Travel tips and advice for Mexico (Yucatan Peninsula)
In this article, we would like to summarize a few tips and observations that we found from our travels around the Yucatan Peninsula. We spent 18 days there in total and we have to say that we fell in love with the area. Beautiful nature, sandy beaches, delicious food, and colorful architecture were simply an excellent combination.
1) How to get to Yucatan Peninsula
We searched for airline tickets on Skyscanner, but in the end, we buy tickets directly on the airline’s website. It just seems the safest to us. The cheapest flights are mostly to Cancun, from where you can easily get to other destinations either by bus or rented car. We flew from Munich, and in general, we found that the cheapest tickets to Mexico were from Germany. We had a layover in Washington, DC but if you don’t have a covid vaccination, be careful. In the USA and Munich, they checked the covid certificate at the airport.
2) How to get around Mexico
A) By BUS
The bus is the cheapest type of transport. On longer routes, we always traveled with the ADO bus, which has comfortable seats, air conditioning, and TV and goes relatively on time. For shorter distances, there are also so-called colectivos (e.g. routes Playa Carmen -> Tulum, Valladolid -> Chichen Itzá), which are minibusses without air conditioning, less space for legs or luggage, but cheaper.
B) Rent a CAR
We traveled by bus the whole time, so we can’t give you tips on the best car rental company or advice on prices. But we met many travelers who rent a car, which provides them with better flexibility and availability to some places.
3) Best SIM card in Mexico
We bought a SIM card from the operator Telcel. You can get it almost on every corner and you don’t need a passport or any registration. The coverage was very good and we never had any problems (except Holbox I think). We paid around 9 USD for approx. 3 GB.
4) Best time to visit Yucatan Peninsula
The most popular months to visit are from November to April, which is “dry season” in Mexico with minimal rainfall. However, if you are going here with the aim of swimming with whale sharks on the island of Isla Mujeres, then you must visit Peninsula from June to the first half of September. Unfortunately, we did not check this in advance and were disappointed. Well, our bad:)
5) Safety and Yucatán
From the all the places we visited on the peninsula, we did not feel completely safe in Cancun. It was probably due to the fact that we lived outside the tourist center and our accommodation was completely surrounded by barbed wire, which was truly disturbing :D. But we were never afraid in tourist places and in smaller towns, and one simply has to be careful and try not to go somewhere to the streets without any people in the evening.
6) Payment, currency and ATMs with the lowest fee in Mexico
Honestly, we are not fans of Money Exchanges, so when we travel abroad we always try to pay with Revolut card or withdraw money from ATM. Fortunately, in most places in Mexico today it is possible to pay by card (except for Holbox, there were not many places where we could pay by a card or they put a 5% fee on the payment). But in Mexico, they charge a fee for withdrawing from an ATM. We tried a few banks and here’s our fee summary (November 2022). We found the lowest ATM withdrawal fee in Mexico at Citibamex (Note: prices are for the Revolut card)
Citibamex – 30,74 MXN (1,7 USD)
Santander – 34 MXN (1,9 USD)
Ci Banko – 58 MXN (3,2 USD)
HSBC – 80 MXN (4,5 USD)
BBVA – 100 MXN (5,5 USD)
7) Drone and Mexico
We visited Mexico in November 2022 and never had a problem with the drone (DJI Mini 3). The security check at the airport in Cancun went without a problem and even when we flew in the middle of the historic center of Izamal, it was also OK (nobody cared :D). In some places, however, flying a drone is strictly prohibited (e.g. Tulum ruins or Chichén Itza), so it is better to leave the drone at your accommodation so that it is not confiscated somewhere.
In any case, before flying to Mexico, we recommend checking the Internet, current legislation, and people’s experience. As you know from experience, drone laws and permits are changing rapidly everywhere.