Follow the coast road north from Akumal to the shores of Yalku, a caleta or inlet of turquoise, crystal-clear waters constantly replenished by cenotes and underground rivers. The lagoon is a haven for colorful reef fish and is perfect for snorkeling. Local tip: go early before it gets too crowded.
A short drive from Cobá archaeological site, this jungle-rimmed lagoon is worth a stop. The forest is rich in wildlife, including families of spider monkeys that forage in the tree tops for chicozapote fruit. Villagers offer guided tours along nature trails to point out native birds, animals and plants.
If you are Valladolid-bound, don’t miss the town’s Zaci Cenote. With its rocky walls festooned with jungle creepers and blue waters, where swallows dip to feed on insects, this deep sinkhole has an air of mystery. The wind in the trees whispers tales of the ancient Maya and long-lost lovers. Continue on the Valladolid cenote trail with visits to Dzitnup, Samula, Hubiku, among others.
If you are planning a Merida getaway and have been to Uxmal and Chichen Itza, how about a trip to the colonial port of Campeche. It is only an hour and a half from Merida by car and well worth a visit. See the colonial forts built to protect the port against pirate attacks, visit the Regional Museum, which displays the jade masks and other ancient treasures unearthed at Calakmul archaeological site and try the local seafood.
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