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Famous Places to Visit in the Yucatán During the Conference

There’s so much to see, so if you’re planning a trip to Yucatán, be sure to add these must-visit places to your itinerary!

If you are attending the next conference in Playa del Carmen in 2024, you’re in for a treat. You’ll be visiting one of the most beautiful spots in the world!

Bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatán Peninsula sits on some of the most gorgeous land in the country. This tropical paradise is brimming with history, vibrant culture, delicious food, and a lush geography that’s ready to host some incredible adventures.  

This roundup of famous sites in and around Yucatán perfectly encapsulates the wonderfully dynamic energy of this region. From ancient ruins to cenotes to bustling cities, there’s so much to see, so if you’re planning a trip to Yucatán, be sure to add these must-visit places to your itinerary!

Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico today.

Chichen Itza

The Yucatán Peninsula was the heart of the Maya civilization in Mexico, and the structures they’ve left behind are breathtaking. One of the most famous historical sites in all of Mexico, the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza should not be missed on your Yucatán trip.

The small city of Chichen Itza was active over a thousand years ago (dating back to 600 AD). Today, you can wander through ancient structures, tall columns, and an astronomical observatory and marvel at the many wall carvings and, of course, its iconic pyramid. (Be sure to get an early start to avoid the crowds.)

Opening Hours: Chichen Itza is open from Sunday – Saturday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

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Tulum Ruins is a fascinating city museum, with well-preserved temples & stunning coastal views.

Tulum Ruins

The Tulum Ruins are another unmissable sight to see, located on a cliff right at the coast with a stunning view of the Caribbean Sea. Aside from the gorgeous backdrop, what makes the Tulum ruins special is that they’re one of the best-preserved ruin sites in all of Mexico. 

Bring comfortable shoes so you can spend a good amount of time walking through this archaeological wonder. And afterward, you can walk straight down to the beach and jump in the water! 

Another amazing ruins site is the Coba Mayan Ruins, which sit deep in the jungle and are a lot more rugged and natural than other sites. The coolest thing about the Coba Ruins is that you can climb up to the top of the Nohoch Mul pyramid (Yucatán’s tallest)! It’s a trek but so worth it for the view and the experience. Coba is much less crowded than other sites, too, and makes for an unforgettable day trip.

Opening Hours: The Mayan Ruins of Tulum are open between 8 AM and 5 PM.

Visiting Tulum is a perfect day trip for those who tire of idly lounging around the pool.

Tulum

If you’re visiting Playa del Carmen, the nearby coastal town of Tulum definitely deserves a visit.  One of the last cities ever built by the Mayans, Tulum has an intriguing and mysterious history that gives it a truly magical energy.  

It’s become a highly popular destination thanks to its striking white sand beaches, bright blue waters, and boho vibe. Explore the ruins, stroll through the small, charming town, and, of course, lay out on the beach and splash around in the waves.

Dos Ojos is one of the most popular dive sites on the Yucatán Peninsula.

Dos Ojos Cenote 

The Yucatán Peninsula boasts some of the most incredible natural wonders in the world: cenotes. These majestic sinkholes are filled with crystal-clear water and connect to a sprawling underground river system. One of the most popular cenotes for swimming, snorkeling, and diving is the Dos Ojos Cenote, which sits just north of Tulum.

Dos Ojos (meaning “two eyes” in Spanish) refers to its two large cenotes connected by a cavern with bats and breathtaking stalactites that you can snorkel and dive through. Both cenotes are warm year-round, and the Second Eye is especially great for relaxing swims and spectacular photo ops. 

Cenote Azul is another of the most famous cenotes in the area, located near Playa del Carmen. It’s a popular local spot and perfect for an afternoon of swimming and laying out under the sun.

Opening Hours: Dos Ojos is open every day from 08:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

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Fifth Avenue is a hotbed for high-end retailers, bars, restaurants, local shops, cafes, and more

Playa del Carmen’s Quinta Avenida

Playa del Carmen’s bustling Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) is the city’s main street and is central to all the action. Here, you’ll find tons of charming boutique shops and market stalls offering locally made treasures from leather goods to clothing and textiles to cacao and other regional treats. There are also plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars. 

With perfect weather and great vibes, you can spend hours perusing the local shops and stalls, ideally followed by some tacos and an agua fresca. Be sure to pop into the Frida Kahlo Museum, too. While it doesn’t hold any of her original work, it’s a beautiful museum that shares about her life and her art.

Río Secreto is the new ecological inspiration of our region.

Rio Secreto

Travel through time and experience the wonders of Rio Secreto, a system of underground rivers and caverns with stunning geological formations that date back millions of years. One of the most incredible excursions not just in the Yucatán but in the world, the Rio Secreto Tour can’t be missed. 

You’ll hike through the natural reserve, explore deep inside underground caves, and swim through fresh rivers. Plus, you’ll be given some fascinating insight into its history and will leave contemplating the miraculousness of our natural world and our existence within it. 

Opening Hours: Rio Secreto is open from 8 AM to 3 PM, every day.

Xcaret is among the best theme parks in Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Xcaret Park

If you’re looking for a day of fun and adventure, you’ll want to spend it at Xcaret. One of the absolute best parks (and destinations in general) to visit in Yucatán, Xcaret is a sprawling adventure park filled with underground rivers, cenotes, and jungle trails, plus beach access and fun pools to splash around in. 

You can take a break from all the action at the park’s beautiful Butterfly House and Coral Reef Aquarium. Xcaret boasts live music, traditional dance performances, and plenty of great dining options, too.  

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 7 AM to 12 AM. | Saturdays and Sundays from 7 AM to 10 PM.

Cozumel has a very low crime rate and is considered a very safe area to travel to.

Cozumel

Cozumel is one of the most famous diving spots in the world, thanks to its extensive coral reefs and crystal clear water that offers amazing visibility, and it’s just a short ferry ride from Playa del Carmen. 

Its coral reefs (which are part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the world’s second-largest reef system after the Great Barrier Reef) are bursting with wildlife, so whether you’re diving or snorkeling, you’re sure to spot all kinds of creatures from colorful fish to reef sharks! So if you plan on a visit to Cozumel, a snorkel or diving session is a must.   

There are so many other wonderful things to do in Cozumel, too. Visit the Mayan ruins, go for a bike ride, lay out on the remote, white sand beaches, and enjoy some seriously delicious food.

Akumal was known as a major Mayan trade center and port.

Akumal

Another diving and snorkeling oasis, the small town of Akumal offers the once-in-a-lifetime experience of snorkeling with sea turtles. The coral reef in Akumal blocks incoming tides, making for calm waters that the sea turtles love. Be sure to book a tour with a licensed guide, as they’ll help you maintain a distance where you can see them clearly without scaring them or invading their space. 

With pretty beaches and perfect blue water, you can also snorkel right from the shore or head out on a boat trip for a more immersive view of the Caribbean Sea.

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Isla Mujeres is more laid-back and tranquil than Cancun.

Isla Mujeres

One of Mexico’s pueblos magicos, Isla Mujeres truly is a magical little beach town, not only for its beautifully lush landscape but also for its folkloric connection to the Mayan goddess Ixchel. This enchanting town is known for its beautiful, quiet beaches, fun attractions, and safe and welcoming atmosphere. 

It’s a perfect day trip location if you’re a diver or looking to get your certification. You can dive or snorkel around underwater sculptures and art installations at the remarkable Cancun Underwater Museum of Art (which attract a ton of beautiful fish!), gaze at the many colorful homes in town, or taste some of the best Mexican crafts beers brewed in Yucatán. Stop by the beautiful Garrafon Park for kayaking and zip-lining!

Merida offers you rich culture, history, entertainment, and delectable gastronomy.

Merida

The state capital of Yucatán, Merida is a cultural hub that’s been quickly gaining traction as a must-visit destination. The city’s rich and unique culture is inherited from both the ancient Maya civilization and the Spanish conquistadors who came after, with cultural landmarks, amazing colonial architecture, and fascinating museums giving insight into Yucatáns history. 

Stroll through the local markets to taste exotic produce and enjoy live music, shop around at the local artisan shops for all kinds of fun and authentic souvenirs, gaze at the colorful streets, and keep an ear out for the Mayan dialects you’ll likely hear locals speaking. From street vendors to fine dining, Merida is bursting with delicious food, too, so don’t miss out on trying some traditional foods.   

El Cuyo is known for its natural beauty. | Photography by Luna Vandoorne

El Cuyo

An easy, two-hour drive from Cancún, the city of El Cuyo is touted as offering one of the best Yucatán beaches. Originally discovered by kite surfers, this laid-back town soon became the go-to place for getting away from the crowds, disconnecting, and having a peaceful day at the beach. 

As tourism increased, boutique hotels and amazing restaurants have popped up, as well as a range of activities like kitesurfing school, paddle boarding and kayaking, ATV tours to the famous Las Coloradas pink lakes, and even birdwatching and yoga classes. El Cuyo is the perfect little escape if you’re looking for tranquillity coupled with some active fun. 

Xenses is a surprising half-day park out of the ordinary. | Photo courtesy of Xsenses

Xsenses

Xenses is an adventure park like no other, with activities and scenarios that will challenge your senses and continuously leave you in awe. This exciting park is all about illusions and nothing being what it seems, so you’re definitely in for a day of excitement!

You’ll experience some incredible scenarios, from floating inside a pool without getting wet to visiting an upside-down house. You’ll be able to witness fun optical illusions, tour through different ecosystems in pitch-black darkness, take an unforgettable bird flight via zip-line, and get covered in mud at the Natural Xpa, among many other activities. 

Opening Hours: Xenses is a half-day Park open Monday to Saturday.

Want to know more about Women’s Travel Fest? Read About Us here. We look forward to welcoming you to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, February 16-19, 2024! And watch out for news on the 2025 conference destination! 

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PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO

FEBRUARY 16-19, 2024