Mexico Travel Tips Cancun and Beyond

The last time I was in Mexico, everyone else was like that-or, so it seemed. But you can fly to Mexico and enjoy a white sandy beach and, at the same time, some peace. Where (and, in some cases, when) to go is all you need to remember.

When To Visit

The best time to visit is generally considered to be November to April. It can get pretty hot in the summer months. The peak hurricane season, which lasts from November to June, is in September and October.

Bear in mind that on Spring Break, the month of March appears to be very crowded on Mexico's beaches with high school and college students. You will also want to skip the period around Christmas and Easter, as well as July and August if you want a quiet holiday.

cancun to tulum shuttle

Where To Visit

It's true: Mexico-and the Yucatan Peninsula-is much more than the city of Cancun. Of course, the next popular tourist place is Tulum.

Here are five favorite destinations offering unforgettable holidays in Mexico. You can reach any of these spots by flying into Cancun. So if you want to get a taste of the resort of the big city and then head off on the less-traveled route, you're going to get the best of both worlds.

Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is a quiet fishing village just 8 miles across the bay from Cancun, with restaurants, stores, and cozy, charming hotels. The entire island is, in truth, cozy: the island itself is less than a mile wide and approximately five miles long. Isla Mujeres downtown extends for just about six miles. Turquoise waters and white sandy beaches typical of the island make for excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. Right on the beach, you can rent kayaks, snorkeling equipment, and other gear. During your stay at Isla Mujeres, other things to enjoy include fishing, sailing, and dolphin swimming.

The Riviera Maya spreads from Cancun to Tulum along the peninsula. You'll find white sandy beaches and all sorts of water sports here, like scuba diving along the Great Maya coral reef, the world's second-largest barrier reef system. The sight of water life, ranging from sea anemones, sponges, and sea cucumbers to starfish and sea urchins, as well as underwater caverns, will reward divers and snorkelers. You can get easily by hopping on one of the Cancun to Tulum shuttle busses. Sportfishing is also a large enterprise in the Riviera Maya. Other activities in the different ecological reserves in the area include golfing, spa going, and eco-touring—two highlights: EcoPark Xcaret and the biosphere of Sian Ka'an. There is severe times per day shuttle from Cancun to Tulum.

Playa del Carmen. Playa del Carmen is a vibrant resort along the Riviera Maya, about a 40-minute drive down Cancun's coast. You'll love Playa del Carmen if you like to shop. In the city, boutiques sell everything from cutting-edge European fashions to local artisans' crafts.

Don't forget Quinto Avenida (Fifth Avenue) during your visit. It's Playa's heart. You can walk the avenue and be entertained by street performers, including artists and musicians. There are no cars. Premier dining is also featured in Playa del Carmen, as most of the Riviera Maya restaurants are here, and quite a few are on Fifth Avenue itself. The bars and nightclubs jump into the night, so bring your dance shoes with you.

Xel-Ha. Yeah. Located between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, Xel-Ha is an archeological site and eco-park. Besides water activities, such as swimming and snorkeling, this destination offers experiences for all ages and mesmerizing ecological sights. You can even swim with dolphins here. Xel-Ha is particularly pleasant for families and is bound to be an education for the entire family in Mayan history and ecology.

Tulum. Drive down the Mayan coast a little further south, and you can find the tiny town of Tulum. Tulum, high on the limestone cliffs, is perhaps best known for its Mayan ruins. These cliffs offer scenery alongside a picture-perfect coastline that you won't ever forget the Caribbean. For eco-tourism and adventure travel, Tulum is the starting point, so make sure to look at nearby day trips and local attractions. It is very easy to find transportation from Cancun airport to Tulum.

Try a few days exploring the grade of the Riviera Maya for an ideal and well-rounded holiday, then take some time to shop and play in the busy Playa Del Carmen and another day or two visiting the Mayan ruins-and taking in the sights-of Tulum.

The word is out about these beautiful resorts, so you won't be able to escape the crowds altogether, but you'll find the right balance by setting out and having fun off the beaten path and learning a lot about ecology and ancient Mayan culture.