Planning a trip to Mexico? Here’s the ideal itinerary for a three-week vacation
If you’re planning your next trip to Mexico, you probably already know it’s not just another weekend vacation. This is a slightly longer period of several weeks. Most of the tourists who come on vacation in Mexico, come for a period of between two and a half weeks, three weeks, and even a month. However, in a dream destination like Mexico, there is a lot to see and a lot to accomplish! To maximize your travel experience in Mexico, it is recommended to plan in advance the destinations you want to visit and build a precise route for the duration of your entire stay in Mexico.
Playa Del Carmen
After we land at the Cancun airport, we drive straight to Playa del Carmen (about an hour’s drive). It is recommended to book the trip in advance by booking a private driver or a bus (from the ADO company). Playa is considered a sort of central station of Mexico. From there you can go to all the different destinations, for activities, attractions, and day trips. Therefore, we usually plan most of our nights at Playa with the option to return several times.
In addition for fans of shopping and nightlife, Playa has all the best shopping malls, restaurants, bars and clubs you can find. Therefore, your first weekend in Mexico is recommended to be spent in Playa del Carmen.
How to get to Playa del Carmen:
- From Cancun to Playa del Carmen (one hour drive)
- From Tulum to Playa del Carmen (one hour drive)
- From Cozumel to Playa del Carmen by ferry (40 minutes)
- From Chiquila to Playa del Carmen (3 hours drive)
- Bacalar Lagoon to Playa del Carmen (4 hours drive)
- From Chichen Itza to Playa del Carmen (3.5 hours drive)
- The Pink Lakes to Playa del Carmen (4 hours drive)
On the island of Cozumel is where you can find most of the marine attractions such as swimming with dolphins, diving, snorkeling, a trip to a secluded island (Isla Pasion), jet skis, flyboarding and a boat tour to the famous “El Cielo”. Many like to rent a jeep and travel around the island. Important to note, after 7 pm most tourists leave the island and there aren’t too many places to go around other than those hotels in Cozumel. It is better to arrive in the middle of the week, to relax over the weekend, which is usually spent in Playa del Carmen. If you dive, it is recommended to stay between 2-3 nights and if not, one night or a daily trip from the morning and back on the evening ferry can be enough.
How to get to Cozumel:
- The only way to get to Cozumel Island is via Playa del Carmen by ferry (40 minutes).
- You can find the hours of the ferry the Facebook pages of the two ferry companies: WinjetMx, Ultramar ferry
Tulum, today is considered the hottest and most vibrant destination in Mexico! Especially among the young travelers who come to go out and party until the wee hours of the night. The city is characterized by a fun, young, Balinese but also very urban atmosphere. In the hotel area on the beach, you can find a variety of restaurants, beach clubs, and local bars with a special atmosphere. If you are a party lover looking for nightlife on your trip, Tulum is the perfect destination for you. Every week you can find huge beach parties here at one of the hotels in the area. In addition, most of the popular cenotes are centered around Tulum. You can also go on a day tour of the Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve. In planning, we would prefer to be in Tulum on the weekends, to enjoy the special atmosphere that surrounds the area. It is recommended to arrive for about 2 to 4 nights. It should be taken into account that the hotels in Tulum in the area are considered relatively expensive.
How to get to Tulum:
- From Playa del Carmen to Tulum (1 hour)
- From Cancun to Tulum (2 hours)
- From Chiquila to Tulum (2 hours)
- Bacalar to Tulum (3 hours)
Bacalar is 4 hours away from Playa del Carmen. There you will find the famous lagoon – which combines 7 different shades of blue-turquoise. Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places you will see. Aside from the lagoon, you will find other activities to do. You can go on a boat tour in the lagoon. You can go on a day trip from Playa del Carmen and return in the evening. For those who decide to stay the night, it is recommended to do the SUP Sunrise Tour. Definitely, a spectacular sight that justifies the early awakening.
How to get to Bacalar Lagoon:
- From Playa del Carmen to Bacalar Lagoon (4 hours)
- From Tulum to Bacalar Lagoon (3 hours)
Holbox Island is an amazingly beautiful island whose lifestyle symbolizes the combination of ancient times and today’s innovation. The island is made up of several paths of sand (there are no roads) and an amazing stretch of beach and crystal-green water that combines restaurants and luxurious hotels.
You can enjoy the attractions in the area such as horse riding, fishing, diving with whale sharks between May and September, and the glowing plankton tour. Among many, it is considered a “must” destination. You can go there on a day trip from Playa del Carmen, and return in the evening. For those who want to come and disconnect from all the hustle and bustle of the more touristic destinations, because it is a remote destination, it is recommended to stay several days (between 2-3 nights).
How to get to Holbox:
- The only way to get to Holbox is via ferry from Chiquila (30 minutes).
- Chiquila can be reached from Playa del Carmen, Tulum, or Cancun by bus (of the ADO company), taxi, or Colectivo.
- The ferry hours can be found here: Holbox ENO
Isla Mujeres is a very calm and peaceful island. It’s fun to go there after all the hustle and bustle and parties, to come and relax in the middle of the week. The beaches in Isla Mujeres are considered among the most beautiful in Mexico (especially on the northern coast). You can also find the promenade of the island, which is in the northern area, with lots of shops and restaurants in the area, and spend part of the day or evenings there. The island offers a variety of attractions: diving, snorkeling, renting a golf cart and driving around the island, Garrafon Beach (Omega above the water), sea turtle farms, and a perfect massage on the beach.
It is recommended to stay in the northern area to experience the spectacular view of the turquoise waters that Isla Mujeres has to offer, but it should be taken into account that the northern area is considered the most expensive area of the island. Usually, we prefer to leave Isla Mujeres for the end of the trip together with Cancun, 2-3 nights should be enough.
How to get to Isla Mujeres:
- The only way to get to Isla is through Cancun (Puerto Cancun) by ferry (30 minutes).
- You can find the hours of the ferry here: Ultramar Ferry
Without a doubt the icing on the cake is Cancun. It is the most visited destination in the Caribbean region of Mexico with the most luxurious hotels at the highest level. You can find Cancun all-inclusive hotels, adults-only hotels, and hotels with the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. You can go to several attractions, parks, jet skis, and catamaran/yacht tours from the area. For shopping enthusiasts, this is an excellent opportunity to go on a shopping spree before returning. You can walk into the hotel area of Cancun and find a wide variety of restaurants, bars, clubs, and many other entertainment places for the day and night. It is preferable to end the trip in Cancun (3-5 nights) close to the airport and avoid unnecessary delays on the way back.
How to get to Cancun:
- From Isla Mujeres to Cancun Ferry (half an hour)
- From Playa del Carmen to Cancun (1 hour)
- From Tulum to Cancun (2 hours)
- From Chiquila to Cancun (3 hours)
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For more information on the various destinations, click here. You can go on day trips to Bacalar Lagoon, the Pink Lakes, and Holbox Island through us. The trip leaves once a week from Playa del Carmen.