I've been to Yucatan before, but had a strong urge to return to this place and explore more. Yucatan didn't disappoint me! It has so much to offer and I can't wait to share it all with you.
Should I get a car to travel?
Yes! Most definitely! Though you can get to some places by bus, having a car will definitely save some you a lot of time and get you to all the hidden gems in Yucatan.
When renting cars in Mexico, I suggest you do a lot of research before renting as it can get very frustrating since the online rate isn't what you will actually pay at the counter. Most website will have a rate of 1$/day, but you will probably end up paying a lot more with all the 'mandatory' insurance added (I paid around 50$/per day for my first trip to Mexico).
**Couple of quick tips: Choose car insurance option when you book the car online and decline all the insurance at the car rental counter. The car rental place will tell you that you must purchase the insurance according to the government regulations, but that is not true. Most car rental companies charge as little as 1$/day but they make their money back by charging a huge amount of insurance. However, they will put a huge credit card hold of around 2000$ if you decline all the insurance, but as long as you drive carefully, they will return all that to your credit card once you have returned the car. Plus, you can always rely on the insurance you have bought online.
What to bring and to do
Cash is a must when travelling around Yucatan. You will pass by many tolls and they only take cash, so be prepared! Most restaurants, gas stations also accept cash only, so it's best to have to have some cash with you at all time
Download offline Google Maps as you won't always have wifi or cellular network to access to the map. I usually mark the places that I want to go ahead of time so that I can plan my day out according to the locations.
Where to go
I have to admit my first intention to visit Valadolid is to visit this amazing Suytun cenote, as well as Chitchen Itza. We gave up on Chitchen Itza after arriving there since the entry price was almost 40$/person on that day.
We arrived to Cenote Suytun soon after that. I have read many blogs of how to avoid the crowd at this place. Most people said arrive after 2pm and you will have this entire place to yourself. That wasn't the case for us! We arrived in the afternoon and this place was packed with tourists. We waited until it closes and had this entire place to ourselves for a brief moment, but of course the lighting wasn't ideal for capturing any pictures since it was quite dark inside the cenote.
Best time to visit in my opinion is 1pm when the sun light shine straight down to the cave hole! It's an amazing experience!
I'm so glad we stayed a night in Valadolid as the food from this city is beyond words. Everything was so cheap, big portion and most importantly, delicious!! We walked around our hotel area (hotel name: Gayser Apartamentos y Hostal) and found many great bakeries, restaurants and couldn't be happier. We stuffed ourselves with so much food and paid less than 10$ for both of us.
Izamal is such a charming place! The whole town is painted in white and yellow. I didn't notice any tourists around, and it has a lively vibe to it. This place that you see from the picture above, is actually a church that's located in the middle of the town. The architecture inside the church left me speechless. I couldn't capture many corners since it was Sunday and locals were having a regular Sunday mass.
I've tried some locals food here and the food is incredible cheap (around 1$ for a huge sandwich, and 1$ for a huge 1 liter of fresh squeezed orange juice). If you walk across from the church, you will find many good local restaurants inside the shopping mall.
3. LAS COLORADAS
This place is where you can find the famous pink lagoon. The prettiest pink lagoon that I've found myself was actually by the side of the road when I just reached Las Coloradas (5 minutes before the actual pink lakes that people usually go to). It can easily be found on the left hand side of the road. If you look carefully, you will definitely see it. This place is so unique in my opinion. since you have both view of the pink lagoon and the blue ocean.
If you decide to go see the big pink lakes, be aware that there will be a lot of tourists, and you will need to pay 50 peso/person to get in.
This city is definitely the happiest and safest city in Mexico that I have been to. Here you can see a lot of people dancing on the street, young or old, many street food vendors and the charming old town.
Things I recommend: Go dance with the local and spend sometimes explore the surrounding areas. If time permitted, I recommend staying in Merida for 2 nights to fully experience the life here. We were travelling in a rush and only got a few hours in Merida, and driving back to Tulum in the dark night wasn't ideal at all! Also, I have heard that there are many beautiful cenotes around Merida that only the locals would know about, so ask a local for some tips if you would like to visit the hidden cenotes.
I hope you enjoy my Yucatan tips! Leave me a comment if you have any questions and see you in my next blog!