Yucatan State Travel Guide

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Yucatan state mexico Travel Guide

Yucatan State Mexico: At a Glance

From world-class beaches and swimmable cenotes, to Mayan ruins and colorful, colonial cities — there’s something for everyone planning a Yucatan Mexico trip. Yucatan state is one of the three states that make up Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, along with Quintana Roo state and Campeche state.

Yucatan state is considered one of the safest in Mexico, if not the safest. The capital city, Mérida, has long been considered the safest city in Mexico, though other cities in Yucatan state like Valladolid and Izamal, as well as the beaches of Yucatan, are also safe to visit.

Yucatan state mexico Travel Guide

Yucatan State Mexico: Know Before You Go

  • ✈️ Airport: Merida International Airport (code: MID)
  • 💰 Currency: Mexican Peso
  • 🗣 Language: Spanish, though you may even hear some locals speaking Maya
  • Time Zone: Central Standard Time (GMT-6)
  • 🎫 Mexico Visa: 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.
  • 🔌 Electricity Socket: You’ll mostly find Type A (two-prong) and Type B (three-prong) — the same as used in the U.S. For visitors from other countries, you’ll need this universal travel adaptor.

What’s the best time to visit Mexico’s Yucatan state?

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

Yucatan Shoulder Season: March to May is the shoulder season in Yucatan — 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 Yucatan, especially in the summers, so don’t forget your eco-friendly bug spray 🦟

Note: June 1 to November 1 is the Atlantic Hurricane Season. As the Yucatan beaches are located on the Gulf of Mexico, some cities like Puerto Progreso Beach are susceptible.

Yucatan state mexico Travel Guide

Where is Yucatan state located?

Yucatan state is located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, a region in southeastern Mexico that consists of three states — Quintana Roo state, Yucatan state and Campeche state. As its name state, this is a peninsula, with the Gulf of Mexico to the north, and Caribbean Sea to the south and east.

Yucatan state map

yucatan state mexico map
Quintanna Roo, Yucatan and Campeche states in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. (Photo: Google Maps)

What’s the best airport for Yucatan state travel?

Merida International Airport (code: MID) is the best Yucatan airport for travel. It is in Merida, the capital of Yucatan state. Located in the center of the state, Merida makes a great home base to access all the best things to do in Yucatan. If you’re renting a car in Merida, you can easily access the Merida cenotes, Mayan Ruins near Merida, and more.

Yucatan state mexico Travel Guide

What are the best Yucatan state travel destinations?

colorful colonial buildings in merida, yucatan state mexico

Merida, Yucatan Mexico

Merida is the capital of Yucatan state, located in the (near) dead center of the state. It makes the perfect home base to explore so much on Yucatan day trips from Merida.

Is Merida worth visiting? Considered the safest city in Mexico and the Mayan Culture Capital of the Yucatan, Merida will appeal most to culturally-minded travelers. Foodies will also love sampling all the unique Yucatan food here.

large colonial church in valladolid, yucatan state mexico, a pueblo magico

Valladolid, Yucatan Mexico

Valladolid is an increasingly popular Yucatan travel destination. It is one of the Mexico pueblos magicos (magic towns), and among the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico.

Is Valladolid worth visiting? For those visiting the Yucatan Peninsula and looking for a unique Mexican culture travel experience — Valladolid is the place. Located only two hours from Merida, Tulum and Cancun, Valladolid is worth the visit.

Yucatan state mexico Travel Guide

Best things to do in Yucatan Mexico

Explore the Yucatan pueblos magicos (magic towns) of Izamal and Valladolid, swim in the beautiful Mexico cenotes and Yucatan beaches, wander the grounds of historic Yucatan haciendas and more! This state is also home to some of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico. Click on any image below to learn more

Yucatan state mexico Travel Guide

Best Yucatan State Tours

Multi-day tours in Yucatan state are a great way to see a lot of sites on one trip — and not have to worry about coordinating your transportation between places. Below, you’ll find the best Yucatan tours, which include unique excursions on land to see the Mayan Ruins, and unforgettable adventures in the best Mexico cenotes.

Yucatan state mexico Travel Guide

Is Yucatan state safe for travelers?

According to experts, you are statistically quite safe while visiting Mexico. Popular areas in Mexico, like the Yucatan Peninsula, are heavily moderated by Mexican police to keep these places safe — so visitors continue to return year after year! That’s not to say bad things don’t happen in Yucatan Mexico; they do.

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)

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 other less-obvious things to watch out for are dehydration, sunburns, mosquitoes and hangovers! With a tropical climate, Yucatan is hot year-round, and the mosquitoes are quite bad in the summers. Speaking of summer, this is the Atlantic Hurricane Season, and with beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, parts of Yucatan state are susceptible.

travel insurance for mexico paperwork

What’s the best travel insurance for Mexico?

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 a policy

Yucatan state mexico Travel Guide

Yucatan Travel Blogs: Learn more about Yucatan Mexico 🇲🇽

Yucatan state mexico Travel Guide

Yucatan State 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 place 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. Get 15% OFF with code SOLO15!

🧳 Mexico Packing list

Wondering what else you need on your packing list for Yucatan Mexico? Check out this Ultimate Packing List for Mexico + Free Checklist Download.

Is Yucatan state expensive?

Compared to the big name Yucatan Peninsula destinations, like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum, places like Merida and Valladolid in Yucatan state are much cheaper. You can regularly find great deals at all the best hotels in Merida for about $125USD per night, and enjoy inexpensive meals at the best restaurants in Merida.

What’s the Yucatan weather like?

Yucatan state 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 Yucatan Mexico, visit between November to March.

Is Yucatan worth visiting?

Yes — Yucatan state is a unique destination that so many types of travelers will want to check out. This area of the country has the largest Mayan population in Mexico, and you can visit numerous Mayan Ruins in Mexico, like Uxmal Ruins, and Chichen Itza Ruins, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

There are also amazing Yucatan beaches, world-class birdwatching, delicious Yucatan food, historic Colonial cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and cenotes (natural jungle pools). No matter the kind of vacation you’re after, you can find it in Yucatan state.

mexico Yucatan Peninsula Travel Guide

How many days do I need in Yucatan Mexico?

If you only have a weekend to travel, stick to 1-2 cities that are near each other — like Merida and Valladolid. ✈️ Head here to check out some Merida itineraries that have already been planned for you. If you have one week in Yucatan, you can visit 3-4 cities. To see all the best sites in Yucatan Mexico, you’d need at least one week, if not more!

Yucatan state is somewhat large, and if you want to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time, pick up a Merida rental car at the Airport when you land. Looking for the best Mexico car rental company? Discover Cars works with both local Mexican companies and international companies so you get the best rates. Not only do I recommend them — I also use them!

Find Your Rental Car

🚗💨 Is it safe to drive in Yucatan Mexico?

Many want to know, Is it safe to drive in Mexico? For most travelers, YES, it’s perfectly safe to rent a car and drive in Mexico. Head here for a complete guide to Renting A Car in Merida, where you’ll also get 10 useful Mexico driving tips so you feel safe and confident while driving in Mexico.

🗣 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 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.

• 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.

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 ($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: 25 Mexico 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!

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 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