We have a Mexico trip looming and I’m slowly putting together a road trip and itinerary. We’ve explored some of this region in previous trips and haven’t been over enamored with the tourist hot spots, so this time we are heading straight down close to the Dos Ojos Cenotes a little north of Tulum (to dive), then to Tulum, Bacalar, Calakmul, west to Sabancuy, and then up to Campeche before settling in Merida (which we know well) for almost a week before heading to Holbox Island.
We are well versed with travel in Mexico, safety and so-on having visited a number of times for lengthy periods house sitting so it’s really the unmissable places we are looking for. We’ve been to Chichen Itza, and traveled the coast line down just beyond Playa del Carmen.
A car is booked for the duration and we are looking for tips - off the beaten track places to visit, unusual gems anyone has found, including restaurants and small hotels or other accommodation. And tips and advice particularly for the state of Campeche which is totally new for us. In Campeche, Calakmul looks awesome if somewhat of a challenge to get to. What else should we do? Where’s not to miss. Best cenotes? Places not to bother with. All tips gratefully received!
If you haven’t visited, I would recommend uxmal and coba if you like ruins. The city of campeche is lovely to look at but really boring. I’d time it so you can get up early for photos when the streets are empty and the light is soft. A day trip to celestun is fun if it’s flamingo season.
Thankyou! We have Uxmal on the list… but will check out Coba. I think we may overdose on ruins and cenotes but hey… it’s just good to be travelling again I had Celestun down as a day trip from Merida but didn’t know about the flamingos… having looked it seems the season ends April, but we’ll check it out for another visit.
Do you think one night or two for Campeche?
I think one night would be fine. there isn’t a whole lot to do there besides wander and look at the pretty town. so as long as you give yourself time for that, i see no reason not to leave later in the day.
We spent quite a bit of time in Playa Del Carmen. That said, we came across this handy, interactive Google Map of cenotes in the area. You might find it helpful. LINK
Here’s another link to lots of sites spread out around the Yucatan and Merida area. LINK
If you have Netflix be sure to watch Taco Chronicles before you go to learn all about the wide variations of tacos in Mexico, but specifically watch the episode in the 2nd season on the cochinita pibil tacos found in Merida and then search them out. We did not find them anywhere else in Mexico.
oh yes. def eat cochinita. it’s a yucatecan specialty. you can occasionally find them in other places but it’s never as good. also eat panuchos and salbutes.
I spent the month of March digital nomading in the Yucatan with my senior pup. I split my time between Merida & Chelem - such a great trip! Uxmal is def worth a visit - just get there early to beat the mid-day sun. And there are tons of beautiful cenotes - each one diff from the next. FYI - Ubers are super cheap and there’s another ridesharing app to download called Didi. Happy to answer any questions!
Sounds wonderful Jennifer and Uxmel is on the list. I think we will be doing everything early in the day that involves activities!! How did you find WiFi networks? Normally when we visit we’ve been house sitting and not working, but this time it’s travel and some remote work. I was reading that Telcel SIM is best … any thoughts?
Definitely telcel. also in merida and much of the yucatan public parks have open wifi networks. it was a program the governor did a few years ago to make it available to more people. though it’s usually fairly slow.
i spent about 4 years in mexico alternating between merida in winter and san cristobal in summer. love that area.
That’s good to hear! Slow will slow me down too - No bad thing for a few weeks I’ve heard good things about San Cristobal but we’ve not made it to Chiapas yet… maybe next time. We are keen to explore some new areas as “authentic” Mexico is getting harder to find in our experience. Do you still visit or have you moved on now?
I spent about a year during covid in mexico. I was in playa del carmen for several months. It’s my 2nd least favorite place in mexico (behind Cancun), but I had a community there and we formed a pod so we could still socialize safely. Then I spent time in Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende before heading to San Cris for the last couple months. I’m sad to say that I didn’t enjoy San Cris on this trip. To the point where I left early. It used to be my favorite place in Mexico. It’s gotten very expensive and it was overrun with antivaxxers and covid denyers. As someone who was very strict about following covid protection measures, it was uncomfortable to be there. I’m hoping that as the world normalizes post-covid it’ll go back to the great place it once was. Mexico was flooded with covid denyers from the US and other countries because it was one of the few places with no restrictions in place. I’m giving it a couple years and then I’ll go back. But as someone who has not been and therefore has no expectations, it would likely still be enjoyable.