Accessible through Cancun's airport, the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico extends an irresistible invitation to Canadians eager to explore. Beyond the Cancun hotel zone, this Mexican region is brimming with treasures waiting to be discovered.
If you dream of walking among the mysterious ruins of ancient Mayan civilizations or exploring hidden cenotes in lush jungles, you'll be captivated by these 5 extraordinary places to visit from Cancun. Forget the all-inclusive routine and embark on an adventure that will awaken your inner wanderlust!
1. Dive into the mysterious depths of cenotes
The enchantment of cenotes is indescribable. Picture yourself swimming in natural pools with crystal-clear waters, knowing that these cenotes were once considered by the ancient Mayans as portals to an underground world and places of spiritual connection. Today, cenotes offer refreshing oases nestled in the heart of the Mexican jungle.
If you rent a car from Cancun, you have plenty of options at your fingertips, whether near Valladolid, where you can also enjoy the charm of a colonial town, or on the Ruta del Cenote near Puerto Morelos, with its impressive collection of over a hundred of these hidden gems. Between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, you'll also find a wealth of cenotes to explore, each offering a unique experience. Here are three must-visit cenotes from Cancun:
- Cenote Xcanahaltun
- Cenote Secreto Maya
- Cenote Dos Ojos
2. Be captivated by the seven colours of Bacalar Lagoon
Without a doubt, the best-kept secret of the Yucatan Peninsula, Bacalar Lagoon, is a hidden gem off the beaten path. From Cancun, you can reach it by renting a car or public transport. However, one day won't be enough to fully enjoy this natural wonder, so plan for one or two nights to explore it thoroughly.
Bacalar is more than just a destination; it's an adventure in itself—the seven shades of blue merge into a unique visual harmony that will captivate you. The place is so enchanting that you may not want to leave. Make sure to visit local balnearios, beach clubs that will add a touch of relaxation and conviviality to your stay. To top it off, a visit to Mr. Taco in the heart of the city is a must for authentic shrimp or fish tacos.
3. Explore the ruins of Ek Balam, a Mayan civilization
Escape the crowds of Chichen Itza and set out to discover the mysterious ruins of Ek Balam, where you can follow in the footsteps of the Mayans. Here, you'll find some of the most imposing structures in the region, with one towering 32 metres high. If you’re not afraid of heights, challenge yourself to climb to the top of these impressive ruins for a breathtaking panoramic view.
Traveller's tip: Arrive early as the sun can be unforgiving at noon, and you'll also avoid the tourist peak hour. The early morning light casts a spell over the ruins, transporting you on a journey through time. The ancient site of Ek Balam will captivate you with its beauty and heritage. Venture off the beaten path to meet the ancient Mayan civilization for an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Yucatan.
4. Escape to Isla Mujeres for a day of serene island bliss
Just a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun, Isla Mujeres is the perfect place for travellers seeking the beauty and charm of a quieter island while remaining within reach of Cancun's vibrant scene. Isla Mujeres stands out with its pristine white sandy beaches kissed by crystal-clear turquoise waters. Playa Norte, in particular, is a must-visit, often ranking among the world's most beautiful beaches.
To add an adventurous touch to your day, book a snorkelling or diving excursion to explore the Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA), a unique attraction. You can explore underwater art installations alongside colourful marine life.
5. Embark on a tropical adventure in the Rio Lagartos Nature Reserve
Are you ready for a memorable adventure? Head to the Rio Lagartos Nature Reserve, a paradise for nature lovers and eager explorers! Take a boat excursion through this natural sanctuary, where you'll have the opportunity to observe majestic crocodiles, exotic wildlife, and even the elegant flamingos that populate the surrounding mangroves.
One of the experiences not to be missed is the Mayan mud bath, a natural rejuvenation therapy in the heart of the reserve. By covering yourself with this beneficial clay, you'll be filled with a revitalizing sensation. And of course, you won't want to miss the chance to capture the perfect moment for your Instagram feed at the pink lagoons of Las Coloradas.
A Mexican adventure beyond Cancun
Your trip to Cancun is more than just a getaway. It's an invitation to step out of your comfort zone, explore the authenticity of Mexican culture, and live unforgettable experiences. But don't stop there, as the Yucatan Peninsula is full of treasures to discover, from colourful cities like Izamal to paradise islands like Holbox, turtle encounters in Akumal, and diving adventures in Cozumel.
Moreover, starting from December 1st, a new panoramic train from Cancun will make it easier for you to travel to other popular destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula. So, get ready to explore more and experience magical moments in this Mexican region full of wonders.
Don't forget to contact a soNomad travel agent to find the best travel insurance before your departure.