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
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