Itinerary: One Month in Yucatan – The Best Places to Visit
If you want to visit Yucatan in 1 month, you’re in the right place! 😉
To help you plan and prepare your trip, here’s my idea for a 1 month itinerary in Yucatan so you don’t miss anything of this huge peninsula.
The trip starts in Cancun and will take you first to the island of Holbox to enjoy its heavenly beaches for a few days, before visiting the archaeological site of Chichen Itza and the beautiful colonial towns of Valladolid and Izamal.
You will take the ferry to spend a few days on the island of Cozumel, known as one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkeling, then return to Playa del Carmen, stop in Puerto Morelos and then spend the last days in Isla Mujeres before your flight back from Cancun.
For each stage, you will find my practical tips with my hotel suggestions for all budgets.
So, What to do in Yucatan in 1 month? Where to stay?
- Itinerary: One Month in Yucatan – The Best Places to Visit
- 1) Cancun(1 day)
- 2) Holbox Island (2-3 days)
- 3) Valladolid (2-3 days)
- 4) Izamal (1 day)
- 5) Merida (3-4 days)
- 6) Campeche (2 days)
- 7) Calakmul (1-2 days)
- 8) Bacalar (2-3 days)
- 9) Tulum (4 days)
- 10) Cozumel (3 days)
- 11) Playa del Carmen (2 days)
- 12) Puerto Morelos (1-2 days)
- 13) Isla Mujeres (2 days)
- 14) Return from Cancun
- How to Spend a Month in Yucatan: the Tourist Map
- Touring the Yucatan Peninsula in 30 days by car
- How to get the best deals on flights
- You’re traveling in Mexico? These articles will help you!
1) Cancun(1 day)
Cancun is the perfect place to start this 1 month Yucatan road trip, as Cancun airport has many international flights from North America, Europe and other parts of the world.
So it will be very easy to find your flight to Cancun on the date that works for you 😉
When you arrive at the airport, pick up your rental car.
For your 1 month Yucatan road trip, I suggest using the comparison tool of Rentalcars.com: it’s the easiest way to find the best deal!
Click on the button below to compare prices:
If you are planning to do this 30 day circuit in Yucatan without a car, these are the options to get to your hotel:
- Book a transfer (click here!): a quick and safe option with air conditioning and wifi
- Take the bus: slower but cheaper. First take the ADO bus first to downtown Cancun, and then the r-1 bus that goes through the hotel zone. When you get on the R-1, tell the driver where your hotel is so he can tell you where to get off.
Once you have left your luggage in your room, here are some ideas of things to do to enjoy your day in Cancun:
- Choose from Cancun’s many beaches: Playa Tortugas, Playa Los Delfines, Playa Langosta, Playa Linda, Playa Caracol, Playa Marlin
- Kitesurf on Isla Blanca, a narrow white sand peninsula north of Cancun that stretches for 20 km
- Discover the Mayan Museum with the archaeological site of San Miguelito
- Snorkel or dive in the world’s largest underwater museum (the MUSA) – Book the diving tour here!
- Join a gastronomic tour of Cancun with a visit to a local market, cooking class and typical food– Book the food tour in Cancun here!
- Climb the Scenic Tower for an incredible panoramic view of Cancun’s Hotel Zone
- At night, I recommend partying at Xoximilco Cancun. It’s a ride on a trajinera ride with Mexican dinner, mariachis and open bar –Buy your tickets to Xoximilco here!
Check out my definitive guide: The 30 Best Things To Do in Cancun
Spend the night in Cancun.
Where to stay in Cancun?
- Mayan Monkey Cancun: 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
2) Holbox Island (2-3 days)
Today, leave the city of Cancun for the next stop on the Yucatan Peninsula travel itinerary: Holbox Island.
It is a must-visit destination in Yucatan, famous for its miles of white sandy beaches, calm waters and laid-back vibe.
The first thing you will have to do is drive to the port of Chiquilá to catch the 25-minute ferry that will take you to this island located at the meeting point of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
In two or three days in Holbox, you will have time to explore and discover the most interesting places on the island.
Besides the beautiful beaches of Punta Mosquito and Punta Cocos, I recommend you take the boat tour (3h) that takes you to Isla Pájaros, Isla de la Pasión and Yalahau lagoon, where you can swim.
You can also check out the small shops, cafes and the many street art murals, or relax at one of the beach bars like the Mandarina Restaurant & Beach Club.
And don’t forget to try the island’s specialty: lobster pizza!😋
- Read more: My Ultimate Guide to Holbox Island!
How to get to Chiquilá from Cancun:
- By car: 2h10, via Carretera 180D and then QROO 5. You can’t take your car on the ferry, but there are several secure parking lots in Chiquilá.
- By bus: ADO buses (direct in 2h30, not direct in 3h30) or other bus companies such as Oriente and Mayab
You can also join a tour to Holbox from Cancun with pick up at your hotel. Includes lunch, boat trip to Isla Pájaros, Isla Pasión and Laguna Yalahau, and free time in Holbox. Book it here:
Where to stay in Holbox Island?
- 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!
3) Valladolid (2-3 days)
Valladolid is a beautiful city in Yucatan and a great base to explore nearby attractions, such as Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and many cenotes.
So, it is a great place to stay for a few days!
Day 1 – Valladolid and its cenotes
From Holbox, take the ferry back to Chiquilá and drive to Valladolid.
Start the day with a visit to one or more cenotes, natural water wells that were considered sacred by the ancient Maya.
I recommend, for example:
- Cenote Oxman to enjoy the facilities of Hacienda San Lorenzo (pool, restaurant, bar, loungers)
- Cenote Suytun which is one of the most photographed cenotes on Instagram
- Cenote Xcanahaltun managed by a local family and Zazil Tunich, a very well preserved cave that you can discover with a guide
- Cenotes Xkeken and Samula
- Cenotes Palomitas and Agua Dulce
For all my suggestions, you can also check my TOP 21 of the Most Beautiful Cenotes in Valladolid!
In the afternoon, visit the historic center of Valladolid, starting with the main square with the Francisco Canton Park and the Church of San Servacio.
Head to the second floor of the Municipal Palace, where you can admire paintings and photographs that tell the history of Valladolid. You’ll also get a lovely view of the park from there.
Next, stop by the San Roque Museum, which showcases the history of Valladolid from pre-Hispanic times to the revolutionary era. You’ll learn a lot about the culture and heritage of this beautiful city.
Walk along the beautiful Calzada de los Frailes – the best place to take pictures with small cafes, restaurants, shops and art galleries – to the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena.
- Check out my guide: Top 25 Things To Do In Valladolid!
Spend the night in Valladolid
How to get to Valladolid from Holbox:
First take the ferry to Chiquilá (duration 25 min, departures every 30 min from 5h), then:
- By car: 2h10 trip, take QROO 5 and then Cancun-Kantunil 180D
- By bus: 2h15, direct bus from Oriente at 5h30, 6h45 and 17h15. You can also go through Tizimin but the trip takes 3h
Day 2 – The Mayan city of Chichén Itzá
Today, you will experience one of the best things to do in Yucatan in 1 month: a visit to Chichén Itzá!
Chichén Itzá was the most important city in the Maya world at its peak, from the 10th to the 14th century.
In 2h or 3h, you will be able to visit:
- El Castillo: the most important building of Chichen Itza, a 78 ft high pyramid built in honor of the god Kukulcan
- El Caracol: the observatory that would have allowed the study of about thirty important astronomical events (eclipses, etc.)
- The Mayan ball court (an important ritual game) which is the largest court in Mesoamerica discovered so far
- The temple of the warriors and its columns
- The Tzompantli, where the Mayans displayed the skulls of enemy warriors
For all the practical information about Chichén Itzá: check out My Definitive Guide to Chichén Itzá!
After Chichen Itza, you can return to Valladolid, or refresh yourself in Cenote Ik Kil, one of the most beautiful cenotes in Yucatan Most Beautiful Cenotes in Yucatan, located only 2.5 miles away.
Overnight in Valladolid.
How to get to Chichen Itza from Valladolid:
- By car: 45 minutes following Highway 180
- By bus: 30 minutes by ADO bus, departures 10:50 and 11:15 am, return 4:30 pm
Day 3 – Ek Balam and Rio Lagartos
In the morning, explore the site of Ek Balam, the “black jaguar” in Yucatecan Maya, one of the best places to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula .
Even though Chichen Itza and Ek Balam are very different and hard to compare, I have a personal preference for Ek Balam.
It is much less crowded and since it is hidden in the jungle, it has a more mysterious vibe that I find captivating.
Also, the Oval Palace and the Acropolis offer amazing views of the jungle from the top.
In 2 hours in Ek Balam, you can see:
- The Acropolis, one of the most impressive pyramids in Yucatan, where the tomb of King Ukit Kan Le’t Tok was discovered with more than 7000 offering objects!
- The Mayan arch
- The twin pyramids
- The Oval Palace
- The Maya ball court
- The Platform of the Stelae
For more details, check out my guide: How To Visit The Archaeological Site of Ek Balam
And just 1 mile from Ek Balam is the beautiful Cenote X’Canché, which you can reach on foot or by taking a bicycle (free).
Next, head north to Río Lagartos, where you will find a natural wonder: the famous pink lagoons of Yucatán. These are actually saltwater ponds in the small town of Las Coloradas, where 500,000 tons of salt is extracted every year.
The pink lakes are a place that looks like a dream, perfect for taking stunning photos.
Stay overnight in Valladolid.
How to get to Ek Balam and Rio Lagartos from Valladolid:
- How to get to Ek Balam from Valladolid: 30 min by car on Carretera 295 and then on Carretera Ek Balam. Buses leave from 44th Street and 37th Street
- To get to Río Lagartos from Ek Balam: 1h20 by car on Highway 295. By public transport, take a cab to Tizimin, then a colectivo or a Noreste bus to Río Lagartos (last bus is at 5:30pm).
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.
4) Izamal (1 day)
Izamal is a charming colonial town in the Yucatan Peninsula, known for its yellow buildings and its rich history.
You can spend one day in Izamal and see the following attractions:
- The Convent of San Antonio de Padua, symbol of Izamal. Its atrium is the second largest in the world after St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican
- Itzamná Park (the main square) and 5 de Mayo Park
- The museum of handicrafts, with its 11 rooms displaying works of the best local artisans
- The Kinich Kakmó pyramid, the largest in Izamal (34 m) and the pyramid of Itzamatul, both free of charge
- Traditional places such as the Chapel of Remedios with its beautiful plaza, the Parque de los Cañones, the neighborhood of San Ildefonso (16th century) and its chapel
Spend the night in Izamal
How to get to Izamal from Valladolid:
- By car: take Highway 180D to Kantunil, then Highway 53 to Izamal (1h26). Or take the non-toll Carretera 180 (known as “la libre”), which takes 20 minutes more.
- By bus: with Autobuses del Centro on the corner of Calle 37, near Calle 54 (2h, 80 pesos).
Where to stay in Izamal?
- Departamentos X’Kanlol: very clean and well located rooms in the center near the bus station, with garden and bicycle rental, from only 25 usd per night!
- Hotel San Miguel Arcangel: the best budget hotel in Izamal, perfectly located in front of Parque 5 de Mayo. I loved its green patio and colonial style decor. Breakfast included, from only 51 usd per night!
- Hotel Boutique Kocai: beautiful Mayan-style ecological cabins located in the center of Izamal with pool, hammocks, garden and restaurant. From 83 usd per night
- Hacienda Sacnite: a hacienda that has preserved its authentic rustic character, but with an intimate, elegant and romantic atmosphere. With large gardens, many plants and palm trees, a beautiful swimming pool, this is one of the most charming hotels in the Yucatan! From 103 usd per night.
5) Merida (3-4 days)
Next, continue your 30-day road trip in Yucatán to Mérida, the lovely capital of the state of Yucatán and the safest city in Mexico.
I recommend spending 3 or 4 days in Mérida, as there is a lot to do and see in the city and nearby.
Day 1 – Start at the Plaza Grande, the main square where you will find several interesting buildings: the cathedral, the Macay museum, the Casa de Montejo which was the residence of the founder of the city.
You can also visit the Government Palace, which has 27 murals by the painter Fernando Castro that depict the history and culture of Yucatán. You can admire the art and get a nice view of the plaza from the second floor.
Next, you can walk along the Paseo de Montejo whose construction was inspired by the Champs Elysees in Paris.
For lunch, there are plenty of restaurants in Mérida, but if you prefer a local spot, you can also go to the Lucas de Gálvez market.
If you still have time, I suggest you visit the Museum of the Maya World which features an impressive collection of 1000 archaeological pieces (textiles, bas-reliefs, sculptures, ceramics, etc.).
In the evening, go to Parque Santa Lucia, a small square full of restaurants with terraces and live music.
- You can also read: The Best 20 things to Do in Mérida
Spend the night in Mérida.
How to get to Merida from Izamal:
- By car: 1 hour drive on the YUC Highway 11 and then the Gulf Coast Highway/Valladolid – Merida/Mexico 180 O
- By bus: 1h30 with Autobuses del Centro
Day 2 – The Mayan sites of Uxmal and Kabah
Today, explore Uxmal, which is one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Mexico and a must-do on a 1 month trip to the Yucatan.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered the most representative site of the Puuc architectural style, characterized, among other things, by long buildings, richly decorated with carved stone mosaics.
Uxmal was one of the most important cities in the region, an ally of Chichen Itzá, and it is estimated that at its peak it would have housed some 20,000 people.
On your visit to Uxmal you will be able to see:
- The Pyramid of the Magician which is the main building of Uxmal
- The Great Pyramid
- The Governor’s Palace
- The Mesoamerican Ballcourt
- Other structures such as the Quadrangle of the Birds, the Nunnery Quadrangle, the House of Turtles
To learn all about Uxmal, here is my Definitive Guide to Uxmal!
You can also visit the Choco-Story chocolate museum (I love it!) and the site of Kabah, another Puuc style site, much smaller but also very interesting, located only 20 min. away.
How to get to Uxmal from Merida:
- By car: 1h15 on Highway 261 to Santa Elena to Uxmal. Parking costs 80 pesos. Kabah is on the same road, 20 minutes from Uxmal.
- By bus: 2h from the TAME terminal. One departure per day to Uxmal at 9:05 am and one return trip at 3 pm.
For more comfort, you can also hire a day tour from Merida with air-conditioned transportation.
- Uxmal, with a cenote and the Choco-Story chocolate museum, ideal for families, with tasting and Maya ceremony – Book the tour here!
- Uxmal and Kabah, the two Puuc architecture sites Book your visit here!
Day 3 – See the pink flamingos in Celestún
Celestún is an ecotourism paradise in Yucatan, where you can see the amazing pink flamingos that live in the biosphere reserve. The reserve is home to freshwater springs, mangroves, 234 species of mammals, and a multitude of birds.
The flamingos are the main attraction, as they come to feed and rest in the lagoons. Their color is a bright pink due to the high concentration of carotene in the water. You can admire these beautiful creatures from a small boat that takes you on a tour of the reserve (1h30-2h).
After the tour, you can relax on the beach of Celestun, which is quiet, clean, and calm. You can enjoy the sun, the sand, and the sea, and taste some delicious seafood at one of the restaurants.
- Read more: my guide How To See Flamingos in Celestun?
How to get to Celestun from Merida:
- By car 1h30 by Highway 181
- By ADO bus 2h30 from Terminal Noreste
If you prefer a hassle-free option, you can also join a day tour to Celestún with pick up at your hotel in Mérida. You’ll enjoy a boat ride to see the flamingos, a visit to the mangroves, free time and lunch on the beach. Book it here:
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
6) Campeche (2 days)
Today, we continue our 30-day trip to Yucatan to the state of Campeche, where you will discover a charming and historic city by the sea.
San Francisco de Campeche, the capital of the state, has a similar charm to Merida with its colorful facades, but it’s much more peaceful, less crowded and right by the sea.
Campeche was a vital port in colonial times, strategically located and often raided by pirates. That’s why a wall was built to protect the city, and today you can explore part of its fortifications. You can also visit some of the bastions and forts that were used to defend the city from attacks.
Here are some things you can do in two days in Campeche:
- Walk along the walls and snap the best photos of the historic part of the city
- Visit the Museum of Piracy in Baluarte San Francisco, the Museum of the City in Buarte de San Carlos and the Museum of Mayan Architecture in Baluarte de la Soledad
- Discover the Plaza Independencia where the cathedral stands, the cultural center El Palacio (with a fun boat simulator!) and the Casa n°6 which is the home of a wealthy colonial family
- Enjoy the shade in the cozy botanical garden Xmuch-Haltun
- Stroll along the Malecon facing the Gulf of Mexico, the best spot to watch the sunset!
- Go to the Fort of San Miguel, on the Buena Vista hill, and visit the Archaeological Museum of Campeche, where you’ll see amazing Mayan artifacts, many of them from Calakmul, which will be your next stop.
- Treat yourself to some Mexican chocolate at Chocol’Ha
- Visit the Archaeological Site of Edzná 1 hour away from the city
How to get to Campeche from Merida:
- By car: 2h10 via Campeche-Mérida/Carr. Gulf Coastal Highway W/Mexico 180 W
- By bus: 2h30 by ADO bus, with departures every hour
7) Calakmul (1-2 days)
Follow your 30-day adventure through the Yucatan Peninsula to Calakmul, which is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve.
It has about 6,500 structures in an area of 70 km2, but only a “small” part has been cleared and is open to the public.
You can explore its pyramids, houses and plazas, following one of the recommended 2h, 3h or 4h-5h trails.
Of course, I suggest you choose the longest one which is the most comprehensive. You can do it with or without a guide because the path is well marked and you won’t get lost 😉
Among all the buildings, don’t miss the great pyramids of Calakmul, Structure II (50 m) and Structure I (40 m), which offer an amazing view of the jungle from their top.
Here you can really feel like Indiana Jones!
- You can also read: The Complete Guide To The City of Calakmul
How to get to Calakmul from Campeche:
- By bus: 4h30 to Xpujil with Autobuses Sur – departures at 08:00, 13:30, 22:00. The next day, take the shared transportation to Calakmul (one way 7 am return 3 pm), or you can also take a cab.
- By car: take Highway 261 to Escárcega (make sure to fill up your gas 37 miles. After 4 hours you will reach the entrance of the reserve, and it is another hour drive to the archaeological site
Where to stay to visit Calakmul?
If you go by public transport, as the schedule is limited, you will have to sleep in Xpujil. If you go by car and leave early enough, you can continue to Bacalar to spend the night (3h40 trip)
- 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
8) Bacalar (2-3 days)
For this next part of your 1 month Yucatan trip, leave the jungle behind and head to Bacalar and its stunning Laguna de los Siete Colores (Seven Colors Lagoon).
Although it’s in Quintana Roo, the same state as Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Bacalar is much more laid-back, as it’s quite far from the Riviera Maya.
In two or three days in Bacalar, you can:
- See Bacalar’s 4 cenotes: Cenote Azul, Cenote Cocalitos, Cenote Esmeralda and Cenote Negro
- Relax in one of the resorts to have access to the lagoon (since there is no beach)
- Watch the sunrise on a stand up paddle. Book the tour here!
- Explore the Pirates’ Canal where pirates and privateers used to battle.
- Take a catamaran ride to see the lagoon’s highlights, with fruit and a bottle of wine. Book the catamaran here!
- Rent a bike to go to Fort San Felipe, built to defend against the English invasion
- Swim or kayak in Rapidos de Bacalar (Bacalar Rapids), located between Bacalar Lagoon and Xul-Ha.
- Discover the amazing ecotourism park Uchben Kah (hiking, biking, snorkeling, kayaking)
Check out my guide: The 17 best things to do in Bacalar!
How to get to Bacalar from Calakmul:
- By car: 3h40, via the Campeche Conhuas-Calakmul Zona Arqueológica highway and then the Villahermosa – Chetumal/Mexico 186 highway
- By bus: take the Calakmul-Xpujil collective transport at 14:30, and then a direct bus from Xpujil to Bacalar (2h40). The other is to take a bus from Xpujil to Chetumal (which are more frequent, 1h45) and take a bus or colectivo to Bacalar (40 min).
Where 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.
9) Tulum (4 days)
Tulum is a famous and beautiful destination in the Yucatan Peninsula, where you can enjoy the ruins overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the cenotes, the gorgeous white sand beaches, and the bohemian and chic vibe.
It is also a great place to stay for a few days if you are visiting Yucatan in 1 month, because it is strategically located near several natural and archaeological sites.
Day 1 – Say goodbye to Bacalar and head to Tulum in the popular Riviera Maya.
How about starting with a visit to the ruins of Tulum? There you can admire the remains of the ancient city that was a vital trading hub in the Mayan world (6th-15th centuries).
Besides seeing the wall, the Castle, the Temple of the Frescoes, the Temple of the Descending God and other structures, don’t forget to go down to the beach of the ruins, which offers another stunning view of the site.
After the tour, stroll along Tulum’s Beach Strip in the hotel zone with shops, cafes and restaurants – this is a great place for lunch!
From here you can easily access Playa Paraiso or Playa Las Palmas. There are also several nice hotels that offer access to their beach facilities for a fee.
- Also read: The 21 Best Things To Do in Tulum!
Spend the night in Tulum.
How to get from Bacalar to Tulum:
- By car: 2h20 by Cancun – Chetumal/Chetumal-Cancun/Mexico 307
- By bus: 2h50 by ADO bus, with departures at 7h40, 11h20, 12h20 and 14h20, but it is important to check the schedules because they vary depending on the day.
Day 2 – Today, start with a visit to Coba, a must-see destination in the Yucatan.
It was an important Mayan city, rival to Chichen Itza, which stretched over 80 km2 and whose population is said to have reached 50,000 habitants.
Its main pyramid, Nohoch Mul (137 ft), bears witness to its glorious past: it is the second tallest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula.
The visit is pleasant on foot, as the city is hidden in the jungle and offers several shaded areas, but you can also rent a bicycle (60 pesos) or a bicycle cab (140 pesos) to move between the different structures.
After Cobá, cool off in a Mayan cenote. There are some very nice ones in the area:
- There are 3 cenotes in Cobá: Tamcach Ha (or Tankach-Ha), Multun Ha, Choo-Ha
- For families: Gran Cenote, Cenote Zacil-Ha or Cenote Dos Ojos.
- For a slightly wilder cenote: Cenote Nicte-Ha, Cenote Taak Bi Ha, Cenote Cristal or Cenote Escondido.
How to get to Coba from Tulum:
- By car: 45 minutes on Highway 109 towards Valladolid
- By bus: 1h by ADO bus, departure at 10:10h
- With a tour: you can join this tour to Cobá with pick up at your hotel (click here!). It includes the guided visit to Coba, visit to a small Mayan village, swim in a cenote and lunch.
Day 3 – Sian Ka’an Reserve
If you have 1 month in Yucatan, you should definitely visit the Sian Ka’an reserve, which is a Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Ramsar site for the amazing biodiversity it hosts.
There are two ways to enter Sian Ka’an, Muyil and Punta Allen, which offer a different experience:
- Lets you discover the inside of the reserve: swamps, mangroves, freshwater lagoons, Mayan ruins.
- It is easier to get to because it is not in the middle of the reserve. The visit takes half a day from Tulum.
- You can take the ADO bus to Chunyaxché from Tulum (20 minutes) or book the tour to Muyil with pick up at your hotel and lunch:
Punta Allen (recommended!)
- It is a fishing village from where you can explore the coast of Sian Ka’an, with the beach, swim and take a boat ride to see dolphins, manatees and other animals.
- Access is more challenging, as it goes quite deep into the reserve and this will take all day.
- You need to have a car with very good suspension (ideally 4×4) or book this tour from Tulum with hotel pick up and lunch:
Return to Tulum for the night
Day 4 – Swim with turtles in Akumal
Akumal is the best place to swim with turtles in Mexico. In fact, “Akumal” means “land of turtles” in Mayan 😊
The great thing is that sea turtles are protected and you need to go with a guide who will show you how to do the activity without disturbing them.
You can hire a tour on the beach or if you want a more complete experience, you can take a tour to Akumal with pick up at your hotel, snorkel with the turtles, swim in a cenote and visit a cave.
Book the tour here:
- You can also read: How To Swim With Turtles in Akumal?
Off the coast of Akumal is the second largest reef in the world, home to a rich biodiversity (crabs, rays, tropical fish, turtles) that you can see diving in its clear waters.
You will also find lovely places to relax on the beach and swim in the Half Moon Bay, Akumal Bay and Yal-Ku Lagoon.
Akumal also has some cenotes, but I recommend the Aktun Chen Natural Park if you like adventure.
Besides its 10 zip lines that soar over the jungle, its guided tour was included in National Geographic’s TOP 10 of the best underground tours in the world!
Return to Tulum for the night.
How to get to Akumal from Tulum:
- By car: 20 minutes, take the 307 towards Cancun
- By bus: 25 minutes, taking a colectivo towards Playa del Carmen on the main street of Tulum. Tell the driver that you get off in Akumal (35 pesos)
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!
10) Cozumel (3 days)
Today, leave Tulum for another tropical paradise: the island of Cozumel.
Cozumel is a Biosphere Reserve as it is recognized as an important site of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, home to, among others, several endangered and endemic species.
Being the third largest island in Mexico, there are many activities to enjoy among the miles of beach and natural landscapes.
- Check out: My Complete Guide To The Island of Cozumel!
Day 1 – Discover the best dive spots in Cozumel
Cozumel is one of the top diving and snorkeling destinations in the world, as it is located on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in America and the second longest in the world.
It is famous for its amazing reefs, such as Palancar, Columbia, Paraíso, Punta Tunich, Chankanaab, Santa Rosa, the Devil’s Throat underwater cave and the Felipe Xicoténcatl wreck.
You should also visit El Cielo, a protected area that you can only access with a 4h tour. It is a sandy bank with clear water where you can see rays, turtles and many starfish!
This tour to El Cielo offers hotel pick up from the Riviera Maya, snacks, beer and margaritas, and snorkeling at Palancar reef. Book it here:
How to get to Cozumel from Tulum:
First you will have to go to Playa del Carmen (1h by ADO bus or by car on Highway 307), then take the ferry.
You have two options:
- Crossing with your rental car: from Punta Venado à Calica, with Transcaribe and Ultramar Carga
- Crossing without your rental car from the Maritime Terminal Navega with Ultramar or Winjet Fast Ferry. You can leave your car in the terminal parking lot.
Day 2 – The Punta Sur Reserve
This is another must-do on a road trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in 1 month.
It is the largest ecological reserve in Cozumel and hosts a rich biodiversity among lakes, beaches and palm trees.
The star of the place is the crocodile, which you can observe from a lookout point or with a guided boat ride on the Colombia Lagoon.
You can also visit the archaeological site El Caracol (1200-1500) and the Celerain lighthouse, which offers a stunning view of the surroundings.
- Check out my guide: How to visit Punta sur in Cozumel?
To make the most of the day, you can join this jeep tour to Punta Sur that includes the Celarain lighthouse, snorkeling and a tequila tasting.
You will also have lunch at a beach club, and you will have free time to enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in Yucatan 😍
Book the tour here:
Or book the private tour here:
Day 3 – Enjoying the beaches of Cozumel
Cozumel has miles of white sand beaches and it would be a shame not to enjoy them.
You can go to Passion Island (a small private island!), Chen Rio, Playa Palancar, Playa San Francisco ideal for families or Playa Encantada.
Where to stay in Cozumel?
Staying in Cozumel is a very good idea if you want to enjoy the island in a privileged way since most visitors come only for the day.
- Hacienda Boutique Mi Casa tu Casa B&B: one hacienda-style house with authentic and colorful Mexican charm, outdoor pool and jacuzzi. Very good traditional breakfast and an excellent welcome from the hosts, from only 82 usd per night!
- Villas El Encanto Cozumel: for more comfort, I suggest this hotel that offers air-conditioned apartments and bungalows with kitchenette and terrace. Nice garden, swimming pool, hammocks and lounge chairs. It offers excellent value for money, at only 115 usd per night.
- Allegro Cozumel All-Inclusive: is an all-inclusive hotel in Cozumel ideal for families. Located on San Francisco beach with many activities available (beach volleyball, yoga, snorkeling, kayaking, etc), a playground and a kids club, 3 swimming pools, one of them with slides. From 205 usd per night all-inclusive.
- Meliá Cozumel All Inclusive: to enjoy the tranquility, this is an all-inclusive hotel with a beautiful private beach, spacious rooms, full spa, two pools, one of them only for adults with bar. I recommend the room with ocean view, from 280 usd euros per night all inclusive!
11) Playa del Carmen (2 days)
Day 1 – Take the ferry back to Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is a vibrant tourist town with stunning beaches and a fun party vibe. You will never run out of things to do here.
Some things you can do in Playa del Carmen:
- Stroll along Quinta Avenida, the long pedestrian main street, with restaurants, bars and shops.
- Go to the Parque Fundadores to see one of the free shows: the Voladores de Papantla (Papantla Flyers), a Unesco Intangible Heritage, and the Aztec fire dance.
- Photograph the many colorful murals
- Enjoy the beaches of Playa del Carmen: Mamitas beach, Playacar, Punta Esmeralda, the beach of the Fundadores Park
- Cool off in a cenote: Chaak Tun, the only cenote in Playa del Carmen, or Cenote Azul, Cenote Jardin del Eden, Cenote Cristalino.
- Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum
- Party at Coco Bongo
I also recommend you to read my articles:
- Playa del Carmen: The 30 Best Things To Do!
- How to Travel to Playa del Carmen on a Budget?
- Playa del Carmen: The 12 Cenotes You Can’t Miss!
Spend the night in Playa del Carmen.
Day 2 – Spend the day at Xcaret Park
Xcaret has been recognized as the best theme and water park in the world.
It is a large park with over 50 activities to choose from: Mayan ruins, jungle tours, beach, underground rivers, a huge aquarium with lots of coral, etc.
There is even a replica of a traditional village to immerse yourself in Mexican culture with a hacienda, a colorful cemetery and chapels.
Don’t miss the amazing show Mexico Espectacular with 300 actors presenting the history of the Mayas.
Buy your tickets for Xcaret here:
- With pick up at your hotel:
- Without hotel pick up:
Spend the night in Playa del Carmen.
Where to stay in Playa del Carmen?
- Che Playa Hostel & Bar Adults Only: great hostel to meet other travelers and party, with a rooftop terrace that has a bar and a small pool, with several offered activities. Clean, with good wifi and a great welcome. From only 13 $usd for the dormitory or 37 $usd for a private room!
- Hotel Lunata: a charming hotel with hacienda style decoration, which is hidden on Quinta Avenida, very close to the beach. Quiet, with a garden, rooms with balcony, and has very friendly service. From only 82 $usd per night!
- Porto Playa Condo Beach Club: here you will find a spacious apartment ideal for a family, with fully equipped kitchen, living room and terrace. The hotel has a large swimming pool, a gym and a restaurant, starting at 172 $usd per night!
- The Reef Playacar Resort & Spa: located on the beautiful beach of Playacar, just a few minutes from Fifth Avenue. Ideal for a romantic stay, with a beautiful tropical garden, two pools, a gym and a spa. 200 $usd with the “all inclusive” formula.
- Hotel Xcaret Mexico All Parks All Fun Inclusive: it is definitely the best hotel in Playa del Carmen! Ideal for couples and families with children as this luxury hotel offers an exceptional package including meals and access to its parks (Xcaret, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xenses, Xoximilco, Xel-Ha and Xenote). Starting at 860 $usd per night, all inclusive.
12) Puerto Morelos (1-2 days)
After Playa del Carmen, I suggest you spend a few days in Puerto Morelos. This small town is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya but it is much less crowded than its neighbors.
In one or two days in Puerto Morelos you can:
- Enjoy the beaches of Puerto Morelos: the main beach, Ojo de Agua beach and Playa del Secreto (14 km away) one of the most beautiful beaches in the Riviera Maya!
- Follow the famous Cenotes Route, 35 km, which passes by many cenotes. I personally like Siete Bocas a lot, but they are all very different
- Snorkel, knowing that the second largest coral reef is only 400 meters from the beach
- Visit the Toh Reserve a 500-hectare ecological reserve where you can see up to 100 species of birds
- Explore the Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marín Botanical Garden
- Stroll through the town and visit the Javier Rojo Gómez square, the Hunab Ku handicraft market, the lighthouse of Puerto Morelos which is the symbol of the town
- Discover the Toolok Kaa’n animal sanctuary, founded by the government to protect the fauna, including several endemic species in danger of extinction.
Take a look at my other articles: The 13 Best Things to See and Do in Puerto Morelos and Where to Stay in Puerto Morelos?
If you like adrenaline, I recommend Selvatica Park which has been recognized as the best adventure park in Latin America and one of the 35 best adventures in the world by Travel+Leisure magazine!
It is a 5 hour activity with pick up from your hotel and lunch, which includes a network of 10 zip lines, swim in a cenote and access to the Tarzania, which is like a roller coaster with zip line. 😍
- Book your tickets to Selvatica here:
How to get to Puerto Morelos from Playa del Carmen:
- By car: 31 minutes, using the Cancun-Tulum/Chetumal-Cancun/Mexico 307 highway
- By public transportation: take a colectivo in Cancun to Puerto Morelos (40 mxn), then take a cab or another colectivo to the beach.
Where to stay in Puerto Morelos?
- Hacienda Morelos Beachfront Hotel: beachfront hotel with swimming pool, very well located just 100 meters from the main square, across the street from a supermarket, and near many restaurants, bars, and cafes. Very good on-site restaurant. From 87 $usd per night!
- Maya-Ha Village: comfortable cabins for up to 4 people, located in a lush nature with private cenotes. Ideal for relaxation and meditation, with a spa and a restaurant, from 122 $usd per night!
- Oom Bubble Boutique Riviera Cancun: a unique and romantic getaway, where you can sleep in transparent bubbles in the Mayan jungle with air conditioning. You can also enjoy the swimming pool and a good restaurant. From 280 $usd per night!
- Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort: this is the perfect choice for families with children. This all-inclusive hotel offers a children’s playroom, a water slide, 4 restaurants, a large swimming pool, and a beach with beds, sun loungers, and hammocks. From 580 $usd euros per night!
13) Isla Mujeres (2 days)
The next stop on our month-long Yucatan road trip is the beautiful Isla Mujeres
- Check out my guide: The 21 Best Things To Do in Isla Mujeres!
To get there, you’ll need to take a ferry from Cancun, and you have two choices:
- 1. Drop off your car at Puerto Juarez. You can return your rental car when you get to Cancun (before you hop on the ferry) and save yourself some hassle later. Or you can park it in the spacious parking lot at Puerto Juarez for a daily fee.
The ferry has limited seats, so make sure you book them in advance.
To get your round-trip ticket to Isla Mujeres (valid for 6 months from the date of departure), just click here:
- 2. If you want to go by car, you can take the ferry from Punta Sam. But many travelers prefer to rent a bike, motorcycle or golf cart on Isla Mujeres, because it’s more convenient and fun.
You can enjoy amazing beaches in two days on Isla Mujeres, such as:
- Playa Norte, one of the 10 best beaches in the world
- Pancholo Beach, a quiet spot with rough waves
- Lancheros beach famous for its restaurant that serves Tikin Xic fish, a Yucatan specialty
- Playa Sol, my favorite beach because it’s next to Playa Norte but much more peaceful (and cheaper 😉)
You can also explore the colorful streets of Isla Mujeres and don’t miss Punta Sur with its sculpture garden and the temple of Ixchel.
Spend half a day at Garrafon Park (click here to get your tickets!), where you can snorkel in the longest coral reef in the northern hemisphere, kayak, zip-line, relax in hammocks, enjoy the pool and restaurant.
For more fun, you can join this catamaran tour to Isla Mujeres with drinks, entertainment, snorkeling, access to a beach club and buffet lunch.
Book the tour here:
Where to stay in Isla Mujeres?
I don’t recommend you to arrive at Isla Mujeres without a reservation because prices go up easily and everything fills up quickly.
- Nomads Hotel Hostel & Beachclub: a gorgeous new hotel located in front of the sea, beautifully decorated, with pool, hammocks, bar and terrace. Nice rooms from 99 euros, but collective dorms cost only 10 usd per night! An incredible price for this kind of service.
- Posada Paso del Sol: small hotel with very good value for Isla Mujeres. Clean, comfortable bed, good location near the ferry, Playa Norte and restaurants. from 73 usd a night!
- Privilege Aluxes: this is a beautiful all-inclusive hotel on Isla Mujeres, reserved exclusively for adults. It is located on a sandy beach very close to Playa Norte, and has 2 pools, 2 restaurants, a beach bar, a spa, air-conditioned rooms and a king size bed. From 203 euros a night or 275 usd a night all inclusive!
- Mia Reef Isla Mujeres Resort: is known for its unique location on El Yunque Islet. It is surrounded by water and has a private beach as well as a pool, bar and restaurant. The hotel is less luxurious than the Privilege Aluxes, but welcomes children (there is even a babysitting service and a game room). From 300 usd per night all-inclusive.
14) Return from Cancun
You have reached the end of this amazing 29-30-31 day tour in the Yucatan Peninsula!
From Isla Mujeres, you can take the ferry to Puerto Juarez (30 minutes) or to Punta Sam (45 minutes).
And head to Cancun airport to catch your flight back. ✈️
How to Spend a Month in Yucatan: the Tourist Map
Here are the best places to visit in Yucatan in one month:
Touring the Yucatan Peninsula in 30 days by car
As there is so much to see in this Yucatan itinerary, renting a car is the best option to go at your own pace, with total freedom.
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 get the best deals on flights
This one month trip to Yucatan begins and ends in Cancun, so it will be very easy to book your flights: it’s the main airport in the region, with many international flights from North America and Europe every day.
To find a cheap flight ticket to Cancun, use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner: it’s the guarantee to pay the best price!
🚗 Rent a car
🗽 Book entrance tickets and guided visits
🏄 Book your sports activities
🌍 Take a travel insurance
🙎 Book a tour
✈️ Book your flight
You’re traveling in Mexico? These articles will help you!
Discover all my articles about Mexico: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Mexico are listed there.
- Itinerary: 10 days in Mexico – Mexico City, Chiapas and Yucatan
- Itinerary: 2 weeks in Mexico – Best itinerary to discover the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas!
- Itinerary: 3 weeks in Mexico – Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán and Riviera Maya
- Itinerary: 1 month in Mexico – My Epic 30-31 Days Itinerary from Mexico City to Cancun
- Road trip in Mexico: The best itineraries for 10, 15, 21 days and a month
- Itinerary: 1 week in Yucatan – The Ultimate 6, 7 or 8 days Itinerary
- Itinerary: 10 days in Yucatan – Best Itinerary for 9, 10 or 11 Days in Yucatan
- Itinerary: 2 weeks in Yucatan – Epic Itinerary + All my Best Tips!
- Itinerary: 3 weeks in Yucatan – Best things to do in 20-21 days
- Road trip in Yucatan: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15, 21 days and 1 month