1 Campeche

This lovely walled city with narrow streets and pastel-coloured houses is kept immaculate by its proud citizens.

2 Mérida

Although the “White City” is the largest on the peninsula – alive with music and Sunday markets – it retains a tranquil charm.

3 Ruta Puuc

See the distinctive sculpture at the Maya sites in this area (the largest is Uxmal), and stay in one of the quiet towns nearby.

4 Izamal

The best place in the Yucatán to buy craftwork and meet artisans, this little town east of Mérida is also studded with ruined pyramids.

5 Chichén Itzá

Visit the best-known of the Maya sites, with its vertiginous temple, Chac-mool figures and dramatic, snail-shaped observatory.

6 Cozumel

The reefs around this island are on the shortlist for the world’s best snorkelling and scuba diving.

7 Tulum

The longest, finest white-sand beach on the Caribbean coast, with turquoise water and candlelit cabañas near ancient ruins, as well as the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve just to the south.

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