Heading to Mexico? Here’s is how to spend 3 weeks in Mexico (Yucatan & Quintana Roo States).
How to spend 3 weeks in Mexico:
Let me start by saying that Mexico is HUGE! We were lucky enough to spend 19 days in Mexico in total and to be honest I feel like we barely scratched the surface. There are a total of 32 states in Mexico, meaning you could literally spend a year or more making your way through it.
How to spend 3 weeks in Mexico (Yucatan & Quintana Roo States), our route;
In total we visited 6 places;
As you can see from the map, spent our time in the two states closest on the Caribbean coast. Quintana Roo borders the north of Belize.
We just used this as a stopover to fly into. Although it has stunning, stunning beaches, it is notorious for being overpriced. Although, Cancun is expensive, we briefly saw the incredible beaches, so if you’d still like to visit, my blog post on how to save money while backpacking might help. http://mypassporttohappy.com/top-tips-on-saving-money-while-traveling/
2. Isla Mujeres
🚐How to get to Isla Mujeres?
To get here we took a taxi from Cancun downtown to Puerto Juarez (ferry port) which worked out as €6.50 each one way. There are no ADO buses. We then took the Ultramar ferry to Isla Mujeres which takes about 20 minutes and costs €20 return each (works out cheaper to buy return tickets and can be used any day). The first ferry is at 5:30am running every half hour up until 11.30pm.
🛏️Where to stay in Isla Mujeres?
We stayed Ocean Drive Hotel which was 5 minutes from the Ferry port. It was a budget hostel along the sea. The Selina Hostel also gets good reviews here and we always connected to their wifi when we walked past so it must have been strong enough. https://www.selina.com/es/mexico/isla-mujeres/
🗺️What to do in Isla Mujeres?
The very best thing to do in Isla Mujeres is to switch off and relax. I highly recommend spending the day at Playa Norte which is the Island’s famous white sand beach. It gets very busy during the day so if you want to see it quiet go early in the morning, we always went after our morning run and it was so peaceful swimming at this time.
Rent go carts to explore the island (€30 for 2 hours or €57 for the day).
🍽️Where to eat in Isla Mujeres?
We got an unreal healthy breakfast at Aroma Isla and went back the next day for lunch cause we enjoyed it so much. It was expensive enough as it right on the Main Street but really good if you want something healthy. https://www.tripadvisor.es/Restaurant_Review-g150810-d12630293-Reviews-Aroma_Isla-Isla_Mujeres_Yucatan_Peninsula.html
Cafe Magagua was a cute spot for breakfast, Jonathan got a smoothie and really enjoyed it.
‘Rooster’ for lunch and an unreal steak sand which. Similarly to the restaurants I just mentioned it was quite expensive, but most places to eat on the island are on the pricey side. https://www.tripadvisor.ie/Restaurant_Review-g150810-d1757113-Reviews-Rooster_Isla_Mujeres-Isla_Mujeres_Yucatan_Peninsula.html
3. Holbox Island
🚐How to get to Holbox Island?
We took the Ultramar ferry back to Puerto Juarez from Isla Mujeres (€10 per person). ⏭ From our hostel, we took a taxi to ADO bus station (€8.60). ⏭ ADO bus from Cancun to Chiquila which was €13.60 per person and takes about two hours. This bus only goes 4 times a day and books up quick so book online to get a seat. ⏭ Holbox Express ferry from Chiquila to Holbox Island. (€8.50 per person one way) and takes about 30 minutes.
🛏️Where to stay in Holbox Island?
We stayed at Tribu Hostel which was only 10 minute walk from the ferry port. It worked out at €18 per person per night in a shared 6 bed dorm which was more expensive than some private rooms in other hotels but we had heard great things about this hostel. Really cool hostel, activities on all day to meet other bag packers, free yoga classes everyday, live music every night. Communal area to meet other backpackers. https://www.google.com/search?q=tribu+hostel+holbox&rlz=1C1CHBF_enIE1010IE1010&oq=tribu+&aqs=chrome.0.35i39j46i175i199i512j69i57j0i512l2j69i60l3.3030j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
🗺️What to do in Holbox island?
- Walk out to Punta Mosquito when the tide is low. About 1 hour walk out through the water to get to the island.
- Watch the sunset at Punta Cocos, 25 minute walk from hostel zone.
- Whale shark diving during peak season (July until September).
- Volunteer at the holbox refugee animal shelter. https://www.refugioanimalholbox.com/home-2
- Kayak tour through to see crocodiles and in peak season the flamingos.
- Kite surfing.
- Try the islands famous lobster pizza.
- Watch the soccer games in the courtyard in the evening.
🍽️Where to eat in Holbox Island?
‘Painapol’ always has a queue outside for breakfast and dinner, but we were always too hungry to wait.
‘Holbox Foodie Market’ is basically a food market style with the best tacos, pasta, pizza, burgers or sushi. https://www.instagram.com/holboxfoodiemarket/?hl=en
‘La Pinsa’ had the best pizza, we even went back twice when it was lashing rain one day.
‘The Hot Corner’ is where everyone goes to have a few drinks, most people buy drink in the shop right beside it and drink on the streets.
🚐 How to get to Valladolid?
Take the ferry from Holbox back to Chuquila (€8.50 one way). ⏭ ADO bus from Chuquila to Valladolid bus station.
🛏️Where to stay in Valladolid?
Hostal Gayser which was only €6.60 each per night for a private room. The walls only went up 3/4 way to ceiling the rest was mosquito net so was very loud especially in the morning with people leaving for Chichen Itzá. But for €6.60 it was okay.
🗺️What to do in Valladolid?
- Chichen Itza. 1 hour drive away on scooter. Go early we got there at 8.15am and was still waiting 45 minutes to enter. €21 each for entry. Recommended to get a tour as there is so much history but we had to have the scooter back for 11am. No food allowed in and no toilets once you enter.
- Cenote Suytun. Most famous Cenote. Was more expensive than the rest €6.50 each for entry only for an hour.
- Cenote Oxman was also €6.50 for entry, could stay the whole day. Was a rope to jump into water.
- Tekom Cenote. €0.86 each for entry stay. Our favourite hidden Cenote literally underneath a little town, we drove past it a couple times.
- Rent scooters €21.55 (1000 pesos deposit) for 24 hours, only €4 to fill tank which lasted us 3 journeys to cenotes and an hour trip to Chichen Itza. We bought a SIM card which was only €2.50 for Google maps.
🍽️Where to eat in Valladolid?
🍽 Every night we ate at this food court just off the main square, it had taco stalls and a Chinese food stall.
🚐 How to get to Tulum?
We got the ADO connecta bus from Valladolid to Tulum which was €5 each and took 1hr45 minutes.
🛏️Where to stay in Tulum?
We stayed in the Mayan Monkey Hostel, which was a cool hostel with nice shared dorms, had really strong wifi, free breakfast, free yoga classes and music most nights.
🗺️What to do in Tulum?
- Rent a bike, €6.50 each for 24 hours. Price around, a company 2 min walk away were charging €14 each for 24 hours. We rented with ‘Ola Bike Rental’ which we found really good. https://www.olabiketulum.com/
- Cycle out to Playa Paraiso a beach with the famous bent palm tree and the best spot for sunrise.
- We went to Cenote Calavera which was €11.50 entry for the day, it’s the most famous one and we did enjoy it but not sure it was worth €11.50 each.
- Yazmul Cenote was recommended too we just didn’t have time to go there as it’s like 45 minutes away.
🍽️Where to eat in Tulum?
Casa Sofia was nice for wood oven pizza.
We also ate at Boston America restaurant which was typical non bag packing food but we were craving a good burger and chips.
There’s taco stalls in downtown Tulum where you can get 5 tacos for 45 pesos.
🚐 How to get to Bacalar?
Take the ADO bus from Tulum to Bacalar takes about 1hr 45 minutes.
🛏️Where to stay in Bacalar?
El Roble Hotel which was €13 each per night for a private room, staff were so helpful, bed was comfortable, great wifi and air con.
Che Hostel here also gets great reviews.
🗺️What to do in Bacalar?
- Taxi out to Los Rapidos, €8.64 each way. We got the taxi man’s number and got him return. €17 for an hour to rent a kayak which was expensive but since we missed out on doing a boat tour on the lagoon due to isolating we said we’d do it. The current is super strong so you literally float down it like a lazy river. There’s also hammocks in the water to chill out in. There are chairs along the river you can sit which are part of the cafe and they require you to buy food or drink to sit there.
- Sunrise paddle boarding tour.
- Boat tour around the lagoon out to Pirates Cave, Cenote Negro, Cenote del Hotel Laguna, Cenote de Cocalitos and Bird Island. This tour is 2 hours and is either 250 pesos or 350 pesos depending on which boat you take.
- Yak lake Hostel for drinks at night.
🍽️Where to eat in Bacalar?
We ate in Kai Pes one night, we got decent burgers and watched the sunset along the lagoon. After dinner, a couple got engaged right in front of us which was cute!
Another night, we got more pizzas at Dabruno which was nice!
El Manati open until 3pm and have unreal Mexican food.
Another tip for Bacalar is to bring cash, ATMs are always busy and often run out of money so have cash.
How to spend 3 weeks in Mexico (Yucatan & Quintana Roo States), recap;
All in all, Mexico is a stunning country that offers so much. I would highly recommend doing doing a lot of research before your trip as there is so much to do and see.