Few Mexican destinations can dazzle you with ancient Maya ruins, azure Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico waters and colonial cities all in one fell swoop. Actually, there’s only one – the Yucatán Peninsula.

The Peninsula comprises the three separate Mexican states of Yucatán, Quintana Roo and Campeche (as well as parts of Belize and Guatemala).

Quintana Roo beach

Quintana Roo is probably the best known thanks to the tourism mega-destinations of Cancún, Tulum and Playa del Carmen, where millions flock annually to get their share of vitamin D on brochure-perfect beaches or resort infinity pools.

“Edzná” Archeological site in Campeche

But just a couple of hours west of Cancun, the city of Mérida, state capital of Yucatán, is taking over the tourism scene in the peninsula.

It’s colonial architecture and contemporary restaurants are a satisfying change of pace, not to mention the many cenotes (freshwater springs) nearby.

Neighboring Campeche state is home to mind-blowing Maya ruins galore. This entire compact peninsula holds wonderful, varied and accessible travel surprises.

The Yucatan Post Newsroom with information from Lonely Planet

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