What to see in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico

In Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula has a special ambience and an endless array of tourist attractions, with some of the best beaches and scuba diving in the world.

What to see in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico
What to see in the Yucatan peninsula. Photo by Fernando Jorge / Unsplash

A special ambiance and an incredible choice of attractions, including some of the best beaches and dive sites in the world, are found on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The shimmering trendy resorts of the Riviera Maya along the eastern shore sit alongside enchanting Spanish colonial towns of gold, tranquil Mayan villages and the impressive remnants of centuries-old civilizations.


Offering 23 km (14 miles) of stunning stretches of white sand beaches, luxurious hotels, all kinds of restaurants and amusement options, from water parks to mammoth nightclubs for 24-hour fun, Cancun is Mexico's largest resort town.

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is the Riviera Maya's hippest spot, with a smaller resort vibe than Cancun, great swimming and snorkeling, and a nightlife that is always lively.


One of the world' scenic Mayan ruins stands on a rocky outcrop in Tulum, with views of palm tree-fringed beaches and laid-back bungalow style hotels.


Cozumel is a popular favorite destination for scuba divers, with an abundance of beautiful coral reefs for both novice and experienced divers to enjoy. Ashore there are several excellent beaches and some glitzy boutiques.


The city of Mérida is one of the most romantic of Mexico's historic colonial cities, with its delightful plazas, secluded shaded courtyards, traditional colonial facades, and colorful markets.

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is a relaxed island of the Caribbean with a casual seaside flair. This island is surrounded by abundant reefs for diving and sport fishing.


The city of Campeche is a striking reminder of the Spanish colonial period. Campeche features a historic quarter surrounded by walls and bulwarks, and an amazing museum of Mayan relics inside a former fortress.

Chichén Itza

Rising above enormous plazas, the pyramids of Chichén, the most impressive of all Mayan cities, sit imposingly, complexly arranged following the patterns of the sun and the stars.


Many consider the pyramids, palaces and plazas of the ruins of historic city, Uxmal, to display a unique grace and magnificence, and are widely considered to be the apex of ancestral architecture of the Maya.

Sian Ka'an Reserve

Sian Ka'an's vast, virtually undisturbed reserve of natural lakes, coral reefs, lagoons, mangroves and forests is habitat to millions of rare birds and plants, as well as monkeys and other wildlife such as jaguars.