Yucatan State Travel Guide

Mexico is always a good idea!

Where is Yucatan State located?

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula consists of three states: Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo. Yucatan state is known as the epicenter of Mayan culture in the Yucatan Peninsula, and a top Mexico foodie destination.

Yucatan State map

Top 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.

Best things to do in Yucatan State:

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

Best Yucatan tours:

Yucatan State Travel FAQ

Is Yucatan State safe for travel?

Yucatan State is located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula — one of the most visited and safest regions in the country. Of the three states in the peninsula, Yucatan is considered the safest. The capital city of Merida has been known as the safest city in Mexico for years now.

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 few days in Merida, to a two-week road trip through Yucatan 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 Yucatan things to do and see to keep you busy on a trip that lasts from three days to three weeks!

📍 Must see Yucatan State sites

 Merida, Valladolid, Progreso Beach, Izamal, Chichen Itza, Cenotes

📍 Yucatan Off the Beaten Path

Las Coloradas (Pink Lakes), Celestun Biosphere Reserve, Uxmal Ruins

☀️ Yucatan 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 Gulf of Mexico, Yucatan State is susceptible.

✈️ Yucatan 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.

There is only one airport in Yucatan state, Merida International Airport (code: MID), located in the capital city of Merida.

As Merida is centrally-located in Yucatan State, most other places are within a 1-2 hour drive of the airport. If you’re heading to Merida, the airport is just a short 20-minute drive from downtown via private transportation, Uber or rental car.

However, since it’s a medium-sized airport, there aren’t many direct flights from the U.S. You will likely have to catch a connecting flight through Mexico City International Airport (code: MEX) or Guadalajara International Airport (code: GDL).

🚙💨 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

Yucatan Peninsula Blogs