Insider's View


Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula

We spoke with Angelica Espinosa of Catherwoood Travels, a company specializing in the Yucatan Peninsula and authentic experiences of the Maya World of Mexico.

Q: How would you describe Mexico for visitors who haven't been there?

Mexico is a country where you cannot escape the culture. It is a land of tradition and a strong history. From the pyramids, natural resources and colonial buildings to the gastronomy, the rituals and the natural friendliness of citizens, Mexico is a colorful country to be immersed in culture. The Yucatan Peninsula, in the southeast of Mexico, is a region where the Maya legacy it is still alive. The Maya is a civilization as splendid as those of Egypt, Greece or Babylon.

Q: What is the best time to visit and why?

Best time to visit the Yucatan Peninsula is Mid October – April, May and June are the hottest months (140°F / 40°C) and the rainy and hurricane season goes June – October.

Q: What are the top sights?

  • Merida – this colonial city is also cosmopolitan and artsy with a great gastronomy fusing the traditional with the contemporary.
  • Izamal – a Mayan city with the largest convent in Latin America filled with Mayan workshops and artisans that create real jewels.
  • The cenotes – the signature swimming experience in the Yucatan. These natural sinkholes are found throughout the Peninsula. Swimming in a cenote is a must!
  • The Puuc Route – most visitors make it to Chichen Itza, the most iconic archeological site in the Yucatan, and miss these smaller yet beautiful elaborate and ornamented archeological sites. Visiting these less-explored Mayan cities makes you feel an authentic explorer!
  • Holbox – A fishermen's island on the north of the Peninsula, home not only to whale sharks but one of the most beautiful beaches!

Q: What are your personal favorite sights?

  • Xocen, an authentic Mayan village – Spanish is not spoken – near the town of Valladolid. This is a true encounter with the Mayans. A once in a life time experience.
  • Holbox – Be a local!
  • The ruined haciendas – estates from past centuries that can be found all over the Yucatan.

Q: Do you have any interesting facts about Mexico you would like to share?

  • The Chichen Itza Pyramid is second most visited archeological site of Mexico. The first is Teotihuacan.
  • Six of the seven species of sea turtles in the world are found in Mexico.
  • Mexico leads the American Continent with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (32).

Q: How would you describe the people and the culture?

The people are naturally friendly. We are warm and we like helping.

Q: Can you describe the most unique tour you offer?

Swimming in private cenotes is the favorite experience of our travelers. Swimming, relaxing and then dining on traditional cuisine in a natural environment in total privacy with their loved ones makes it an unforgettable day! Disconnect from life’s cares and connect with what really matters!

Q: What culinary experiences would you recommend?

The gastronomy changes according to the region visited. I would highly suggest trying the local food; try the unique recipes that can’t be found in a regular Mexican restaurant. The specialties of every city are the best ones to try.

Q: Do you have any tips for people planning to tour Mexico?

Go local! The boutique hotels, the local guides and experts are the ones who will give you the best experience possible. And please, live Mexico beyond the beach! There’s a world of culture and the great beaches are the perfect way to relax after the exploration.

Q: What types of water sports are popular in Mexico?

All kinds: surfing, kite surfing, diving, snorkeling.

Q: In your opinion, what is the best beach in the Yucatan and why?

Tulum and Holbox. These are small and offer an authentic Mexico. You are forced to explore beyond your hotel. And mix with the locals!

Holbox Island | Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

Vacation Side Travel

Steven Talbott
Vacation Side Travel

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Nashville, TN 37219

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