"The Yucatan Peninsula" Estado de Yucatán by caucamaya

Estado de Yucatán Travel Guide: 1,467 reviews and 3,866 photos

Three States, One Peninsula

The Yucatan Peninsula contains three Mexican States: Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo. The capital of Campeche State is Campeche, a city that perches on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, surrounded by walls built five hundred years ago to keep out the pirates. The capital of Yucatan State is Merida, a city of a million people that is the cultural and commercial center for the entire Southeast of Mexico. And Quintana Roo, who's capital is Chetumal in the South but whose most famous city is Cancun, international destination for anyone who loves a white sandy beach, sunshine and clear blue water.

The Mayans

One of the most famous things about the Yucatan Peninsula is the indigenous race of Mayans who still live there. Mayans have inhabited this area of the world for thousands of years, and each year archaeologists dig up more evidence of the amazing places they built and things they did in the past.

These days, the Mayans are the largest indigenous people in Mexico. Many of them live in small villlages in the middle of the peninsula where most visitors never venture. But if you visit Chichen Itza or some of the lesser ruins like Ek Balam or Uxmal or Dzibilchaltun, you are sure to drive through some of these small towns.

The Mayans are a complex and interesting people. They speak their own language, and many of the placenames in the Yucatan are Mayan words. Their culture is changing as the 21st Century progesses and as Western culture interacts with them. It is not uncommon anymore to see a Mayan woman wearing her traditional dress but carrying a cell phone. The younger generation of Mayans are rarely seen in traditional clothing. They are going to school, learning new languages and helping the Yucatan grow.

So Much to Do!

There is so much to do in the Yucatan, its hard to know where to start. Do you want to scuba dive in a fresh-water cenote or learn to cook Yucatecan food, some of the tastiest food in the world? Do you want to sit on the beach, with soft white sand between your toes, sipping a pina colada? Or do you want to hike up a stone ruin, imagining the complex civilization that preceded you by five hundred or a thousand years? Do you want to visit a monkey preservation jungle where spider monkeys are swinging from the trees? Or go fishing in the warm Gulf of Mexico? Or visit a museum of modern art? Or maybe go shopping for handcrafts?

The Yucatan has it all and more. History, culture, sports, adventure, food, relaxation and luxury. What it has the most of is a beautiful land, blessed by clear waters and strong sunshine.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Variety, warmth, culture, beaches
  • Cons:It can be hot! and sometimes there are hurricanes.
  • In a nutshell:Paradise on a Budget
  • Intro Updated Oct 16, 2006
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