Daytrips Worth Seeing

Yucatan is a major flyway as well as home to a large number of non-mirgratory birds. Five large cats are still to be found in the jungles of Yucatan as well as many reptiles, mammals including monkeys, amphibians, insects and arachnids. The map shows areas where one can almost always see birds... but anywhere you go you can see wildlife if you walk slowly and quietly.

Beaches and saltwater activities are to be found all around the peninsula. A little over one hour to Tulum, 1.5 hours to Rio Lagartos and San Felipe and 2 hours to Progreso or Isla Mujeres.

The entire northern peninsula is riddled with caves, caverns and cenotes. This map shows some major caves open to the public that can be visited without technical gear. But there are many more waiting to be discovered and explored.

Cenotes (freshwater sinkholes) are everywhere. There are estimates of 10,000 cenotes in the peninsula. Shown are some cenotes open to the public with more or less easy access.

The Franciscans arrived early in the Yucatan and started building churches. Even small villages often have a historic church. Most are still in use, sometimes without roofs that have collapsed over the centuries.

Mayan culture exists all over the peninsula...except in the cities. But leave the city and the next place you come to is a Mayan village. Turn off the main road to explore and encounter Mayans who live like they did a 1,000 years ago.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Mayan ruins in the peninsula. Shown are sites open to the public. Take a walk in the jungle (with a guide, water, a machete and a GPS) and encounter ruins that have never been explored.

Many cities and villages now have museums. Some are very specialized (Casa de los Venados) and some have a broader perspective (San Roque Museum). Some tiny ones in tiny villages showing artifacts found in and around the village. And the new and very modern Maya Museum in Merida.

North: to the flamingos of Rio Lagartos, stopping at the Mayan ruins of Ek Balam on the way back with a short stop to see the Distillary and a detour to the village of Uyama to see the restored church.

East: to Cancun and then to Isla Mujeres to dive, snorkle or hang out on the beach. Or take the tour to Isla Contoy, north of Isla Mujeres, to visit the bird, fish and iguana sanctuary.

South East: to the beaches of Tulum with a stop at the Mayan ruins of Cobá and a side trip to Punta Laguna to see the monkeys.

South: to the heartland of the Maya and the Museum of the War of the Castes, the town renamed Carrillo Puerto (because of the war) and the lake of seven colors of blue, Lake Bacalar.

West: to the cenotes of Dzitnup, the caves of Balankanche, the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, and the Pueblo Mágico of Izamal.

Southwest: to the ruta Pucc and the many Mayan ruins including Uxmal, the caves of Loltun and the clay works to be found in Ticul.