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Yucatán's Top 10 Attractions
With so many rich historical sites and scenic natural wonders, as well as an incredible mix of Mayan, Spanish and Caribbean cultural offerings, it’s hard to know where to start when planning a trip to Yucatán. And while you can’t go wrong, here are our top ten favorites:
1. Chichén Itzá
Along with the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, and the Colosseum, this UNESCO World Heritage Site and icon of the Yucatán is also one of the Seven Wonders of The Modern World.
The mysteries of Mayan life are on full display at majestic Uxmal, one of the best preserved and maintained archaeological sites in the Yucatan. Though not as well known as Chichén Itzá, many visitors prefer this UNESCO World Heritage Site its more famous cousin.
3. Historic Downtown Mérida
Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán, brings the vibrant culture of the Yucatán to the streets, where the walkable city features markets, street performances and fabulous local cuisine right alongside the city’s Spanish colonial treasures.
Formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock, the Yucatán’s famous cenotes are the state’s premier place to cool off. The natural swimming holes are filled with water so clear that the bottoms are visible dozens of yards below.
Known as the City of Three Cultures, Izamal juxtaposes the remains of ancient Mayan pyramids, a massive Spanish Colonial convent, and the traditional crafts of contemporary Mayan artisans, all unified by the color of its buildings: yellow.
6. Mayan Museum
Ancient culture comes alive at Mérida’s monument to Mayan art, the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, dubbed “Best Emerging Cultural Destination of the Year 2015” at The Leading Culture Destination Awards.
No vacation to Yucatán is complete without a trip to the coast, and Progreso never disappoints. The Yucatán’s port of entry features a 16-block seaside promenade; Mexico’s longest wharf is a trove of undiscovered white-sand beaches to explore.
8. The Hacienda Route
The Yucatán’s plantations-turned-hotels can be found across the state, so staying at a string of haciendas not only adds romance and luxury to any Yucatán vacation, it also makes Yucatán stays historic.
9. The Puuc Route
The famous trail weaves through the Sierrita de Ticul hills to reach Late Classic Period (600-900 AD) ruins including Labna and its splendid archway, Sayil and its Great Palace, Kabáh’s Palace of the Masks, and magnificent Uxmal.
A birder’s heaven, the town is set at the mouth of the Ria Celestún where the a 12-mile-long (20km) estuary meets the Gulf of Mexico. Pelicans, spoonbills, egrets, sandpipers, and other waterfowl abound at the nearby wildlife reserve, where flocks of wild pink flamingos the biggest attraction.