Quintana Roo Travel Guide

Mexico is always a good idea!

Where is Quintana Roo Mexico?

Located in southeastern Mexico, Quintana Roo is one of three states that make up Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, along with Yucatan and Campeche states. 

Though you might not know this state by name, Quintana Roo is home to many of the best beach towns in Mexico and top Mexico travel destinations — like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Quintana Roo map

Best Quintana Roo Travel Destinations:

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.

Things to do in Quintana Roo Mexico:

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!

Best Quintana Roo tours:

Quintana Roo Travel Blogs

Quintana Roo Travel FAQ

Is Quintana Roo safe?

Located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula — one of the most visited and safest regions in the country — Quintana Roo is among the top tourism destinations in the entire country. Aside from sunburns, mosquitoes, hangovers and hurricanes, visitors are largely safe in the Quintana Roo.

The three most visited destinations, Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen, are also three of the biggest party towns in Mexico. As is common knowledge, safety goes way down when there’s alcohol involved. (Planning to party hardy?! Pack some Liquid I.V., and thank me later!)

As with traveling anywhere, you’ll need to follow general travel safety measures, like not walking home alone at night 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.

Want to hear about Mexico travel safety from the experts? Check out my Is Mexico Safe for Travel? article.

Depending on your travel style, you can enjoy everything from a long weekend at a beachfront all-inclusive resort, to a two-week road trip through Quintana Roo state to see everything.

In short, there’s no minimum or maximum of time that would work for all travelers. There are, however, plenty of Quintana Roo things to do and see to keep you busy on a trip that lasts from three days to three weeks!

Visiting Tulum Mexico? This Tulum Itinerary guide has options for planning the perfect 3 days, 4 days or 5 days in Tulum.

📍 top QUintana Roo travel destinations

Cancun, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel Island, XCaret Park, Xel-Ha Park, Coba Mayan Ruins

📍 QUintana Roo Off the Beaten Path

Laguna Bacalar Lake, Isla Holbox, Akumal Beach, Puerto Morelos, Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve, Mahahual Beach, Xpu-Ha Beach

☀️ quintana roo weather

Weather-wise, this Mexico state has a tropical climate — meaning you can expect warm and hot temperatures year-round, and heavy rains throughout the summer. If possible, plan to visit from November to May, during the dry season.

Hurricane Season: June 1-November 1 is Atlantic Hurricane Season, and being located on both the Caribbean Sea Quintana Roo Mexico is highly susceptible.

✈️ quintana roo slow Season

If you don’t mind some rain, you’ll often find the best travel deal during the Mexico low season of April to September. The shoulder season is that magical time when prices are still low and the weather is good. The Yucatan shoulder season is from about late-October to November and February to early-April.

The main airport in Quintana Roo state is Cancun International Airport (code: CUN). As this is a large international airport, you can usually find direct, inexpensive flights from most major U.S. cities.

As not everyone stays in Cancun, and so many do venture to other parts of the Yucatan Peninsula, you can fly into Cancun Airport, and rent a car to continue on to explore all the best places in the Yucatan Peninsula. Traveling from Cancun to Tulum? Check out all your options here, Cancun to Tulum: The 6 Best Transportation Options.

Other Quintana Roo mexico Airports

  • If you’re headed to Bacalar or Chetumal, there’s the small Chetumal International Airport (code: CTM).
  • On Cozumel Island, there’s Cozumel International Airport (code: CZM).
  • Holbox Island has the tiny Aerodromo de Holbox (code: HOL) airstrip, but it’s mostly for private planes.

🚙💨 Looking to rent a car? Discover Cars works with both local Mexican companies and large international car rental agencies so you get you the best rates. I both recommend and use them!

🗣 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 $1USD 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!

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 City (and all 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.

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

The LifeStraw Refillable Water Bottle and Britta Filtered Water Bottle are both great options.

• 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 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.

No — U.S. passport holders do not need a visa to travel to Mexico. For non-U.S. citizens, head here to see if you need a Mexico travel visa.

When you go through Immigration and enter the country, you’ll receive your Forma Migratoria Multiple, or FMM Tourist Card. 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!

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 ($30USD) 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 Women: 20 Mexico Solo Travel Tips You Need. 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!

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 the infographic below as an image on your phone. This way, you have access to these common words, phrases and questions even when you’re off-WiFi.
List of useful spanish words and phrases