4 Day Yucatan Itinerary: The Best Complete Guide (2024)

Convento de San Antonio in Izamal Yucatan. a yellow church with a woman in a red dress in front of it

I have ventured to Mexico on numerous occasions, and Yucatan stands out as a destination that has greatly impacted me. It was the initial place I had the pleasure of crossing off my 1st bucket list item, and I must say, it surpassed all of my expectations. From the magnificent Chichen Itza to the charming town of Izamal, Yucatan offers a wealth of cultural and historical treasures.

If you are planning a trip and looking for the perfect 4-day Yucatan itinerary, you’re in the right place! Many travelers often struggle with deciding what to see and do in a short amount of time. But worry not, as I’m here to guide you through the major highlights of this captivating region. During my visit, I had the time of my life creating lasting memories with my husband.

One unforgettable moment was when I jumped into a cenote and accidentally lost my glasses. I had to rely on my prescribed sunglasses for the rest of the trip, which turned out to be quite an adventure! But hey, that’s what traveling is all about, right?

I understand that exploring a new region can be both exciting and overwhelming. That’s why I’ve crafted this post to help fellow travelers like you make the most out of your 4-day journey in Yucatan. I’ll provide you with insider tips, recommendations, and insights that will make your trip unforgettable.

Here is the quick notes version of the 4-day itinerary!

Day OneDay TwoDay ThreeDay Four
Fly in To MeridaChichen ItzaLas ColoradasMonumento La Patria
Plaza GrandeCenote of Ik KilCancunito BeachFly Home
Izamal YucatanNature Reserve
Rio Lagartos

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Map of all the places listed below.

4-Day Itinerary For Yucatan Mexico!

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Day 1

Morning- How to get there

Start your 4-day Yucatan itinerary by catching an early flight to the Merida airport (MID) the closest airport to Chichen Itza and the city where we will be staying. I highly recommend staying in the city of Merida.

Staying in Merida is the best option as it’s a great central location in the state of Yucatan. The city center is lively with lots of events and markets going on. Merida, the state capital is widely known as the safest city in Mexico. The city is renowned for its safety and security due to its low crime rate, reliable infrastructure, and close-knit community.

The city’s streets are well-lit and maintained, making it easier for police officers to monitor activity. Additionally, there are numerous CCTV cameras installed throughout the city center which help to deter any potential criminal activity. Local citizens take pride in their community and work hard to ensure that it remains a safe place for everyone to live in.

Evening- Plaza Grande and Dinner

After landing take a taxi from the airport to your hotel and check in. I recommend staying in the city center as the town square should be less than a 5-minute walk. After settling into your hotel you can walk down to the plaza and take a look around. It is surrounded by some of Mérida’s most iconic colonial buildings, including the City Hall and Cathedral.

The plaza hosts a number of festivals throughout the year and is bustling with street vendors selling arts and crafts. It is perfect for strolling around, admiring the historic architecture, or grabbing a bite to eat at one of the nearby restaurants. I recommend booking a dinner reservation for a rooftop restaurant here called Restaurante Picheta.

The view was beautiful and the food was fancy. We like to do our souvenir shopping as soon as possible so we know how much money we have to play with. I recommend doing your souvenir shopping at this location. You can stay out all night partying in the city of Merida or call it an early night but this ends the first day of our trip.


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Day 2

Day 2 of the Yucatan itinerary, if your hotel has breakfast included you can wake up around 7 am to eat there before your tour bus picks you up. After ours arrived and we picked up the rest of the guests, we stopped at a convenience store to buy snacks and water for the day. Then you should head 2 hours or so out into the Mexican jungle where you will be making your 1st stop at Chichen Itza. 

Morning- Chichen Itza

When you arrive at Chichen Itza from Merida you will need to purchase your tickets as they will not be included in the tour. If you visit in the summer you will be able to tell right away how much more humid the air will be compared to the city.

You can walk around the archaeological site and learn so much about Chichen Itza and what went on over 1,500 years ago. I suggest visiting this region between October and May for cooler weather. When visiting Chichen Itza, you will be able to experience the majestic ruins of one of the most powerful cities of the ancient Mayan civilization.

The site is composed of a variety of amazing monuments and structures, such as the Temple of Kukulcan, and an iconic pyramid called El Castillo. It has a limestone face and beautiful sculptures. You can also explore the Sacred Cenote, a deep natural pool believed by the Mayan to be an entrance to the underworld.

Additionally, there are numerous buildings that tell stories from history and culture. With all these attractions, you can learn about the art, architecture, and rituals that make up this incredible civilization. Yucatan Mexico Tip: For the best pictures go to the East and South of the temple.

Want To Learn More About Spending the Day At Chichen Itza? Read Here!

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Noon- Cenote Ik Kil

After this, make your way up the road to take a dip in the Cenote Ik Kil. If you’re wondering what a Cenote is, it’s a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater. There are so many cenotes in the Yucatan region that you can visit and pick from. Ik Kil is the closest to Chichen Itza.

Here, changing rooms and life jackets are provided and the entrance fee to this should be included in your tour however, locker storage is not. Once you change head to the bottom of the cenote by walking down a cave on numerous wet steps. I recommend wearing water shoes as the steps going down are slippery. Once you reach the bottom you can either climb some stairs going up to a jump-off point or take a ladder down into the water.

We chose to go and swim first. The water is freezing cold but it will be a much-needed relief with the Mexican heat. After swimming I recommend finding the strength to jump into the cenote. I did it but ended up losing grip of my prescribed glasses which are now probably at the bottom of the sinkhole. Keep your items tight on you or ask someone to hold them, but overall it’s a fun experience.

After this, dry off and meet back up with the group, Then you should head to lunch which will be at a Mexican restaurant. My husband really loved the food here and it was served buffet style so we went back for seconds.

Here’s A List of The Best Cenotes In Yucatan You Can Explore!

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After Noon- Izamal Yucatan

Last is Izamal Yucatan a small town in Mexico. In the middle of the town is Convento de San Antonio, a large vibrant yellow church that you can walk around and enjoy. Convento de San Antonio in Izamal Yucatan is a beautiful and historic convent that was built in the 16th century by Franciscan monks.

It is one of the largest convent complexes in Mexico, and its stunning yellow facade makes it stand out against the surrounding green hills. The complex includes a church, cloister, fountain, school, and museum, all of which are open to visitors to explore.

Inside you can find beautiful Baroque-style altarpieces, magnificent murals, and other decorative works. It is a great example of the area’s rich cultural heritage and an important part of its history. Izamal also has a number of charming architecture I saw while passing through. Make sure to eat some desserts known as Marquesitas. You can buy them from a lady who makes them from a cart right outside the convent.

They are delicious and taste like a waffle cone with chocolate, but you can pick any fillings you want inside of it. The tour finishes by dropping you off back at your hotel. You can walk back to the plaza in the city center for dinner as this ends day 2 of our 4-day Yucatan itinerary.

I highly recommend This Chichen Itza Tour as it lets you explore the region!


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Day 3

On day 3 you’ll want to again eat breakfast at the hotel. You will be picked up by a new tour bus around 8 a.m. The 1st stop for today will be Las Coloradas the pink salt lakes. The drive today to here will be around 3 hours from the city of Merida and you should be able to make a stop at a convenience store for water and snacks.

Morning- Las Coloradas

Las Coloradas in Yucatan, Mexico is a beautiful and unique site. Located on the northern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Las Coloradas is a vast pink lagoon surrounded by white sand. The pink hue of the water is created by the presence of high amounts of salt and plankton in the lagoon.

Las Coloradas is a popular destination for tourists who want to experience its mesmerizingly-colored waters and take incredible photos. It also serves as an important ecological habitat for many species of birds, reptiles, and marine life.

Since the lake is for salt production there was no swimming allowed but the tour guides they provide you are very friendly and informative and give you your own personal photo shoot so you get the best pictures of your time there.

A view of the ocean with blue water and a blue sky.

Mid Morning- Cancunito Beach

After this, they will take you down the road to this secluded beach near Merida called Cancunito Beach. When I was there, there was only one family there that looked like they were locals. Cancunito Beach in Yucatan Mexico is located on the coast of Merida. With soft, white sand and crystal-clear waters, this beach provides an idyllic spot to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the Golf Coast.

There are plenty of activities to do here, such as swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing or simply relaxing with a book. The water is very warm, which you would assume would not be pleasant in the heat of Mexico but it was quite relaxing to the muscles. Kind of the same feeling you get when entering a hot tub. 

Noon- Nature Reserve: Reserva de la Biósfera Ría Lagartos

When you are done swimming at the beach, hop back on the bus and you’ll drive another short distance where you will be transferred to a speed boat. At this time you’ll visit Reserva de la Biósfera Ría Lagartos, and see alligators and flamingos. Reserva de la Biosfera Ría Lagartos in Yucatan, Mexico is a protected reserve of over 200,000 hectares that comprises mangroves, cenotes, and wetlands.

It is home to a diverse and abundant ecosystem of flora and fauna including jaguars, crocodiles, flamingos, and sea turtles. The reserve serves as an important breeding ground for myriad species of birds as well as providing numerous opportunities for ecotourism which helps to promote conservation in the region.

We had a different tour guide for the boat and I believe he was supposed to inform us more about the reserve but his English must’ve not been that great because he hardly spoke. He did however show us this section of the river where there was clay that people would rub on their bodies to make them look youthful. 

Noon- Rio Lagartos

After this, you will ride quite a distance on the speed boat to the other side of the river to the town of Rio Lagartos. Once there you’ll walk to a Mexican restaurant and eat with the people from your group and get to know each other more.

Rio Lagartos is a stunning natural area of mangrove swamps, lagoons, and shallow coastal waters. It is home to an abundance of wildlife such as flamingos, crocodiles, pelicans, and many other species, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers and nature lovers alike.

For us, our tour ended just in time as it started raining on our walk back to the bus. From here the drive is 3 hours back to Merida and this ends day 3 of the Yucatan trip. You can go back to the town square for dinner or take a taxi to a new part of town for food and drinks. We were tired and opted to eat at our hotel restaurant.

I loved this Las Coloradas Tour because it includes swimming at Cancunito Beach!


A woman posing in front of a stone structure.

Day 4

For the last day of visiting Yucatan, you can sleep in since we had early mornings the past 3 days. At 12 we checked out of the hotel and walked to the plaza one last time. There’s an ice cream store that sells a version of mangonadas and other flavors that we had been eyeing the whole trip. I highly recommend stopping by before you leave and trying some! My husband got mango flavor and I got lemon.

Noon- Monumento a La Patria

Before you leave set up a detour for your driver to stop at Monumento a La Patria a Mayan statue carved of stone. The La Patria a Mayan Statue is an impressive work of art located in the city’s Plaza Grande. The statue is of a Mayan warrior, standing 15 feet tall and made from stone.

Its intricate details bring to life the ancient culture of the Maya and its strong presence in this region. The statue was unveiled in 2011 as a tribute to Mexican history and has become an iconic symbol of Mérida ever since. It stands as a reminder of the powerful connection between the old and new worlds and serves as a reminder that our past should never be forgotten.

The statue itself is really beautiful but I was disappointed when we showed up and there was graffiti on it. I hope it gets cleaned off one day but it is really lovely to see it in person. After this, you can end your Yucatan trip at the airport. Here I used the last of our Mexican pesos to buy a couple of beautiful Mexican blankets for our future camping and road trips.

And that ends day 4 of the great Yucatan trip.

Here’s A List of 59 Yucatan Mexico Bucket List Things To Do! Read Before Going.


Yucatan State VS Yucatan Península


When referring to Yucatan, it is important to distinguish between the two different entities. Yucatan State is an administrative region in Mexico and includes parts of the Yucatan Peninsula. This 4-day itinerary only covers the State of Yucatan.

The Yucatan Peninsula is a geographic landmass located in the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico with coasts on three sides. It typically includes not only Yucatan State but also the states of Campeche and Quintana Roo. There are so many Yucatan Peninsula bucket list items you can do and see in this beautiful part of the world!

Why Choose Yucatan Mexico?

There are many reasons to visit Yucatan, it is known for its beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. Its Mayan culture and ruins (mainly Chichen Itza). And lastly its largest city Merida, which has a Spanish colonial history that’s reflected in its building.

Seeing Chichen Itza is the main reason most choose this destination. It’s the 7th wonder of the New World and is enriched with tons of history. Since my mother’s heritage is Mexican I was excited to learn about where my lineage could possibly come from.

While Chichen Itza is the highlight of this trip there are many other places to see in Yucatan, Mexico and so I recommend utilizing bus tours to make the most of this short trip. Although you can definitely do a Yucatan road trip with this 4-day Yucatan itinerary as well. Car rental prices are pretty cheap and easy to attain by picking up the car from the airport.

FAQs

How many days should I spend in Yucatán?

Yucatán offers a variety of interesting places to visit and explore, so how many days you should spend there is really up to you and your travel style. On average, visitors stay between 3-7 days in Yucatán.

With that timeframe, you can fit in the must-sees like Chichén Itzá, Uxmal ruins, and Mayan caves, plus have some time to explore the surrounding areas. This 4-day Yucatan itinerary covers the main highlights.

What month is the best time to visit Yucatán?

Yucatán is best visited during the dry season, which typically lasts from January to April. During these months you can expect sunny days with minimal rainfall and low humidity. This makes it a great time to explore the ancient ruins of the Mayan civilization without having to worry about rain or heat exhaustion!

Plus, this is also when many festivals occur throughout the region. So if you’re looking to experience the local culture, plan your trip during this season!
This 4-day itinerary is still however attainable in any season.

Is 4 days good for Yucatán?

Yes, 4 days is a good amount of time to spend in Yucatán. With this timeframe, you’ll be able to explore the main attractions in the area such as Chichén Itzá, and Izamal Yucatan, and swim in some cenotes. You’ll also have some free time to visit smaller towns and discover hidden gems along the way.

Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy the local culture and food that Yucatán has to offer. All in all, planning a 4 day Yucatan trip is a great way to make sure that you get the most out of your experience!

What Foods To Eat On A 4-Day Yucatan Itinerary?

If you’re planning a 4-day Yucatán itinerary, make sure to indulge in the renowned traditional cuisine. Treat your taste buds to mouthwatering dishes like cochinita pibil, panuchos, and queso relleno. These culinary delights will offer an unforgettable experience for any visitor exploring the flavors of traditional Mexican fare.

Final Thoughts-

I hope this helps you in planning your dream trip to Yucatan Mexico. From the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza to the hidden cenotes dotted across the countryside, there is something for everyone in this remarkable area. If you want to know how much to save for this trip you can read my 4-day Yucatan budget here!

Happy exploring!

Kaylee Janell's signature

Read More on Yucatan Mexico!

59 Amazing Yucatan Mexico Bucket List Things To Do!

4-Day Yucatan Itinerary: The Best Complete Guide

How To Visit The Pink Lakes Las Coloradas In Yucatán

Chichen Itza Entrance Fee + Everything You Need To Know

How To Spend One Day In Merida! Mexico’s Safest City

The Best Beach In Yucatan A True Hidden Gem!

Is Yucatan Expensive? My Affordable Budget Breakdown

15 Best Cenotes In Yucatan You Need To Visit!

Is Yucatan Worth Visiting? Honest Perspective From A POC!

12 Yucatan Travel Tips You Need To Know Before Going!

How To Get From Merida To Chichen Itza + The Best Tour!

Hotel Maria del Carmen Review: Everything You Need To Know!

Find Your Next Vacation Destination Here!

4-Day Yucatan Mexico Itinerary

What Are My Recommended Resources For Planning A Trip?

When planning my trip, I use my trusted trio of CheapOair, Viator, and Booking.com to provide a comprehensive solution for everything I need.

CheapOair is a go-to resource for affordable flight tickets. With its extensive network of over 600 airlines, it offers a wide array of choices, enabling you to easily compare prices and select the best deal that suits your budget and travel schedule.

Viator on the other hand, is an excellent platform for booking tours and activities. It provides access to thousands of sightseeing tours, attractions, and events in over 1,500 locations worldwide. It ensures you don’t miss out on the unique experiences each destination has to offer.

Booking.com is your reliable partner for accommodations. With over 28 million listings including hotels, apartments, and hostels, you can find the perfect place to stay that fits your budget and preference.

Together, these platforms make trip planning convenient, cost-effective, and fun. They ensure you have everything you need, from flights and accommodations to activities – at your fingertips.

Check Out My Resources Page For All My Recommended Travel Tools!

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8 Comments

  1. I absolutely love visiting Mexico! I have visited six times, but still haven’t been to this region! I’ve saved it for my future trip planning. I love all your photos, they’re beautiful!

  2. Mexico is so high on my list, and these stunning photos make me want to go even more. The pink lake at Las Coloradas is even prettier. Thanks for sharing