Ancient traditions and modern cultures collide in amazing Yucatan. Located on the tail-end of Mexico’s sprawling peninsula, this Mayan region has way of life that’s entirely its own. Discover the stories and sites of Yucatan on an adventure of a lifetime with Contiki in Mexico!
One of the best things to do in Yucatan is to soak up as much knowledge as possible about Mayan culture. Begin by learning about the history and traditions of the Mayan people at the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya. Discover intricate textiles, beautiful artworks and important artefacts at this phenomenal anthropological museum. To dig even deeper into Mayan rituals, head over to the Choco-Story Museum, where you can witness the recreation of a Mayan cocoa ceremony.
As the traditional homeland of their ancient ancestors, many Maya descendants still call Yucatan home today. Visit the quaint town of Izamal to hear Mayan languages still being spoken today, and climb the remains of Kinich Kakmó, a former Mayan Pyramid.
While Kinich Kakmó is impressive, no Mayan Pyramid is more famous than El Castillo. This mammoth Mayan temple is the highlight of the Chichen Itza archaeological site, a sprawling former city of the Maya. Feel like tomb raider as you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before you leave, try to find its nearby cenotes. These underwater caves are Yutcatan channels to the Mayan gods – which also double as swimming pools in the warmer months.
No trip to Yucatan would be complete without sampling Mayan cuisine. In the cities of Merida and Valladolid, you’ll find a range of traditional Mayan dishes and flavours. The best of the bunch? Get stuck into cochinita pibil, a slow-cooked suckling pig prepared in the traditional way.
With so much history and culture to sink your teeth into, bite off more than you can chew in Yucatan Mexico.
Language: Spanish, Maya
Currency: Mexican peso
Visas: Click here to see if you need a visa to enter Mexico.
Dialing Code: +52Time Zone: (GMT -05:00)
From Mexican national holidays to month-long beach parties, enjoy the best of Yucatan during its festive seasons. From celebrating Carnaval and Cinco de Mayo and showcasing some of the world’s best musicians, here are five of our favourite festivals in Yucatan.
As one of the oldest regions in Mexico, Yucatan food has had a huge impact on the development of Mexican cuisine. From breakfast favourites chilaquiles and tostadas, to more-filling enchiladas, tuck into the best foods Yucatan has to offer. Here are five of our favourites.
Rich and filling, Yucatan enchiladas will leave you licking the plate clean. This delicious dish is made using corn tortillas that are rolled and stuffed with meat, cheese, beans, vegetables and potatoes. Covered with a tomato and capsicum sauce and baked - you’ll be coming back for second helpings of these mouth-watering beauties.
Best eaten at - Cafe Club, Calle 55, Centro, Merida 97000
Something between nachos and deconstructed enchiladas, chilaquiles are the ultimate breakfast food. What is essentially bits of stale tortillas that have been fried with a tomato and capsicum sauce and piled with cheese, you’ll wish you could wake up to these every morning.
Best eaten at - Bisquets Obregon, Calle 37 509, Sol Campestre, 97113 Mérida
Literally translating to ‘Shepherd’s-style tacos,’ the thing that separates tacos al pastor from the rest is its meat filling. Slow cooked on a rotisserie, these tacos demand a shawarma-style meat filling. Thought to have been influenced by the arrival of Lebanese immigrants in the 19th century, try these delicious tacos at El Pastor Suizo in Merida.
Best eaten at - El Pastor Suizo, Calle 54 364, 47 y 49, Col. Benito Juárez Norte, 97139 Mérida
Another typical breakfast food in Yucatan, it’s easy to polish off five or six tostadas every morning. Made using a flat corn tostada shell, which is essentially a toasted tortilla, these shells are piled with fried beans, salads and avocado. Tuck into tostadas at Las Mestizas in Piste.
Best eaten at - Las Mestizas, Calle 15 151, Pisté, 97751 Pisté
A native of Yucatán, cochinita pibil has become one of Mexico’s favourite dishes. This marinated pork is flavoured with juicy Seville oranges and spices, before being wrapped in banana leaves before being slow-cooked underground. Tender, fragrant and seriously delicious, try cochinita pibil at La Chaya Maya in Merida.
Best eaten at - La Chaya Maya, Calle 55 x 60 y 62 Sucursal Centro, Merida 97000, Mexico