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Cancun laguna and boat

Itinerary Mexico

Discovering Mexico: A Family-Friendly Itinerary for History and Nature Enthusiasts

map roadtrip Mexico

Day 1: To Düsseldorf Airport

Day 2: Flight Düsseldorf-Cancun

Day 3: Cancun

Day 4-6: Isla Mujeres

Day 7-10: Tulum

Day 11-14: Bacalar

Day 15: Xpujil

Day 16-19: Campeche

Day 20-23: Mérida

Day 24: Izamal

Day 25-27: Valladolid

Day 28: Isla Holbox

Day 29: flight Cancun - Düsseldorf

Day 30: Back in Düsseldorf

We did this roadtrip in four weeks, we like to take it slow! You can drive round the Yucatan peninsula in two weeks, it will be less relaxing, but it is perfectly doable.

Day 1: To Düsseldorf 

We've had hectic last weeks, so decided to approach our vacation as relaxed as possible. So our road trip through Mexico began in a hotel in ... Düsseldorf! We stayed at the Sheraton Düsseldorf Airporthotel, actually AT the airport. We have to take an early flight the next day. Staying overnight is a great alternative to getting up at 5am and rushing to the airport in full stress and then spending 17 hours on three different flights. Our cheap British Airways flights take us from Düsseldorf to London. Then we board an Airbus A380 bound for Dallas. And the final leg of the itinerary is a flight from Dallas to Cancun, about two hours and a half.

airport dusseldorf
hotel dusseldorf airport

Day 2: Flight from Düsseldorf to Cancun

The three flight go super smoothly. The only thing that gives us stress is the short time between the flights. Especially in the US border controle can take quite some time! We have two hours and have to rush and run to get the flight to Cancun!

We rent a car from Europcar. A shuttle van takes us from the terminal to the pick-up point for the rental cars and after some bargaining over the exorbitant price for the extra insurance we could leave. There is a way to avoid this insurance shizzle: you rent a car from Sunnycars. The prices are higher, but you have all inclusive service. I definitely can see why people want to pay a bit more to have less worries. But I always compare and try to estimate the risk (good site to compare is Rent car.com). The hotel is fortunately only fifteen minutes away, because we are very tired after such a long day! We sleep 12h straight, bye bye jet lag!

hotel cancun
mexico

Day 3: Cancun

About Cancun we can be brief: there is not very much to do here. At the Zona Hotelera you can drive around along the langune and megalomaniac hotels and you can stroll along the beach. But you won't find cozy affordable restaurants or bars here, it's all about expensive beachclubs and luxurary resorts here! Very handy here are the many exchange offices so you can start your trip with enough pesos! In the center of Cancun around the central square you will find some restaurants where you can eat a decent meal. 

cancun
maya ruins
maya ruins cancun

Day 3: Cancun, ferry to Isla Mujeres

There are several places where you can take the ferry to Isla Mujeres. But only from 1 place you can also take your car on the ferry. Isla Mujeres is a fairly large island and not cheap. So we find it convenient to have our own transportation on the island. 


The most expensive crossings leave from Cancuns hotel zone.
The most popular place is Puerto Juárez, just north of Cancun. Here you already pay noticeably less than the crossings from the hotel zone. If you want to take a carferry you can only leave from Punta Sam, it's about 10 minutes north from Puerta Juarez.

We didn't make a reservation for the ferry, just being there at least one hour before departure is enough. The fair includes one driver with additional costs for each passenger. We paid 2000 MXN (approx €100) for a car with driver and three additional passengers (roundtrip). 

Prices and schedules do change a lot, you can check it here!

The crossing itself went very smoothly. After about an hour we drove off the ferry onto the island. A quick check-in at the hotel and then 100% enjoy the vacation atmosphere: bounty beaches, delicious cocktails, upbeat music, .... we can get used to this!

ferry isla mujeres

Day 4: Isla Mujeres

There is much to see and do on Isla Mujeres. The main reason we chose this island is because you can do Whale Shark tours there. From this island you have to sail for the least amount of time and thus the trip is the most enjoyable. 

There are lots of organizations that offer these Whale Shark tours. You don't have to book these in advance. My task of the day: walking trough the streets of the small town on the island and comparing the prices of the tours as well as booking a tour for the next day!

Other interesting activities you can do on the island:

  1. Swimming with Dolphins in 'Dolfin Discovery': Visit the dolphin encounter center and have a unique experience swimming and interacting with these incredible creatures. This will cost you over €100 so we chose not to do this one to have some budget left for the rest of our trip! So we just drove by it, this is a busy place!

  2. Relaxing on the Beaches: Isla Mujeres has stunning beaches like Playa Norte and Playa Garrafón, where you can relax, sunbathe, and swim in crystal-clear waters. Probably the most beautiful beaches I've seen in my life. The water is like taking a warm bath!

  3. Renting a Golf Cart: We have our own car to get around, but for anyone who hasn't: renting a golf cart is very popular here!

  4. Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the calm waters around the island.

  5. Visiting Isla Mujeres Turtle Farm: Here you can learn about sea turtle conservation efforts and release baby turtles into the ocean during nesting season. The center is currently closed. It will probably open again later this year (but this isn't sure).

  6. Exploring Underwater Art: Dive or snorkel to see the famous MUSA (Underwater Museum of Art) featuring an array of stunning sculptures submerged in the sea.

  7. Visiting the Punta Sur Sculpture Park: You can enjoy the exceptional ocean views without entering the park ($10 entrance fee!!) and you can even see the not so spectacular sculptures without entering the park. Good to know: the sunrise is magnificent here and this is also the point where the sun rises first in Mexico (most eastern point).

  8. If you like the really touristy things: Try jet skiing, parasailing, or fishing tours, which are widely available on the island.

Day 5: Isla Mujeres - Swimming with Whale Sharks, a once in a lifetime kind of experience!

The day before, I had booked our trip with Sea Hawk Divers. They provided the most info and offered the best service. Our day starts very early: at 7 am we leave for the Sea Hawk Divers office. Here breakfast awaits us, including pills against seasickness! After breakfast and briefing, we are taken to our boat. The boat is actually very small, there are only 10 of us. In addition to a few Americans, Fernando is also on the boat with his two children. This reassures me a little that I am not the only one who takes his children on such an adventure! After many instructions from an overenthusiastic guide and the putting on of wristbands "in case you don't remember which boat you belong to", we could leave. After an hour of sailing there is nothing to see except high waves. All the land around us has disappeared, we see a few more boats sailing in the same direction, so we cannot be completely lost yet. Only after about four hours we see many boats lying together, we have found the place! In pairs we are allowed to swim for about 5 minutes. The guide pulls us to the right spot. It is truly phenomenal! The immense animals come swimming slowly towards us, they don't care about us and swim on quietly. Definitely our National Geographic moment of this trip! We get to go in the water a second time. I want to take my gopro, find it in my backpack and by not focusing on the sea, my stomach turns immediately. So the second time I swam very nauseated, which is less enjoyable, but I got some nice images :). Unfortunately, I left my entire stomach contents behind with the whale sharks. So for lunch on the way back I pass. There is a second stop at the reef off Isla Mujeres. Here we get to snorkel for half an hour. Here, unfortunately, little remains of what was probably once very colorful coral. We get another meal at Playa Norte and a cool beer for those who feel like it. It is already late in the afternoon when we are dropped off at the office again. An absolute great day! 

Sea Hawk Divers

Price: 2700 MXN (incl breakfast, lunch and a snack; two dives with the whale sharks and snorkeling at the coral reef near Isla Mujeres)

whale shark swimming
playa norte, isla mujeres

Day 6: Isla Mujeres, ferry to Cancun and ride to Tulum

After a nice and tasty breakfast, we take the ferry back to the mainland. The route from Cancun to Tulum runs along the coast, but you don't get to see it. What you do see is one mega resort after another, occasionally interspersed with an amusement or adventure park. Not really the image we had of Mexico. This is a popular region for American tourists and you notice it in everything. You can pay with dollars everywhere and ATMs only give ... dollars!

Tulum consists of two parts: Tulum Pueblo, the town itself, and Tulum Beach. Tulum Beach is a long road along the beach with hotels, restaurants and beach clubs. Nothing is "ordinary" here. Each beach club has something special, a fairy-tale entrance, a breathtaking setting, a labyrinth-like route to get to the sea ... You really don't know where to look first here. But ... parking your car here is paying, entering a beach club is paying, wanting to sit on a terrace is paying ... and then you haven't eaten or drunk anything. Prices here easily go higher than Belgian prices. So if you have money too much: here you can get rid of it if you want to!
Tulum Pueblo has more charm, it is nice to walk around and choosing a restaurant here is really impossible, so much choice!

Hotel Tulum Pueblo: Casa Sofia Tulum

Day 7: Tulum

Today we will finally do what we have been looking forward to anyway: swim in a cenote. The temperature here fluctuates around 30 degrees every day so refreshment is always welcome!

There are lots of cenotes around Tulum. Our eye fell on "Gran Cenote. The pictures we see online are beautiful and it appears in every list of most beautiful cenotes and 'Gran Cenote' is located only a few kilometers from Tulum Pueblo.

Big surprise at the entrance: you pay 500 MXN per person (€25) here. Presumably we get gold snorkels or you get a welcome cocktail. No, this is just extremely overpriced! We are very early so we only have to share the cenote with a handful of other tourists, some turtles and bats. The cenote is beautiful. You can swim through a cave to a second open section and snorkel among the stalagmites and stalactites. There is also a nice picnic area and the toilets are very clean.  

turtles
cenote
cenote
gran cenote

Places to eat in Tulum:

El Cielo (Tulum Pueblo) - popular breakfast place, the food is GOOD and not too expensive

Raw Love café (Tulum Beach) - a place at the beach where you can get in for free. Good place for breakfast or lunch with sea view! 

Restaurant Casa Jaguar (Tulum Beach) - this place is so beautiful, and the food was maybe the best we ate in Mexico ... but that has its price. It is not cheap, but it is worth it.

La Hoja Verde - Vegetarian restaurant, so so so good!!

Day 8: Tulum - Tulum Maya ruins and cenote Yax-kin

Just outside Tulum Pueblo is a Mayan site worth visiting. The site is on the coast and from the temples you have a mighty view. But expect lots of visitors here! You pay 2x, a contribution to the state and the entrance itself. These can only be paid in cash. And if, like us, you don't have enough cash with you, a friendly smile is very effective in getting you in. There is little shade, so it is interesting to plan your visit early in the morning. It is a long walk from the parking lot to the entrance itself. You have to pass and pass restaurants and tourist stores, then if you can resist getting your picture taken with a parrot or iguana on your shoulder you have another walk along the mangroves to go before you get to the actual entrance. You can easily walk around the site itself for an hour or two. Despite the crowds, we found it very beautiful, mainly because of its location.

maya ruins tulum
maya ruins tulum
maya ruins tulum

Parking: 160 MXN

Protected area fee: 58 MXN

Entrance fee: 90 MXN

Not far from the ruins of Tulum is the cenote of Yax-kin. Through a gravel road you reach a small parking lot. The cenote is a few minutes walk from the parking lot. This cenote is completely open, a large part is shallow (so very nice if you travel with small children!) and a part is deep with some high rocks to jump from (so fine if you travel with older children!). There is a small restaurant. We especially noticed how quiet it was here. Lovely place!!!

cenote
cenote

Parking: free

Entrance fee: 100 MXN

Day 9: Tulum to Bacalar

Leaving Tulum, we leave the hyper-tourist part of the Yucatan Peninsula. Fortunately, because the Riviera Maya is extremely crowded and therefore also very expensive. 

We make a stop on our way to Bacalar at the beautiful Sian Ka'an nature reserve. The Maya were so impressed by the lakes and wetlands area that they called it "The Gateway to Heaven". Thanks to UNESCO declaring it a Biosphere Reserve and placing it (in 1987) on the World Heritage List, this area is still pristine. Not only did this save the nature reserve, it prevented the Caribbean coastline of Mexico from turning into one long ribbon of hotels, restaurants and vacation homes.
In the area you will find the Maya site of Muyil, not very big, but definitely worth a visit. You can also follow a hiking trail here, take a boat ride or float in the currents. All very pricey, you are obviously still too close to Tulum here! 

maya ruins mujil
maya ruins muyil

Several hours later, we arrive in Bacalar. A small town located on the Laguna Bacalar, also called "La Laguna de los Siete Colores. A wonderfully peaceful and paradisiacal place! Just what we needed after the hustle and bustle of Cancun and Tulum! Our hotel is located on the central square overlooking the fort and the lagoon, could it get any better?

hotel bacalar
hotel bacalar
laguna bacalar

In the evening we visit the San Filipe Fort on the other side of the central square. Good to get some information about the history of the area and the view over the laguna from the fortress walls is breathtaking!

Day 10: Bacalar

Bacalar's central square has many bars and restaurants, so no problem finding a good breakfast spot. Today there is a day of fun on the program: we are going to "Los Rapidos". You have to go here by car or take a taxi.

Los Rapidos is a section of Bacalar Lagoon lined by stromatolites and mangroves forming a sort of canal where the current becomes a little stronger and the color of the water unbelievably beautiful. So you can walk across a little wooden bridge to the beginning of the rapids and then let yourself float back gently. Heavenly! This will keep us busy for a day! You can also rent canoes or lay down in one of the water hammocks. Los Rapidos is a very nice place to come to with kids. 

The entrance fee at los Rapidos is 150 MXN. Once you pay your entrance fee in the restaurant ticket office, you get a bracelet and access all day. You don’t need to spend in the restaurant if you don’t want to, but if you bring your own food and beverages you will need to pay a fee. 

los rapidos, bacalar
los rapidos, bacalar
los rapidos, bacalar
los rapidos, bacalar

We had diner at Punta Corcho Bacalar in the evening, the best food ever ... let's say this day was perfect!

Day 11: Bacalar

Another top activity is on the agenda today! Laguna Bacalar is, of course, the ideal place for water sports. We are going to spend a day on a guided sailing tour today with BacalarSailing. During the trip there are a number of stops for swimming or snorkeling. In the laguna you can snorkel between the unique mushroom-shaped stromatolite formations, one of the oldest forms of life on out planet. Another interesting place: El Canal de Los Pirates, a canal to a smaller lagoon next to Bacalar Lagoon, what served as a safe haven for the pirates in the area.

sailing on laguna bacalar
sailing on laguna bacalar

Day 12: Bacalar to Xpujil

Time to leave Bacalar. A great pity, because in this place I could be much longer without getting bored for a minute!

The purpose of the stop in Xpujil is to visit the Maya site of Calakmul. One of the most remote and therefore one of the best preserved sites. Unfortunately, the site is located far into the jungle and you must be at the first checkpoint early. We didn't manage to get here in time... We decide to visit the two other sites near Xpujil that would be very worthwhile: Becàn and Balamku. For these sites you pay only 75 MXN. There are hardly any visitors and you are still allowed to climb up the spectacular temples!

maya ruins of becan
maya ruins of balamku
maya ruins of becan
maya ruins of becan

Finding a restaurant in a remote area is quite a challenge. The owner of the cottage where we stayed directed us to a small restaurant nearby where we ate probably our cheapest meal of the entire trip, and to be honest, one of the tastiest too!

Hotel Xpujil: Casa Las Lolas

Day 13: Xpujil to Campeche

Today we got up early to get to Calakmul on time. And it was necessary. The 60 km small road to the site itself takes nearly three hours. When we arrived we had to beg to still be allowed in because the site closes at 1 p.m. From the entrance to the temples it is another half hour of walking. But it is definitely worth it! Spectacular temples partly overgrown by the jungle. You can climb all the temples and the view is phenomenal! 

monkey in tree
maya ruins of calakmul
on top of a maya temple in calakmul
on top of a maya temple in calakmul

After our visit to Calakmul, we drive back to civilization. Our next stop is Campeche. It takes us about 4 hours and a few thunderstorms to get there.

campeche
campeche
hotel in campeche

Hotel Campeche: Hotel Castelmar

Day 14: Campeche

Campeche is a colonial city located on the Gulf of Mexico. The downtown area is small, cozy and very colorful. It is a UNESCO world heritage site for a reason. The inner city is completely walled off and you can still find many clues that this city was once a target of pirates. The city is built around a central square. Our hotel is within walking distance of this square, so it's convenient to go and soak up the atmosphere in the evening! Calle 59 is probably the liveliest street in town with many restaurants.

campeche
colorful houses of campeche
campeche by night
drinks and diner in campeche

We are taking it easy today. Pick up a baseball game in the stadium just outside the wall, walk along the Malécon promenade by the sea, and visit a small maya museum. In some places you can also walk on the ramparts, but we can't find access.

Day 15: Campeche

You will have seen most of the sights of Campeche in a day, but for the wonderful relaxing atmosphere, you will be happy to stay here a little longer. This is what I like about traveling longer: you have time to do nothing for a day and just enjoy being somewhere without feeling pressure not to waste time. A morning run on the Malécon promenade and a slow morning at Luan (the best breakfast restaurant ever!!) is like having vacation while you're traveling.

malecon, campeche
malecon campeche
campeche

Not far from Campeche you'll find the maya site of Edznà, about an hour's drive away. Bart and Lore seem a bit saturated with maya sites, so I go alone with Ruben. But there turns out to be some last minute FOMO with Bart and Lore after all, so they join anyway. And they have no regrets! Edznà is a large site. A bit of a hidden gem, there are more lizards than people, and that's how we like it! It is still being diligently restored, so you are not allowed to climb on all the pyramids and buildings, but still, very much worth it!

Most impressive here is the Great Acropolis: this is the main complex of Edzná. It has a central plaza surrounded by several buildings. The eyecatcher is the Five-Story Building, a 5-story pyramid with 4 floors that have vaulted rooms, which is rare for a Maya site. You can’t climb the building anymore, but you can get a view from the top of the nearby buildings, like the House of the Moon or the Northwest Temple.

maya ruins of edzna
maya ruins of edzna
maya ruins of edzna

Entrance fee: 90 MXN

There is no shadow at this Maya site, be prepared!

We spend the evening at Calle 59 in Campeche after witnessing one of the most spectacular thunderstorms I've ever seen. The streets of Campeche turned into rivers in just a few minutes!

Day 16: Campeche

Last day in Campeche, last day to fully enjoy this pleasant city. We have breakfast at Origen, probably the best coffee bar of Mexico!

Today is also the day we finally find the steps to get on the wall. There is a man waiting for us who makes us pay 200 MXN to get up the stairs, well, that's part of the deal right? In Campeche you can also fully indulge yourself with a camera, all the colorful houses, all with their own color, all very cheerful. We spend the rest of the day at the pool. Fun!

colorful houses of campeche
colorful houses of campeche
colorful houses of campeche
campeche city walls

Day 17: Campeche to Mérida

After having breakfast in Chocol'Ha (yes, it is as good as the name suggests!!) we leave Campeche and ride to Mérida. 

We don't take the shortest route to Mérida, but we take the most scenic one: the PUUC route. This is a succession of UNESCO Maya sites. Some are ruins and it takes a lot of imagination to recognize a temple in it, but they all have something unique. Unfortunately, we were not able to visit all the temples because we were almost out of gas and there is no gas station along the route. If you would ever have the same problem: the first one is a little past Uxmal ...

Uxmal is the most spectacular site, but here you return into the hyper-touristy part of Yucatan. Whereas the past few days we wandered around everywhere pretty much alone, Uxmal was a confrontation with mass tourism. When I heard the price, I was shocked: 80 MXN for the parking and the entrance fee was 530 MXN per person! Until now we had not paid more than 90 MXN.... Fortunately, the site itself was worthwhile, and it's huge so you don't notice that there are many visitors.

The temples are well preserved and beautifully restored. Climbing on the temples is no longer allowed here, you do walk through the buildings, so it doesn't bother you so much that you can't go anywhere. The highest temple is 35m high, a bit of a shame about that missed view! Allow a few hours for a visit to Uxmal.

maya ruins of uxmal
maya ruins of uxmal
maya ruins of uxmal
maya ruins of uxmal

In the evening we arrive in Mérida, the largest city in Yucatan. For many, a beautiful colonial city, but our preference is Campeche. Our hotel is right in the center and fortunately has a parking lot that we can use for free!

Hotel Mérida: Hotel Mérida

Day 18: Mérida

Like in most Mexican cities, life in Mérida mainly takes place around the city's central square. On the east side of the square you will find the city's landmark, the San Ildefonso Cathedral. Built between 1561 and 1599, this cathedral is the oldest cathedral of the American continent. The cathedral was built from stones of ancient Mayan temples that used to be located on this spot. 

Around the central square are many buildings that are worth visiting, even if they don't seem to be accessible, we just went in everywhere for a while. If you are looking for a good restaurant, it is a bit more difficult to find one in Mérida. The city is very busy and touristy, so here you also have the usual tourist traps!

merida
merida
bus in merida
merida

Day 19: Mérida

Because of its central location, Mérida is a good base for many day trips. Celestùn is one of them. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Celestùn is best known for its large lagoon, the Rià Celestùn reserve. There are 230 species of birds here, but most tourists come for only one species: the thousands of flamingos that happily twitter here.

At the bridge just before entering Celestùn, boat trips depart. Not cheap (1500 MXN per boat, so talk to some other travelers and split the cost!), but very much worth it!

flamingos in celestun
flamingos in celestun
flamingos in celestun

The town of Celestun is small but cozy. On the coast you have restaurants where you can eat with your bare feet in the sand. The center is enlivened by street art. You can also take a boat from here to the lagoon. This is cheaper, but you have to sail around for a long time in a small boat on a choppy sea, so we found the option of leaving from the bridge more interesting!

celestun
celestun
celestun
celestun

Day 20: Mérida to Izamal

Time to leave Mérida. We don't find it difficult at all to leave this busy city behind. The next stop is Izamal, also called the yellow city. Every building in this city is painted yellow. Izamal is small, and a few hours is enough to visit this place. We also spend the night here so we can leave early in the morning because the next destination might be very busy...

A visit to Convento de San Antonia de Padua located in the central square is very much worth it! Furthermore, the yellow streets are very photogenic, very nice to wander around here. There is also a small maya site on the outskirts of town, within walking distance of the central square. Here you can climb the pyramid (more like a hill), from here you have a beautiful view over the city! The two places we ate here were absolutely top notch: Los Arcos (choose a place in the courtyard!) and Kinich El Sabor.

izamal
izamal
izamal
izamal

Day 21: Izamal to Valladolid

Chichen Itza, must be the busiest place of Yucatan! But it is also one of the 7 wonders of the world, so a place we want to see with our own eyes. If you ignore everyone who tries to get all the money out of your pockets (no, we don't buy a ticket here because you say we can skip the line, no, we won't park here because you say the main parking lot is full, we don't need a guide, no we really don't need a guide x10, no we have brought our own drinks x100) it is actually a beautiful Maya site! And it huge, once you're inside it doesn't seem that crowded. The entrance fee is 614 MXN, you can pay also in dollar or use VISA or AMEX cards (no Mastercard!!). Yes, this is too expensive. So make sure you bring your own food and drinks or this will be a painful day for your bankaccount! If you want to go on a guided tour, be sure to take one of the official ones at the entry of the site!

maya ruins of chichen itza
maya ruins of chichen itza
maya ruins of chichen itza
maya ruins of chichen itza

Cenote Ik-Kil is not far from Chichen Itza. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula!

It is also known to be one of the more popular cenotes... so make sure you get there early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds! The Ik-Kil cenote entrance fee is 180 MXN. If you want to eat at the buffet restaurant, it’ll cost you 160 pesos more per person. So it is not too expensive!

Cenote Ik-Kil
Cenote Ik-Kil

It is already late when we arrive in Valladolid. We made a few more stops in hopes of finding a quiet cenote to cool off. But all we saw were sinkholes in the landscape with brown water. The cenotes are really not all as heavenly as Ik-kil!

Hotel Valladolid: Casa Bamboo

Day 22: Valladolid

Valladolid is a city that oozes charm. The city is small and the center is much quieter than Mérida. Our hotel is within walking distance of the central square, we can leave our car on the side for a few days! 

​​Opposite the park is the beautiful church Iglesia de San Servacio. Around the corner you will find Wabi Gelato, the best ice cream salon in Valladolid! On the same street is a cenote, yes, in the center of town, cenote Zaci! Without a doubt, the most beautiful street is Calzada de Los Frailes. Through this street you can walk to Convento y iglesia San Bernardino de Siena, a beautiful and colorful monastery. In Calzada de Los Frailes are good restaurants too. My favorite: Le Kaat!

valladolid
valladolid
valladolid
valladolid

Day 23: Valladolid

Valladolid is well located for day trips. The Maya sites of El Bakam and Coba are just under an hour's drive away. We skipped El Bakam because we hadn't quite recovered from the hustle and bustle of Chichen Itza and the high entrance fee. El Bakam is slightly cheaper, but you still pay over 500 MXN per person! We did visit Coba. These temples are in the middle of the jungle and you are allowed to climb on the temples. Unfortunately, this has been changed recently... no more climbing here! The location is worth a visit though, you have to hike quite a bit to visit the whole site. There are also bicycle taxis or bicycles for anyone who doesn't feel like walking. 

coba ruins
cenote chukum
cenote chukum

There are many popular and beautiful cenotes in the region. We chose one by luck. Cenote Chukum, an absolute hit! An empty cenote, some platforms to jump from and a zipline! It was a bit creepy at first because there was actually no one else here, after some time anorther family came to swim as well, but no Gran Cenote or Ik-Kil atmosphere where it was also beautiful but simply too crowded. Needless to say this cenote was our absolute favorite?!

The entrance fee is 170 MXN, this includes a lifejacket.

Day 24: Valladolid to Isla Holbox

Today we leave for our last stop on this trip: isla Holbox. There is only one place to take the ferry and that is Chiquila. Isla Holbox prohibits cars from non-residents. So you have to leave your car in one of the many parking lots. Prices are about the same everywhere: around 100 MXN per day, you can negotiate about this. A ferry leaves every half hour, booking in advance is not necessary. The crossing costs 150 MXN per person. From the arrival pier you can walk or take a golf cart to your hotel. The vibe is clear from the moment you set foot off the boat: this is paradise!

isla holbox
isla holbox
isla holbox

Day 25: Isla Holbox

Fine activities on the island:
You can do whale shark excursions from here as on Isla Mujeres. These are a bit more expensive here and you have to sail about an hour longer. So not very interesting. However, interesting are the bioluminescence excursions. But you don't really need to book an excursion for this. During the summer months you can see this phenomenon just on the coast in places where it is very dark.

You can rent bikes at your hotel for a small price. The island is 40 km long, so a bike is handy if you want to visit the paradise beaches of Punta Coco or the other end of the island, where you can also spot flamingos and turtles if you are lucky. You can still take excursions to nearby islands. But we had enough with Isla Holbox and the beautiful beaches here, where you can walk for miles through the warm crystal clear shallow water.

You'll find plenty of restaurants in the center. I don't think you can make a wrong choice here. Everywhere we stepped in, the food was delicious, the quality was good and the prices were average. 

isla holbox sunset
isla holbox
isla holbox restaurant
isla holbox food
isla holbox restaurant

Day 26: Isla Holbox to Cancun

Time to take the ferry back to the mainland and drive back to Cancun. We spend the night at an airport hotel because we have an early flight tomorrow and we want to have enough time to return our rental car. That turned out to be the right choice. Sometime during the trip it turned out that our spare tire was stolen, which caused some discussion and in the end we had to pay for the tire. 

Day 27-28: Flight from Cancun to Düsseldorf

We fly from Cancun to Philadelphia, from here to London and a short flight to Düsseldorf to end this trip!

Hi! We are Bart, Kris, Lore and Ruben. We are a family of 5, yes, we also have a dog named Spike.

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