Since we moved to Mexico last year, Luke and I have been drawn back to the Yucatan again and again. The beaches are absolutely amazing, the culture, the history, and the food are all unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Two weeks is a great amount of time to explore the region.
Two Week Mexico Itinerary
Getting to and From the Yucatan
Cancun is where I recommend flying into. It’s really well set up for tourists and you can grab yourself an inexpensive rental car.
There is also an airport in Merida. I recommend that if you want to start your itinerary in Merida and you’re flying in internationally, it will be cheaper and easier to fly to Cancun and connect with a local airline like Volaris or Viva Aerobus to get to Merida.
Whenever I book flights into and out of Mexico (or internally for that matter), I always start with Skyscanner. Round trip flights from New York usually cost about $300. JetBlue and Aeromexico are my favorite airlines to use for this trip because you get a snack.
If you’re coming from the UK, Thomas Cook offers really reasonable flights from Manchester to Cancun, but they only go once a week (usually on Sundays), so you’ll have to check to see if that works out with your schedule.
Getting Around the Yucatan
I highly recommend renting a car. It will save you tons of time and allow you to see a lot more in the two weeks that you are in Mexico.
I rented a car from Cancun Airport through Expedia and got it for less than $10 a day. Driving in this part of the country is incredibly easy and straightforward. There are a few toll fees that can add up, but the convenience of having a car makes it mostly worthwhile.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving in Mexico, you can still easily and affordably get around the Yucatan using the bus company ADO. Pretty much everywhere on this itinerary is accessible by ADO bus. You can usually just show up on the day and buy a ticket on the next available bus.
If you would prefer, you can get the ADO App for your phone and book your tickets in advance. The app accepts international cards (the website can sometimes be fickle about that). If you book more than 24 hours in advance you can sometimes receive a discounted price.
Uber DOES exist in this region. Do not let taxi drivers in Cancun try and tell you otherwise. It’s especially helpful to get around Merida and is much cheaper and more convenient than using a local taxi.
Cancun – 2 Days
I think Cancun gets a bad rap. People think it’s all about the all-inclusive resorts and that there’s not much else to it. Last year, I thought the same thing. I was happy to avoid it at all costs. Until I decided to spend a couple of days there.
We stayed in an AirBnB place outside of the hotel zone and explored the street food, the restaurants in the city center, and the public beaches that the locals go to. I had an amazing three days and I would definitely recommend Cancun as a place to stop off at either end of your trip. Even if it’s just for the fish tacos.
Isla Mujeres – 3-4 Days
This is such an easy place to get to from Cancun and if you want to leave Cancun off the itinerary, you could easily head here straight from the airport. Take a taxi to the Gran Puerto ferry terminal where ferries head to the island every 30 minutes. It only takes 15 minutes and you’ll be in paradise.
Isla Mujeres is a more laid back version of Cancun. It’s still pretty touristy, but there are pockets of solitude and absolutely beautiful beaches with plenty of beachside bars to keep you hydrated. I loved my time in Mujeres and you could easily make this place your entire trip.
There are tons of things to do here and you can either rent a golf cart or use the taxis to get around. There is a turtle sanctuary, a beautiful coral reef park to snorkel in, and plenty of beaches to relax on. Be sure to indulge in the seafood, too.
Tulum – FOREVER (JK, 3-4 Days)
Tulum is BY FAR my favorite place in all of the Yucatan and if you only have two weeks in Mexico, you need to add this to your itinerary. If you only wanted to go to one place for your two weeks in Mexico, I would tell you to do that in Tulum.
Seriously, it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. It seamlessly mixes upscale chic boutiques with beers on the beach. There’s history, amazing food, crazy good weather, awesome beaches, fun and lively bars, all while still being a pretty quiet place that hasn’t succumb to tatty souvenir shops (yet).
Merida – 3 Days
The journey from Tulum to Merida will have you heading away from the coast and across the middle of the peninsula. It shouldn’t take much more than three hours if you’re in a rental car, but if you’re road tripping by ADO bus, it may take slightly longer.
There is a lot to see and do and eat in Merida. It’s a good place to base yourself if you want to explore the beaches to the north. Progresso beach is really fun and the seafood there is spectacular.
If you want to see Chichen Itza, it’s an easy day trip from Merida and you can come back and enjoy incredible Yucatan food each night.
There are really cool cenotes in the area and you definitely have to head to a few cantinas (La Negrita is my favorite).
I recommend spending between three and four days in Merida (including one day for Chichen Itza).
Chichen Itza – 1 Day
A trip to the Yucatan couldn’t possibly be complete without a stop at Chichen Itza. It’s the third largest pyramid in the entire world and was one of the most sacred Mayan sites.
It’s completely fascinating and really easy to do on your own if you have a rental car. If you don’t have a rental car, I recommend going on a tour because the bus from Merida is only twice a day in each direction and you don’t want to end up stranded or having to take an overpriced taxi back to the city.
Give yourself at least three hours to explore. There is so much to see and read about. Bring plenty of sunscreen and don’t forget a hat!
Rio Lagartos – 1 Day
This is a really easy stop on the way from Merida to Cancun and I highly recommend it.
From the town of Rio Lagartos you can get a boat out onto the estuary to hang out with crocodiles and flamingos and see the famed pink lakes of this region (just make sure to you time it right, they’re not always pink!).
A boat tour should cost 1,000 pesos (about $50) and up to six people are included in that price. Some of the tour operators speak English, but they’ll charge more for that luxury.
Other Options for Two Weeks in Mexico
If you want to totally skip over Cancun or you’re looking to spend more time at the beach and less time in cities like Merida, then there are some other spots along the coast that are equally as enjoyable that you might want to add to your Mexico itinerary.
Playa del Carmen
I wish I had a better time in Playa del Carmen because it’s such a cool spot. I made a lot of mistakes, booked a place that was too far away from the beach, and didn’t give myself enough time here to explore the town.
It’s pretty touristy and doesn’t really need more than two days if you plan on adding it to your two week Mexico itinerary, but the beach is really beautiful. The water is an even crazier shade of blue than Cancun and it breaks up the journey between Cancun and Tulum.
This is the perfect place to end your two week Mexico trip. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how I didn’t totally love Isla Holbox.
Now that I’ve had time to think more about my trip to the Yucatan and why I didn’t totally love Isla Holbox, I realize it’s because I had such crazy expectations for what it was going to be like.
Isla Holbox is stunning. The water is incredible, the town is small and has a great laid-back beach vibe. If you’re looking for an escape and totally amazing beach time, you should definitely add Holbox to your itinerary.
Read my post about the best hotels in Isla Holbox for all budgets to help you plan your adventure (you DEFINITELY need to book in advance for this island!).
This is the one place in the Yucatan that I haven’t been and I am dying to go! It’s a small beach town right on the edge of the Mexico-Belize border. There are some Mayan ruins in the region as well as it just being a super laid-back beach town.
If you’ve ever been let me know what you thought about it in the comments!
If you are into scuba diving this is an awesome place to go to explore one of the most well-preserved reefs in Mexico. If you want to go on a dive trip to this reef you’ll have to base yourself in Mahahual.
The beach in Mahahual is crazy beautiful and the town itself caters to bringing divers out to Banco Chinchorro. If you want to dive here be prepared for 30m descents to the reefs and shipwrecks that surround it.
Definitely book in advance with a dive school and hotel so that they can help you get down to this tiny little town. It’s about a four-hour drive from Cancun.
Things to Remember Before You Go
Get Your Travel Insurance
As always, grab yourself some travel insurance before heading south of the border. It not only protects your body if something goes wrong, it protects your stuff. I’ve been using World Nomads for seven years and think that they are by far the best travel insurance out there.
Book your Hotel or AirBnB in Advance
The Yucatan isn’t really the sort of place where you want to just show up without a booking. Especially during high season. I always check AirBnB first and have had great experiences using it around Mexico. If you’ve never used AirBnB before, sign up through this link to get $30 off your first booking.
If you prefer hotels, booking.com has a huge selection of hotels throughout the Yucatan and I’ve found that they usually offer the best price.
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Ever been to Mexico? What are your favorite places in the Yucatan? Share your love for this amazing region in the comments!
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