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10 Day Yucatan Itinerary: Ultimate Guide 2024

Are you planning a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico? Read this 10-day Yucatan Itinerary which is perfect for exploring the Yucatan peninsula, includes many recommendations of sightseeing places, cenotes, historical places, and more, helping you to plan your perfect Yucatan Road trip Itinerary for 10 Days.

Mexico has been ranked as one of the favorite countries to visit in the world for many reasons! The tropical region of Yucatan Peninsula is one of the most visited destinations due to its fascinating cultural heritage, interesting historical places, absolutely amazing food, and white sandy beaches with azure waters which are perfect for diving and snorkeling!

There are so many things to do in the Yucatan Peninsula that you may get overwhelmed with planning your Yucatan Road trip itinerary! This is why this 10 day Yucatan Itinerary might be helpful to you in planning your perfect Rivera Maya road trip. Maybe you will also fall in love with this country as I do!

Yucatan Peninsula offers so much, in fact, it is more than just visiting all-inclusive resorts of Cancun! There are so many incredible beaches, Mayan ruins, mystical cenotes, colorful towns and delicious food, islands with blue waters, and other so many hidden gems of Mexico! This Yucatan road trip truly has something for everyone!

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Based on my overall experience, I’ve put together a sample 10 day road trip Yucatan itinerary that includes the most fascinating Places to visit, famous sites and best hotels to stay. It’s suitable for everybody, especially for first-timers.

But before sharing the Yucatan Road Trip itinerary Guide, let me share some useful facts:

  • The Yucatan Peninsula is a region that covers three Mexican states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche. This 10 day Yucatan itinerary covers the Yucatan Peninsula rather than just the Mexican state of Yucatan!
  • Quintana Roo is famous for its white sandy beaches that stretch from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and Tulum down to Bacalar lagoon with turquoise sea. 
  • The Yucatan Peninsula is dotted with more than 6000 cenotes and many Mayan ruins! You can choose which appeals to you to visit!
  • The Yucatan Peninsula is one of the easiest places to travel in Mexico, you can travel around by Bus or car or using public transport!

How I created this 10 Day Yucatan Road Trip itinerary?

  • This itinerary is compiled based on various interests like history, culture, food,, and exploring beautiful beaches and cenotes! I have included all the options in this massive Yucatan Roadtrip Itinerary Travel Guide.
  • Maybe it looks like a fast-paced itinerary, but trust me the distances aren’t very long and it’s a very doable distance in 10 days!
  • I have included some of Mexico’s biggest tourist highlights here, including Chichen Itza, Isla Mujeres, and Pink Lakes, and planned it in a loop beginning and ending in Cancun!
  • This itinerary is by renting a car because it is the best way to explore the region with freedom and options to change plans as you want!

Useful Info for Your Yucatan Road Trip Itinerary

How to get to Yucatan

You can access the Yucatan Peninsula by Cancun International Airport as it is a major hub for international flights! Cancun is well served by international flights from the US, Europe, and beyond. I would suggest flying in and out from Cancun for this 10 day Yucatan Itinerary.

But you can also choose to fly to Tulum, Cozumel (CZM), and Mérida (MID) which are well connected to other cities in Mexico.

If connections work out better, you can choose to fly into Mexico City International Airport (MEX) and then transfer to Cancun from there. Flights usually take 2.5 Hrs from Mexico City to Cancun.  

From Cancun International Airport, you can take a quick 20-minute transfer to downtown or to the Zona Hotel era (Hotel Zone). 

Best places to visit in Yucatan mexico in 10 days

Best time to visit the Yucatan Peninsula

The best time to plan your Yucatan Peninsula road trip is between December and April. During this month weather is dry and temperatures are most pleasant. It is considered as winter time but daytime temperatures never drop below 20°C (68°F). It is perfect for outdoor water activities!

The summer months of May to October are characterized by higher temperatures and increased humidity. It is the onset of the rainy season where heavy rainfall is to be expected. It means a few of the sights on your Yucatan itinerary might be inaccessible during these months. If you don’t mind the occasional rain and want to take advantage of lower prices, the wet season can still be a good time to visit.

Also, it’s important to note that the Yucatán Peninsula is prone to hurricanes, with the peak of the season typically from August to October. Make sure to monitor weather forecasts if you plan to visit during this period.

Also, if you plan your trip for early November, make sure to experience celebrations of the famous Mexican festival Día de los Muertos.

Getting around during your Road trip to Yucatan

Roads in the Yucatan Peninsula

The Yucatan region has well-maintained and flat paved roads, which are safe to drive! The roads between Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum all are in good condition and easy to navigate.

The road from Chichen Itza to Cancun may take you through small towns but it’s safe and well maintained. The drive from Tulum to Valladolid is also a breeze as it is a straight main road and takes 2-2.5 hrs.

Is it safe to drive in Mexico?

Before visiting Mexico, we were concerned about the safety in Mexico. But generally speaking, yes, driving is safe in the Yucatan Region of Mexico.

While cartel violence is the main problem in Mexico, it very rarely touches tourists and even more rarely touches tourists who avoid going near illegal activities!! Make sure not to indulge in any such illegal activities when you visit Mexico.

The locals are used to sharing the roads with tourists from all around the world! The signs are marked everywhere and Google Maps works well which makes it easier to navigate around!

Before going ahead, make sure to note a couple of points when you are renting a car in Mexico for your Yucatan Road trip:

  • Familiarize yourself with Mexican traffic rules and road signs before driving. Some signs may be in Spanish, so having a basic understanding of the language can be helpful.
  • As with the US and most European countries, you must drive on the right-hand side of the road. You don’t need an international driving license to drive in Mexico. If your domestic driver’s license is not in English, an International Driving Permit (IDP/IDL) or an official translation in English is required when you drive in Mexico, along with your original driver’s license.
  • Check the car properly and take pictures and videos of every scratch that you See. 
  • Ensure that your rental car has proper insurance coverage. It’s recommended to have both liability and collision coverage.
  • Police checkpoints are common in Mexico. Cooperate with authorities, have your documents (driver’s license, registration, insurance) readily available, and follow their instructions.
  • If your Yucatan road trip falls during the rainy season, you may encounter potholes and uneven surfaces at few places! Check your windscreen wipers work well and try to avoid driving during storms and the heaviest rains.
  • All gas stations in the Yucatan Peninsula are staffed by attendants, unlike USA! Check that they have set the pump to “zero” before they start. 
  • There are lots of long roads where you’ll find no gas stations like between Cancun and Chichen Itza! So, make sure to fill the tank in full before the long journey and check the gas stops in advance!
  • Be aware of emergency service numbers in Mexico. The emergency number is 911 in case you need because you never know !!
  • Don’t leave anything visible in your car. The visible luggage and belongings left in a parked car can attract thieves.
  • Make sure to book the Hotels with Parking spots available on site.
Car Rentals at Cancun International Airport

Hiring a Car from Cancun Airport

The best company to rent a car for your Yucatan Road trip itinerary, depends on where you’re traveling! There are so many international companies and many local offices in the area, so you might be confused with the choices! Many people says that renting from Cancun town gives better rates than hiring from the airport!

But the best way to find your rental car is to search through Discover Cars, which will give you dozens of options to find the best combination of low prices and reasonable rental terms for your Yucatan road trip.

Also, beware of Scams when hiring a car from Cancun airport as you may need to pay more money when you go for check-in ! I have heard about tourists scams in Mexico but generally Yucatan is safer tourist destination of Mexico!

So, I recommend hiring car from famous international carriers Discover Cars to avoid any hassles in your Yucatan road trip itinerary.

Check prices and book rental cars for your Yucatan road trip here!

Is this 10 day Yucatan Itinerary is doable without Car??

Yes, it’s totally doable but it may be hassling to visit few remote places without car.

Mexico’s ADO bus network is very impressive and incredibly comfortable to get around the Peninsula, including all the way down to Bacalar!

For smaller day trips like visiting Ek Balam and the cenotes around Valladolid, though, you can opt for local collectivo, hiring scooter for a day or you can book the tour.

Overview of Your 10 Day Yucatan Road Trip Itinerary

Before starting the detailed travel guide, here is quick overview of 10 day Yucatan Itinerary.

  • Day-0 : Fly into Cancun airport & reach Playa Del Carmen.
  • Day-1 : Playa del Carman & Drive to Tulum
  • Day-2 : Full Day in Tulum
  • Day-3 : Full day around Tulum & Drive to Valladolid
  • Day-4 : Explore Valladolid
  • Day-5 : Chichen Itza in the morning, visit Cenotes
  • Day-6 : Valladolid to Rio Lagartos
  • Day-7 : Pink Lakes & Drive to Cancun
  • Day-8 : Full Day Cancun
  • Day-9 : Day trip to Isla Mujeres for relaxing day
  • Day-10: Fly back from Cancun airport

With only 10 day in Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, set your expectations bit realistic! Yucatan region of Mexico has so many beautiful places to visit and one trip isn’t enough to explore all of the places of Yucatan!

I wanted to visit Merida, Izamal and further south Bacalar! I knew 10 days in Yucatan Peninsula isn’t enough but we didn’t have much time to explore more places!

So, I have included this realistically possible 10 day Yucatan Itinerary for you which I loved visiting!

10 Days Yucatan road trip Itinerary

Yucatan Road Trip Itinerary: The Perfect 10 day in Yucatan, Mexico

Day- 0 : Fly into Cancun Airport & Reach to Playa Del Carmen

Welcome to Yucatan, Mexico ! Assuming you might have a long travel day to reach Cancun,  I recommend that you pick up the car and drive to Playa Del Carmen which is just 1 hr drive from Cancun airport.

Reach your hotel/resort for the day after long traveling day! If you still have energy left , you can Seize the opportunity to enjoy the swimming facilities at your resort, hit the beach, and sample the local sites.

If you arrive late evening , you will need to stay in Cancun itself and then get an early start in the morning next day!

There are so many Places to stay in Playa Del Carmen. Actually it is resort town like Cancun but less busier! Much of the touristy are involves around Quinta Avenida which is bustling area with food stalls, restaurants and stores to pick the souvenirs.

In the south Playa car is dotted with luxurious resorts and in north you’ll find affordable options. Here is my top picks for where to stay in Playa Del Carmen. You can choose according to your budget and style for the stay!

Day-1 of 10 day Yucatan Itinerary: Explore Playa Del Carmen

There are so many amazing places to visit during your trip to Yucatan Peninsula and Playa Del Carmen is among them. But how you want to spend your day in Playa Del Carmen depends on your personal preferences. In the morning, check out from the hotel and hit the beaches or cenotes for the day!

It might be touristy town for many and it may be crowded all time but there are so many things to do in Playa del Carmen from visiting cafes, Cenotes and beaches !

You can opt for some adventure activities like sky diving to see the PLD from above ! You can also opt for visiting Rio Secreto underground river tour with swimming excursions! Its one of the best activities in Playa Del Carmen for families and children.

In terms of beaches, most of them is occupied by resorts and you may need to pay for the day bed! But you can visit few Playa Del Carmen Public beaches like Playa Paraiso, Akumal beach(swim with turtles) and Playa Punta Esmeralda without hassle!

Beach Club at Playa Del Carmen

If you want to hire a day bed, Lido Beach club seems affordable option if you just want to relax whole day!!

There are so many beautiful beaches and cenotes to swim between Cancun to Tulum and that’s the plus of having a car and doing a Mexico road trip after all, so I do recommend looking into beaches near Playa del Carmen along with few cenotes!

You can take a dip in the first of several cenotes of your 10 day Yucatan Itinerary! You can visit Cenote Azul, Cenote Chaak Tun or Cenote La Noria for cenote swimming near Playa Del Carmen.

Honestly, there are thousands of cenotes in the region with varying prices, choose few according to your choices! As visiting so many during the trip might be overdose of cenotes!


If you really want exciting adventure for the day, you can drive to one of the adventure parks of Yucatan region. There are three options to choose from: Xcaret, Xel-Ha and Xplor.

Xcaret is the most well known of the parks and presents you adrenaline activities with cultural insights! The Park contains three underground rivers, a beach and natural wells! Xel-Ha is one stop destination for snorkeling, river tubing and caverns and exploration of cenotes. Both of them are good options for families with younger children but both the parks are suitable for all type of travelers.

Book your Xcaret Park Entry Ticket with Night Show here.

So, when you are done with all the activities, head to Tulum in evening! Tulum will be roughly 1 hour drive away if you are at the Park or cenotes!

Top tip when you Visit Cenotes in Yucatan Peninsula:

  • Cenotes in Yucatan Peninsula strong emphasis on environmental conservation. You are usually required to avoid using sunscreen or to use biodegradable sunscreen to protect the delicate ecosystem.
  • Most of the cenotes require taking showers before swimming or snorkeling.

Where to Stay in Tulum

There are many accommodation options in Tulum and many areas to stay in. When it comes to choosing where to stay in Tulum, you basically have two options if the town or beach works for you because Tulum is pretty big in area. So you can choose either Tulum downtown or Tulum Beach for the stay.

Downtown Tulum is laidback and you will find dozens of restaurants, shops and bars with so many options! The most beautiful area in Tulum is Tulum Beach strip (Zona Hotelera Tulum). Located on the beach and 5 kms from the town, the strip runs from Tulum Archeological Park in north to southwards with beachfront properties.

If you are still confused on where to stay in Tulum, you can check Aldea Zama area which is in-between the town and the beach area. Its newly built area with upscale luxurious stays on budget! You can choose best area to stay in Tulum according to your preferences of beach or pool!

Day-2 of 10 day Yucatan Itinerary: Full day in Tulum

Tulum is one of the most beautiful town of Mexico, for a reason ! Beautiful beaches, cafes, beach clubs and historical sites, Tulum has everything ! There are so many beachfront properties and stroll around the strip with your camera. It may remind you beautiful beach town Canggu of Bali.

There are so many things to do in Tulum and 2 days are perfect to spend in this beautiful beach town of Mexico. You can choose to wonder around beautiful beach strip of Tulum or take your time leisurely at any public beaches.

Tulum strip is one of the most Instagrammable Places in Tulum with many sculptures, signs, swings and cafes which is perfect as tourist and traveler !

One of the main attraction on Tulum strip is sculpture of Ven a La Luz statue that welcomes arrivals to the Ahau Resort at Tulum Beach. This 26 feet tall stature of women opening her heart is very popular in the Tulum! But make sure to visit first thing in the morning as there will be long line to get photo with it!

Beautiful Places to visit in Tulum

After wondering around the strip, make sure to stop by cute cafes Matcha Mama or Raw Love Tulum to grab the best smoothie in the town! Both the cafes are so beautiful to get Insta worthy pictures!

During afternoon, you can check out the beach clubs of Tulum, one of must do things during your 10 day Yucatan road trip itinerary. Tulum beach is lined with so many beach clubs where you can rent a day bed and pamper yourself with the drinks and food !

Here is few recommendations of beach clubs of Tulum:

  • Mía Restaurant & Beach Club 
  • Nomade Tulum (upscale)
  • COCO Tulum – famous for swings
  • Villa Las Estrellas (budget)

If beach clubs aren’t your thing, you can visit few of public beaches of Tulum– Playa Paraiso beach or Las Palmas beach. But beware of the parking spaces. You need to pay for the parking everywhere in Tulum!

In evening, eat at your hotel or check out few sunset bars in the downtown! You can check El Batey or Mateo’s Treehouse Bar to taste Mezcal and Tequilla !

places to eat in Tulum
Burrito Amore – Best Vegeterian food in Tulum

Suggested Restaurants in Tulum

  • Nomade hotel restaurant – best vegan options
  • Hartwood – trendiest restaurants in the beach zone
  • Posada Margarita- Best Italian restaurant at Tulum strip
  • Burrito Amore – Best Vegetarian Mexican food (my fav from Tulum)
  • La Hoja Verde – Best for Vegan Tacos
  • El Vegeteriano – Best Vegetarian food in Tulum

Day-3 of 10 Day Yucatan Itinerary: Visit Cenotes around Tulum

Today check out from your Hotel and get ready to visit Cenotes and Mayan Ruins for your 10 day Yucatan Itinerary. But one thing to Note is that you won’t come across any gas stations on the highway 180 so make sure to fill up before starting the journey from Tulum to Valladolid!

You might be overwhelmed by all the options of things to do in and around Tulum ! Why not take one of the many tours of the area. There are really so many options to choose from which are all quite amazing. See a complete list of activities in Tulum here. 

Today is one of the long travel day of 10 day Yucatan Road trip in Mexico. So, wake up early and visit few sights before it gets crowded.

But before that make sure to grab some breakfast in the town or at your hotel. We had breakfast at Cafe Hunab Ku in downtown Tulum. It is picturesque in every sense and serves delicious Pancakes, sandwiches and Coffee. Make sure to visit it once during your Yucatan road trip.

Tulum Archaeological Zone

The Tulum Archaeological Zone known as Tulum Ruins is located a 15-minute drive north of the Tulum Beach Strip, within the Parque Nacional Tulum. The complex comprises the ruins of a Mayan city that rests on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Inhabited since 564 AD, the city was a religious and ceremonial center. Make sure to visit early in the day as it can be quite hot to visit during the day!

Tulum Ruins Mexico
Tulum Ruins

It is open daily from 9 AM to 3:30 PM.

You can purchase the tickets on the site. But you can also book this Guided walking tour which includes entrance fee and 1.5 hrs. tour with history. Make sure you don’t fall in any tourist scams when you buy your tickets on site!

Visit Cenotes around Tulum

You can spend remaining day by visiting Cenotes around Tulum and visiting the Coba Mayan ruins. I recommend two cenotes which are very near to each other and you should include in your 10 day Yucatan Itinerary.

As I said, there are so many cenotes in Mexico to visit, you can skip a few and visit which feels appealing to you !

Cenote Calavera

Located 3 kms from Tulum Downtown, Cenote Calavera resembles like Human Skull. Cenote Calavera is the spookiest sinkhole in the Yucatan. It’s famous with tourists as its semi open from the top!

The admission fee is 250 MXN plus 200 MXN if you want to take photos. It’s open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. Don’t forget to bring cash, as this cenote is cash only!

After swimming and diving at Cenote Calavera, stop at nearby Cetli Restaurant for the lunch. We had amazing authentic Vegetarian Mexican food here! Though owners understands only Spanish, it was worth to stop by! Must try Chile En Nogada and Veg Mole, you can thank me later !!

Gran Cenote

Gran Cenote is one of the most popular cenotes to visit in Tulum. It is composed of two sunken basins that are linked together with a series of caves.

It is known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning rock formations. The water is alive with turtles and it is guaranteed to spot them as well as the resident bats and birds when you visit it. It is one of the best cenotes for the snorkeling the area.

Cenotes to visit near Tulum
Gran Cenote Cave

The opening is perfect to have enough light to see the underwater columns of stalagmites and stalactites while still being in the dark to enjoy the magnificent sun rays hitting the cenote hole. The cenote’s caverns and tunnels add to the surreal underwater landscape.

Gran Cenote is open daily from 8 AM to 4:45 PM. Entry fees is 25 USD(500 MXN) in cash. Changing room facilities are available at the site. 

Cenote Zecil-Ha

If you further drive ahead, Cenote Zecil-Ha is right across the Road. This is family friendly Cenote with shallow depths of water upto 10 meters.

There is a zipline and two swimming pools are located within the area. The admission fee for the cenote is 300 MXN (15 USD). It is open from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Beautiful Cenote Zecil-Ha

Other Cenotes to check out in Tulum:

  • Cenote Aktun- Ha
  • Cenote Dos Palmas
  • Cenote Dos Ojos
  • Cenote Taak Bi Ha

You can also book this Cenote Tour in Tulum for more offbeat locations of Cenotes which includes ultimate jungle swim Known for its soft sand bottom and lush mangroves.

Cobá Archeologial Site

Now, it’s time to drive towards Valladolid. If you have time, you can stop at Coba Archeological site on the way to Valladolid.

Coba Ruins contains remnants of ancient Mayan city. Cobá translates to “waters ruffled by the wind” and is likely a reference to the two large lagoons on the premises.

The main attraction of Coba Ruins is Nohoch Mul Pyramid. This is the tallest pyramid in Coba and one of the tallest in the Yucatán Peninsula, taller than Castillo Pyramid! Climbing to the top of Nohoch Mul provides panoramic views of the surrounding jungle.

Gaze in awe at the masterful stone carvings that depict the intertwined narratives of gods, heroes, and daily life, providing insights into the history and beliefs of the ancient Mayans.

You can book this Coba Ruins Guided Walking Tour that includes the knowledgeable guide, entrance fees to the archaeological site, and a comprehensive walking tour that unveils the secrets of Coba’s past.

The Cobá Archaeological Zone is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. The admission fee is 80 MXN (4 USD).

Dinner in Valladolid

After visiting cenotes and ruins, head towards Valladolid. The drive is roughly 1 hour and reach Valladolid in evening. Once you check into your hotel, you will have time to enjoy a nice walk around the plaza and try a Yucatecan dinner in one of the local restaurants.

One IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE is that there is a time difference when travelling from Tulum to Valladolid because you are changing states from Quintana Roo to Yucatán. You GAIN AN HOUR which is actually really good and it will give you one more hour to explore the area!

Where to stay in Valladolid 

Valladolid is a small city of Mexico but its beautiful on its own! It is ss divided down into districts and neighborhoods. The most central of these are Sisal, San Juan, and Candelaria. They are within a short walk of the major attractions. It is better to stay in the center of the town where all the actions are located!

These are Suggested hotels in Valladolid for where to stay in Valladolid during your Yucatan road trip.

Suggested Restaurants in Valladolid

  • Le Kaat offers an extensive vegan menu
  • Yerba Buena de Sisal – Vegetarian and vegan option with great ambiance
  • El Meson del Marques for Margaritas with rooftop bar
  • Conkafecito for Coffee and brunch
  • Restaurante y Pizzeria Tropical for Pizzas
  • Restaurante Ahal for some delicious local flavors.

Day-4 of 10 Day Yucatan Itinerary : Explore Valladolid & Nearby Cenotes

The colorful, small city of Valladolid is a laid-back and delightful place to explore. I felt like a ‘real’ Mexican city with a plaza, church, lots of colorful buildings and lots of shops for locals.

Valladolid is the first colonial city that you will find coming from Cancun. It’s what we can call the getaway to the colonial Yucatan where you will find important Mayan Ruins of Yucatan.

For today, start your stay in Valladolid by exploring the town and potentially by checking out a few of the nearby cenotes.

Beautiful Places of Valladolid – Main Square

There are many things to in Valladolid but since we only have one day, here are a few interesting activities that you could do in Valladolid in one day.

  • Visit Parque Principal Francisco Cantón Rosado in the city center which features an impressive statue and shaded seating areas.
  • Visit Templo de San Servacio in the main square.
  • Ayuntamiento de Valladolid (Village Hall) in the city center for interesting history
  • Visit Convent of San Bernardino of Siena & Parque Sisal.
  • Take a deep dive into the Cenote Zaci located in the heart of Valladolid historical center.
  • Exploring the little cobblestone streets and ducking into cafes.
  • Visit beautiful Calzada de los frailes colorful street for Photography!

If you fancy brushing up on your trivia while stocking up on treats for family and friends back home you can check out the museums that are dedicated to chocolate and tequila, both of which are a short walk from the main square.

Colorful streets of Valladolid

The main reason that Valladolid is a favorite for people exploring the Yucatan, is not for the charming city itself which is one of Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos (Magic Towns), but it is famous for what lies outside of it.

Valladolid is located at the perfect epicenter of many of the area’s best day trips, including several cenotes, Mayan ruins and other beautiful towns and you can spend many days in Valladolid if you want during your Yucatan road trip.

Cenote Suytun

During the noon, visit one of the most Instagrammable places in Mexico, Cenote Suytun. Cenote Suytun is characterized by its stalactites and stalagmites as well as the long walkway that takes you out into the middle of the cave where you can stand on the Platform to get the Photo standing on a platform.

The best time of day to experience the beams of sunlight is just after midday. It’s best to schedule your visit to Cenote Suytun at around noon to capture the best lighting conditions.

Cenote Suytun is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. Entry fees is MXN 200.

Cenote Suytun

There are so many cenotes around Valladolid and it can be overwhelming to choose one! I am including few options of cenotes to visit around Valladolid:

  • Cenote Chukum
  • Cenote Samula
  • Cenote Xkeken
  • Cenote Oxman
  • Cenote Dzitnup

Day-5 : Visit Chichen Itza & Cenote Ik Kil – Best from 10 Day Yucatan Itinerary

For the 5th day of your 10 day Yucatan itinerary, you can finally visit Mexico’s most famous site and one of the 7 New Wonders of the World: Chichen Itza. The archaeological site of Chichen Itza is a 45 minute drive from central Valladolid so you can visit it as a day trip. 

Insider Tip:

Chichen Itza Gets very busy after 10 AM in the morning as many tour buses arrives at this time! I highly recommend reaching very early, and visiting Chichen Itza complex as soon as it opens at 8:00 AM if you want to avoid the worst of the crowds, also the heat!

We reached to the complex at the 7:30 AM and got in line to get the tickets, the ticket window opens at 8 AM. After purchasing tickets, you’ll need to cross the security. Make sure you don’t bring large bags with you else you will waste more time to sort it out! I recommend carrying enough water and some cash with you while exploring!

Built during 250 AD and 900 AD, Chichen Itza developed into a center of political and economic power during the Mayan era.

You can explore the ruins in the complex like well-preserved El Castillo Pyramid (also known as the Kukulkan Pyramid). The light from the equinox casts shadows down the steps to create the illusion of a descending serpent. Other sites you can explore in the complex are the Great Ball Court and The Snail.

Best places to visit in Yucatan in 10 days

In Chichen-Itza, besides the obvious temples, also make sure you get to the Sacred Cenote. You cannot swim there but you will see the beautiful birds, considered a sacred bird by the Mayan Civilization!

The Complex is open daily, 8 AM to 5 PM and you can purchase your tickets on-site. You can explore the complex within 2-3 Hrs.

Admission to Chichen Itza is made up of the actual entrance fee plus a state fee. You have to pay for these in separate windows and while the state fee can be paid by credit card, the entrance fee is cash only. Don’t forget to bring cash!

Book this Chichen Itza- Guided Walking Tour to immerse yourself in the history of Mayan archaeological ruins.

You can also book this Self-Guided Tour with Audio Narration & Map to learn about this World Wonder historical site on your own!

Cenote Ik Kil

After you finish exploring Chichen Itza you can head 10 minutes down the road to take a dip in the one of last cenotes of your 10 day Yucatan itinerary.

Cenote Ik Kil was held sacred by the ancient Mayan civilization and is where they would go to worship their god of the rain, Chaac. If you want to fancy some interesting cenotes to visit, Cenote Ik-Kil is must must-visit for your Yucatan Roadtrip Itinerary!

Cenote Ik Kil is an open-top type cenote. This means that the swimming area is open to the sky rather than being enclosed in a cave-like cenotes. It may be a very busy and touristy thing to do but it can be an amazing experience!

Cenote Ik Kil is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

If you’ve not eaten yet, then you might want to eat lunch at the buffet next door to the cenote for Yucatan dishes. 

If you don’t want the hassle of planning your journey for a Yucatan itinerary and want to visit Chichen Itza with a Guide, I highly recommend taking a tour. This tour visits the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, goes on a swim in the underground Ik Kil, and takes you on a guided journey of the Mayan civilization and exploration of the colonial city of Valladolid. Book online here.

Day-6 of 10 Day Yucatan Itinerary : Valladolid to Rio Lagartos

Today, check out from your hotel and drive to Rio Lagartos. The drive is 1.5 hrs from Valladolid. But instead of driving straight to Rio Lagartos, make sure to stop at EK Balam Mayan Ruins.

Ek Balam Ruins

With far fewer crowds than Chichen Itza and plenty of structures that you can climb, visiting Ek Balam is an absolute delight and one of my favorite places to visit in Mexico Yucatan road trip itinerary.

Ek Balam Ruins

Located in the same complex, you can visit Cenote X’canche which is also one of the beautiful cenotes to visit during the Yucatan road trip.

Visiting Ek Balam and cenote X’canche on the way to Rio Lagartos is worth it!

If you want to take it all in and learn more about the destination, you can take a guided tour of Ek Balam! You can book your guided tour online here

Rio Lagartos Boat Tour

Late afternoon, you will reach Rio Lagartos, a very laid-back fishermen village located northern Yucatan Peninsula, very popular for being home to pink flamingos. It is situated within the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, a protected natural area known for its diverse ecosystems, including mangroves, wetlands, and salt flats.

If you reach during the afternoon, book the boat tour of Rio Lagartos. The boat tour includes ride through the mangroves to spot birds, crocodiles, and the beautiful Pink flamingos. 

Pink flamingos in Celestun Mexico Pic credit: Istockphoto

You will go to the natural spa to cover your body in a healing clay and then to a beautiful beach where you can swim and rinse it off. It is definitely one of the fun activities! 

The tour could last from 3 to 4 hours with a guide. Prices vary accordingly. It is advisable to arrange it ahead of time so that you can make sure you save your spot at the time you want. 

Book your Rio Lagartos Boat Tour Today!

Make sure to end your day with a sunset on the Lagoon! 

Suggested hotels in Rio Lagartos

Day-7 : Visit Pink Lakes & Drive to Cancun

Make sure you are up early on this day during your 10 day Yucatan itinerary to watch the beautiful sunrise on the lagoon before starting your tour.

Today, visit the most popular and Instagram-famous – Pink Lakes of Las Coloradas, located only 30 minutes from Rio Lagartos. 

They are private reservoirs belonging to a salt company, not natural lakes at all, but they are very interesting to Visit! You even can’t swim in the Lakes!

Pink Lakes of Mexico
Beautiful Salt Lakes of Las coloradas near Rio Lagartos, Mexico. Pic credit: istockphoto

Once there, you will need Local guides to show you around. You cannot enter the area on your own. They charge 50 pesos for the tour. I think it’s worth the money. Take your time to click as many photographs as you want while here!

Also, you can book this Safari Tour with admission ticket which includes travel in a 4*4 vehicle around Pink Lakes!

After, visiting Pink Lakes, you will drive towards Cancun. Also, note you’ll lose an hour while driving from Yucatan state to Quintana Roo. The roads are in excellent condition and it will take 4-5 hrs to reach Cancun.

I have created this 10-day Yucatan Itinerary such that the last 2 days are dedicated just to relaxing and swimming in the Caribbean water !! Cancun is the heart of the Yucatan region bustling with all-inclusive resorts, perfect to unwind after long driving days!!

Also, note that for your next 2 days in Cancun, you won’t need your rental car! So I would suggest dropping it in the evening today !!

Where to Stay in Cancun

Cancun is divided into two parts – downtown and Hotel Zone. Downtown Cancun is located on the mainland while the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) is located along a long, narrow stretch of the Caribbean Sea and runs parallel to the city.

The Hotel Zone is broken down into different districts like North, Middle, and South Hotel Zones and the whole strip is buzzing with beach resorts, restaurants, and amenities.

I highly recommend staying in the Hotel Zone area of Cancun for this 10 day Yucatan Itinerary. You can commute between different zones in the local Hotel Zone bus and parking can be a hassle on this stretch!! So, I recommended dropping the car for the last 2 days of your Yucatan road trip itinerary.

Roadtrip Yucatan
Cancun All-inclusive Hotel

These are my top picks for where to stay in Cancun.

All the above-mentioned hotels have world-class restaurants on the premises if you’re looking for a place to grab a bite. 

Day 8: Explore Cancun or Relax at your Resort

After traveling in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico for a week, it’s time to get relax! Start your day by watching a beautiful sunrise from the beach at your hotel!

After Breakfast, take the opportunity to enjoy the swimming facilities at your resort, hit the beach, and sample the local cuisine the whole day!

Apart from resting at your resort, there are so many things to do in Cancun. You can head over to the downtown area and explore the streets and public parks. If you want to buy souvenirs, head to Mercado 28 flea Market in Cancun, but make sure to bargain before buying!

Cancun Beach

If you want to hit the beaches, you can visit a few of the Beaches of Cancun Hotel Zone like Playa Delfines(famous for the Cancun sign), Playa Caracol, Playa Chacmool, or Gaviota Azul.

There are lots of activities to do in Cancun which can keep you busy during the day:

  • Visit Museo Maya de Cancun
  • Visit San Miguelito Archeological site
  • Climb the Escenica Cancun (Cancun tower) for the views
  • Bike along the Kukulkan boulevard
  • Visit the Punta Cancun lighthouse

In the evening you can visit Playa Tortugas for Music Parties or The Malecón Tajamar is a fantastic spot to take a walk during sunset. You can also book the Captain Hook’s Pirate show for the evening to get an immersive pirate-themed show onboard replicas of the ship with an onboard bar, music, and dinner.

Day-9 : Day trip to Isla Mujeres

For the last day of your 10 day Yucatan Itinerary, take a day trip to the island of Isla Mujeres from Cancun. The island has stunning beaches and calm crystal clear turquoise waters which is perfect for swimming. Isla Mujeres is more laid-back and tranquil than Cancun! It is one of my favorite places to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Isla Mujeres means “Women Island”.  It is believed that the Spanish, who arrived on the island in the 16th century, named the island “Isla Mujeres” because of all the cult images of goddesses they found on the island.

10 day Yucatan Itinerary
Playa Norte Beach Isla Mujeres

The island is very small, roughly 5 miles long and 1/2 mile wide at its widest point. It is accessible via a short boat ride from the port of Puerto Juarez or from the Hotel Zone.

Golf carts, mopeds, and bicycles are the main forms of transportation, on Isla Mujeres. So, once you reach the Island, hire a Golf cart for the day to tour around the island, stopping to swim in the turquoise waters and explore the sights.

But if you want to do the Isla Mujeres day trip in style, you can book this Catarman Tour : Beach Club, Snorkel & Sailing with Lunch & Bar tour that includes pick up and drop from the hotel.

Book your Luxury Catamaran and Snorkel day tour from Cancun today!

Even though the island is small, there are so many things to do in Isla Mujeres in a day! Here is a list of activities I suggest which is a must-do on an island.

  • Swim in the most beautiful beaches in Mexico- Playa Norte
  • Visit the southern tip of the island: Punta Sur – dedicated to the goddess of fertility. The site provides breathtaking panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea.
  • During the summer months (May until September) it is possible to swim with the whale sharks in their natural habitat on the island.
  • Snorkeling and diving are popular activities, allowing you to explore the underwater world and encounter colorful fish and coral formations.
  • Visit Turtle Farm (Tortugranja): A conservation center for sea turtles. They help breed turtles & care for ailing turtles, collect the turtle eggs,, and protect them until they hatch.  At that time, the volunteers help the baby turtles make their way safely into the ocean.
  • Visit the Main downtown area which is filled with colorful buildings, shops, restaurants, and bars. Try the Mexican cuisine and experience the island’s vibrant culture.

Day-10: Fly Back from Cancun

It’s the final day of your trip and all that is left to do on your Yucatan road trip itinerary!

Before saying goodbye to the Yucatan region, consider hitting the beach one last time or visit the Pool at your resort before heading to the airport!

After breakfast, check out of your hotel, and head back to Cancun airport for your flight.

Other Destinations to Add to Your Yucatan Road Trip Itinerary

Just 10 days in Yucatan isn’t enough to explore the region fully! If you have more time in hand, I recommend to add this destination to your Yucatan Road trip Itinerary.

  • Merida – One of the most beautiful and colorful towns of the Yucatan region
  • Izamal– Easy day trip from Valladolid. The town is known primarily for its brilliant color–much of the town is painted bright yellow!
  • Bacalar – Known as the Maldives of Mexico, Bacalar is known for its beautiful lagoon of Seven colors. It is one of the bucket list places to visit in Mexico!
  • Find and book the best hotel (My favorite booking site is Booking.com)
  • Find the Best Airbnbs and Vacation Rentals (My Favorite site is VRBO)
  • Research flight options (My favorite tools are Skyscanner and Wayaway)
  • Book a tour (I always use Viator and GetYourGuide to find the best tours)
  • Rent a car through Discover Cars (they search for the best deals for you!)

I am sure this Yucatan Itinerary may give you an idea about the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico with insight into Mexican culture! I hope my 10 day Mexico Yucatan itinerary has helped you plan your own Yucatan road trip!

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