THE ULTIMATE 2 WEEKS ITINERARY FOR SOLO FEMALE TRAVELER TO MEXICO
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING YUCATAN PENINSULA
Are you planning a 2 weeks trip to Mexico Yucatan? You are in the right place. I will let you discover my Ultimate Travel Itinerary, the best parts of it, and errors I’ve made and I wish I knew before.
On my two-week trip in Mexico in the Yucatan peninsula, I’ve mostly seen men traveling on their own and only two girls that were each of them traveling solo. The guys traveling alone were mostly Europeans, whilst the women were from Latin America, used to that kind of insecurity.
It’s better to make your research thoroughly before going to Yucatan Peninsula if you want to have a nice vacation.
How many days do I need to explore Yucatan Peninsula?
You will need a minimum of 2 weeks in Yucatan Peninsula, but 3 weeks are recommended to enjoy the pristine white beaches, delve into the Maya history and ruins, dive into the abyss of the blue cenotes and enjoy the exquisite local Mexican food.
What is the best time to visit Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico?
The best time to visit the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is during the dry season. The dry season in Mexico runs from December to April. The weather is at its best, you’ll enjoy clear skies and warm temperatures.
From March, temperatures turn quite hot, therefore sunscreen and water are more than a necessity.
However, it is also the busiest time of year, when accommodation and transportation prices go up. Make sure to book in advance.
From May to June and October to November are the periods less crowded due to rain, especially in the afternoon. You could still enjoy nice weather with fewer tourists around and rates considerably lower.
Pick the right time for you because you will enjoy it either way.
How safe it is to go to Mexico?
The Yucatan peninsula is located on the Mexican Gulf coast and includes 3 Mexican states:
- Yucatan (capital Merida)
- Quintana Roo (capital Chetumal)
- Campeche (capital Campeche)
Most of the resorts and popular beaches, are actually in Quintana Roo. The general public knows the region as Yucatan Peninsula, not the states. The driving distances between the states are also quite important.
Good to Know!
From November to March, the state of Quintana Roo is 1 hour ahead of the Yucatan and Campeche states.
I went from Cancun to Chichen Itza and I was so confused why I had 2 different hours on my two cells when I came back. One I put on airplane mode when I was in Chichen Itza to save battery and the other was connected to the Internet the entire time. At the Hotel I realized that the hours do not match until I put my phone from airplane mode to Wi-Fi.
In terms of safety, there is a big difference between the states also. Yucatan and Campeche provinces are safer, with police, known as Guardia Nacional, driving at a fast pace in their cars with bulletproof vests and high-caliber firearms. At first glance, you could feel alarmed and question what is going on, but bear in mind they are there to protect the tourists. Once I understood that, I felt much more secure and relaxed. Of course, I also took precautions not to go alone during the night, not walking on isolated streets or less safe barios.
In Quintana Roo you will find more corruption and gangs. Be aware of your surroundings and stay in populated areas, securing your belongings at all times. You can still be safe here as well, you don’t have to worry about that. As a Solo traveler, I recommend opting for organized trips where they are in charge of your safety.
Is it safe to drive in Yucatan Peninsula?
You can definitely drive safely and in good conditions in Mexico, especially in Yucatan Peninsula. Just stay out of the roads during the night as much as possible, especially if you go off the beaten path. The roads are in good shape, just be aware of TOPES – speed-reducing road bumps that are quite high and can destroy your car. They are installed to limit the speed and secure the roads, which is a good thing.
If you decide to rent a car to get around, know that Yucatán has restrictions on drinking and driving of 0.08% BAC limit. during the night there is a significant number of state police and even medical personnel, taking breath samples in their quest to keep drunk drivers off the road.
BE AWARE OF SCAMS!
There is a lot of corruption, especially in Quintana Roo, so you will deal with policemen that stop you for no reason, just to get a bribe. They will invent some charges on you, but just stay calm, try to negotiate, or if it doesn’t work try to call someone, a local. They will back off.
At the Gas stations you might be a victim of scams as well, so better watch at all times that the counter is at zero when you start filling your car.
Propina (Tips) – as soon as they see you are a foreigner they will take everything from you. They will impose 20% Propina but know it is not legal to do that.
THE ULTIMATE 2 WEEKS MEXICO ITINERARY
DAY 1 – 4 CANCUN
If you arrive by plane, you will mostly land at Cancun Airport (CUN), the 10th busiest airport in the world for international passengers.
Be prepared to stay a long time to pass the border, and have all documents ready, return flight ticket, all the hotel reservations, and your passport. Visa, in case your nationality requires VISA.
If you don’t have internet access, make sure to save screenshots of everything. You don’t need to print them, they do not require it. I showed everything on my phone and everything was just fine.
After passing the border, be aware that they will make a thorough inspection of your luggage inside. Make sure to pack everything very compact, otherwise, you’ll have a hard time putting everything back together. Do not try to take photos or videos of this stage, it is strictly prohibited.
There were a few passengers that brought with them 2 packs of cigarettes, although only one is permitted. They made a scandal in there, but nothing has changed. At the duty-free in Paris they’ve been told they can bring 2 packs per person, but always check the country of destination if they accept as well.
From the airport, the best way is to take the ADO busses from the airport directly to Cancun Downtown. Check the photos above to see the cash desk of ADO buses in Cancun airport, right before exiting the airport.
The prices are quite OK, the standard of the bus is very good, you have A/C and toilet for your number 1 only. Check the destinations you have from Cancun airport and the rates in the photo above. Because of the A/C, it is very cold inside the bus, make sure to have something warm.
When you arrive in Cancun, if you stay in Zona Hotelera, you can take the R1 & R2 buses that can connect the Hotel Zone, Boulevard Kukulcán (downtown), and Avenida Tulum. The buses run every five minutes and will take you back and forth between downtown and the Hotel Zone. A one-way fare costs 12 Pesos which is roughly 50 cents in USD/€. The buses do not accept foreign coins and make sure to carry Pesos on you, not bills, as it is difficult for them to break big bills. There are plenty of stations between Zona Hotelera and Downtown, but it will stop all along the way if you make a sign. The drivers are very accommodating and friendly.
Remember you are in Mexico, don’t expect luxury buses. They are OK, usually destined for locals going to work in the Zona Hotelera, but I saw a lot of tourists as well. During rush hours buses can be full, like in the below pictures, but for instance, I was going to Coco Bongo one evening with another Solo Traveler and we were the only two girls in the entire bus. It was like we had our private ride to Coco Bongo.
THINGS TO DO IN CANCUN
1. Relax at Playa Delfines
2. Party at Coco Bongo
3. Tan at Playas Tortugas Beach
6. MAYA MUSEUM
7. Dive at the Cancun Underwater Museum
8. Shop at Mercado 28
9. Visit El Rey Archaeological Site
10. day trip to Isla Mujeres
DAY 5 – 6 ISLA MUJERES
You can either go on a day trip from Cancun to Isla Mujeres or take the Ferry and stay there for at least one night.
I did the first, I suggest you do the latter. I will explain why.
We’ve spent too much time on the Catamaran drinking cheap alcohol and dancing and less time on the beach, getting to know the surroundings and enjoying what a small island life has to offer.
I took the day trip because there was also free diving included, which I absolutely wanted to do. But due to the weather conditions, we were not allowed to dive. I understood of course, but I was disappointed as I wanted to do both. I could’ve just taken the ferry and gone to Isla Mujeres and from there to book a diving trip, which they would have told me is not possible due to the weather.
Because of that, I was unable to dive that day and had no time to explore the island as I wanted.
On small islands like this one, it is mandatory to stay overnight. The vibe, the bars, and the people having fun is priceless.
How to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres
If you plan to visit Isla Mujeres, the ferry system in Cancun is at hand. Ferries run all day between the island from three different docks in Cancun: El Embarcadero, Playa Tortugas, and Playa Caracol, all located in the Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera). Service is from 9 am to 9 pm at each departure location and ferries run every 30 minutes. Ferry fares typically cost $/€19 for adults and $/€ 14 for kids for a round-trip ride.
HOW TO GET FROM CANCUN AIRPORT TO ISLA MUJERES
You have different options to get to Isla Mujeres from Cancun Airport:
- by bus
- by taxis at the airport
- private transportation booked before your arrival.
To get from the Cancun airport to Isla Mujeres, the cost of the whole van would be $/€55 one-way, or $/€105 round trip.
THINGS TO DO IN ISLA MUJERES
1. Relax at Playa Norte Beach
2. Rent A Golf Cart to explore the island
3. Admire The Sea Wall Murals
4. MUSA (Underwater Museum of Art in Isla Mujeres)
6. Swim With Whale Sharks
7. Visit Mercado Municipal
9. Sunset Cruise on a Catamaran
10. Join a Cycling Trip
DAY 7-9 HOLBOX ISLAND
Isla Holbox can only be reached by ferry.
You cannot take the car with you on the island. You can leave it safely on one of the many parking close to the harbor.
HOW TO GET TO HOLBOX FROM CANCUN
If you go to Holbox from Cancun, you can take the ADO bus from Cancun Downton or Cancun Airport to Chiquila. Be prepared to take a nice nap on the bus, as it is quite a ride.
From Chiquila, you have to take a Ferry. Either you book online, or you buy on the spot the tickets. 2 different companies navigate between Chiquila and Holbox.
The ferry takes about 30min.
Once you arrive on Isla Holbox you can take a taxi golf cart to your hotel or go on foot.
If you are “lucky” like I was, and you arrive on a rainy day, the streets that are not asphalted will be muddy with plenty of water puddles, so a taxi might be the only option.
During your stay, you can choose to walk, rent bikes, or rent a golf car!
The island is so small that honestly, everything is manageable on foot. Except the Bioluminescence in Playa Punta Cocos and Punta Musquito.
This was my favorite part of Mexico. I loved this island so much and trust me even during the rain or after a heavy rain you can still have a good time and enjoy the good vibe here. People are so relaxed and detached from all problems, that you can see the impact this small island has on them. Despite the fact it is a small island, the nightlife is very animated.
This small Haven is like a dream, far from reality! Spend at least 3 days here, you won’t regret it.
THINGS TO DO ON HOLBOX ISLAND
1. Chill at a Rooftop Pool Bar
2. Rent A Golf Cart to explore the island
3. Admire The Colorful Murals and Wall Art
4. See and Swim in the Bioluminescence at Night
5. Ride a Cruiser Bike Along the Beach
6. Swim With Whale Sharks
7. Enjoy a good Tequila or Corona from one bar to another
9. Sunset Cruise on a Catamaran
10. Live Music at the Hot Corner – the place to be every evening
DAY 9-10 PLAYA DEL CARMEN
If you insist on going to Playa del Carmen, then I suggest arriving in the evening from Holbox, spending the night there, and leaving the next day in the evening for Tulum.
How to get from Holbox to Playa del Carmen
Getting from Holbox Island to Playa del Carmen is quite easy. You need to take the Ferry from Holbox to Chiquila, from there you have ADO buses that can take you directly to Cancun downtown, Cancun airport, or Playa del Carmen. As I said, their public transportation system is so good that it is very easy to go from one place to another.
When you arrive in the evening in Playa del Carmen, make sure not to stay in a Hotel in the Downtown center, or on the main street. There are so many bars with loud music that you will not sleep at all. Actually, if you go to Playa del Carmen forget about sleeping the night off. The city vibrates with American tourists that are there to have fun, loud fun.
As soon as I got there I asked myself, where is la Playa in Playa del Carmen? If you go, like me, for la playa (beach) you will be disappointed for sure. If you want to understand all the fuss around Playa del Carmen, imagine it’s Red Light District for Americans in Mexico. It’s a sort of Vegas meets Red Light District in Mexico. Everything is made for Americans which represents 40% of Mexican tourism. And I did not appreciate my time there at all, especially during the night. The bars and clubs are just too much.
From Playa del Carmen, you can visit Isla Cozumel. It’s a wonderful place for snorkeling and diving. Take the ferry from the Embarcadero to Playa del Carmen. You can take your car with you.
THINGS TO DO IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN
1. Chill at a Rooftop Pool Bar Hotel
2. Deeepdive in a blue Cenote
3. Xcaret Adventure Park
4. Drink the best Mojito at Bodeguita del Medio – Cuban Bar
5. Day Trip to Cozumel island
6. Frida Kahlo Museum
8. Shopping on Mexican 5th Avenue
9. Alux Cave Restaurant
10. Parasailing Over The Ocean
DAY 11-13 TULUM
Getting from Playa del Carmen to Tulum is quite easy. You can take ADO buses or you can adventure yourself on a ride in the Collectivo.
In Tulum, Collectivo is quite practical and cheap, 20 Pesos for residents and 30 Pesos for non-residents from Pueblo Tulum to Zona Hotelera. The bike rentals will tell you that Collectivo doesn’t take tourists, only locals working in zona hotelera but it is not true. For the entire week I stayed in Tulum I used only Collectivo and had no problems.
If you are in Tulum and not a fan of Collectivo – public transportation from Tulum Pueblo (city center) to the Beach (Zona Hotelera) you can rent a bike or a scooter. Several hostels and hotels include bikes in your stay, or you can rent directly from them, but they are a bit more expensive than bike shops. You can find them at every corner and rent them for around $/€ 6-10 a day. There are also options to rent mopeds.
Tulum is divided into two parts, the Pueblo and the Beach, about 3 miles apart and there is a nice sidewalk so biking is a great way to get around. However, the beach road doesn’t have any street lights, so riding at night can be difficult without a headlamp.
I recommend you go to Tulum during the weekend if you want to explore the night high-life. If you are a fan of Ibiza or Mykonos, then you will love Tulum’s nightlife.
If you are a more quieter type, that wants to do yoga and eat raw food and explore the Maya ruins, then it’s better to go during the week, when Tulum is quite deserted. Less crowd, for you to enjoy the positive energies of Tulum.
THINGS TO DO IN TULUM
1. Go Into The Jungle to Witness Coba
2. Morning Yoga routine at the beach
3. Explore the Caves at Cenote Caracol
4. Beach Club party during the day
5. Nightclub life at Vagalume – look for Summerians sessions right from Ibiza – the best you’ll ever experience
6. Explore the Sian Ka’an Biosphere
8. Indulge in the Maya history at Tulum Ruins
9. Giant Tree Man – Ven a la luz at Ahau – The Most Popular of Tulum Photo Spots
10. Adventure on a collectivo public transportation
DAY 13-14 BACALAR
From Tulum, Bacalar is quite near, so you can arrive in the evening and stay until the next day. On day 15th you should depart for Cancun Airport. Take the private airport shuttle from Bacalar to get to the airport and fly back home.
Bacalar Lagoon it’s called the Maldives of Mexico, due to its crystal-clear blue waters. The locals call Bacalar the Lagoon of Seven Colors because they say you can see seven shades of blue in the water. Bacalar is in the state of Quintana Roo. The closest beach to Bacalar is Mahahual on the Costa Maya.
The closest Bacalar airport is Chetumal International Airport (CTM), located less than 45 minutes away.
BONUS: WHERE TO EAT in MEXICO
My favorite restaurants in MEXICO
- Restaurante MEXTREME in Zona Hotelera, Boulevard Kukulcan Km 9.5
Very tasty fruits, a great breakfast, and an amazing atmosphere during the dinner service
- Bah Bah! Holbox Restaurante
Best spot for breakfast. Delicious pancakes. Good cappuccino.
- The Hot Corner
Excellent for an afternoon beer or an evening cocktail with live music. Best place to go out in the evening and have fun.
3. PLAYA DEL CARMEN
- Choux Choux Cafe
Best place for a royal morning breakfast or late brunch. Everything is so tasty.
- La Bodeguita del Medio
Actually, it is a true Cuban restaurant, but it is the best place to be in Playa del Carmen. Great Mojito, the best I’ve ever had in my life and life Cuban music with people dancing and having fun. Just go there if you are in Playa del Carmen.
- Raw Love Town – Pueblo
This was by far my favorite place in the entire Yucatan. Fresh and tasty Buddha Bowl, exactly how I like it, with fresh juices and a chill atmosphere.
- Taqueria Maya – Pueblo
If you want cheap tasty local tacos, this is your place
- La Pizzine – Pueblo
Very nice place, with good pizzas, if you want to try something else than tacos
- Casa Jaquar – Zona Hotelera
Very fancy place, expensive, and 20% propina mandatory, but good tasty food and full of high-class people
- GITANO restaurant – Zona Hotelera
Same standing as Casa Jaguar.
CHECK OUT THE BEST Mexico tours
DID YOU FIND THIS ARTICLE USEFUL?
Tell me in the comments section if you’ve been to Mexico and what was your experience. If you are planning to go on solo travel ask me for some useful tips that are not in this article.