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The 8 Best Places to Stay in the Yucatan Peninsula

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Where are the best places in Yucatan? It can be overwhelming when trying to book a trip to the Caribbean area of Mexico. There are so many great spots, and tons of activities to choose from!


This state is full of sunshine, beautiful beaches, and crystal clear cenotes to discover. But which city is right for you? What should the home base be? Well, let's look into the highlights of each spot. That way, we can see which place to stay in the Yucatan Peninsula is right for you!


Let's dive right in and check out the best places in Yucatan to stay!


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The Best Places in Yucatan to Stay #1: Cancun

Cancun is the heart of the Riviera Maya, and one of the most popular destinations for those traveling to the Caribbean side of Mexico. This is definitely the easiest place to stay in the Yucatan Peninsula. Why? Because the airport is relatively cheap to fly into from many US cities!


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Cancun is one of the best places in Yucatan for those who want to party, and usually has a pretty young crowd. For Americans, the normal drinking age is 21, and in Mexico it is 18. So it's no surprise that the majority of travelers to this city are from the US, and are between the ages of 18 and 20.

Faro de Cancun, the best places in Yucatan
Cancun Street art
beach at Cancun, best places to stay in Yucatan

Cancun has tons of offer for all ages.

You may think Cancun is just for young adults. But there really is a spot for everyone in Cancun. There are big all-inclusive resorts for those who want a more relaxing getaway. Or you can head to downtown Cancun to enjoy the local side of this party city. Want to learn more about visiting Cancun like a local? Check out the article below!

What are the best things to do in Cancun? Look this up and chances are you'll find the same info. Many times you will find pictures of people chilling at a huge pool in a resort, or young adults partying in the famous clubs. But we're here to tell you

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Distance From:

Playa del Carmen: 1 hour

Tulum: 2 hours

Valladolid: 1 1/2 hours

Merida: 1 hr

Cozumel: 1hr 45 minutes

Isla Mujeres: 15-30 minutes

Holbox:  1 1/2 hours


Book Your Tickets to Cancun:


The Best Places in Yucatan to Stay #2:  Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is also another area in the Yucatan Peninsula where you can find a lot of large all-inclusive resorts. Although it is a little more popular with families, it's still a great spot to get a mix of relaxation and partying.


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This area is a great place to stay if you want a little more variety on your trip. It is an hour from Cancun, an hour from Tulum, and a quick ferry ride away from Cozumel. Also, Playa del Carmen is situated close to a lot of the large parks such as Xcaret, Xplor, an Xsenses.

Playa del Carmen, places to stay in the Yucatan Peninsula


There is a small city center with plenty of bars, restaurants, and a public beach. Also,  there are a lot of amazing cenotes that can be visited nearby. We suggest you to rent a car, which can be very easy to get in downtown Playa del Carmen.


Distance From:

Cancun: 1 hour

Tulum: 1 hour

Valladolid: 1 hour 45 minutes

Merida: 3 1/2 hours

Cozumel: 45 minutes (ferry)

Isla Mujeres: 1 1/2 hours (drive + ferry)

Holbox:  2 hours 15 minutes (drive + ferry)


Book Your Tickets to Playa del Carmen:


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The Best Places in Yucatan to Stay #3: Tulum

Tulum is the chicest and most trendy (but also can be the most expensive) area to stay in the Yucatan Peninsula. That being said though, there is a budget for everyone in Tulum!


This is the destination where you will find gorgeous boutique hotels, stylish beach clubs, stunning ruins, and the most beautiful cenotes. Tulum is (in our opinion), one of the best places in Yucatan, and it's easy to spend weeks in this city.

Ahau Tulum, Mexico
Selina Tulum
Hun hand Tulum, Mexico

Tulum is a chic and trendy beach area.

We suggest renting a car or bike here and exploring some of the great nature the areas has to offer. As well, we recommend hitting up the downtown area for cheap local food. Want to know all about the amazing spots Tulum has to offer? Check our two articles below!

Distance From:

Cancun: 2 hours

Playa del Carmen: 1 hour

Valladolid: 1 1/2 hours

Merida: 3 hrs 15 minutes

Cozumel: 1hr 45 minutes (drive + ferry)

Isla Mujeres: 2 1/2 hours (drive + ferry)

Holbox:  3 hours (drive + ferry)


Book Your Tickets to Tulum:


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The Best Places in Yucatan to Stay #4: Cozumel

Cozumel is a small island that is just a 45 minute ferry ride away from Playa del Carmen. This popular cruise port is one of the best places in Yucatan if you want a little more of a low key stay at night, but some adventure during the day.


Cozumel is known for its stunning turquoise waters and marine life. Which is why it the perfect place to visit for those who like snorkeling and diving. Personally, we like this as a choice for a few day getaway.

all inclusive resort, best places to stay in Yucatan
Cozumel, best places to stay in Yucatan
Hotel B, Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel is one of the most popular cruise ship ports.

Not much in Cozumel can be explored by foot, unless you are just trying to stay in the downtown area. We suggest making the most of your stay by renting a buggy or scooter.


This way, you can truly explore all the great beaches and hidden gems that Cozumel has to offer. We have now been to Cozumel over 70 times! Check our full guide below to find all the fun to be had on the island.

Visited by several cruise ships each day, Cozumel, Mexico is one of the cruise industry's most popular destinations. Welcome to a land of crystal clear waters, tacos, & tequila! This small island has so much to offer.  Working on cruise ships ourselves, we have been to Cozumel, Mexico a combined

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Distance From:

Cancun: 1 hour 45 minutes (ferry + drive)

Playa del Carmen: 45 minutes (ferry)

Tulum: 1 hour 45 minutes (ferry + drive)

Valladolid: 2 1/2 hours (ferry + drive)

Merida: 4 hrs 15 minutes (ferry + drive)

Isla Mujeres: 3 hrs 45 minutes (ferry + drive + ferry)

Holbox:  3 1/2 hours (ferry + drive + ferry)


Book Your Tickets to Cozumel:

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The Best Places in Yucatan to Stay #5: Isla Mujeres

Here is another small island that is just a short ferry ride away from the mainland. Head over to Isla Mujeres from Cancun in just 15-30 minutes, and you will find a great place to stay in the Yucatan Peninsula for just a few days.


Isla Mujere, places to stay in the Yucatan Peninsula

The Island of Isla Mujeres is great for diving, and even has an underwater sculpture museum. Also, it is known for having some of the best sunrises and sunsets in Mexico, and some really great beach clubs.


Isla Mujeres has plenty of different types of accommodations, making it great for all travelers. It is best to get around by golf cart, which are plentiful in the main town near the ferry. Look down below to learn about the other fun things to do on the island!

Are you planning a trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico? This incredible island has so much more than just paradise beaches, and is just a short boat ride away from Cancún!We visited for a few days and, let us tell you, it's very hard not to have a great time here.

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Distance From:

Cancun: 1/2 hour (ferry)

Playa del Carmen: 1 1/2 hours (ferry + drive)

Tulum: 2 1/2 hours (ferry + drive)

Valladolid: 2 1/2 hours (ferry + drive)

Merida: 4 hrs (ferry + drive)

Cozumel: 2 hrs (ferry + drive + ferry)


The Best Places to in Yucatan to Stay #6: Holbox

This island may not be as popular as Isla Mujeres or Cozumel, but it is surely worth the visit! Holbox can be reached by taking a bus or renting a car in Cancun and driving to Chiquila (about two hours away). Then there is a small ferry which takes 15-30 minutes and runs every hour.


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Come to Holbox and you will find a large sandbar, a cute and colorful town, and some awesome art. Swim with whale sharks, or get a tour of the bioluminescent waters, and you'll see why Holbox is truly a special island.

Holbox Island, best places to stay in Yucatan
Holbox, best places to stay in Yucatan
Holbox, best places to stay in Yucatan

Holbox is a true hidden gem of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Holbox has plenty of options, from budget hostels to chic beach hotels. Also it's one of the best places in Yucatan for those who want something a little more off the beaten path. Which is why it has become increasingly popular with backpackers. Click on the article below for everything you need to know while visiting Holbox!

Welcome to Holbox! If we ask you to name a Mexican beach destination, there’s no doubt that Cancún will probably be the top answer. What a lot of people don’t know is that there’s so much more than just the city in the area.This cute island is just two hours

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Distance From:

Cancun: 2 1/2 hours (drive + ferry)

Playa del Carmen: 2 hrs 15 minutes (ferry + drive)

Tulum: 3 hours (ferry + drive)

Valladolid: 2 1/2 hours (ferry + drive)

Merida: 4 hrs 15 minutes (ferry + drive)

Cozumel: 3 hrs (ferry + drive + ferry)

Isla Mujeres: 3 hrs (ferry + drive + ferry)


Book Your Tickets to Holbox:


The Best Places in Yucatan to Stay #7: Valladolid

Valladolid is one of the best places in Yucatan for soaking up the true culture of the area. This colorful town is home to some beauitful cenotes, delicious food, and cheap prices!

Valladolid, Best places to stay in Yucatan
hacienda kaan ac Valladolid
cenote zaci, Valladolid Yucatan

Valladolid has a great mix of color, history, nature, and luxury.

The city is also the closest big city to one of the seven wonders of the world, Chichen Itza. It has a great location because it is truly the center of the Yucatan Peninsula, and can easily reach plenty of the other large cities in just an hour or two.

Chichen Itza, best places to visit in Mexico

Chichen Itza is located just outside of Valladolid.

Visit Valladolid if you'd like to check out the famous pink waters of "Las Coloradas", stay in a 5-star castle, or to explore by scooter. Not convinced yet? Check our full article below for all the reasons you need to visit Valladolid.

Are you ready for the best things to do in Valladolid, Yucatan? Although it isn't as typically popular as the nearby beach cities, there are so many reasons to visit Valladolid!This Mexican town is considered a "Pueblo Mágico". This means that it has been preserved through time with its architecture and

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Distance From:

Cancun: 2 hours

Playa del Carmen: 1 hr 45 minutes

Tulum:  1 1/2 hours

Merida: 2 hrs

Cozumel: 2 hrs 15 minutes (drive + ferry)

Isla Mujeres: 2 1/2 hours (drive + ferry)

Holbox:  2 1/2 hours (drive + ferry)


Book Your Tickets to Valladolid:

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Best Places in Yucatan to Stay #8: Merida

Merida is one of the best places in Yucatan for experiencing a little bit of everything! This city really falls under the radar, but offers so much. Although it is a bit further from the main area of the Riviera Maya, there are plenty of reasons to check out Merida!


Located a half hour inland from the other side of the peninsula, you can find plenty of different styles of places to stay. From budget hostels to boutique hotels and luxurious all-inclusive resorts, there is something for everyone. Want to stay near the beach? You can find some spots near Progreso, which is just a short bus ride away from the city.

Merida, places to stay in the Yucatan Peninsula

Merida is one of the best places in Yucatan for those who want to explore the real culture of Mexico, while truly feeling safe to do so. (It's actually been rated the safest city in the country!). Merida is also a great place for foodies and history lovers.


There are Netflix-famous markets, stunning architectural pieces. and even a town painted in yellow nearby! Look below for more reasons to visit this underrated city.

When many people think about the Yucatan peninsula, they automatically think of Cancun. But did you know that just a few hours from Cancun lies another amazing city full of history, color, and great food? There are so many cool things to do in Merida Mexico, and tons of reasons

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Distance From:

Cancun: 3 1/2 hours

Playa del Carmen: 3 1/2 hours

Tulum: 3 hours 15 minutes

Valladolid: 2 hours

Cozumel: 4 hours (drive + ferry)

Isla Mujeres: 4 hours (drive + ferry)

Holbox:  4 hours 15 minutes (drive + ferry)


Book Your Tickets to Merida:


Conclusion Of The Best Places in Yucatan

Let's summarize a bit of what you've learned:


Cancun is the easiest to travel to, and the best for partying.

Playa del Carmen is the best for all-inclusive resorts.

Tulum is the best for chic & trendy hotels and restaurants, cenotes, and ruins.

Valladolid is the cheapest to stay, and is closest to Chichen Itza.

Merida is the safest, and best for those who like big cities, history, and great food

Cozumel is the best for diving and snorkeling.

Isla Mujeres is great for sunrises, sunsets, and its underwater sculpture museum.

Holbox is the hardest to get to, but best for those who want to go off-the-beaten-path and have unique experiences.


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So what do you think? Have you decided where you want to stay in the Yucatan Peninsula yet? If not, we have more to help you decide. Make sure to check out the dedicated articles we have for each place! 


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