Routes and Tours in Yucatán

You may be the type of traveler who enjoys exploring things at your own pace, without a set route or plan: let the road take us where it may. Or maybe you prefer planning your itinerary step by step, even scheduling the perfect restroom breaks. Regardless of where you find yourself between those extremes, there’s no denying that sometimes, it’s just better to let an expert lead the way to outstanding sights, unique experiences, and stories that only locals can share with you. 

 

Today, we're excited to share a handpicked selection of must-take tours of Yucatán: experiences that not only enhance any visit but also promise unforgettable adventures.

 

Acanceh at night: Pyramids and hacienda on ATV

Acanceh (pronounced akankay) might not boast the same fame as some of Yucatán's other Maya pre-Hispanic sites, but that's because it had been hiding in plain sight for years. Much like Izamal, this colonial town grew around the structures, making the entire village an archaeological site. By day, you can wander among the pyramids and even climb to the top for breathtaking views. For a  different experience, consider joining a nighttime ATV tour; if you've never done it before, don't worry, you'll learn with all safety measures in place. During the tour, you'll explore Acanceh, take a look at its pyramids, and venture into the jungle until you reach an old abandoned hacienda where a deliciously authentic snack-based dinner awaits.

 

Priced at $900 pesos per single-rider ATV; $1,200 pesos per ATV for two people.

IG: acancehexperience

 

  • Cultural: 4/5
  • Adventure: 5/5
  • Nature: 3/5
  • Family-friendly: 3/5
  • Culinary: 5/5

 

  Here's an article dedicated to the Acanceh Experience nighttime ATV tour.

 

2404 Acanceh Piramide de los Mascarones by atnavarrete

 

Celestún: Flamingos, mangroves, and a spring

The port of Celestún, on the westernmost tip of the state of Yucatán, is famous for its estuary (a body of water where saltwater from the sea mixes with freshwater from underground), its mangroves, its beaches, and its flamingos. Naturally, in this wonderful port, tours that allow you to see all of this in one go are widely available.

 

Whether you opt for the tour from the visitor center or the beach, the route remains largely unchanged; from the visitor center, your boat will depart from the estuary, where the water is calm, offering a leisurely start to your journey. From the beach, depending on the waves, it can get quite a bit bumpier. However, in both cases, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the mangroves and the diverse wildlife that call them home as you cruise along the estuary. And, before you head back, don't miss the chance to cool off with a refreshing dip in the Baldiosera spring—a hidden gem reminiscent of a cenote nestled amidst the mangroves.

 

The main attraction of the tour, however, consists of endless colonies of pink flamingos that color various stretches of the estuary. Celestún, besides providing them with the food that turns their feathers bright pink, is where the flamingos gather to choose their partners for the year. Celestún usually has the largest number of flamingos between November and March; between March and October, they concentrate more in the eastern part of the state.

 

Like most boat tours in Yucatán, the price of tours of the Celestún estuary is set by the cooperatives that carry them out; tours are priced are per boat, not per person. If your group is small, it's a good idea to head to the visitor center and try to join another group to share the fare.

 

Tours are $3,000 pesos per boat (up to six people). For smaller parties, head to the visitor center for better chances of joining another group’s tour. 

 

  • Cultural: 2/5
  • Adventure: 3/5
  • Nature: 5/5
  • Family-friendly: 4/5
  • Culinary: 0/5

 

2404 Flamingos en Celestun just in case by ATNAVARRETE
2404 Celestun Ojo de Agua by AndreaMYT
2404 Celestun Lancha by Cassie Pearse

 

 

 

Dzilam de Bravo by Day: Fishing, snorkeling, and spring in the Sea

Dzilam de Bravo is essentially the last port on the eastern coast road of Yucatán; there is still more coastline, but to reach it, you would have to go around and arrive via Tizimín. This is because, just east of Dzilam de Bravo, lies the Dzilam State Reserve, a protected area for its importance to the flora, fauna, and the wetlands that comprise it.

 

There is no better way to explore this area than from the water itself. You'll have the opportunity to fish for your own lunch, snorkel among countless species, witness how Yucatán's underground freshwater rejoins the saltwater in the middle of the sea at the Xbuya Ha spring, and bathe in the Elepetén cenote amidst the mangroves.

 

Three tour tiers available, ranging from $1,800 pesos to $3,400 pesos per boat (up to seven people). Cel. 999 743 6914.

 

  • Cultural: 1/5
  • Adventure: 5/5
  • Nature: 5/5
  • Family-friendly: 3/5
  • Culinary: 3/5

 

2404 Dzilam de Bravo por Cassie Pearse buen horizonte

 

San Crisanto: Mangroves and Spring

If there's a more peaceful tour in Yucatán than this one, I don't know it. On board a small raft propelled by poles (long sticks used to push against the water bottom), your poleman will take you through the canals of the San Crisanto mangrove; unlike others in the state, here, the water is so clear that it's difficult to determine whether it's 60 cm or 6 m deep (it's 60 cm).

 

2404 San Crisanto Tour por manglar del Ejido by MKCTThe absence of any motor makes the journey as silent as your group desires; if you're enchanted by the beauty around you (most likely), the only sound will be the gentle splashing of water and the vastness of nature around you: the birdsong and their wings in the wind, the breeze in the leaves, etc. There's no way to feel more connected to nature.

 

Except when you reach the Dzonot-Dzik cenote and have the chance to dive into it. You'll hardly want to return to the hustle and bustle outside the tour, but when you do, something inside you will have changed, I'm sure.

 

The tour is $110 pesos per person for groups of 4 to 6 people; reservations are recommended to ensure the availability of your guides. Tel. 991 105 3710.

 

  • Cultural: 0/5
  • Adventure: 3/5
  • Nature: 5/5
  • Family-friendly: 5/5
  • Culinary: 0/5

 

  Here's an article dedicated to the mangrove tour offered by Ejido San Crisanto.

 

2404San Crisanto Ojo de Agua con estructura by atnavarrete

 

 

Sotuta de Peón: Henequén, Hacienda, and Cenote

It's impossible to visit Yucatán and not hear time and again about the importance of a plant called henequen for all aspects of our state's life. Plantations of this agave variety put Yucatán on the map for more than a handful of reasons, being used as a supply to make the ropes and cords needed for both industry and commerce as well as navigation.

 

2404 Hacienda Sotuta de Peon maquinaria by Daniel DuranTo understand a little more about what henequen was and all that it entailed (including the splendor of the henequen haciendas), there's nothing like visiting the Sotuta de Peón Hacienda, unique in the state where this plant is still converted into fibers through different processes. The tour is not only interesting but fun for all ages and highly educational. Additionally, it includes a dip in a cenote that will seem like a gift from heaven. This tour is one of the most comprehensive experiences you can have during your stay. 

 

The Henequén tour costs $875 pesos per person; advance reservations are required www.haciendaviva.com ). Hacienda Sotuta de Peón is an advertiser in Yucatán Today.

 

  • Cultural: 5/5
  • Adventure: 4/5
  • Nature: 5/5
  • Family-friendly: 5/5
  • Culinary: 0/5 (the tour does not include meals, but food is available at the hacienda's restaurant)

 

2404 Hacienda Sotuta de Peon by  Tania lopez

 

Tekax: Caves and zip-lines

Tekax is a great place to conquer some of your fears, whether you're nervous about confined or open spaces, heights or depths, speed, or leaving the ground behind. The Magic Town of Tekax stands out from the other Magic Towns of Yucatán due to its strong focus on adventure tourism; with its particular geography, the choice is logical. Tekax's depths (it's underground, in other words) invite you to venture into its caves to discover unimaginable treasures: rocks, crystals, stalactites, stalagmites, columns, fossils, and much more. On the surface, you'll find complementary activities such as zip-lining, rappelling, or hiking. Different cooperatives offer these activities with varying levels of difficulty, so no matter how you define "adventure," you'll find the appropriate measure for you.

 

Best of all, the journey between one adventure and another is an adventure in itself, as there are tours available to travel between points on ATV.

 

Tours are priced starting at $1,149 pesos per single-rider ATV, or $1,410 pesos pero ATV for two people. See more on FB: Visita Tekax.

 

  • Cultural: 4/5
  • Adventure: 5/5
  • Nature: 5/5
  • Family-friendly: 4/5
  • Culinary: 0/5

 

  To learn more, read our proposal for a weekend in Tekax, or if you prefer, check out the Visita Tekax page on Facebook.  

 

2404 Tekax grutas chocantes by javier arroyo
2205-Tekax-Gruta-Chocantes-by-Yucatan-Today

 

 

Isla Columpios and a picnic in the ocean 

2404 Isla Columpios by Charlie Guzman

Despite being one of the newest marine tours available in Yucatán, it’s already one of the most popular, and understandably so. Near Chuburná Puerto there’s a small island called Isla Columpios (Swing Island), in reference to the many swing sets you’ll find there. Tours are available both from the ports of Chuburná and Sisal. 

 

Departing from Sisal, the basic version of the tour takes approximately six hours. The tour includes, of course, a scenic boat ride to Isla Columpios; once there, a breakfast picnic is served in the middle of the sea (the menu varies according to the type of tour), followed by a mangrove tour (by kayak or flat-bottomed boat) and swimming in a spring.

 

From Chuburná Puerto, boat transportation (and admission) to Isla Columpios is an option, as is the full tour that includes a stop at the Carbonera inlet, fruit and ceviche, and the spring. 

 

Both tours are available on shared boats, or you can reserve a private tour for your group (up to six people), opt for a longer version of the tour, or even plan special romantic occasions with your partner or favorite person.

 

2404 Isla columpios Picnic en medio del mar by picnic en medio del marIf you have your own boat, you can visit Swing Island on your own, but the facilities are not public; you’d still have to pay an admission fee. By shared boat from Sisal, the tour is $1,500 pesos per person. Book at www.picnicenmediodelmar.com

 

  • Cultural: 1/5
  • Adventure: 4/5
  • Nature: 5/5
  • Family-friendly: 5/5
  • Culinary: 3/5

 

To depart from Chuburná Puerto, visit: FB: Tour PescabYuc

 

 

 

San Felipe and Río Lagartos: birds, flamingos, and Maya bath

Both in San Felipe and in Río Lagartos you can take a tour down the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, recognized by the Ramsar Convention for wetlands of international importance especially as waterfowl habitat  since 1986. Between March and November, as pink flamingos pair up to mate, they fly in from Celestún to nest and raise their chicks until these are ready to fly back on their own. 

 

But flamingos aren’t the only attraction in this tour, but the cherry on top: at least 120 bird species are confirmed to be yearlong residents of the Ría, in addition to several dozen other migratory birds that can be spotted seasonally. Herons, egrets, ospreys, spoonbills, and trogons (relatives of the mythical quetzal) are just a few of the species that you might spot along the way, as long as you take the tour as the sun rises. 

 

One unique feature this tour offers is the “Maya spa.” Some areas along the Ría Lagartos estuary are up to four times more saline than regular saltwater; this creates some lagoons with singular characteristics, and mineral clays that are believed to be great for your skin. Your guide will encourage you to apply it head to toe, but don’t worry: the tour ends in a spectacular beach where you can rinse it off before heading back to land. 

 

  • Cultural: 5/5
  • Adventure: 4/5 
  • Nature: 5/5
  • Family-friendly: 5/5
  • Culinary: 0/5

2404 Rio lagartos by Atnavarrete