Of course I have to say, four days in a foreign place is not usually enough time to explore it at its full potential (or for me, hit up half of the things off my bucket list!). However, for us part-time travelers with limited vacation time, sometimes you have to make the most of a short visit! This was true for my spontaneous trip to Mexico and even though I was only at the Yucatan Peninsula for four days, I felt I was able to pack in many places of interest.
Tour the Mayan Ruins of Tulum and Cobá
The main reason I went to the Yucatán Peninsula was to explore as many Mayan sights as possible! Many tourist agencies offer a variety of day and half day tours to fit anyone’s adventure style and time. I opted for a half day tour exploring Tulum including a dip in a cenoté afterwards. Some tours also include visiting both Tulum and Coba, the tallest Mayan temple in Mexico, in one day. Unfortunately, I did not make it over to Coba during my few days in Mexico, but this incredible architecture is on the top of my bucket list for Mexico during my next visit!
Swim in a Cenoté
Many day and half day tours include cooling off at a nearby cenoté. These sinkholes resulted from the the collapsing of limestone millions of years ago, exposing groundwater underneath.
One of the most well-known cenotés for travelers to dive into is the Ik Il Cenoté, often included in tours to Chichen Itza. At 130 feet (40 meters) deep and 85 feet (26 meters) below the surface, this hole in the ground is perfect for swimming and capturing photos.
Take a Day Trip to Chichen Itza
No visit to the Yucatán Peninsula is complete without a visit to this incredible Mayan sight. Chichen Itza is a complex of Mayan ruins, including the famous pyramid, known as El Castillo or Temple of Kukulcan. This ancient city thrived from 600 A.D. to the 1200’s.
With several travel agencies offering resort pickup, it’s easy and convenient to book a day trip to Chichen Itza (with many tours offering a swim in a cenoté to cool off afterwards).
Visit the Beaches
Any visit to the Caribbean must include quality time at the beach! I spent most of my beach time in Playa del Carmen but there are plenty of sand to go around, as well as excursions to nearby island Cozumel island.
Shopping in Playa del Carmen and Cancun
I’ll admit it, I’m guilty of the occasional stroll in the overpriced, cheesy gift shops loaded with souvenirs. But sometimes a day out shopping in another country for unique gifts for family and yourself is needed! Playa del Carmen has a shopping center in close walking distance to the beach. I also booked a shopping tour in Cancun off Viator, which included a few stops in various plazas, as well as a tour of the tequila museum!
Tour the Tequila Museum in Cancun
Located inside the Kukulcán Plaza in Cancun, a tour inside the Tequila Museum tells both the history and the modern and traditional artisanal methods of making Mexico’s delicious liquor. The museum describes the cultivation process of the blue agave plant and its preparation into alcohol. The tour also includes sampling a variety of different types of tequila as well!