In 13 days, you can enjoy a packed itinerary that includes in-depth explorations of two or even three regions in Mexico. Enjoy the history, food, and Aztec ruins of Mexico City, then discover the wonders of Chiapas, like its cascading waterfalls, majestic river canyons, and highland colonial towns. Even after all that, you'll still have time to explore the length and breadth of the mythical Yucatán Peninsula, as rich in ancient Maya ruins as it is abundant in postcard Caribbean beaches.

Itinerary #1: Cultural Highlights of Mexico

Over 13 event-filled days, you'll combine tours of Mexico's historic archeological sites with visits to its most beautiful beaches and cultural exchanges in authentic Maya communities. 

Hike up the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City Mexico City
Day 2 History & Gastronomy Tour, Visit the Museum of Anthropology Mexico City
Day 3 Coyoacán & Frida Kahlo Museum, Boat Tour of Xochimilco Mexico City
Day 4 Bike Tour of Teotihuacán Mexico City
Day 5 Mexico City to Playa del Carmen, Optional Activities Playa del Carmen
Day 6 Playa del Carmen to Tulum, Visit Chemuyil Cenotes Tulum
Day 7 Float in the Muyil Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve Tulum
Day 8 Tulum Archeological Site, Free Day in Tulum Tulum
Day 9 Tulum to Valladolid, Bike Tour of Cobá, Maya Culture & Nature Reserve Valladolid
Day 10 Tour Chichén Itzá, Cultural Experience in Yalcobá Valladolid
Day 11 Valladolid to Holbox, Optional Activities Holbox
Day 12 Mangrove Kayak Tour Holbox
Day 13 Holbox to Cancún, Depart  

You'll arrive in Mexico City and tour the highlights of its historic center, including the 16th-century Metropolitan Cathedral, the ruins of the Templo Mayor (once a grand Aztec temple), and a guided tour of the Museum of Anthropology. Then visit the city's two most historic enclaves: 16th-century Colonial Coyoacán, home to La Casa Azul (the Frida Kahlo museum), and Xochimilco, a network of canals once used by the Aztecs that today are filled with colorful gondolas plying the tranquil waters. On day four, tour Teotihuacán, the grandest archeological site in Mexico. Spanning eight sq miles/20 sq km, you'll tour ancient sites by bike.

Then you're off to Playa del Carmen, Mexico's gorgeous Yucatán Peninsula. This town is part of the Riviera Maya, a section of the coast that stretches 100 miles (160 km) along the Caribbean. It will be your base for trips to nature reserves and cenotes—limestone sinkholes fed by the largest underground aquifer in the world. You'll also tour the fortress ruins in the coastal city of Tulum, and visit El Castillo pyramid at Chichén Itzá, the country's most famous Maya archeological site. The trip winds down on the white-sand beaches of Holbox Island, where you'll relax and go on kayak tours. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Mexico City, Baja & The Yucatán

This 13-day adventure will take you not only to the highlights of Mexico City and the Maya ruins of the Yucatán, but you'll also jet off to Baja California for mountain hikes, island tours, and snorkeling.

Experience the best of Baja
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Mexico City, Optional Activities Mexico City
Day 2 History, Culture, & Gastronomy Tour - Coffee in Coyoacán Mexico City
Day 3 National Museum of Anthropology, Visit Chapultepec Park Mexico City
Day 4 Bike Tour of Teotihuacán Mexico City
Day 5 Mexico City to La Paz La Paz
Day 6 Day Trip to Espíritu Santo Island La Paz
Day 7 La Paz to Cabo Pulmo, Snorkeling Tour La Paz
Day 8 Hike the El Camarón Trail La Paz
Day 9 La Paz to Cancún, Transfer to Puerto Morelos, Optional Activities   Puerto Morelos
Day 10 Puerto Morelos to Valladolid, Tour Chichén Itzá Valladolid
Day 11 Culture & Nature in Yalcobá Valladolid
Day 12 Valladolid to Playa del Carmen, Tour the Cobá Ruins Playa del Carmen
Day 13 Playa del Carmen Optional Activities, Transfer to Cancún, Depart  

When you arrive in Mexico City, you'll visit its UNESCO World Heritage Centro Histórico. See the Plaza de la Constitución (also known as the Zócalo), the Palacio de Bellas Artes concert hall, and the pedestrian-only Madero Street. You'll also take a three-hour tour of Chapultepec Park, which at 1,695 acres, is one of the world's largest urban green spaces. This leg of the journey ends with a stroll of the Avenue of the Dead, the main road that runs through Teotihuacán. From Mexico City, you'll fly west to La Paz on the Baja California peninsula. Experience the highlights of this arid desert coastal region, including a boat trip to the protected island Espíritu Santo.

Here you'll visit sea lion colonies and spend time on virgin beaches. After snorkeling in the remote marine reserve of Cabo Pulmo, you'll return to land for a hike on El Camarón. This follows a scenic route through the Sierra de la Giganta mountains. Next, you're off to the Yucatán and the tourist hotspot of Cancún. After picking up a rental car, begin a four-day, self-drive tour of the region. Visit cenotes near the coast, stop at historic Spanish-colonial towns like Valladolid, and tour Chichén Itzá. You'll also embark on tours through ancient forests led by indigenous guides and see the lesser-known Maya ruins in the town of Cobá. Learn more

Plan your trip to Mexico
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Itinerary #3: Riviera Maya Road Trip

Hit the road and explore Mexico's gorgeous Yucatán Peninsula over 13 days that will take you from the Riviera Maya to underground cave cenotes to the northern islands and beyond. 

Take the road less traveled to Holbox Island
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cancún, Transfer to Tulum & Optional Activities Tulum
Day 2 Free Day in Tulum Tulum
Day 3 Tour Underground Cave Cenotes Tulum
Day 4 Bacalar, Visit Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve Bacalar
Day 5 Sail Lake Bacalar Bacalar
Day 6 Free day in Bacalar Bacalar
Day 7 Playa del Carmen, Cobá Ruins & Culture in Nuevo Durango Playa del Carmen
Day 8 Cenotes of Chemuyil, Playa del Carmen & Optional Activities Playa del Carmen
Day 9 Free Day in Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen
Day 10 Holbox Island, Optional Activities Holbox
Days 11-12 Free Days in Holbox Holbox
Day 13 Transfer to Cancún, Depart  

This time you'll arrive directly on the Yucatán. From the airport in Cancún, take a scenic drive down the Riviera Maya to the resort town of Tulum. Here you'll tour its Maya fortress ruins plus visit a mystical underground cave cenote where local musicians perform a concert steeped in ancient Maya spirituality. Afterward, taking a boat tour of the waterways at the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, head further south to the town of Bacalar. Enjoy a half-day sailing tour of its turquoise lagoon, then explore the Cobá ruins. Afterward, stop in the town of Nuevo Durango, where you'll lunch with a local family.

On day seven, you'll arrive in Playa del Carmen and can visit the nearby cenotes, enjoy the beaches, and do some shopping. Then hop on a bus for the 2.5-hour drive to the northern tip of the Yucatán and Holbox Island. This laid-back beach community has no paved roads, and the most popular activity is lazing in a hammock perched in the crystalline shallows. That said, there are many activities you can enjoy during these last days, which include swimming with whale sharks, kayaking amid the nighttime bioluminescence, and taking boat tours to nearby islets and wildlife sanctuaries. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Highlights of Chiapas & the Yucatán

In just under two weeks, you can explore two of Mexico's most naturally beautiful regions, including a boat ride through river canyons in Chiapas and touring ancient ruins in Yucatán.

Take a ride through Sumidero Canyon
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Chiapas Tuxtla
Day 2 Boat Tour of Sumidero Canyon, Transfer to  San Cristóbal de las Casas San Cristóbal
Day 3 San Cristóbal to Palenque, Stop at Agua Azul & Misol-Ha Palenque
Day 4 Palenque to Campeche, Optional Walking Tour  Campeche
Day 5 Campeche to Uxmal, Jícara Engraving Workshop Uxmal
Day 6 Tour Uxmal, Transfer to Mérida Merida
Day 7 Mérida to Valladolid, Optional Activities Valladolid
Day 8 Ek' Balam Archaeological Site, Cenote & Village Tour Valladolid
Day 9 Valladolid to Holbox, Optional Activities Holbox
Day 10 Free Day in Holbox Holbox
Day 11 Holbox to Playa del Carmen, Optional Activities Playa del Carmen
Day 12 Day Tours of Cobá & Nuevo Durango Playa del Carmen
Day 13 Transfer to Cancún, Depart  

The adventure begins in the southern state of Chiapas, one of Mexico's leading coffee-growing regions and an area rich with indigenous culture. Kick things off with a riverboat trip through Sumidero Canyon, whose 3,300-foot (1,000-m) limestone cliffs will leave you breathless. Then tour the Spanish-colonial highland city of San Cristóbal to see its many 16th-century buildings. On the way to Yucatán, you'll stop at two more regional highlights: Agua Azul and Misol-Ha. Enjoy their terraced turquoise pools and plunging waterfalls. The first ruins you'll visit are at Palenque. The remains of this ancient Maya city are famous for their epigraphs and bas-relief carvings.

Then travel to the state of Campeche to tour its well-preserved UNESCO-protected 16th-century capital. After hiking around the ruins at Uxmal, you'll visit a nearby indigenous community to learn how they make artisanal crafts. A visit to Mérida, the capital of the Yucatán state, reveals more incredible Spanish-colonial architecture, like its Cathedral and Municipal Palace. Then it's off to Valladolid, with a day trip to Ek' Balam and to cycle across ancient Maya pathways to a hidden cenote for a swim. At Holbox Island, you'll spend a couple of days relaxing and enjoying tours before transferring to Playa del Carmen.

This will be your base for tours of the Cobá ruins and a visit to the home of a man who runs a conservation project for endangered animals. On day 13, you'll return home. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Nature & Maya Culture in the Yucatán

Thirteen days is enough time to see the highlights of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, including its cenotes, ruins, colonial heritage cities, and inviting beach towns like Tulum, Puerto Morelos, and Holbox. 

Puerto Morelos, on Mexico's Riviera Maya

You'll arrive in Cancún and take that scenic drive down the Riviera Maya to Tulum. Dive into some cenotes, float down the waterways of the Sian Ka'an, and sail the turquoise waters of Bacalar. Then participate in a special cultural experience in the indigenous community of Chuhunhub. Here you'll gather around a bonfire and imbibe a local "drink of the gods" while Maya elders include you in a spiritual ceremony centered on Ya'ax ché (the sacred ceiba tree). On day six, you'll also see the process local Maya have used to harvest natural gum for ages.

On day seven, you'll tour Uxmal, an ancient Maya city that dates to the 6th century and boasts incredible structures like the Pyramid of the Magician and Governor's Palace. Afterward, visit another indigenous community for a jungle hike to a mystical grotto said to be protected by ancient spirits. Then take a walking tour around Mérida's famous Plaza Grande and stop at Izamal, another Magical City known for its bright-yellow 16th-century buildings. The remaining highlights include touring Chichén Itzá, relaxing on Holbox Island, and snorkeling in Puerto Morelos. Learn more

More Great Mexico Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Mexico? Check out these other Mexico itineraries, with outdoor adventures, family-friendly trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


Map of 13 Days in Mexico - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 13 Days in Mexico - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas