The many Mayan ruins are a culture vulture's dream. Chichen Itza is the most famous but there are some other pretty spectacular sites such as Tulum. All this, and the beach is never far away either!
Hero, Original Traveller
The Yucatan Peninsula is a superb destination, simply made for relaxing on the beach interspersed with some culture.
Why we think you’ll love it
- The Yucatán Peninsula is perfect for those who feel beach holiday guilt: there's plenty of culture along the Riviera Maya, and it's so near it only requires you to take a couple of hours off from your sun lounger
- There is plenty to do in the Riviera Maya from sailing, snorkelling, fishing and boat trips to cultural activities like visiting the Mayan Ruins , shopping in Mexican markets.
- A few days on the beach combines really well with a few days inland at a typical Mexican Hacienda.
- Take a dip in clear water cenotes.
From the gallery
Luxury Yucatan Holidays: The Detail
Although popular resorts such as Playa del Carmen and Cancun are one image of the Yucatán Peninsula, there is another - far more charming - world available in this south-eastern tip of Mexico.
The Yucatán has plenty to offer the discerning culture vulture, lovers of jungle and wildlife, diving fans, and holidaymakers looking for romantic, exclusive and just plain beautiful beach hotels.
The peninsula separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea. On the Caribbean side, the stretch of coastline known as the Riviera Maya offers pure white-sand beaches and calm blue waters, Tulum's ancient Mayan ruins, as well as a vast selection of hotels to suit pretty much all tastes from luxury family resorts to intimate jungle hideaways and laid back island retreats.
For a more low-key beach retreat, the idyllic Isla Holbox lies off the northern coast. This droplet of sand offers stunning white beaches and turquoise lagoons, and visitors will share the sandy roads (bikes and horse carts are the transport du jour here), with local fisherman, returning home with their morning catch. It's not all about the beach though. The northern part of the peninsula is home to the pretty colonial towns of Merida and Campeche as well as Original Travel's favourite inland haciendas which make the perfect bases to discover yet more beautiful Mayan ruins in the region.
No trip to the Yucatan is complete without visiting the outstanding Mayan site of Chichen Itza. Right in the middle of the peninsula, there is no excuse for not stopping off here when en route between your hacienda and beach hotel.
Cancun, with its international airport and direct flights from London, is the jumping-off point for the peninsula, but if you don't fancy putting your party sombrero on you can be in and out of the town in no time.
For a variation of a coastal holiday we recommend a few days on the beach combined with a few days inland at a typical Mexican Hacienda. Here you can explore the countryside, visit typical Mexican villages and Mayan Ruins, spend a morning at the underground cenotes (tunnels where you can go snorkelling or diving in crystalline water) and generally soaking up the local culture.