After 3 roadtrip in Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula, here is the last roadtrip we did in couple over two weeks: we chose the first week to do a big circuit to see a lot of things, and the second week to ask us in Tulum to do activities nearby. The advantage is that we could see many things in a short time and we do not regret. Time goes so fast that we have not seen the days passed.
Here is our itinerary in details:
DAY 1 – CANCUN
Arriving in Cancun, we picked up our rental car at the airport, loaded the luggage in the car and headed to our hotel in Cancun center. We are tired and we will land at the hotel to spend the first night.
Si vous compter louer un véhicule, je vous recommande de lire notre périple à ce sujet pour vous éviter des arnaques.
DAY 2 – CHICHEN ITZA + EK BALAM
Early departure for Chichen Itza, the most famous archeological site in Mexico.
Fortunately for us we arrive before all the tourist buses. We make the visit without a guide. The site is large and we are happy to have done it early in the morning because otherwise I think we would be dead hot. There is no shade on the site and few trees, most of the trees on the aisles are monopolized by the sellers.
It’s a beautiful site but you can not climb the pyramid. It’s worth seeing once in his life because the height of the pyramid is impressive, and we see beautiful sculptures on this site.
Once the tour is over we take the car to go to Valladolid, we visit the city very nice because it is very colorful and we eat there. It feels almost in Cuba as the colors and streets are similar. It is a lively city.
We take the road to go to Ek Balam, we visit the small archaeological site, it has a particularity, this site has a very well preserved ruin part under a straw roof. It is a very little visited site, which adds attraction and mystery.
It seems that it has just been redone when it is not the case, it is simply that the site was updated in 1994 behind a pile of earth and large stones. The ruins are incredibly well preserved, it is beautiful because we see all the details carved in stone including the wall of a room where we find a stucco frieze originally painted in blue and red. The advantage of Ek Balam is that you can also climb to the top of the pyramid to admire the jungle.
The stucco frieze measuring 146 meters long, 55 meters wide and 29 meters high is the most impressive in Yucatan. Here it looks like the giant mouth of a monster, this room overlooks the tomb of a sovereign. You can see the teeth and all the details that give way to your imagination. It’s really worth seeing!
Then we return to the entrance and take a bike taxi to take us to the Cenote X-Canche. The poor driver, he’s pedaling alone on the broken track that lasts about 15 minutes with small climbs and descents … I want to go down at times so I feel uncomfortable for him but he does not want step and pedal until we arrive at the Cenote. And what a surprise!
Once on site we are alone, not even another traveler. The driver invites us to go down and he is waiting for us at the exit of the cenote at the top to give us a moment of privacy. We have the cenote just for us, it’s beautiful, the peculiarity is that you see the bottom of beautiful birds, with a tail that ends in the shape of heart and a blue electric color. They make a particular noise to communicate, a very serious noise. It gives an exceptional charm to the place.
We take the opportunity to swim and take some pictures among these birds and this cenote in absolute calm, we play with the catfish that abound in the cenote. Then 1 hour later we go back to take the bike taxi to return to the car to the hotel which is a few minutes from the archaeological site: the hotel Las Cabanas.
Arrived at the bottom we are installed in one of the cabins, it is too cute and very wild, here no cars, only the sound of insects and birds. Heart stroke !!! We take the opportunity to take a walk in the village of Tizimin. We watch the locals eat on barbecues outside on the ground, the elm dogs and children play on the square. It is a haven of peace and here not a single tourist!
Back to the hotel, the rooms are spacious, there are 2 double beds with mosquito net and a bathroom with wc. Here the water is moderately hot, you shower with heated water thanks to large vats placed in height in full sun and there is light thanks to solar panels. I just love it !
We ate there and even left a suitcase full of children’s clothes with toys to the two women who made us to eat at night. We ate an appetizer, a main course and dessert. It was great because we were all alone with the two locals who prepared us a really local dish. Soup as a starter, a dish with tortillas, and fruit for dessert. We saw a black scorpion cross the restaurant room which is open on the jungle around.
In the cabin we found two spiders including a tarantula plus a toad in the bathroom, help! We put them out so we would not spend the night with them. But I keep a good memory and I go back even every time I’m in the corner since. It’s quite special because the night you hear the birds and bebetes that scratch in the roof of the straw hut, fortunately there is the mosquito net 🙂
DAY 3-RIO LAGARTOS
We take the road towards Rio Lagartos to arrive very early in the morning, unfortunately we have not managed to find a trip to Rio Lagartos with a French guide, so we found a super nice fisherman who offered to take us walk for 3 hours to see the fauna and flora.
We were reluctant to make this detour in our road trip to Mexico as there was also the flamingo reserve in Celestun. Finally, we did well! We were filled, we saw many different birds including flamingos. A crocodile, a raccoon, and prehistoric species of shell-dwelling animals that live in the water, there are everywhere, they call it water cockroaches. We also went around the pink lake to make beautiful pictures.
We then fished with him, and he pulled us out of the water thanks to his net full of different kinds of fish, some are not eaten so we put them back in the water like the fugu fish that swells up water or air, too funny like fish. The others unfortunately we ate with our friend in frying when returning from the ride. We talked a lot with him, he told us full of anecdotes of his life, it was great. We also have
We then take the car to Merida, we visit the city a little in the evening and eat a tip in a restaurant on site and then sleep.
We leave early in the morning to join our guide on Celestun. Once there we go on a walk for 2 hours to observe the birds. We see all kinds, blues, roses, yellows with black and white dots. Then we take a coffee break and then we take the boat to go to the Celestun reserve, what a sight … Here we see flamingos as far as the eye can see, eagles, pelicans, cormorants, frigates, a martin fisherman and many others …
We are alone with our guide and we only hear the sounds of birds, there are hundreds in the sky flying, I feel like in the middle of a documentary Ushuaia. We then take the boat for a ride in the mangrove in search of crocodiles, we are lucky we see two very big and then we go to the site of the eye of the water.
Here it is a just wonder, we are in a place in the middle of the mangrove where fresh water and salt water mix, the water is warm and transparent, an incredible blue. We bathe and take some pictures then we walk on the small path through the mangrove is just the dream. And again we are alone to enjoy this wonder. Paradise on Earth !
Once the walk is over we go to the beach to eat a tip, we eat in a restaurant at the water’s edge and then we hit the road to go to Uxmal. We decide to take a road that cuts rather than going up to Merida to go down to Uxmal.
It is a track that lasts several kilometers and is under construction, what a joke, there are huge holes but on the road we see beautiful butterflies and vultures. We come across a single truck carrying Mexicans in the dumpster for several kilometers. What courage they have! We arrive at Uxmal in our hotel near the archaeological site, a beautiful hotel in the jungle, too beautiful. We eat on the spot and sleep.
The next day we get up early to be at the opening of the archaeological site of Uxmal, it is a beautiful huge site where we have exceptional views, I advise you to do so. We walk in this great site and we observe the different buildings. It’s pretty cool to do because the site is really big and the view is clear, we see a lot of frescoes and interesting details. Here it’s full of iguanas we see everywhere.
Then we take the road to go to the museum of cocoa, where we learn how chocolate is made and tasted. Then we continue the long road towards Calakmul to reach our hotel. We eat a grilled chicken on the road and we stop at the hotel to rest and leave early on the archaeological site the next day.
We arrive on Calakmul, one of the largest natural reserve of Mexico classified in Unesco still almost virgin tourism. We chose to make the visit without a guide. It is an immense archeological site, you have 3 courses to visit it: the court (2H), the medium (3H), the long one (5H). We chose the way that was already 6H round trip to see the main pyramids.
We loved it because there were hardly any other tourists and this site is lost in the middle of the tropical jungle. Also, you can ride on the pyramids and when you are at the top the views across the jungle are breathtaking. During the walk we saw howler monkeys, spider monkeys, a toucan, a tarantula, a snake, a black fox, a guinea fowl full of colors and full of beautiful birds. This is for me a must in Mexico not only for its buildings but also for the wealth of wildlife and local flora.
Then we take the car to 14H then we made a stop at 17H to the cave to the bats that is on the road at Km 106 Bacalar direction. We wait for the show at nightfall bats. It’s an unforgettable experience, you arrive at the entrance to a huge cave where millions of bats come out at nightfall. We sit down and wait a bit and then it starts, one then two then 1000 come out suddenly forming a whirlpool that rises to the sky.
It’s impressive because when they come out they form a kind of black swirl and it makes an intense noise. It takes about 15 minutes until they all come out. Once the show is over we take the car to Bacalar, we eat in a restaurant in the village, we drink a glass and we joined our hotel to spend the night.
We get up early to join our guide Steve, and we go for a 4H ride through the lagoon, there are several options on site for a walk in the lagoon but we chose this formula because we move away from the tourist area, noisy boats and groups of tourists. We go to the most remote places of the lagoon on the south side, we have to drink and eat on the boat and explanations in French. This place is simply magical, we see turquoise water, emerald water, and transparent water and a few fish, the pirate canal is breathtaking …
We take a tour of about 60 km in the lagoon, which allows to see the different cenotes, stromatolites, the fort from the lagoon and landscapes of postcards. We would like to stay there all day. Steve gives us very interesting explanations about this lagoon and tells us the story of the Mayas who lived there a few hundred years ago and who used the pirate channel to navigate.
And the most is that it is really small care for us and super nice;) We tested the bath of mud sulfur to the abandoned hotel, it’s great it’s soft skin. We made a stop during the trip to Los Rapidos where we leave the boat and then we swim in the Los Rapidos canal, it’s just beautiful, we all loved it. No other boat comes here, it’s a special moment.
We could also see some birds and beautiful fish. I really advise you to do it because it’s worth it! Once the tour finished the guide advised us a good restaurant that we joined, it was very good. We then pick up the car to reach our hotel on Tulum, we drop our stuff because we will change almost no hotel until we leave and then we go for a drink and eat a tip.
JAY 8-DOS OJOS + AKUMAL
We get up late, we enjoy after this busy week to get up early during the start of our road trip to Mexico. We take our breakfast at the hotel and then we go to the beach to rest a little and enjoy. It’s a cool day, in the late morning we go to the cenote Dos Ojos, another beautiful corner … We bathe with our masks and snorkel and we take beautiful pictures, we then settle in a hammock to read a little then we go back to town to eat a tip in a restaurant famous for its good fish.
In the afternoon we decide to go to Akumal, so we take the car to the lagoon of Yal-Ku, we spend 3 hours on the spot to swim among the fish and the coral reef and then we take the car back you park at the car park opposite the beach to land at the turtle beach.
We will stay there for the rest of the day, put on our mask and snorkel and go on a fundraising trip, we see dozens of turtles, rays and big beautiful fish. We stayed so long in the water that took a big sunburn on the back and buttocks 🙂 Back to the hotel
Departure early in the morning to visit the archaeological site with our guide Rosselyn, it is a very nice young woman that we will pick up with our car on Tulum and who accompanies us for the half day. She is of Colombian origin but speaks perfect French, she is passionate about archeology and it is understood through the Mayan stories that she tells us.
Once the tour is over our guide proposes to go to a cenote that very few travelers know. Once on site we take a moment to swim and talk with Rosselyn, the advantage is that we have the guide just for us and suddenly it’s like it was a friend who explained everything to us she knows, it’s great.
Then we decide after a while to eat together, we ask our guide to take us to a place far from the tourists, she found us a restaurant in a corner of paradise, on a beautiful beach held by local inhabitants. Here no frills we eat at local local, the owners are very nice, they explain that they are in a complicated situation because their restaurant is between two hotels.
Their land is very coveted but they do not want to sell it they prefer to keep their restaurant even if they have little visibility with tourists. So it’s even more fun to be here to help them our way, we leave them a good tip.
We then leave our guide that we find tomorrow to visit Coba. Meanwhile we will spend the afternoon on a beautiful beach in Tulum. Return in the evening to the hotel.
Today we join our guide Rosselyn to go to the ruins of Coba and a jungle getaway. So we go first to the archaeological ruins of Coba, on the spot we rent bikes to go around the site. It is a rather large site with several buildings including a central pyramid on which you can climb to see from above the view of the surrounding jungle.
Once the visit of the ruins is over, we go to visit a Mayan farm, our guide explains how the Mayans cultivate the land and how they do to have a prosperous agriculture. At the same time, we learn many anecdotes about the local culture and Mayan life. Then we take a break and eat local products from the local farm.
After we leave to go to the reserve of Coba, arriving we take a local guide to accompany us in the jungle and there, beautiful surprise we see howler monkeys and families of monkeys spiders with babies. The guide explains the virtues of local plants and the usefulness of certain trees. We arrive in front of a cenote, we are offered to go down by a scale reminder, of course we accept and we go down it is very pretty. At about 7 or 8 meters deep, human skeletons and skulls from the Mayan period rest. There have been many sacrifices here as in many other cenotes but we can not see them because it is a bit too deep.
DAY 11-XEL HÀ
The day after we made the tourists visiting the parks of Xel Ha and X Caret, I must say that I have a big preference for Xel-Hà. Why did we prefer Xel-Ha? Simply because it is a huge park in nature and very preserved much more nature than X-Caret in my opinion.
It looks a bit like the lagoon of Xal-Ku in Akumal but much bigger. The entrance is not given, about 70 € per person, but with children it’s the best! We arrived at the opening of the park at 8:15 and we took our tickets online to pay a little less. This park is of course tourist but it is a marvel, if only we had the park of this style in France;)
This park is built around a lagoon, you want to walk in the park in the middle of the jungle, you climb on wooden bridges and footbridges in the middle of the trees. There are games for children, we float on buoys with the current in the middle of the mangrove. You can see coatis, agoutis, red parrots etc.
We swim in the middle of rays and fish, there are everywhere, small, big, multicolored, fluos. It’s impressive ! You can eat at the buffet at lunchtime, and on the spot drinks with or without alcohol are at will. On site you can do activities with the dolphins but I’m not for, I had already done this a few years before and I was super disappointed.
I thought I was going to be able to interact with the dolphins but in fact not at all, everything is timed, you do not have the right to caress between exercises because it is supposedly deconcentrated. In addition, we can see that they are injured by doing the same exercises repeatedly, especially on the muzzle by pushing people.
All that to say that I advise against, I did not appreciate this experience while I dreamed since youngest to swim with dolphins but not at all in this context, if it was to remake I will pay to swim with them in Egypt or other in the open sea: (End of the day around 17:30, we go to eat a bit and sleep in the hotel.
DAY 12 -SIAN KA’AN
We get up early around 6:15, to make this excursion that we have been waiting for since the beginning of our stay. We have an appointment in the center of Tulum, there, we leave our vehicle and we leave for the reserve of Sian ka’an. We find on site the guide and other participants, it’s great because we are only 5 couples. We get in the car and leave for the reserve.
The road is rather in good condition at this time of year, it is a dirt track. The trip takes about 1H20 before arriving at the place where we take the boat. We are asked to put our biodegradable sunscreen now. We begin our journey in the mangrove, where we cross several small birds and a crocodile. Here the guide Murielle explains the usefulness of the mangrove for treating salt water in fresh water.
We learn that this ecosystem is fragile and that it is very important for the lives of the men, birds and fish that live there. Then we continue our walk to the island of birds, there we discover many seabirds, 330 species cohabit here of which 220 species breed here in Sian ka’an.
We saw pelicans, frigates, cormorants, eagles, herons and many others … Then we go out looking for dolphins, manatees and turtles. Here live 4 species of sea turtles, we saw a gigantic, more than a meter in diameter, it was impressive!
Then a little further in the lagoon we saw several groups of dolphins, some with babies. It’s so beautiful to see them evolve freely in an almost transparent water. They are there 1 meter from the boat and in the distance we see some dolphins jumping out of the water. It’s a beautiful show!
The advantage is that since we left very early there were no other boats except the 2 ours in the lagoon so we could observe the dolphins for about 30 minutes.
We continue our trip on magnificent waters, and we stop near a coral reef, the sailors attach the boats and we all go down to the water with the guide and the sailors. We have everything we need on the boat, mask, fins and snorkel. Then we go together towards the coral reef, we first see a gigantic lobster, the size of my arm. Then a little further under a rock, we see a large nurse shark of about 3 meters sleeping at the bottom on the sand.
Then we see full of fish, big and small with strange shapes. The coral reef is damaged here as everywhere, it’s a pity but it does not detract from the charm of this reef, there are about 80 listed species of coral which shelter more than 400 species of fish. We see all the colors, it’s very pretty. We also see a lot of species that we have already met at Xel-Ha and Akumal.
Then after about 30 minutes we go back to the boat, and we speed away towards the natural pool, and there waooh, we arrive at a heavenly place where there is not a single boat or a single dwelling or nobody. The boat is getting closer to the beach and we are offered a swim break. Our feet touch the water, it must be without exaggerating at 32 °, the dream 🙂 Here we spend about 30 minutes, we bathe, we put our masks and we look at the fish and starfish at the bottom. We take some souvenir photos. It’s the moment of relaxation!
We take the boat to go to the village of punta allen to eat a bit, Murielle our guide takes us to a restaurant away from the buffet at the edge of the beach or 50 tourists are waiting to eat. We arrive in a very basic restaurant, sit down, order and eat.
There we talk about everything and nothing with the group and Murielle, she explains us full of things about Mexico and the reserve itself, it’s a great time and again we are alone with the guide in this small Cute restaurant. Once finished eating we go for a walk in the village of Punta Allen, we are told how the various facilities and our guide offers us to visit the small village school.
We are privileged because she can not do it every day of the week otherwise the school children would be disturbed all the time. It’s a pretty cool experience to do!
We then leave to take the boat back to the car, on the way back we cross again a crocodile to rest on the edges of the mangrove. We are enjoying this last moment in this magnificent reserve. Then we go back to Tulum.
DAY 13 +DAY 14
We spend our last day in Tulum enjoying the beach, we have a long walk along the hotels on the coast to dream a little, lack of resources to spend one or more nights, we still saw beautiful beaches 🙂 We landed in some hotels for a drink and enjoy the beach quietly.
Last day, we spend it on Cancun, we go on a beautiful beach side of the hotels, then we found a great little corner or eat good fried fish, far from the mass of tourists. We spent the afternoon there enjoying the deserted beach, we had to do 4 hours of snorkeling in the afternoon so it was beautiful, full of small fish of all colors to see at the edge of the sea. water. We ended our getaway with shopping souvenirs in downtown Cancun.
We fell in love with Mexico, it is one of the most beautiful countries we visited. The fauna and flora are exceptional. The culture is nice to travel and live there. The locals are super nice and humorous. It is a country that I found secure despite all that one can read. We are rather travelers who seek authenticity and nature. This trip has filled us and we invite you to test your next roadtrip in Mexico, you will not be disappointed 🙂
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us, have a good trip!