything because it is a huge reserve with 59 lakes.

I suggest you take the same road I followed: Lake Tzizcao on the border with Guatemala, Lake Pojoj, Cinco Lagos and Lake Montebello.

You will see that Montebello Lake is the perfect place to end the visit with a hot chocolate. 😉

How to get to El Chiflón and Montebello from San Cristóbal:

  • By car: 2h to El Chiflón on the road to Comitán de Domínguez. Then to go to Montebello Park (1h40) you have to go back to Comitán, then take Highway 190 and 307. There are many curves and bumps, so be careful and don’t drive too fast.
  • By public transportation: I do not recommend it because you have to take several buses and colectivos. You have to consider the long distances, the waiting time and the risk of not finding transport on the way back…
  • With a tour: this is the option I chose from San Cristobal because it is the easiest considering that the trip is quite long (from 8am to 8pm) and a bit complicated. It includes hotel pick up, the visit to El Chiflón and the Montebello lagoons.

You can book the tour here:

Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.

lac montebello
The view of Lake Montebello

Day 3Zinacantán and San Juan Chamula

Today I recommend that you visit two Mayan Tzotzil communities located only 20-30 minutes from San Cristobal de las Casas.

Start in Zinacantán, a small town known for its flower-embroidered clothing worn by both men and women.

See the church of San Lorenzo, learn about the traditional textile techniques, and taste pox, a Chiapaneco liquor used in Mayan rituals.

Continue to San Juan Chamula, another Tzotzil community, known for the church of San Juan Bautista, which presents an impressive Catholic and Mayan syncretism.

I prefer not to give too many details, but you will witness some amazing rituals.

I insist: be discreet and respectful. Don’t take pictures, they take this rule very seriously!

Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas

How to get to San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán from San Cristóbal:

  • By car: for San Juan Chamula, take the Puerto Caté-San Cristóbal highway (23min), and for Zinacantán, turn off at km9 onto Calzada Juárez/Zinacantán (24 min).
  • By public transport: by colectivo (15$mxn) from the San Cristóbal municipal market.
  • With a tour: this is what I did and I recommend it because the guide was very interesting. It is a small group tour with a visit to Zinacantán (textile demonstration and pox tasting) and a free visit to San Juan Chamula.

You can book it here:

Overnight in San Cristobal de las Casas.

iglesia san juan chamula
iglesia san juan chamula

Where to stay in San Cristobal de las Casas?

  • The Coffee Bean Hostel: a very cozy hostel with nice common areas, a restaurant and bar, a garden, terrace with hammocks, pool tables and several breakfast options, starting at 12 $usd in a shared dorm!
  • Parador Margarita: only 3 blocks from the main square and the bus station, it is a small haven of peace with a garden and very comfortable beds. Wifi and breakfast are included, only 46 $usd per night!
  • Hotel Diego de Mazariegos: a magnificent 18th century mansion with a preserved Mexican colonial style, a charming interior courtyard with a fountain and classic decoration in warm tones. The hotel has two restaurants and a bar. Wifi and breakfast included, from only 73 $usd per night!
  • Casa Lum Hotel Boutique my favourite hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas! It is a small and sophisticated hotel decorated between modernity and traditional design. Includes a great restaurant, a terrace with a panoramic view over the city and a garden. A few steps from the main square, it is the ideal place for lovers, from 164 $usd per night!

5) Palenque (1 day)

Leave San Cristobal de las Casas for Palenque, which was as powerful as the cities of Calakmul and Tikal in Guatemala.

Today it is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must-see for a month-long vacation in Mexico.

My advice
Leave early in the morning in the direction of Palenque, as it is 5h30 from San Cristobal de las Casas.

You can go directly or make these stops along the way:

  • Toniná: a less touristic archaeological site, whose main pyramid is about 1700 years old and is one of the tallest pyramids in Mesoamerica (246 ft !).
  • Cascadas de Agua Azul: turquoise waterfalls fed by the Yax-Ha river, where you can swim.
  • Misol-Ha: a 115 ft waterfall in the jungle. You can swim and even go behind the waterfall.

When you arrive to the city of Palenque, I suggest you take a break for lunch so you can be able to visit the archaeological site.

Among the main structures to see in Palenque:

  • The Museum of Palenque, one of the most important museums dedicated to Mayan archaeology.
  • The Palace, which is the largest complex in Palenque, with an observation tower.
  • The Temple of the Inscriptions where the tomb of the ruler K’inich Janaab’ Pakal I (7th century) was found with many valuable objects, including a jade mask.
  • The Cross Group with the Temple of the Cross, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Foliated Cross, organized around a plaza.

How to get to Palenque from San Cristobal de las Casas

  • By car: 5h-5h30 by Highway 199 passing through Ocosingo. Misol-Ha and Agua Azul are on Highway 199. To go to Toniná, take the detour on Highway 218 to Ocosingo.
  • By public transport: 9h by bus direct to Palenque (departures at 5h and 8h). To go to Misol-Ha and Agua Azul, you will have to take a colectivo to Ocosingo and then another one to Palenque.
  • With a tour: considering the long distances, the easiest option if you are not traveling by car is to take a tour from San Cristobal de las Casas that includes hotel pick-up, breakfast, Agua Azul, Misol-Ha and Palenque.

You can book it directly here:

Where to stay in Palenque?

  • Mitico El Castillo: this is the most unusual hotel that looks like a movie decor. It’s a castle that houses a room, a shared room, a swimming pool, and a kitchen. This is the best cheap hotel in Palenque, starting at only 14 $usd for a bedroom or 38 $usd for a room!
  • Cabañas Kin Balam Palenque: another budget hotel in Palenque that has the advantage of being in the jungle, with fruit trees and exotic animal sounds and within walking distance of the ruins. Includes a pool and a restaurant, starting at only 24 $usd for a dorm or 43$usd for a private room!
  • Adriana Villas: an oasis of tranquility ideal for couples, with rooms and villas in the jungle, a swimming pool, hammocks, large gardens, and a rooftop terrace. With delicious breakfasts included, starting at 80 $usd per night!
  • Chan Kah Resort village: ideal for relaxing during a family trip to Palenque, offering excellent value for money. Bungalows for 2 to 4 people, 2 large natural pools, a bar, restaurant and spa, from only 100$ usd for a bungalow!
The Mayan Ruins of Palenque

6) Calakmul (1 day)

Start early in the morning, as you have another long (but very amazing!) day ahead, with 5h30 hours of travel to see Calakmul… which will require quite some energy. 😁

Both Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, this great Mayan city hidden in the jungle is a must-see if you have 1 month to visit Mexico.

Once there, you can choose between 3 itineraries: short (2h), medium (3h) and long (4-5h) that are very well marked to avoid getting lost.

What to see in Calakmul:

  • Chan Chi’ich residential area.
  • The Chii’k Naab complex with several structures, plazas, etc.
  • The Great Acropolis which was a residential area, with administrative, political, social and ceremonial functions.
  • The Great Plaza which is the central plaza of Calakmul.
  • Structure II, the largest pyramid of Calakmul and one of the most important in the Mayan world.
  • Structure I, which is the 2nd most important pyramid of Calakmul and offers an incredible view from its top.
  • The Small Acropolis and Structure III, which was the palace of one of the oldest lineages of the city.

Prepare your knees because here you can climb the pyramids and explore the site at your own pace, so enjoy!

After visiting Calakmul, return to Xpujil where you will stay overnight.

My advice
If you have time, there are several interesting Mayan sites to do in the area of Calakmul and Xpujil like Becán, Chicanná, Balamku and Hormiguero.

They are small sites, but they are not very touristy or expensive.

How to get to Calakmul from Palenque:

  • By car: 5h30, follow Villahermosa – Chetumal 186 towards Campeche. At Conhuas, turn right towards Calakmul Zona Arqueológica. As a point of reference, if you are already in Chicanná, you have passed the entrance.
  • By bus: You must first go to Xpujil and there is only one bus per day from the Central de Autobuses ADO in Palenque (departure at 18h, arrival at 23h35). You will need to spend the night in Xpujil and then take the collective transportation to Calakmul at 7h (your ticket includes the return at around 15h).

Where to stay in Xpujil?

  • Coa de Collar: great budget option in Xpujil with simple, but clean and well-located rooms, close to restaurants and supermarkets. Miguel, the owner, is a tour guide, which is very helpful. From 40 $usd a night
  • Ecohabitat: a small country house surrounded by vegetation. It is comfortable, very clean, with a very nice welcome. In the morning they bring you breakfast on the veranda, or if you prefer they prepare it to take away. Delicious breakfast included, from 70 $usd per night
  • Casa Kaan: comfortable cabins with air conditioning, terrace and kitchen, in the middle of nature. It is an ecological lodging that works with solar energy, has several fruit trees and the residues are used as fertilizer for the vegetable garden. Breakfast included, from 98 $usd
Ancient Mayan City of Calakmul

7) Bacalar (2-3 days)

This 1 month roadtrip in Mexico continues to Bacalar, known for its beautiful 7 Colors Lagoon.

There is no beach here, but you can go to the hotels that have access to the lagoon.

Things to do and see in Bacalar:

For all the best things to do in Bacalar, check out my article on The 17 Best Things To Do In Bacalar!

How to get to Bacalar from Xpujil:

  • By car: 1h40 Calakmul/Villahermosa – Chetumal/Mexico 186 then Chetumal-Cancun/Mexico 307
  • By bus: 2h40 trip with the direct bus Xpujil-Bacalar (less frequent) or take the bus Xpujil-Chetumal (1h45 trip) and then a bus or colectivo to Bacalar (40 min).

Where to to sleep in Bacalar?

  • The Yak Lake House – Adults Only: the best hostel in Bacalar located in front of the lagoon. Festive atmosphere, very clean, various activities offered, bar with good cocktails, from only 14 usd in dormitory!
  • Agam Hotel: well located hotel, close to the lagoon and very good value for money. Spacious and well equipped rooms, nice swimming pool with bar, garden with sun beds. from only 62 usd per night!
  • Royal Palm Bacalar Cabañas & Lagoon Club: for more comfort, I recommend this nice hotel in Bacalar with a private dock within walking distance. Free rental of kayaks and stand up paddle to explore the lagoon. Swimming pool, spacious air-conditioned room with balcony and hammocks,from only 155 usd per night!

  • Villa Marilu B&B: if you are on a budget, I recommend this hotel for a romantic stay in Bacalar. It is a very quiet hotel, with kayaks and a bar with excellent cocktails. Very good breakfast included, room with king size bed and lagoon view, from 180 usd per night!
  • Casa Bakal: if you are looking for a luxury hotel in Bacalar, I suggest this charming little hotel with a large private area in front of the lagoon, swimming pool, a good restaurant, lounge chairs, free kayaking and paddle boarding, morning yoga classes and massages. Breakfast on the terrace facing the lake included, from 215 usd per night.
bacalar catamaran
Bacalar catamaran tour

8) Merida (3 days)

Day 1 Discover Merida, the charming capital of the state of Yucatan

Walk around the Plaza Grande with the Casa de Montejo, the cathedral, the Macay museum and its inner garden.

Nearby is Calle 64, the best place to take pictures of the colorful buildings of the city!

You can walk along Paseo Montejo to the Palacio Cantón, which hosts the Museo Regional de Antropología de Yucatán.

At night, don’t miss the vibe of Parque Santa Lucía with its restaurants, terraces, and music.

For foodies, I highly recommend this gastronomic experience in Mérida with a visit to the market and a Yucatecan cooking workshop.

Book your gastronomic experience here:

How to get to Merida from Bacalar:

  • By car: 4h10 on Mexico 293 to Chunhuhub, turn left at Felipe Carrillo Puerto and follow Mexico 184 to Merida.
  • By bus: 5h, several daily departures with ADO from Calle 19 Libramiento.
  • By plane: the closest airport to Bacalar is Chetumal, 30 minutes away. There is no direct flight from Chetumal to Merida (stopover in Mexico City).
The Palacio Canton on the Paseo de Montejo, Merida

Day 2 – The Mayan site of Uxmal

Continue this 29-30-31 day tour in Mexico by visiting Uxmal, considered the most representative site of the Puuc architectural style (elongated buildings and richly decorated walls) and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What to see in Uxmal:

  • The Pyramid of the Magician, which is one of the most important Mayan structures, along with Chichen Itza and Tikal in Guatemala.
  • The Great Pyramid with the Temple of the Guacamayas (Templo de las Guacamayas).
  • The Governor’s Palace, which offers a beautiful view of the site.
  • The Mayan Ball Court
  • Other structures like the Quadrangle of the Birds, the Nunnery Quadrangle, the House of the Turtles.

To know everything about Uxmal, here is My Definitive Guide To Uxmal!

Right in front of the entrance to Uxmal is the Choco-Story chocolate museum. It is located in an old hacienda, with a large tropical garden set up to show the cacao process.

The entrance fee also includes a ceremony in honor of the god Chaac and a tasting of traditional Maya chocolate.

Every time I go, I buy (waaaay to many!) chocolate bars at the store. 🍫😋

My advice
If you go by car, after Uxmal you can follow the “Puuc Road” to Kabah, then Sayil, Xlapak, Labná

How to get to Uxmal from Merida:

  • By car: 1h15 on Highway 261 to Santa Elena to Uxmal. Kabah is on the same road, 20 minutes from Uxmal.
  • By bus: 2 hours from the TAME terminal. Only one departure per day to Uxmal (9h05) and one return (15h)

Without a car, the easiest way to visit the site is to take a tour from Merida in an air-conditioned van.

The Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal

Day 3 Celestun

Today, I suggest you explore the Celestun Biosphere Reserve, known as the best place in Mexico to see pink flamingos.

First you will have to go to the town of Celestun, to take a boat (1h30-2h15) that will take you to the reserve.

There are two departure points: west of the bridge, just before entering Celestun or directly on the beach.

The boat will take you to Tambor (for bird watching), to the Dzinintún mangroves (crocodiles, monkeys, etc.) passing through an impressive 800m mangrove tunnel, and to the Ojo de Agua Baldiosera where you can swim.

After the visit, you can walk around the town of Celestún, enjoy its peaceful beach and even go to the Jaltún Ecotourism Park (hiking, kayaking, botanical garden).

How to get to Celestún from Mérida:

  • By car: 1.5 hours by car on highway 181.
  • By bus: 2h30 with ADO from the Terminal Noreste
  • With a tour: includes pick up at your hotel in Merida, boat ride to see the flamingos, swim in the ojo de agua, visit to the mangroves and lunch on the beach.

Book your Celestun tour here:

reserva de celestún
Celestun Reserve

Where to stay in Merida?

  • Nomadas: the best hostel in Merida with a very nice atmosphere, located in the center of Merida. It has a swimming pool surrounded by hammocks and plants, possibility of classes (yoga, cooking classes, etc.). Starting at only 18$usd per night!
  • El Gran Hotel: ideally located in the very center of Merida, right next to the cathedral. It is a very charming hotel, where time seems to have stopped with its colonial look and beautiful woodwork. There’s a restaurant, the rooms are spacious and the wifi works well. Good value for money, starting at only 59$usd per night!
  • Hotel Hacienda Merida VIP: this small, luxurious hotel is the ideal place to spend a few romantic days in Merida. Located in the historic center, it is an elegant hacienda-style building, illuminated by candlelight at nightfall. Here you will find a charming swimming pool, comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a bar. Starting at 165 $usd per night
  • Hotel Boutique Mérida Santiago: this is a small, comfortable hotel with a colorful hacienda look, modern and with a traditional Mexican touch. There’s a swimming pool with sun loungers and umbrellas. With excellent homemade breakfasts and spacious rooms, it is the ideal hotel if you are looking for comfort without falling into luxury. Starting at 197 $usd per night

9) Valladolid (3 days)

Day 1Chichen Itza and Izamal

In the morning, leave Merida and head to the famous site of Chichen Itza, once the most powerful city in the Yucatan Peninsula!

Today it is the most famous Mayan site in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best places to visit in Mexico in a month.

My advice
Chichen Itza is one of the most touristic sites in Mexico.

If you want to skip the long lines and enjoy Chichen Itza at your own pace, I suggest you buy these quick access tickets here:

During the visit (2h-3h) you will be able to see:

  • El Castillo: The main pyramid dedicated to the god Kukulcán, this building was chosen among the New 7 wonders of the modern world.
  • El Caracol: the observatory that would have allowed the study of 29 astronomical events (equscinoxes, eclipses, etc.)
  • The Mayan ball court: the largest and best preserved, discovered to date. In total, there are 8 different courts at Chichén Itzá!
  • The Tzompantli: an altar where the heads of enemy warriors were impaled to be an offering to the gods.

And much more!

For all the structures (temples, plazas, etc.) and practical information, here is my article:

In the afternoon, visit Izamal, also called “the Yellow City” because of the beautiful color of its buildings.

Walk around the streets of Izamal and discover Itzamná Park, 5 de Mayo Park, the picturesque neighborhoods of San Ildefonso, Los Remedios and El Gallito and the Convent of San Antonio de Padua, which is the symbol of the city.

Izamal also has several pyramids such as Kinich Kakmó (34 m) and Iztamatul (22 m) that offer a great view of the surroundings.

There is much more to do in Izamal and I suggest you read my complete guide: Visit The Yellow City of Izamal in Mexico!

Return to Valladolid for the night.

How to get to Chichén Itzá from Mérida:

  • By car: 1.5 hours on the Gulf Coast Highway E/Merida – Valladolid/Mexico 180 E and Kantunil-Cancun/Mexico 180D
  • By bus: ADO bus leaves at 7:15 am and arrives at 9:00 am, leaving you right in front of the entrance
  • With a tour: if you prefer to visit Chichen Itza with a guide, I recommend this tour that includes pick up at your hotel in Merida, guided tour with free time, breakfast and lunch, stop at a cenote, Izamal and Valladolid.

You can book it here:

The famous site of Chichen Itza in the state of Yucatan

Day 2 Cenotes and Valladolid

Start the day at one or more of the cenotes near Valladolid. Arriving early is the best way to enjoy them.

There are many beautiful cenotes:

  • Cenotes Xkeken and Samula.
  • Cenote Oxmán, where you can enjoy the Hacienda San Lorenzo with its pool and restaurant.
  • Cenotes Palomitas and Agua Dulce.
  • Cenote Suytun – possibly the most photogenic one!

You can also choose from the most beautiful cenotes in my list: The 21 Best Cenotes in Valladolid!

Next, return to Valladolid, which is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico.

You will be able to see:

  • The main square with the Francisco Canton park, the church of San Servacio and the murals in the Municipal Palace.
  • San Roque History Museum (free).
  • The Museum of Ethnic Clothing dedicated to traditional and contemporary Mexican clothing.
  • Casa de los Venados, an incredible private museum dedicated to Mexican folk art.
  • Choco-Story, an interactive cocoa museum.
  • The Calzada de los Frailes with its beautiful colorful buildings, restaurants, shops, cafes, etc.
  • The Convent of San Bernardino and its projection show at 9 p.m.
  • The traditional neighborhoods of La Candelaria, Santa Ana, San Juan and Sisal.
  • Xkopek Park dedicated to the preservation of bees, such as the melipona which was sacred to the Maya.

To get to know all the best attractions in Valladolid, check out my guide: What to Do and See in Valladolid?

calzada de los frailes valladolid
Calzada de los Frailes, Valladolid

Day 3Ek Balam and Las Coloradas

Today, start with the magnificent Mayan city of Ek Balam a must-see in Mexico.

It is not very touristy even though it is home to the Acropolis, which was one of the most important buildings in Mesoamerica!

Check out my guide:

You can see the Mayan ball court, the Mayan arch, the oval palace, the platform of the stelae, the twin pyramids. And don’t forget to climb the Acropolis because the view is magnificent.

After Ek Balam, go to the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve.

You can visit the famous pink lakes of Las Coloradas, one of the most photogenic places in Mexico, and take a boat ride through the reserve to see the large colonies of flamingos (from January to September).

My advice
Keep in mind that the color of Las Coloradas changes according to the time and day.

To have the best chance of seeing a nice pink color, it is best to go between March and September, around noon, when there is a lot of sun.

Return to Valladolid for the night.

  • How to get to Ek Balam from Valladolid: 30 minutes by car on Carretera 295 and then on Carretera Ek Balam. Buses leave from Calle 44, $50mxn. A cab costs $150mxn.
  • To get to Río Lagartos from Ek Balam: 1h20 by car on Highway 295. If by public transport, take a cab to Tizimín and then a colectivo or a Noreste bus to Río Lagartos (the last bus returns at 17h30).
Ek Balam, Yucatan

Where to stay in Valladolid?

  • Candelaria Hostel: The best budget option in Valladolid! A colorful hostel that is very well located in the centre, with a garden, access to the kitchen, and a bike rental. Good breakfast options are also included, from 17 $usd for a bed in a shared dorm or 38 $usd for a private room.
  • Real Haciendas: A small, charming, yet very quiet hotel with a swimming pool, clean rooms with comfortable king size bed, and a very good welcome. Starting from 57 $usd per night.
  • IMIX Hotel: A typical colonial house in the centre of Valladolid on the beautiful Calzada de los Frailes, nicely decorated with spacious rooms. Breakfast included, starting from 127 $usd per night.
  • Le Muuch Hotel: A hotel located 5 minutes away from the main park Francisco Canton Rosado. Excellent service, with indoor and outdoor swimming pools with hammocks, rooms with garden view, air conditioning, and a bar and restaurant. A la carte breakfast included, starting from 140 $usd per night.
  • Hotel Zentik Project: This is definitely one of my favorite hotels in Mexico and the best hotel in Valladolid! Beautiful Mayan-style cabanas with murals done by local and international artists. There’s a restaurant and bar, an outdoor pool with hammocks, and a saltwater pool in an underground cave. Very good breakfast included, starting from 380 $usd per night.

10) Tulum (4 days)

For the next part of this 30-day road trip in Mexico, I suggest spending a few days in the Tulum region, the country’s boho-chic destination.

Day 1Coba and Tulum

In the morning, leave Valladolid and head to Cobá, which was an important Mayan city and a great rival of Chichén Itzá.

Its buildings are spread throughout the jungle and I recommend renting a bike to get around more easily.

Here you will find the Nohoch Mul (42 m), which is the second highest pyramid in the Yucatan peninsula.

After the visit to Coba, go to Tulum, in the beautiful Riviera Maya.

You can walk along the Beach Strip with its restaurants, bars, shops and enjoy the beaches such as Playa Paraiso and Playa Las Palmas.

How to get to Cobá from Valladolid:

  • 47 min – via Carretera Cancún/México 180, Chemax – Coba

How to get to Tulum from Coba:

  • 45 minutes by the QROO Highway 109
playa paraiso tulum
Playa Paraiso, Tulum

Day 2 – Tulum

Start by discovering the Ruins Of Tulum facing the Caribbean Sea and don’t forget to go down to the beach of the ruins (included in your ticket).

Afterwards, take a refreshing swim in a Mayan cenote.

My tip
There are many cenotes in Tulum and they are all very different.

You can go to Gran Cenote, Cenote Zacil Ha or Cenote Dos Ojos, for example. For a wilder experience there are also the Cristal and Escondido cenotes.

The best way to make your choice is to read my List Of The 15 Most Beautiful Cenotes In Tulum! 

You can also take a tour with pick up at your hotel, guided visit to the ruins of Tulum and a cenoteBook it here:

Spend the night in Tulum.

The archaeological site of Tulum facing the sea

Day 3Akumal

Akumal is the best turtle swimming destination in Mexico because it is very close to the second largest reef in the world, and sea turtles are protected!😊

Access is limited and it is mandatory to do the activity with a guide, in a small group, who will make sure that some measures are respected (distance, etc.) in order not to stress the turtles.

You can book the snorkel with the turtles here, which includes pick up from your hotel, a cenote and a visit to a cave:

Book the tour here:

In addition to swimming with the turtles, you can discover the Half Moon Bay, Akumal Bay and Yal-Ku Lagoon.

If you like adventure, I recommend the Aktun Chen Natural Park, whose guided tour is one of the 10 best underground walks in the world according to National Geographic magazine.

Return to Tulum for the night.

How to get to Akumal from Tulum:

  • By car: 20 minutes, on Highway 307 towards Cancun.
  • By public transportation: 25 minutes, take a colectivo on the main street of Tulum that goes to Playa del Carmen, 35 pesos.
akumal turtle
Swimming with turtles in Akumal

Day 4- Sian Ka’an

Visiting the Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve is one of the highlights of Mexico in 30 days road trip!

It has been declared a Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its unique ecosystem and its 23 archaeological sites.

It is a large reserve of more than 500,000 hectares with coral reefs, beaches, mangroves, jungle and lagoons where 300 species of birds, 1,000 species of plants and 100 species of animals live. 😍

Although only a small part is accessible to the public, it is impossible to see it all. You have to choose between two accesses:

Overnight in Tulum.

Sian Ka’an Reserve in the Yucatan Peninsula

Where to stay in Tulum?

  • Mayan Monkey Tulum: an excellent value for money. Nice modern hostel with a good atmosphere, a pool, bar and garden. Including fast wifi, kitchen access, yoga classes, coworking spaces, and bike and motorcycle rentals. Dorms and private rooms starting at only 24 $usd per night.
  • Casa Almendro: if you are looking for a little more comfort, you will like this small cheap hotel in the center of Tulum. It’s a green oasis with a rooftop terrace with chairs and hammocks. There are king size beds and breakfast is included, from only 50 $usd per night!
  • Diamante K: is a high-end hotel but at a very fair price, which is exceptional in Tulum, especially for a hotel with direct access to the beach in the hotel zone! Bohemian chic atmosphere, including a restaurant, hammocks and beds on the private beach, and a massage service. Bungalows are 207 $usd per night.
  • Habitas Tulum: this small eco-friendly hotel with a chic design is ideal for a romantic stay in Tulum. It is a true oasis of peace, hidden among the palm trees, with a magnificent swimming pool and a private beach. There are also yoga classes on the terrace at sunset. From 371 $usd per night!
  • Kanan Tulum- Adults Only: this is the ultimate option for a luxury stay in Tulum. It is an ecological hotel for adults only, located on a beautiful private beach with hammocks and beds. With a fantastic rooftop terrace with a bar; the hotel also has an excellent restaurant, great rooms and a very friendly welcome. From 566 $usd per night!

11) Holbox (2-3 days)

This 1 month route through Mexico continues to another white sand paradise: the island of Holbox.

You will have to go first to the port of Chiquilá, leave the car in the parking lot and take the ferry to Holbox.

Walking there you will easily find an access to the beach, perfect for swimming and long walks with its shallow and clear waters.

Looking for peace and quiet? You can go to the beaches of Punta Mosquito, a protected natural area, or Punta Cocos.

I also recommend the boat tour (3h) offered by several agencies in Holbox. It takes you to Isla Pájaros, Ojo de Agua Yalahau where you can swim and Isla de la Pasión.

How to get to Chiquilá from Tulum:

  • By car: 2h30 – take the QROO 109 highway and then Kantunilkin – Chiquilá
  • By bus: 3h30 – there is only one bus a day with ADO, departing at 8.10 am and arriving at 11.30 am

Where to stay in Isla Holbox?

  • Kin Camping: This is the best place to sleep cheap in Holbox! They are tents (camping) with double beds, hot water, a good atmosphere, hammocks, and a bar. They also propose several fun activities, from only 28 $usd  per night!
  • Casa Chujuk: A hotel offering excellent value for money, which is becoming increasingly difficult to find in Holbox! Very clean and bright rooms, with comfortable mattresses, a small pool to cool off, and good wifi, from 50 $usd per night!
  • Ensueño Holbox & Beach Club: Suites and flats with kitchenette for up to 5 people. Roof terrace, two swimming pools, a beach club with good food and music! Breakfast is included, from 130 $usd per night!
  • Beachfront Hotel La Palapa – Adults only: A nice hotel very well located near the centre, with a beachfront, and a quiet beach that has excellent cocktails at the bar. Spacious rooms and very good service. Excellent breakfast included, from 250 $usd per night!
  • Villas Flamingos: Located on a private beach on Isla Holbox, this 4-star hotel offers cozy and colorful bungalows with private terrace and hammock. From 387 $usd per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the stunning sea view, the relaxing atmosphere, the friendly staff, the delicious food. This is my suggestion for a peaceful and charming stay in Holbox!
Punta Cocos in Holbox, a little piece of paradise

12) Cancun (1-2 days)

Return to Cancun and take your flight back home.

If you still have time to spare, I suggest you enjoy your 1 month drive through Mexico until the end!

What to see and do in Cancun:

  • Cancun’s beaches such as Playa Tortugas, Playa Los Delfines, Playa Langosta, Playa Linda, Playa Caracol, Playa Marlin.
  • Diving in the MUSA, the largest underwater museum in the world – You can book the MUSA diving tour here.
  • Kitesurfing in Isla Blanca.
  • Enjoy the panoramic view of Cancun from the 110 meter high Scenic Tower.
  • Market 28 with restaurants and souvenirs.
  • The Mayan Museum, and the archaeological sites of San Miguelito and El Rey.

Check out: The 30 Best Things To Do In Cancun!

My advice
For the best Mexican party experience, I recommend Xoximilco Cancun.

It is a 3h colorful trajinera ride with Mexican dinner, open bar (beer and tequila) mariachis and other musicians.

The party is open to the whole family, from 5 years old and up.

Buy your tickets for Xoximilco here:

Spend the night in Cancun.

How to get to Cancun from Chiquilá

  • By car: 2h on the Kantunilkin – Chiquilá/QROO 5 highway and then 180D to Cancun.
  • By bus: 2h40 with ADO, departures 11:15, 12:15, 14:00 and 18:30.
xoximilco cancún
Xoximilco Cancún

Where to stay in Cancun?

  • Mayan Monkey Cancun: great hostel with a festive atmosphere in Cancun’s hotel zone, very close to the beach and bars. Terrace, outdoor pool, bar with happy hour, air conditioning, ping-pong, good wifi. Private rooms and dorms, from only 24$usd!
  • Bed and Breakfast Pecari: if you are looking for more comfort, I recommend without hesitation this establishment. It is a beautiful Bed and Breakfast located in a quiet street near the city center and the ADO bus station, with a relaxation area by the pool, spacious rooms, and a good breakfast, starting at 50$usd per night!
  • Beachscape Kin Ha Villas & Suites: rooms, suites, and villas for 2 to 12 people with direct access to the beach. Outdoor pool, children’s pool, gym, restaurant, beach bar. Breakfast included, starting at 218$usd per night.
  • The Royal Sands Resort & Spa: spacious rooms and suites with ocean views, in the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone. Large outdoor pool, gym, spa, fine restaurants, sports bar and many activities. All inclusive, starting at 485 $usd per night

My tip
For more options, you can visit my article about the best hotels and resorts in Cancun and find your perfect hotel. Here is the link: Where to stay in Cancun?  

Renting a car for a 1 month trip in Mexico

Considering that there’s a lot of road to cover during your 1-month trip to Mexico, a car is the best option, so you can go at your own pace and set your own schedule.

To rent a car, personally, I always use Rentalcars.com, for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare the rental cars prices between all the agencies: for sure the easiest way to find the best rate!
  • Cancellation is often offered free of charge: no need to worry if you change your mind
  • Rentalcars offers full insurance coverage at a lower price than the rental companies, so it’s an instant saving with no effort

Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

How to find a cheap flight to Mexico

This one month trip to Mexico begins in Mexico City and ends in Cancun, making it easy to book your flights as these are the country’s two largest airports.

To get the best price for your flight to Mexico City and your flight from Cancun, use our flight comparator in partnership with Skyscanner: the best way to save money on your travel!

My tips for this 1 month road trip in Mexico

  • Bring snacks and plenty of water, as you will be driving a lot and there is not always a market nearby.
  • Get a Telcel or Movistar SIM card for a bargain price in an Oxxo outlet when you arrive. They are much cheaper there than at the airport 😉.
  • Always have cash, as many places don’t accept cards (e.g. cenotes, archeological sites, etc.) and there are not always ATMs nearby.
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses, a cap or hat and a good sunscreen, as the sun can be very strong.
  • If you are planning to do this route through Mexico by bus, it is best to buy your ADO bus tickets online on their official website. Often there are special offers and it is cheaper than at the terminal.

Tips if you rent a car:

  • Never drive at night: it’s important because this 30-day itinerary in Mexico goes through roads with many curves, poor lighting, etc. But it is also important for safety reasons, especially in Chiapas.
  • Avoid leaving your car in an unattended parking lot at night.
  • Never leave valuables in the car and make sure it is always locked.
  • GPS generally works well in Mexico, but it is best to download maps in advance, as the signal can be lost.
  • For a safer and more convenient travel, always choose toll roads over free roads. Get the TAG, the electronic toll pass, and enjoy the benefits! – You can find the points of sale on this link.
  • You will come across police or army checkpoints (or even the communities themselves, it can happen!). Always stay calm and present the requested documents if necessary. These are routine checks.

If you are planning your month-long itinerary in Mexico and have any questions, or if you want to share your experience, leave me a comment!

Cover photo: Malo Malverde

Map: The Best Things to Do in 30 Days in Mexico

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1 month in Mexico


I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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