Quintana Roo Travel Guide

Your Ultimate Guide to Quintana Roo Mexico


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Quintana Roo Mexico TRAVEL GUIDE

Quintana Roo Mexico: At a Glance

What’s the best time to visit Quintana Roo Mexico?

For the best weather: November to March are the ideal months to travel to Quintana Roo Mexico. This is, of course, the high season or busy season in Quintana Roo, so expect higher price tags and larger crowds.

Yucatan Shoulder Season: March to May is the shoulder season in Quintana Roo — a magical time when the weather is still nice, and the prices are still low.

For the best value: May to September will get you the most bang for your buck! However, know these months can be rainy, hot, humid and buggy. Surrounded by the Mayan jungle, mosquitoes an issue in Quintana Roo, especially in the summers, so don’t forget your eco-friendly bug spray 🦟

Note: June 1 to November 1 is the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Located on the Caribbean Sea, Quintana Roo is susceptible.

Quintana Roo Mexico TRAVEL GUIDE

Quintana Roo Mexico: Know before you go

Mexico Overwater Bungalows
Located in Quintana Roo state, the Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma are the absolute best Mexico overwater bungalows! (Photo: Expedia)
  • ✈️ Airport: Cancun International Airport (code: CUN)

    Time Zone: Easter Standard Time (GMT-5)
  • 💰 Currency: Mexican Peso
  • 🗣 Language: Spanish, though English is common, and you may even hear some locals speaking Maya
  • 🎫 Mexico Visa: The vast majority of travelers do not need a visa for Quintana Roo — this includes Americans, Canadians, Japanese and most Europeans. Head here to see if you need a Mexico travel visa.
  • 🔌 Electricity Socket: You’ll mostly find Type A (two-prong) and Type B (three-prong) — the same as used in the United States. For visitors from other countries, you’ll need this universal travel adaptor.
  • 📲 Mexico SIM Card: Wondering, Do I need a SIM card for Mexico? The answer is yes, every traveler will want a one for the reasons explained in this article all about the best Mexico SIM cards.
  • 🚙 Car Rentals: The Mexico rental car process can be a bit daunting, and many people are apprehensive to drive in a foreign country. I get it! Check out this guide to Renting a Car in Cancun for info on the process.
Quintana Roo Mexico TRAVEL GUIDE

Where is Quintana Roo Mexico located?

Quintana Roo state is in southeastern Mexico, along the Caribbean Sea. It is one of the three states that make up Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, along with Yucatan state and Campeche state.

Within Quintana Roo, you’ll find many of the top Mexico travel destinations, like Tulum, CancunPlaya del CarmenHolbox IslandBacalar Lagoon and Puerto Morelos.

Quintana Roo Map

quintana roo mexico map
Quintana Roo Mexico TRAVEL GUIDE

What’s the best airport for Quintana Roo Mexico?

One of the largest airports in Mexico, you’ll want to fly into Cancun International Airport (code: CUN). There are direct flights to Cancun from all over the world, so you’ll enjoy an easy trip to Quintana Roo Mexico!

What’s the best Cancun Airport shuttle?

cancun to tulum

The safest, most-stress free, easiest and best way to get from Cancun Airport to other parts of Quintana Roo state is via private shuttle. I recommend booking with Cancun Airport Transportation, especially if this is your first trip to Mexico.

The private shuttle is the fastest way to get from Cancun Airport to your hotel, with door-to-door service. ↳ BOOK NOW!

Quintana Roo Mexico Travel Guide

Best places to visit in Quintana Roo Mexico

Yucatan Peninsula Travel: Tulum sculpture raw love cafe ahau tulum hotel

Tulum, Quintana Roo

Once a sleepy beach town, Tulum is now one of the top Mexico travel destinations. It has some of the best beaches in Mexico, located right on the Caribbean Sea.

Is Tulum worth visiting? Tulum is perfect for travelers looking for a unique experience. It has an interesting mix of bohemian vibes and spiritual seekers, with ultra-luxury Tulum resorts on the beach, Mayan Ruins and swimmable cenotes.

Yucatan Peninsula Travel: cancun beach with blue water in the caribbean sea

Cancun, Quintana Roo

Cancun has been one of the top Mexico travel destinations for decades now. Visitors from all over the world head here to enjoy the beautiful beaches, lively party scene and more.

Is Cancun worth visiting? For travelers who want to take advantage of the great Cancun all-inclusive resorts, kick back on the beach, frozen Margarita in hand — you’ll love Cancun Mexico!

Yucatan Peninsula Travel: Playa del Carmen Portal Maya statute on the beach

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

Playa del Carmen is located about 45 minutes south of Cancun. It is popular with travelers, expats in Mexico and digital nomads in Mexico alike.

Is Playa del Carmen worth visiting? Playa (as it’s known by locals) has a similar vibe to Cancun, but on a smaller scale. There are still great Playa del Carmen resorts, but it sees fewer tourists than Cancun.

Quintana Roo Mexico Travel Guide

Best things to do in Quintana Roo state

From Mayan ruins in Yucatan, like the Coba Ruins and Xcaret Ruins, to swimmable cenotes in the jungle and beautiful islands in the Caribbean Sea, like Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and Holbox Island — there’s something for everyone in beautiful Quintana Roo Mexico!

Click on any image below to learn more

Quintana Roo Mexico Travel Guide

Best Quintana Roo Tours

Tours in Quintana Roo are a great way to see the state’s main cities and all the surrounding areas — and unless you’re renting a car in Cancun, this is the best way to get around because taxi fees add up quickly.

Below, you’ll find the most popular and best tours in Quintana Roo — including the Tulum Ruins, the cenotes near Cancun, and more.

Quintana Roo Mexico Travel Guide

Is Quintana Roo safe?

According to experts, you are statistically quite safe while visiting Mexico. In fact, the Yucatan Peninsula — where Quintana Roo is located — is one of the safest parts in Mexico.

Millions of Americans go to Mexico on vacation every year, so if we play the numbers game, the number of incidents is very small… When I’m asked if Mexico is a safe place to go travel on vacation, my response is yes.

—Carlos Barron, FBI Veteran (source: Forbes)

That’s not to say bad things don’t happen in Quintana Roo; they do. As with traveling anywhere, follow general travel safety like not walking home alone at night, watching your alcohol consumption and staying aware of yourself and surroundings.

For an added safety measure, pack these travel safety items, dress in a way so your Mexico outfits blend in with the locals, and buy a Mexico SIM card.

Some less-obvious things you’ll want to watch out for in Quintana Roo are dehydration, sunburns, mosquitoes and hangovers. Located in a tropical beachy jungle, Quintana Roo state is hot year-round, and the mosquitoes are quite bad in the summers.

Speaking of summer, this is the Atlantic Hurricane Season, and located right on the Caribbean Sea, Quintana Roo state is susceptible.

Quintana Roo Mexico Travel Guide

What’s the best travel insurance for Mexico?

travel insurance for mexico paperwork

This is a question I get a lot as a Mexico travel writer and Mexico expat. To determine which Mexico travel insurance is best for you, consider factors like the policy’s total cost, your deductible, the coverage you need, your medical benefits, etc.

🏆 In general, I only ever recommend three companies to purchase Mexico travel insurance from:

  • World Nomads — For general travelers and adventure travelers.
  • SafetyWing — For general travelers and digital nomads in Mexico.
  • Travel Insurance Master — Mexico travel insurance search tool, for those who want to compare policies.
  • 👉 Click on any of the links above to get a FREE quote on your policy!

Yucatan Blogs: Learn more about Quintana Roo Mexico 🇲🇽

Quintana Roo Mexico: Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drink the water in Mexico?

No — Unfiltered Mexico tap water is not safe for human consumption. However, you will need to keep drinking water and to stay extra hydrated, as Mexico is quite close to the Equator. In fact, dehydration is one of the most common ways people get sick in Mexico.

So what can you do?

  1. If you’re renting a Tulum Airbnb or VRBO with a kitchen, you can boil the water before drinking it.
  2. You can keep buying bottled water — Though this gets expensive, and is horrible for the planet!
  3. Use the Water-To-Go Filterable Bottle. This refillable bottle not only keeps you hydrated, but also filters your water so you don’t get sick in Mexico, and is good for the planet ♻️ Get 15% OFF with code SOLO15!
water bottles

The Water-To-Go Bottle has a built-in, three-stage filtration system that removes 99.9999% of all water-borne contaminants. These include bacteria, microplastics, viruses, heavy metals, chemicals and more. I personally own one, as you can drink Mexico water from any source (even the tap), and be completely safe.

packing list for mexico

🧳 Mexico Packing list

Wondering what else you need on your packing list for Mexico? Check out this guide — Ultimate Packing List for Mexico + FREE Checklist Download!

Quintana Roo Mexico Travel Guide

What’s the Quintana Roo weather like?

quintana roo mexico weather chart

Quintana Roo has a tropical climate — meaning you can expect warm and hot temperatures year-round, and heavy rains throughout the summer.

In the summers, temperatures hover around 95°F (35°C), though can feel hotter because of the humidity. For the best weather in Quintana Roo, visit between November to March.

Is Quintana Roo expensive?

For the most part, yes. When comparing Quintana Roo state to other states in Mexicoyes, it’s on the expensive side.

You can travel to Quintana Roo on a budget if you open for a budget hotel or hostel over the Cancun resorts or Tulum resorts, and opt for street tacos over restaurants, so Mexico budget travel is certainly possible in Quintana Roo.

Quintana Roo Mexico Travel Guide

Is Quintana Roo worth visiting?

Yes — Quintana Roo is a unique Mexico destination that so many types of travelers (besides just beach goers) will want to check out.

Nature lovers will adore swimming in the Cancun cenotes and Tulum cenotes, history buffs will enjoy climbing the pyramids at the best Mayan Ruins in Mexico, and foodies will love trying these authentic Yucatan foods.

How many days do I need in Quintana Roo Mexico?

If you want to explore the whole state, start by renting a car at Cancun Airport. You’ll need at least 10 full days to explore everywhere from Isla Holbox in the north to Bacalar Lake in the south.

If you simply want to lay on some of the best beaches in Mexico, many located in Quintana Roo, there’s no minimum or maximum amount of time.

🏝 Want to visit Tulum Mexico? This Tulum Itinerary has options for planning the ultimate 3 days in Tulum, 4 days in Tulum or 5 days in Tulum travel itinerary.

🗣 Mexico Language

Mexico Fun Fact: There’s actually no official language of Mexico!

Spanish is the most widely-spoken, so some mistakenly say Spanish is the official language of Mexico. However, the government actually recognizes 68 national languages, including the Nahuatl Aztec language, and the Maya language.

💰 Mexico Currency

Mexican Peso — Exchange rates vary, but have hovered around $18-21 pesos to $1 USD for about the last decade. You will find some places that take U.S. dollars, but usually at an unfavorable rate, so stick to using pesos in Mexico.

☀️ Mexico Weather

Mexico is a big country — the 7th largest on Earth, in fact! It’s hard to generalize the weather in Mexico, because it will vary greatly by where you’re traveling.

In general, temperatures are mostly mild everywhere all year long, though summers on the coast are hot and humid, and winters in Central and Northern Mexico are on the colder side. Throughout the whole country, the rainy season runs from (about) April through September.

✈️ Mexico Busy Season & Slow Season

• Mexico Busy Season: The busy season in Mexico runs October to March, as this is the dry season and you’ll get the best weather. December is the busiest month for tourism in Mexico.

Mexico Slow Season: If you don’t mind some rain, you’ll often find the best travel deal during the Mexico slow season of April to September. Do keep in mind that June 1-November 1 is Hurricane Season, and Mexico beaches are all susceptible.

Mexico Shoulder Season: The shoulder season is that magical time when prices are still low and the weather is good. The Mexico shoulder season is from about mid-October to November and January to early-April.

🧳 Download your FREE Mexico Packing Checklist here!

Check out this Ultimate Packing List for Mexico — so you know what to pack and what NOT to pack for Mexico! This article offers advice on packing for Mexico cities, and packing for a Mexico beach vacation.

Beyond what Mexico outfits and clothing you’ll want to bring, here are a few extra things to consider:

• Filterable Water Bottle: Mexico is close to the Equator, so you’ll need to stay extra hydrated. In fact, dehydration is one of the most common ways people get sick in Mexico.

A filterable, refillable water bottle not only keeps you hydrated, but also filters your water so you don’t get sick in Mexico.

The Water-To-Go Bottle has a built-in, three-stage filtration system that removes 99.9999% of all water-borne contaminants. These include bacteria, microplastics, viruses, heavy metals and chemicals.

water bottles

• Mexico SIM Card: Want to be able to use your phone in Mexico?! Of course you do! Pick up a TELCEL Mexico SIM card before your trip, and swap it out on the plane while you’re waiting to exit, so you have phone and data service the second you arrive in Mexico.

• Anti-Hangover Meds: Planning to party hardy?! Make sure you’re not wasting any of your precious travel time with a hangover. Liquid I.V. has about 70,000 reviews on Amazon, and is considered the best defense against a hangover.

• Sun Hat: No matter if you’re headed to the beach or a city, you’ll want to wear a hat to shield yourself from the strong Mexican sun. This cute sun hat is the perfect stylish and practical accessory for your Mexico vacation.

 Sunscreen: As you’ll want to reapply a few times throughout the day, a light, Mineral-Based Sunscreen is ideal.

Headed to the beach? Do your part to practice responsible tourism in Mexico by only using an eco-friendly reef safe sunscreen while swimming. You can even ditch the sunscreen altogether and opt for a long sleeve swimsuit (AKA rash guard) instead.

 Bug Repellent: Mosquitoes are common throughout Mexico — especially on the beaches! REPEL Insect Repellent is an eco-friendly brand that’s DEET-free and plant based, with a pleasant lemon and eucalyptus scent. Don’t want to use a spray? Pick up some Mosquito Repellent Bracelets.

The vast majority of travelers do not need a visa for Mexico — this includes Americans, Canadians, and most Europeans. Head here to see if you need a Mexico travel visa.

🤔 What is the mexico FMM?

When you go through Customs & Immigration to enter the country, you’ll receive your Forma Migratoria Multiple, or FMM Tourist Card (sometimes listed as FMT). If you’re coming by plane or cruise ship, there is no charge; for those driving across the border, the FMM costs about $30USD.

In most circumstances, all visitors get a 180-day (six month) visa — so you can legally stay up to six months!

🚨 Have your FMM on you at all times

Keep in mind that though it’s called an FMM card, it’s actually just a small piece of paper. Keep your FMM on you at all times in your wallet, as this proves your legal status in Mexico. It’s rare, but if an officer stops you, they can ask to see your FMM.

🎫 Don’t lose your FMM!

You need to have your FMM on you at all times, as proof of your legal status in the country.

Be sure to keep track of your FMM, as you’ll have to give it back to an Immigration officer at the airport, cruise port, or land crossing when you’re leaving the country.

If you lose your FMM, there is a $600 peso ($30 USD) cost to replace it, and some paperwork you’ll need to fill out before you can leave the country.

If you’re flying home, plan to arrive at the airport about one hour earlier than you normally would to do the paperwork and pay the fine.

As this question doesn’t have a yes/no answer (I wish it did!), I do my best to answer it in depth in this article, Is Mexico Safe for Travelers Right Now? However, for the most part, Mexico is actually statistically quite safe for all travelers — including solo travelers.

Check my Solo Female Mexico Travel page for more info.

💃 Mexico solo travel guides

Mexico is a big country, and it has plenty of amazing solo female travel destinations — like the ones featured in this article, Mexico Solo Travel: 20 Safe Destinations for Female Travelers.

In it, you’ll get recommendations of places to visit in Mexico, from solo travelers who have actually been to them.

🎧 solo travel podcasts

• Ep. 34 | Planning your first Mexico solo trip
• Ep. 40 | Tips for safe solo travel in Mexico
• Ep. 53 | 30 Solo female travel tips, Pt. 1

To answer the question, Is it safe to drive in Mexico?YES, it’s considered safe to rent a car and drive in Mexico.

As the country is quite large, road trips are a great way to see a lot in a little time, and especially popular in the Yucatan Peninsula and Baja California Peninsula.

The one caveat to Mexico driving safety is that you’ll be in a foreign country, unfamiliar with their laws and customs. Head here for a complete guide to Renting A Car in Mexico: Everything You Need to Know, where you’ll also get 10 useful Mexico driving tips!

🚙💨 Looking for the best Mexico car rental company? Discover Cars works with both local Mexican companies and international companies to get you the best rates. Not only do I recommend them — I also use them!

Find Your Rental Car

As a general rule, you’ll want to know at least a few words of Spanish when visiting anywhere in Mexico. This is both a sign of respect, and will also help you have a better, smoother trip.

If you stick to the more touristic places in Mexico, you should be fine with basic Spanish. For those planning to venture off the beaten path, be advised most people in pueblos (small towns) speak little to no English.

🗣 Here are some options:

  • Brush up on your Spanish: Use a language-learning program like Rocket Spanish, so you’re confident, and conversational, before your trip.
  • Download the Google Translate App: For this to work at all times, you’ll need a Mexico SIM card with data — as the app won’t work when you’re off-WiFi.
  • Travel with a Mexico phrasebook: This Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook is an Amazon best seller, and a great non-digital language assistant!
  • Save this infographic an image on your phone. This way, you have access to these common words, phrases and questions, even when you’re off-WiFi.