Are you thinking of visiting Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula soon and wondering where to stay? You’ve come to the right guide!
I’m a travel blogger that lives in Playa del Carmen and have spent the last few years slowly traveling around the Yucatan peninsula getting to see its beautiful landscapes, historic sites, and natural attractions.
So I can safely say that when it comes to deciding where to stay in the Yucatan Peninsula, there are endless possibilities!
You could choose a town that’s rich in history, a beautiful beach destination, or opt for a more remote location with fewer tourists.
No matter what your preference is, I’ve got you covered with my list of the 13 best towns in Yucatan and some of the top hotels and activities in each one.
Read on to find out where to stay in Yucatan Mexico.
Where to Stay in Yucatan: Best Towns & Hotels
Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula is actually made up of 3 different states–Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche.
The most popular tourist destinations can be found in Yucatan and Quintana Roo states, which I’ll cover in this post.
Here are the top towns and best places to stay in the Yucatan peninsula:
1. MERIDA: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for Culture
If you want to be in the heart of the Yucatan, there’s no better place to stay than Merida–the capital city of Yucatan state.
A charming colonial city with a rich culture, Merida is the perfect destination if you want to experience all that the Yucatan peninsula has to offer.
While Merida has no beaches, it makes a great central hub for exploring many nearby cities and attractions such as the Uxmal Mayan Ruins and the yellow city of Izamal, as well as the beach towns of Progreso, Celestun, and Sisal.
Some of the top attractions in Merida Mexico include Plaza Grande, the Palacio Municipal, the Merida Cathedral, and Paseo de Montejo–all boasting colorful colonial architecture. And of course, there’s plenty of shopping and dining options in Merida as well.
Where to Stay in Merida
If you’re wondering where to stay in Merida Yucatan, consider the following options:
Diez Diez Collection is a luxury boutique hotel featuring contemporary leather, wood, steel, and concrete materials throughout the property–a contrast to Merida’s traditionally colonial style.
Guests can also enjoy its trendy rooftop seating area and a shallow wading pool and hot tub. Plus, its central location along the Paseo de Montejo means you’ll be able to easily explore all that Merida has to offer.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Diez Diez Collection
The Diplomat Boutique Hotel offers a hip and modern atmosphere within walking distance to historic monuments, cathedrals, and parks.
The rooms are modern but still have Mexican touches like mosaic tiles, woven hammocks, and wrought iron bed frames.
Plus, this Merida hotel boasts a beautiful courtyard with colonial style arches and a small swimming pool.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at The Diplomat Boutique Hotel
Located in the Centro Historico neighborhood in the heart of Merida, the Ya’ax Hotel Boutique puts you close to all the action.
And, the 11 luxurious rooms with warm rustic accents ensure that you’ll have a comfortable stay. Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s restaurant and bar, outdoor swimming pool, and on-site spa.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Ya’ax Hotel Boutique
Best Things to Do in Merida
Here are a few of the best things to do in Merida:
✅ Go on a street food walking tour of Merida
Take a 3-hour street food walking tour of Merida where you can sample local Yucatecan specialities such as cochinita pibil, panuchos, empanadas, and tamales. Plus, you’ll get to visit Merida’s main market and learn from a local food expert.
👉 Book the best Merida street food walking tour by clicking here!
✅ Take a day trip to Izamal – the “Yellow City”
Explore the “Magic Town” of Izamal on a private tour from Merida where you can admire the town’s saffron-painted buildings as you learn about its history and culture. You’ll also get to see some of Izamal’s most famous landmarks by horse-drawn carriage.
👉 Book the best Izamal day trip by clicking here!
✅ Tour a traditional Mexican hacienda and the Uxmal Mayan Ruins
On this day trip from Merida to Hacienda Yaxcopoil and the Mayan city of Uxmal, learn about the agricultural significance of the region at a traditional Mexican hacienda before continuing to a different era in Mexican history as you admire Uxmal’s Mayan ruins.
👉 Book the hacienda visit and Uxmal Mayan Ruins tour by clicking here!
2. VALLADOLID: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for Mayan Ruins & Cenotes
A trip to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula wouldn’t be complete without visiting some Mayan ruins and ancient cenotes!
With its close proximity to both impressive ruins and magnificent cenotes, the colonial town of Valladolid is one of the best places in Yucatan for getting to experience them.
Valladolid is located just minutes from the ancient archaeological site of Chichen Itza, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and even one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World. It’s also situated near Ek Balam, another important ruins site.
But the real highlight of Valladolid is its impressive cenotes–there are hundreds of cenotes in the area and they are honestly out-of-this-world!
Be sure to check out Ik Kil Cenote, Cenote Zaci, and Cenote Suytun–some of the most instagrammable cenotes in the Yucatan.
Plus, the town itself is quite charming with colonial-style architecture, cobblestone streets, and a quaint town square centered around a beautiful cathedral.
And there are plenty of boutique hotels and restaurants available, as well as interesting things to see and do.
Where to Stay in Valladolid
If you’re wondering where to stay in Valladolid, consider the following options:
Le Muuch Hotel Boutique is a stylish and comfortable hotel in the heart of Valladolid. The rooms are spacious and elegant, with interesting decor that gives the hotel a European vibe.
But you’ll still get a taste of Mexico thanks to the colorful courtyard and swimming pool with an overwater hammock. Plus, the location is great–it’s right in the center of town so you can easily walk to all the best attractions.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Le Muuch Hotel Boutique
Hotel Posada San Juan is a contemporary colonial-style boutique hotel that is an oasis in the center of Valladolid.
The hotel has a beautiful courtyard with a small pool and comfortable rooms with brightly colored accents.
The guest rooms have hammocks and there are also hammocks all over the property for guests to relax and enjoy beautiful garden views.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel Posada San Juan
Hotel Zentik Project & Saline Cave is a magical property that is home to a one-of-a-kind 24-hour hot salt cave.
The cave is said to have healing properties, and guests can spend hours relaxing in its warm waters. There’s also a beautiful swimming pool on site, surrounded by hammocks for lounging.
The guest rooms at Hotel Zentik are just as colorful and unique as the rest of the property with brightly colored wall murals from local and international artists.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel Zentik Project & Saline Cave
Best Things to Do in Valladolid
Here are a few of the best things to do in Valladolid:
✅ Visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza
The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza is by far one of the best places to visit in the Yucatan peninsula! The ruins can be visited fairly easily on your own or you can opt for a guided tour for a hassle free experience and local guide.
At the archeological site, you’ll get to see many impressive pyramids and structures that remain, including the main Kulkucan pyramid, the Observatory, the Temple of Warriors, and the Ball Court.
👉 Book the best Chichen Itza tour from Valladolid by clicking here!
✅ Visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Ek Balam
The Ek Balam ruins feature pyramids even taller than Chichen Itza as well as some of the world’s best-preserved stucco carvings.
On this small-group tour, explore the ancient ruins of Ek Balam and learn about Mayan culture before finishing with a cenote swim.
👉 Book the best Ek Balam tour from Valladolid by clicking here!
✅ Visit Suytun Cenote
Cenote Suytun is one of the most instagrammable cenotes in Mexico with its iconic standing platform directly centered below rays of beaming light.
This small group cenotes tour is one of the best ways to see Suytun, taking you to 3 impressive cenotes in a fun vintage buggy.
👉 Book the best Suytun Cenote tour by clicking here!
3. HOLBOX: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for Beach Lovers
For beach lovers looking for a quiet getaway, Holbox is one of the best beach towns in Yucatan, which can be reached by taking a short ferry ride from the town of Chiquila.
At just 26 miles long, Holbox (pronounced “Hole-bosh”) is a tiny island with a laid-back tropical vibe. With sandy dirt roads and golf cart transportation, you won’t find any cars in this less-developed beach town in Yucatan.
With some of the best beaches in Yucatan, the island’s main allure is its widespread sandy beaches and calm shallow waters.
The beaches in Isla Holbox are unbelievably beautiful and you can easily spend the whole day swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing on beach loungers.
And the best thing about Holbox is that it rarely gets hit with the seaweed that often shows up on other beaches in Riviera Maya. Plus, the town has several fun restaurants, bars, and tropical cafes within walking distance.
Where to Stay in Holbox
If you’re wondering where to stay in Holbox, consider the following options:
This dreamy boutique hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Holbox with its beautiful rustic decor and incredible beachfront area.
Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s beautiful courtyard pool, spa, boutique, and top-rated restaurant.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Casa Las Tortugas
Villas HM Paraiso del Mar is a mid-range hotel with a great central location and cute Mexican-style palapas.
Along with being on the best strip of beachfront, the hotel also offers a swimming pool and on-site restaurant.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Villas HM Paraiso del Mar
Aldea Kuka offers the ultimate luxury experience in Holbox with its thatched-roof private bungalows.
This luxury adults-only eco hotel is located right on the beachfront in Holbox with a trendy outdoor swimming pool, 2 restaurants, and fitness center for guests to enjoy.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Aldea Kuka
Best Things to Do in Holbox
Here are a few of the best things to do in Holbox:
✅ See the bioluminescence
One of the most unique activities in Holbox is viewing the bioluminescence, which is a night-time phenomenon caused by the phytoplankton lighting up under the water.
These nightly tours typically depart around 9:00pm and allow you to kayak or swim in the glowing water under the stars.
👉 Book the best Holbox bioluminescence tour by clicking here!
✅ Go swimming with whale sharks
Only available from May-September, swimming with whale sharks in Holbox is one of the most popular tours on the island.
On these snorkeling tours, you can get up close and personal and swim alongside these gentle giants.
👉 Book the best Holbox whale shark tour by clicking here!
✅ Go kayaking through the mangroves
Explore the mangrove swamps of Holbox Island during this morning kayaking tour. Led by a professional guide, you’ll get to paddle through the calm and shallow waters in search of wildlife such as flamingos, alligators, and coastal birds.
👉 Book the best Holbox kayaking tour by clicking here!
4. EL CUYO: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan to Unplug
If you’re looking to unplug and get away from it all, look no further than El Cuyo. This tiny beach town is located on the opposite edge of the peninsula and is far removed from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities in Yucatan.
In El Cuyo, you’ll find untouched Gulf of Mexico beaches, emerald waters, and a laid-back atmosphere that is one of the best places in Yucatan for relaxing and disconnecting from the world.
One of the best things about El Cuyo is that it’s still relatively undiscovered by tourists, so you can enjoy its natural beauty without hordes of people in your way.
And, since the town is so small, everything is within walking distance, including the beach, restaurants, and cafes.
Where to Stay in El Cuyo
If you’re wondering where to stay in El Cuyo, consider the following options:
LunArena is an Instagram-worthy boutique hotel fit for a cute beach escape with its airy and minimalistic design.
Each guest room has a private terrace or balcony with hammocks overlooking the garden or jungle, as well as a kitchen and sitting area.
The plunge pool, inviting common area with a restaurant and bar, and easy access to the beach is a plus as well!
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at LunArena Boutique Hotel
Set back behind the town center, Casa Cuyo features rustic and cozy guest rooms, some with balconies and hammocks that overlook wide open green space.
Plus, the upper terrace area is a great spot for outdoor dining, yoga lessons, and viewing the El Cuyo sunset.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Casa Cuyo
La Casa Cielo is a luxurious retreat right by the waterfront offering a chic and upscale retreat.
Outfitted with a private pavilion, rooftop lounge, on-site restaurant, and pool, it’s truly a slice of paradise on El Cuyo’s beautiful beachfront.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at La Casa Cielo
Best Things to Do in El Cuyo
Here are a few of the best things to do in El Cuyo:
✅ Relax at the beach
El Cuyo beaches are often empty with just a few other visitors, giving you the entire sea, sunrise, and sunset all to yourself.
While there are no beach clubs or amenities, being able to fully relax is a nice retreat from the hustle and bustle.
✅ Visit Las Coloradas – Mexico’s pink lakes
Less than 2 hours away from El Cuyo are Las Coloradas–Mexico’s incredible pink lakes, which makes for the perfect day trip.
At Las Coloradas, you can take a guided tour to learn what makes the lakes naturally pink and take endless photos of the bright pink phenomenon.
✅ Visit Rio Lagartos Nature Reserve
Near Las Coloradas you’ll also find Rio Lagartos, which is a protected nature reserve. The best way to see Rio Lagartos is on a boat tour, where you can see flamingos, crocodiles, and many different types of bird species.
5. CELESTUN: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for Flamingos
Celestun is a small beach town in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico that is home to the Celestun Nature Reserve where you can find large flocks of flamingos.
The flamingos can be seen by taking a boat tour of the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve, where you’ll also get to see mangroves, crocodiles, and other bird species. The best time of year to see the flamingos in Celestun is from November-March.
Celestun also has a nice beach, although not quite as picturesque as Riviera Maya beaches, but has far fewer crowds.
Where to Stay in Celestun
If you’re wondering where to stay in Celestun, consider the following options:
Playa 55 Beach Escape is an adults-only beachfront property with a private beach, outdoor swimming pool, and sun terrace.
Decorated with calming blue hues, accommodations feature a seating area and balconies with ocean views–perfect for watching the sunset.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Playa 55 Beach Escape
Located right on the beach, Castillito Kin Nah is an older style hotel with a great location on the outskirts of town.
Guests can enjoy the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool, direct oceanfront access, and kayaking right from the beach.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Castillito Kin Nah
Best Things to Do in Celestun
Here are a few of the best things to do in Celestun:
✅ Take a boat tour of the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve
A boat tour of the Ria Celestun Biosphere Reserve is a great way to see some of the amazing wildlife including flamingos, crocodiles, and other birds.
The reserve is also home to an incredible variety of plant life, so keep your eyes peeled for mangroves and lush vegetation.
👉 Book a Ria Celestun boat tour by clicking here!
✅ Relax at the beach
While the beaches in Celestun are less picturesque than those in the Mayan Riviera, they’re still beautiful and pristine. Plus, a day at the beach will be much more relaxing with far fewer crowds.
✅ Walk around the town square
While in Celestun, you can also walk around the town’s main square, which is home to a church and some small shops.
While walking around, take some time to enjoy some treats from local street vendors or check out some of the town’s seafood restaurants.
6. CANCUN: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for Nightlife
Cancun is one of Mexico’s original beach destinations on the Caribbean coast that has allured travelers for decades with its white sand beaches and bright turquoise waters.
But Cancun is also world-renowned for its nightlife and the best place to stay in the Yucatan if you want to party.
With many swanky nightclubs, bars with live music, and rowdy beach clubs, Cancun’s famous Hotel Zone is the perfect party destination.
But even if you don’t like to party, there are plenty of relaxing all inclusive hotels and resorts in Cancun that offer beautiful beach front areas, large resort pools, and unlimited food and drink.
Where to Stay in Cancun
If you’re wondering where to stay in Cancun, consider the following options:
Located on a beautiful strip of beachfront, Hyatt Ziva offers a relaxing beachfront escape while still close enough to the liveliness of Cancun’s Hotel Zone.
At this all inclusive luxury resort, guests can enjoy 2 swimming pools and beach cabanas, as well as fun activities such as tequila tastings, theater shows, water sports, and a microbrewery.
Plus, guest rooms feature spa bathrooms with rain showers, soaking tubs, bath robes, and slippers. And an oceanfront spa with massages, body treatments, and hydrotherapy is also available.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hyatt Ziva Cancun
Atelier Playa Mujeres is one of Cancun’s newest adults-only all inclusive resorts in Costa Mujeres–a new stretch of beachfront hotels just north of Cancun.
An all suites resort, the hotel’s contemporary design is inspired by art with its marble and wood accents and luxury guest room amenities.
Plus, guests will never run out of a great place to eat at the hotel’s 24 restaurants and bars.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Atelier Playa Mujeres
Voted by Travel + Leisure as one of the best resorts in Mexico, the luxurious Nizuc Resort & Spa is located on a 29-acre property featuring 274 suites and private villas.
Some guest rooms have private pools, spacious terraces, lush tropical gardens, and free-standing soaking tubs.
And guests can enjoy a private beach, numerous infinity pools, 6 on-site restaurants and bars, and a luxury spa.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Nizuc Resort & Spa
Best Things to Do in Cancun
Here are a few of the best things to do in Cancun:
✅ See the famous Coco Bongo Show & Disco
Advertised as a Las Vegas-style production, Coco Bongo is an all-you-can-drink show and nightclub that’s actually a lot of fun!
The Coco Bongo Mexico experience is a 4-hour long pop culture inspired production featuring giant screens, acrobats, confetti explosions, celebrity impersonators, and tribute singers.
👉 Book Coco Bongo Cancun tickets by clicking here!
✅ Go snorkeling at an underwater sculpture museum
Located near Isla Mujeres, the MUSA Underwater Museum offers visitors the chance to snorkel and scuba dive at a man-made underwater sculpture park.
👉 Book a MUSA snorkeling tour by clicking here!
✅ Visit Xavage adventure park
As Xcaret’s newest adventure park, Xavage Park offers a variety of intense and adrenaline pumping activities such as a ropes course, ziplining, monster trucks, high speed jet boat, and white water rafting.
👉 Book Xavage tickets on the official website by clicking here!
7. ISLA MUJERES: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for an Island Getaway
Isla Mujeres, meaning “Island of Women” in Spanish, is located just off the coast of Cancun and is the perfect place for a picturesque island getaway.
With crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and tropical palm trees, Isla Mujeres is a natural paradise.
There are plenty of gorgeous beaches, charming restaurants and shops, and fun island activities like snorkeling, diving, and boat tours. And the best part is that it’s not as crowded as some of the other popular tourist destinations in Mexico.
The island’s main highlight is Playa Norte (North Beach), which is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Aside from its lively beach clubs, Playa Norte is also a popular anchoring spot for catamarans and luxury yachts.
Where to Stay in Isla Mujeres
If you’re wondering where to stay in Isla Mujeres, consider the following options:
🏩 Check out my full Isla Mujeres hotel guide for even more hotel recommendations!
Hotel Privilege Aluxes Isla Mujeres is a luxury adults-only beachfront resort located steps away from Playa Norte and offers two outdoor swimming pools, Mystique Spa, and four restaurants on site.
Accommodations are modern and sleek with calming blue hues, and guest rooms also feature large bathrooms with tubs and walk-in showers. And for the ultimate in luxury, book a suite with its own private hot tub.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Privilege Aluxes
Located at the end of the famous Playa Norte, Mia Reef Isla Mujeres is connected to the island by a short dock, making it feel like a private island.
Considered one of the best all inclusive resorts in Isla Mujeres, Mia Reef offers ocean view guest rooms and suites, as well as a swimming pool with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Mia Reef Isla Mujeres
Hotel Belo Isla Mujeres is a beautiful hotel and beachfront property located on the west side of the island with modern and stylish accommodations.
More quiet and peaceful than Playa Norte, it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy all that Isla Mujeres has to offer.
The hotel also offers two swimming pools–an oceanfront pool overlooking the small beach and a rooftop infinity pool with large lounge beds in the water.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel Belo Isla Mujeres
Best Things to Do in Isla Mujeres
Here are a few of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres:
✅ Relax at Playa Norte
Playa Norte (North Beach) is the most popular beach on the island and the perfect place for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing at beach clubs.
With bright turquoise water, it’s considered to be one of the best beaches in the world!
✅ Go on a catamaran sail
One of the best ways to see Isla Mujeres is from the water on a catamaran sail, where you’ll have the opportunity to relax on deck, swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, and explore Isla Mujeres’ many amazing beaches.
👉 Book the best Isla Mujeres catamaran tour by clicking here!
✅ Explore Punta Sur
Punta Sur is the southern tip of Isla Mujeres, and is home to a beautiful lighthouse, sculpture park, restaurants and shops, and breathtaking views.
With a small entrance fee, it is essentially an island landmark and one of the best places to visit in Isla Mujeres.
8. RIVIERA MAYA: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for Families
With so many family-friendly resorts to choose from, Riviera Maya is one of the best places in the Yucatan peninsula for families.
While not technically a town, the Riviera Maya is the name of the coastal resort region that spans from Cancun all the way down to Tulum.
This area offers plenty of family-friendly all inclusive resorts, as well as activities and attractions that everyone in the family can enjoy.
Many of the major resorts offer robust kids clubs and programs, fun crafts and activities, game centers, and water parks for kids to enjoy.
And the Riviera Maya is not just for families–there are plenty of luxurious adults-only hotels and resorts in the region where adults can enjoy unlimited food and drink, expansive pools, and widespread beachfronts.
Where to Stay in Riviera Maya
If you’re wondering where to stay in Riviera Maya, consider the following options:
As a 5-diamond all-inclusive resort, Hotel Xcaret offers the ultimate luxury experience where guests can enjoy glass infinity pools and standup paddleboarding, as well as rivers, inlets, and unique beach areas.
The hotel’s biggest perk is that they have an “All-Fun Inclusive” concept, meaning guests have unlimited access and roundtrip transportation to all of the Xcaret parks and tours.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel Xcaret Mexico
Hotel Unico 20°87° is a brand new adults only all inclusive resort offering luxurious amenities, trendy design elements, and stylish accommodations.
With three pools and a private beach, as well as an on-site spa and wellness center, it offers guests an elevated luxury experience.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel Unico 20°87°
Grand Velas Riviera Maya is a luxury all-inclusive resort located on a private beach featuring guest rooms and suites with private terraces, spa bathrooms with jacuzzi tubs, and some with private plunge pools.
This family-friendly 5-star resort also offers five signature restaurants, casual lounges, bars, beachfront bistros, and 24-hour suite service.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Best Things to Do in Riviera Maya
Here are a few of the best things to do in Riviera Maya:
✅ Explore Rio Secreto
Rio Secreto is a nature reserve and underground river system made up of a labyrinth of out-of-this-world stalactites and stalagmites.
At the Rio Secreto attraction, you can swim and trek through these underground caves, as well as go biking and rappelling.
👉 Book Rio Secreto tickets by clicking here!
✅ Swim with sea turtles in Akumal
Located halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Akumal is a small beach town where you can swim with sea turtles in their natural habitat directly off the beach.
Akumal Bay can be visited on your own or you can book a guided Akumal snorkeling tour for a hassle free experience and roundtrip transportation.
👉 Book the best Akumal snorkeling tour by clicking here!
✅ Visit an Xcaret adventure park
The Xcaret adventure parks in Riviera Maya offer a variety of adventure and water activities at 8 different adventure parks.
👉 Book your Xcaret tickets ahead of time by clicking here!
9. PLAYA DEL CARMEN: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for First Timers
With its laid-back tropical vibe and easy beach access, the town of Playa del Carmen is one of the best places to stay when visiting the Yucatan peninsula.
Playa del Carmen is centered around the lively 5th Avenue, which is a pedestrian-only street that spans for more than 20 blocks and where you’ll find the majority of the town’s restaurants, shops, and nightlife.
Playa del Carmen has a wide variety of beach resorts, hotels, and vacation rentals to choose from, making it perfect for any budget. Plus, the prices for restaurants and attractions are much more affordable.
It’s also a great location for first timers, as it’s close to all the major tourist attractions but also has a lot of nightlife and restaurants within walking distance.
Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen
If you’re wondering where to stay in Playa del Carmen, consider the following options:
🏩 Check out my full Playa del Carmen hotel guide for even more hotel recommendations!
With bungalow-style accommodations, private terraces, and personal hammocks, the Mahekal Beach Resort exudes a bohemian vibe and offers an authentically Mexican experience.
The resort also has multiple pools and restaurants, boutiques, and a full-service spa. And its beautifully landscaped grounds offer a serene tropical retreat while being still close enough to the liveliness of 5th Avenue.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Mahekal Beach Resort
As one of the newest and most modern hotels in Playa del Carmen, the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen has an impressive ocean view lobby, infinity pools, and canopy lounge beds directly on the beach.
Accommodations include oceanfront rooms with balconies and some suites even have private plunge pools.
With multiple restaurants and a unique Cenote Spa, it’s the best option if you’re looking for modern accommodations and luxury level service right in the heart of Playa del Carmen.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen
While not located on the beach, Hotel HM Playa del Carmen has a great central location in the heart of Playa del Carmen and just a few blocks from Fifth Avenue.
The hotel offers contemporary Mexican design, an impressive courtyard pool, and more affordable prices.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel HM Playa del Carmen
Best Things to Do in Playa del Carmen
Here are a few of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen:
✅ Take a stroll down the lively 5th Avenue
Walking down the lively 5th Avenue is one Playa del Carmen activity that shouldn’t be missed! This famous avenue is the main street in Playa del Carmen and home to countless restaurants, bars, and souvenir shopping.
Start your stroll at the beachfront Parque Fundadores (Founder’s Park) to see the native Papantla performers and then work your way down 5th Avenue from there.
✅ Hang out at a beach club
Playa del Carmen has many different beach clubs to choose from whether you’re looking for something relaxing or a place to party.
Head to one of the popular beach clubs for comfortable lounge chairs, beach umbrellas, and food and beverage service while enjoying Playa del Carmen’s beautiful beaches.
✅ Go on a street food crawl
A Playa del Carmen street food crawl is a fun way to try the best street food, local dishes, and food stalls while giving you the opportunity to meet new people in a relaxed environment.
On the walking tour, you’ll get to try many different local Mexican and Yucatan specialties, all hand picked by a local guide.
👉 Book the best Playa del Carmen street food crawl by clicking here!
10. COZUMEL: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for Snorkeling & Diving
Located just off the coast of Playa del Carmen, Cozumel is Mexico’s largest Caribbean island. With its incredible coral reefs, it’s the perfect place to stay for those who love snorkeling and diving.
The island has some of the best coral reefs in the world, and is a popular destination for both beginner and advanced scuba divers. In addition, there are plenty of stunning snorkeling spots and boat excursions around the island.
Cozumel also offers plenty of other fun activities, such as walking around the quaint San Miguel de Cozumel town square, souvenir shopping, adventure tours, and water sports.
And the island’s white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters make it one of the most popular destinations for beach and sun-seekers.
Where to Stay in Cozumel
If you’re wondering where to stay in Cozumel, consider the following options:
🏩 Check out my full Cozumel resort guide for even more hotel recommendations!
Situated on the oceanfront with its own private beach, Hotel B Unique Cozumel is the trendiest hotel in Cozumel. Guests can relax on the stylish outdoor deck with an infinity pool and bar directly facing the ocean.
Plus, the hotel has some of the most modern and contemporary accommodations in Cozumel, some rooms with spacious balconies with incredible sea views.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel B Unique Cozumel
Dreams Cozumel Cape is Cozumel’s newest luxury resort that opened in July 2022.
This all-inclusive, family-friendly resort features a private beach and swimming pool, 154 suites with balconies, and plenty of activities for guests of all ages to enjoy.
Guests can also enjoy unlimited reservation-free dining and top-shelf drinks at any of the restaurants and bars throughout the resort.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Dreams Cozumel Cape
Cozumel Palace Resort is a luxurious oceanfront Cozumel all inclusive resort that offers a luxury experience for families, couples, and diving enthusiasts.
Accommodations at Cozumel Palace feature 24-hour room service, in-room double whirlpool tubs, and CHI bath products. Not to mention in-room liquor dispensers with top-shelf liquors!
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Cozumel Palace
Best Things to Do in Cozumel
Here are a few of the best things to do in Cozumel:
✅ Go on a snorkeling tour to El Cielo
A popular snorkeling spot, El Cielo is a shallow sandbar known for its unbelievably crystal clear water and abundance of giant starfish.
On the El Cielo tour, you’ll get to visit El Cielo, as well as snorkel at the famous Palancar and Columbia Reefs.
👉 Book the best El Cielo snorkeling tour by clicking here!
✅ Rent a jeep and cruise around the island
Driving a jeep in Cozumel is the perfect way to explore the island. You can either rent a jeep on your own from the ferry terminal or book a fun jeep tour led by professional guides.
You’ll then be able to cruise around the island at leisure and get to see some of the more secluded beaches and jungle landscapes on the less developed eastern side of Cozumel.
👉 Book the best Cozumel jeep tour by clicking here!
✅ Visit Punta Sur Eco-Park
Marking the southern point of Cozumel, the Punta Sur Ecological Park spans a whopping 247 acres of pristine beaches, natural lagoons, coral reefs, and low forest eco-systems.
With activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding, and even a small history museum, there’s plenty to do and see at this popular Cozumel eco-park.
👉 Book the best Punta Sur tour by clicking here!
11. TULUM: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for Adults
Tulum is a beautiful beach destination located on the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico. It’s well-known for its eco-chic bohemian vibe, and attracts many spiritual seekers and luxury travelers.
While it’s not the most family friendly destination, it’s one of the best places to visit in Yucatan for adults looking to enjoy a relaxed vacation with plenty of sunshine and incredible untouched beaches.
Tulum is also known for its party scene with its beachfront music festivals and high-end full moon parties, making Tulum the perfect choice for an adult getaway for couples or groups of friends.
But even if you’re not into the party scene, there is much to be enjoyed in Tulum with its jungle restaurants, designer boutiques, tropical cafes and its close proximity to ancient Mayan ruins and beautiful cenotes.
Where to Stay in Tulum
If you’re wondering where to stay in Tulum, consider the following options:
🏩 Check out my full Tulum hotel guide for even more hotel recommendations!
Papaya Playa Project is your quintessential Tulum hotel with casitas, beachfront villas, and cabanas that blend right into the jungle.
With over 70 guest rooms, the hotel offers a “barefoot luxury” experience featuring accommodations with ocean views and private pools.
The hotel also offers weekly wellness programs such as yoga, meditative concerts, ecstatic movement, and curated menus.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Papaya Playa Project
📍 Be Tulum
Overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Be Tulum is an airy, exotic boutique hotel offering minimalist, eco-chic suites. The rooms feature furnished terraces, and upgraded suites have sea views and private pools.
Dining options include three on-site restaurants and a rustic beach bar. Plus, guests can enjoy an outdoor swimming pool and private beach area, as well as a spa offering yoga, meditation, and spa treatments.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Be Tulum
Located in the downtown area of Tulum, Hotel Bardo is a new adults only hotel that offers 30 loft-style villa accommodations with private plunge pools, dining areas, and pillowtop beds.
The hotel also features a restaurant, outdoor pool, and full-service spa offering deep tissue and hot stone massages.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel Bardo
Best Things to Do in Tulum
Here are a few of the best things to do in Tulum:
✅ Visit the Tulum Ruins
The only beachfront Mayan Ruins in the state of Quintana Roo, the Tulum Ruins offer visitors a glimpse into the region’s ancient history and spectacular seaside views.
👉 Book the best Tulum Ruins tour by clicking here!
✅ Visit Dos Ojos Cenote
Meaning “Two Eyes,” Dos Ojos Cenote is one of the most popular day trips from Tulum featuring two twin cenotes next to each other with stunning blue water and natural cave formations.
Located about 25 minutes north of Tulum’s city center, Dos Ojos is situated in a more commercialized cenote park, which includes a restaurant and amenities.
👉 Book a Dos Ojos Cenote tour by clicking here!
✅ Visit Kaan Luum Lagoon
Kaan Luum Lagoon (“Laguna Kaan Luum” in Spanish) is a secret swimming hole and natural attraction located just south of Tulum with a deep cenote in the center leaving a sharp contrast in the color of the water.
While at the lagoon, visitors can sunbathe on a wooden pier, swim in the shallow waters, or participate in more adventurous activities like kayaking or paddleboarding.
👉 Book the best Kaan Luum Lagoon paddleboarding tour by clicking here!
12. MAHAHUAL: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for Budget Travelers
Mahahual is a small town located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, about 3.5 hours south of Playa del Carmen.
Best known as a cruise-ship destination, Mahahual is an up-and-coming beach town that is still not that well-known.
This makes it a great beach destination for budget travelers, as there are plenty of affordable Mahahual hotels and restaurants.
Mahahual is also a great spot for snorkeling and diving, as there are many coral reefs and marine life in the waters not far off the shore. And the town’s cute and colorful beachfront malecón (boardwalk) is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll.
Where to Stay in Mahahual
If you’re wondering where to stay in Mahahual, consider the following options:
🏩 Check out my full Mahahual hotel guide for even more hotel recommendations!
As one of the newest hotels in Mahahual, Hotel Noah offers modern accommodations and the best beachfront area in Mahahual.
With complimentary beach beds, large hammocks, and cushioned loungers facing clear blue Caribbean waters and shady palm trees, the beachfront area is dreamy!
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel Noah Mahahual
The Aquastar Boutique Hotel is a newer beachfront hotel in Mahahual, offering travelers a more modern experience. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and bar and an outdoor swimming pool, as well as a garden and sun terrace.
All rooms at the Hotel Aquastar Mahahual are equipped with flat-screen TVs and air conditioning, and certain rooms also have balconies with ocean views.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Aquastar Boutique Hotel
Set on the quieter end of Mahahual, 40 Cañones (40 Cannons) is a boutique beachfront hotel offering guests a private white-sand beach area with comfortable lounge beds and shaded canopies.
Accommodations at 40 Cañones are clean and bright with charming details such as unique hanging beds and rustic decor. In addition, they offer à la carte breakfast every morning as well as all day dining at the hotel’s on-site restaurant.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at 40 Cañones
Best Things to Do in Mahahual
Here are a few of the best things to do in Mahahual:
✅ Relax at a beach club
As a beautiful beach destination, one of the best things to do in Mahahual is to simply relax at the beach!
Visitors can enjoy comfortable lounge beds at the many hotels and beach clubs where you can spend the day lounging in the sun or under shady palm trees.
✅ Go snorkeling or scuba diving
With impressive coral reefs not far off the shore, Mahahual is a great destination for snorkeling or scuba diving.
The water is crystal clear and there are many different types of marine life to see like colorful corals, tropical fish, and sea turtles.
👉 Book a Mahahual snorkeling tour by clicking here!
✅ Visit the Mahahual Lighthouse
Located at the start of the malecón, the Mahahual lighthouse is the town’s signature landmark and is perfect for snapping a few shots in front of the colorful Mahahual letters.
13. BACALAR: Best Place to Stay in Yucatan for Nature Lovers
If you’re looking for an idyllic nature getaway, look no further than Bacalar–one of the most unique places to stay in Mexico. This stunning natural lagoon is the perfect place to relax and soak up the natural beauty of the Yucatan.
With its striking turquoise blue water and overwater docks and structures, Bacalar Lagoon is often referred to as the “Maldives of Mexico”.
And it has even received an official designation as one of Mexico’s “pueblo magicos” (magic towns), given to towns that are particularly special or charming.
There are plenty of fun things to do in Bacalar, including boat tours, swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Where to Stay in Bacalar
If you’re wondering where to stay in Bacalar, consider the following options:
🏩 Check out my full Bacalar hotel guide for even more hotel recommendations!
As a new luxury property from the Habitas collection, Habitas Bacalar is a 5-star hotel and high-end lagoon front jungle oasis.
With unique A-frame tented rooms, guests are treated to luxury amenities with a holistic focus on wellness and restoration.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Habitas Bacalar
This slightly more upscale lagoon-front property is bright and cute featuring thatched-roof bungalow-style accommodations with vaulted ceilings, hammocks, and some rooms with private pools.
Guests can also enjoy an enticing outdoor swimming pool and lawn overlooking the lagoon.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel CasaBakal
Hotel Aires is a Bacalar hotel with modern and trendy hotel rooms at an affordable price and conveniently located in the center of town near some great Bacalar restaurants.
The hotel’s guest rooms are boho-chic and some have private balconies, hammocks, and lagoon views.
Plus, the hotel offers a beautiful outdoor swimming pool and hot tub in what feels like a jungle oasis, as well as free continental breakfast included in the room rate.
👉 Click here to check rates and availability at Hotel Aires Bacalar
Best Things to Do in Bacalar
Here are a few of the best things to do in Bacalar:
✅ Go on a boat tour of the lagoon
Going on a boat tour of the lagoon is pretty much the top thing to do in Bacalar, taking you to all the most popular sites around the lagoon including the famous “Canal de los Piratas” (Pirates’ Channel).
👉 Book the best Bacalar boat tour by clicking here!
✅ Float down Los Rapidos Bacalar
Los Rapidos is a restaurant and fun excursion where you can leisurely float down the rapid canals of the lagoon.
✅ Tour the San Felipe Fort
Originally built to prevent pirate attacks, the San Felipe Fort is now a popular tourist attraction where you can learn about the history of Bacalar at the fort’s museum overlooking the lagoon.
Best Places to Stay in Yucatan Map
Here are all of these Yucatan destinations conveniently pinned to a map for easy trip planning. When figuring out where to go in Yucatan, use this as a tool to map out your Yucatan itinerary!
Visiting Yucatan, Mexico: FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Yucatan:
How many days do you need in Yucatan?
Deciding how many days to stay in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula depends on whether you want to stay in one place or travel to multiple cities.
If you choose a beach destination, you can stay anywhere from 3-7 days for a relaxing vacation lounging by the pool, beach, or participating in various tours and activities.
If you plan to travel to multiple cities in the Yucatan peninsula, then I would recommend 1-2+ weeks to really experience everything the area has to offer. With so many ruins, cenotes, and water activities there are endless things to see and do!
How do you get around the Yucatan?
If you plan on spending extensive time exploring the Yucatan, the best way to get around is by driving or renting a car.
A rental car gives you the freedom to explore these destinations at your own pace and the region’s highways are pretty easy to navigate.
If you don’t want to rent a car, these towns can also be reached by taking the ADO bus or in some places colectivos (shared vans) are available.
👉 For a hassle-free experience, book your car through my favorite rental service Discover Cars by clicking here!
Where is the best place to stay to see the Mayan ruins?
There are so many Mayan ruins in the Yucatan peninsula that no matter where you choose to stay, you will likely be within a short drive of an archaeological site.
But if you’re really into ruins, then the town of Valladolid is a great base for seeing Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and Uxmal.
How touristy is the Yucatan?
The Yucatan is a relatively touristy destination mainly due to the immense popularity of the resort towns of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum on the peninsula’s Caribbean coast.
But there are still plenty of places to visit in Yucatan that offer a more authentic experience. In the larger towns and cities, you’ll find more tourists and Yucatan hotels geared towards visitors, while small villages and towns offer a more local feel.
No matter where you go in the Yucatan, though, you’re sure to enjoy its rich Mexican culture and beautiful landscapes.
What should you not miss in the Yucatan?
When visiting the Yucatan, a visit to Mayan ruins and cenotes should not be missed!
If you are a beach lover, then you’ll also want to visit the region’s spectacular tropical beaches on the Caribbean coast or try snorkeling or scuba diving at the world-renowned coral reefs.
Is Yucatan safe for tourists?
Yes, the Yucatan peninsula is safe for tourists. The region is home to many beautiful towns and attractions, and there are plenty of options for accommodations, dining, and entertainment.
While it’s always important to take precautions and abide by traffic laws when traveling around, visitors will find that the Yucatan is a relatively safe place to visit.
When visiting the popular beach towns of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, visitors should exercise increased caution and be sure not to participate in any illegal activity.
🚨 Do you need travel insurance for Mexico? Yes! Most insurance plans in your home country will not cover incidents abroad. I recommend using Travel Insurance Master, which is a handy travel insurance marketplace where you can compare policies. Get a FREE quote by clicking here!
Conclusion: Where to Stay in Yucatan 2022
The entire Yucatan Peninsula is a fascinating region of Mexico that is home to ancient Mayan ruins, colonial towns, and stunning beaches.
If you’re thinking of visiting the Yucatan soon, I hope this list of the 13 best towns to stay in Yucatan was helpful in planning your itinerary.
These towns offer everything from history and culture to nightlife and relaxation, and are some of my favorite places in Yucatan and all of Mexico.
And for a bit of luxury, these destinations also offer the chance to stay at some of the best hotels in Yucatan.
No matter which destination you choose, you will no doubt have an unforgettable time!