Top 5 places to spend the Christmas Holidays in the Yucatan Peninsula – 2019
Thinking of taking a trip to Mexico this Christmas? Whether you want an alternative way to celebrate or you’re looking to escape the festivities completely, Mexico makes for a thrilling destination in December. Here is our guide to the top spots where you can bask in winter sun in Mexico.
1 / TULUM
Tulum’s spectacular coastline – with all its confectioner-sugar sands, cobalt water and balmy breezes – makes it one of the top beaches in Mexico. Where else can you get all that and a dramatically situated Maya ruin? There’s also excellent cave and cavern diving, fun cenotes and a variety of lodgings and restaurants to fit every budget.
Tulum, Uxmal and Chichén Itzá are three unmissable stops on the Mayan trail, which sprawls across Campeche, Quintana Roo and the Yucatán. Each site offers travellers something a little different. Tulum, nestled among craggy rocks and overlooking the clear Caribbean Sea, is a beach-lover’s paradise, while Uxmal is hidden among dense, lush jungle. Chichén Itzá, possibly Mexico’s most famous Mayan ruin, represents what this ancient civilisation achieved when it was at its peak.
2/ PLAYA DEL CARMEN
One of Mexico’s prime coastal spots, Playa del Carmen is home to palm-fringed, white-sand beaches – an idyllic place to relax and recharge over the Christmas break. Playa del Carmen, now one of Quintana Roo’s largest cities, ranks right up there with Tulum as one of the Riviera’s trendiest spots.
Sitting coolly on the lee side of Cozumel, the town’s beaches are jammed with super-fit Europeans. The waters aren’t as clear as those of Cancún or Cozumel, and the sand isn’t quite as powder-perfect as they are further north, but still Playa grows and grows.Simply sit back and unwind on the Riviera’s world-class beaches, take to the waters for impressive diving or snorkelling, or head inland to explore haciendas and Mayan ruins.
3/ YUCATAN VILLAGES
Did you know that in Yucatan there are more than 100 municipalities? Now, imagine how many incredible places you can discover in one weekend. This state of Mexico is famous for its archaeological sites, haciendas, cenotes and its Pueblos Magicos: Valladolid and Izamal.
Travelers from near and far come to experience the Yucatán’s well-preserved Maya archaeological sites. Seventy-five miles east of Merida lies Chichén Itzá, one of Mexico’s most impressive and visited ruins due to its designation as a new wonder of the world. The pre-Columbian city was one of the largest and most diverse and features a mix of architectural styles.
It’s also popular for equinoxes, when the Castillo (castle) temple forms a shadow evoking the appearance of a serpent slithering down the pyramid’s steps. Uxmal, another UNESCO-listed Maya ruin located an hour and fifteen minutes south of Merida, is celebrated for its precise construction and ornate stone carvings. The towering Pyramid of the Magician is in remarkably good condition, as are the surrounding structures, which can be enjoyed with much less crowds than Chichén Itzá.
4/ PUERTO AVENTURAS
Located only 15 minutes drive South Playa del Carmen, the exclusive and serene seaside community of Puerto Aventuras offers plenty to do, especially for nature lovers. It’s a hub for water activities like deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, sailing and SCUBA diving.
Not far along the highway you’ll find eco-parks, ancient Mayan ruins, and naturally beautiful swimming holes called cenotes. Would you like to shop a little? Visit nearby Playa del Carmen and check out famous pedestrian thoroughfare, 5th Ave. Staying in Puerto Aventuras means you’re close to a variety of full-day and half-day excursion options!
Merida’s culture is a distinctive blend of traditions inherited from the ancient Maya civilization dating back to 2600 B.C. and customs brought by Spanish conquistadors, who began colonizing the territory in the 16th century.
The city of Merida itself was founded by Francisco de Montejo y León in 1542 on top of an ancient Maya city called T’ho, whose stonework was repurposed by the Spaniards as foundations to erect lofty Catholic churches and colonial mansions. After 500 years of coexistence, a comingling of rituals and beliefs created a vibrant cultural identity that continues to shape this dynamic city.