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Yucatán State & the Maya Heartland

Sitting regally on the northern tip of the peninsula, Yucatán state sees less mass tourism than its flashy-and-trashy neighbor, Quintana Roo. It is sophisticated and savvy, and the perfect spot for travelers more interested in cultural exploration than beach life. While there are a few nice beaches in Celestún and Progreso, most people come to this area to explore the ancient Maya sites peppered throughout the region, like the Ruta Puuc, which will take you to four or five ruins in just a day.

Visitors also come to experience the past and present in the cloistered corners of colonial cities, to experience henequén haciendas (vast estates that produced agave plant fibers, used to make rope) lost to time or restored by caring hands to old glory, and to discover the energy, spirit and subtle contrasts of this authentic corner of southeastern Mexico.

For planning, a useful website is www.yucatan.travel.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Yucatán State & the Maya Heartland.