The Yucatan Peninsula is a place of legendary history, natural beauty, colonial architectural classics and prehistoric wonders. There exists so much to this area that makes it unique from the rest of Mexico. Until the 1950’s when the railroad arrived the Yucatan remained effectively cut off from the rest of the country. The 1960′s saw the development of the peninsula’s first 2-lane highway. The Yucatan’s connection to the outside world before that time was primarily by ocean and consisted mostly of Sisal rope trade with Caribbean islands, the United states and Europe from Merida. In 1972 the plans of a resort community were introduced focused on what is now Cancun which has become one of the most visited tourist destinations on the planet!
It is not surprising that the native beauty of this place draws so many visitors to the Yucatan Peninsula; with the turquoise waters of the Caribbean to the south, the rich and calm gulf waters to the north, lush jungles, ruins and underground rivers (Cenotes) it’s no wonder people from all over the world flock to this tropical paradise! Nature, the Maya way of life and hospitality bring people back year after year. The powder white seashores, Mayan ruins, colonial architecture and varied wildlife are just a few of the regions highlights.
Access to the nature and history of the area is supported with a solid infrastructure of modern highways, and an expanding power grid. The jungles and coast are dotted with ruins, colonial cities, mega resorts, growing cities, planned eco-communities and smaller cabana hotels and fishing outposts found points south along the Caribbean coast. This combination of access and modern infrastructure set against sublime beauty of nature and that “picture of paradise” make the Yucatan one of our top picks for relocation to Mexico. It’s also in the path of progress which makes investment in the area another potential plus.
Many have visited the area by way of the numerous mega resorts offering all-inclusive style vacations. The all-inclusive resort experience is not reflective of the true character of the area. Resorts of that type tend to be very luxurious and modern and captive by nature. Understandably they prefer you to stay on their property. You can find some deals at the all-inclusive resorts for vacations but you’ll have to push to get out and truly see the abundant beauty and culture of the region.
Based on personal experiences and years of visitor feedback, we have come to believe your best option for getting a real flavor of the area is by renting a car and discovering the smaller hotels, furnished condos, city apartments or casitas, a little off the beaten vacation path. This is what you graduate to as you become more comfortable with the area, we ourselves started visiting this area 17 years ago at an all-inclusive resort. This is especially true if you have relocation in mind, it’s important that you really get out in it and discover the true nature of the area. There is nothing wrong with having a luxurious vacation at an all-inclusive resort, but if you are serious about making a life here…you need to get out in it!
These places are not your classic mega resorts but do offer many of the equivalent amenities and what’s more, a freedom to more easily discover the land, the true culture and find adventures. As a full-time resident of Tulum, Mexico for nearly 4 years now, I can personally attest to the safe travels, friendly people and opportunities in this area.
We’ve heard from hundreds of people and have visited most of the best small resorts on the Yucatan and have never for one moment felt unsafe. The enchantment and kindness found off the beaten Yucatan path create stories that can last a lifetime and the folks you come across in these places will feel more like family than one can imagine. You may be surprised on return visits that many people will still remember your names!
The Yucatan is much more than Cancun mega resorts, expensive Playa del Carmen hotels and spring break crowds. It is a land of natural beauty and great potential for the country of Mexico. Embark out, walk outside the box and find your Mexico, come across your Yucatan, an area where fun, adventure and once in a lifetime experiences are made.
Select Cities and Towns of The Yucatan Peninsula
Merida is an ancient colonial city and the capital of the Yucatan state located to the west of Quintana Roo, rich with historical churches, architecturally unique buildings, delicious flavors, music, night life, shopping and more. Every night, the Historic Center hosts traditional folk dancers, right in front of City Hall, dancing to live music, in traditional costume. On Sunday nights, salsa and cumbia dance liven up the streets. Restaurants and street vendors are abundant, as is the shopping. Staying near the Main Square is recommended.
Playa del Carmen
The Mexican Caribbean beach town of Playa del Carmen is located on the Yucatan peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo. Once a small fishing village, Playa (as it’s more often referred to) is now the second largest Mexican resort destination after Cancun. It is also the fastest growing city in all of Mexico — having surpassed Puerto Vallarta experienced an enormous influx of people during the late 90′s and early 20′s.
If you have never been to Tulum Mexico and you love wide white powder sand beaches and the blue gin clear waters of the Western Caribbean, then for no other reason you should go. Visiting some of the best beaches in the world is only one of the draws to this magical area. There is truly something magical going on here. The Mayans felt the magnetic pull from this majestic piece of the Earth and built an observatory on the cliffs above the blue waters of this Yucatan paradise as a major seaport and lookout for the further inland Mayan city of Coba. The areas along the beaches of Tulum are now home to many Tulum resorts offering an eco-friendly yet luxurious vacation option.