Roadtripping through the Yucatan Peninsula
Yucatan is home to the largest underground river in the world. This river is mostly covered by stone but in some areas the limestone has collapsed forming cenotes, which look like underground caves with beautiful turquoise water…
My friend and I wanted to visit Tulum but then decided to turn our 5 day trip into a mini road trip through the Yucatan Peninsula, where Tulum is also located. Our destinations by order were Isla Mujeres, Tulum, Valladolid, Chichen Itza, and Rio Lagartos. After doing thorough research and speaking to friends who had travelled in the area, we loved the way our trip was organized and felt that we visited the best locations in the area. I would definitely recommend to visit these locations in the order they appear and I highly recommend renting a car for your trip. We flew from Miami and directly after landing in Cancun, we took a taxi to the ferry dock heading to Isla Mujeres. It’s a tiny island and it only takes around 30 minutes to drive from tip to tip and the main form of transport for tourists is renting and driving a golf cart.
Punta Sur in Isla Mujeres
At the very southern tip of the island you will find Punta Sur, a site with picturesque scenery and cliff formations, also home of an ancient Mayan temple dedicated to the Mayan Moon Goddess. It is best to visit during sunset. There was a decent amount of people but the site is big enough that it does not feel overly crowded.
Azulik Eco Resort in Tulum
After our overnight stay in Isla Mujeres, we took the ferry back to Cancun and picked up our car we had pre-booked online from Europcar. We drove for 2 hours and headed straight to Tulum and we booked two nights at Azulik, an eco-friendly resort located in the popular ocean strip in the area. As resort guests we were welcomed with a traditional mayan ceremony to cleanse and neutralize our energy, followed by a quick tour of the space. The resort has two restaurants, a museum, the beach front, clothing boutiques and a spa. Villas are their main form of accommodation.
Jungle Villa in Azulik
My friend and I decided to book the Jungle Villa for two nights. The villa has a large round bed, a private bathroom, a ceramic bathtub with hot running water, and a big balcony with a jacuzzi. The resort also uses minimal electricity, meaning the villas only have one electricity socket, there is no air conditioning (only a fan), and no light. The villas are lit every afternoon around 5pm with candles. Wifi is only available in one of the resort lounges.
Restaurants in Azulik
Our welcome to Azulik included a complimentary champagne glass to enjoy at either of their restaurants and there is one nest reserved at Kin Toh to be enjoyed by resort guests only. We also had the opportunity to visit the large nest, which belongs to the sister restaurant inside Azulik, Tseen Ja. Non resort guests can make dinner reservations, but do not have access to the nests unless booked and cannot visit both restaurants, only the restaurant where reservations were made.
The next morning after arriving in Tulum, we decided to check out some cenotes in the area. So, what are cenotes? Yucatan is home to the largest underground river in the world. This river is mostly covered by stone but in some areas the limestone has collapsed forming cenotes, which look like underground caves with beautiful turquoise water. Our first stop was the Cenote Cristal and across the street you will find the Cenote Escondido.
Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich
That same day we stopped by Cenote Nohoch Nah Chich. The water is so blue and crystal clear. If you feel like it, you can also bring snorkels and swim into a cave where you will see marine life.
Chichen Itza & Cenote Ik Kil
After spending two nights in Tulum, we checked out of Azulik and drove straight to Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik Kil. Chichen Itza can be covered in around 2 hours and you will see many interesting temples and learn interesting history. The cenote is beautiful but gets very crowded. I would recommend visiting the cenote first right when it opens at 9:00am and then walk around Chichen Itza.
The next morning we started heading north and stopped by the Cenote Suytun. Most definitely my favorite cenote visited. After taking some pictures I decided to swim around for a bit. There are black cat fish in the water and they are not shy so you will see many of them. Swimming in this cenote was definitely a little bit creepy, but it’s all part of the thrill!
Rio Lagartos National Park
After Suytun we drove straight to our last destination, Rio Lagartos National Park. We booked the 2 hour boat ride and saw flamingos, different kinds of birds, and at the end our boat driver found an alligator which is the highlight of the boat trip if you are lucky enough to see one. I was surprised of how accustomed they are to humans. Our boat driver gently pulled him from the tail and the alligator was ok with it.
We took the tour at a perfect timing and the sun was setting during our boat ride. Afterwards, we headed straight back to Cancun to turn in our rented car and spent the night at the Mezcal Hostel. We didn’t get a chance to see any of Cancun, but it was not a priority for us. We flew back to Miami the next morning and wished it had all lasted a little bit longer.