19 days in Mexico Itinerary

19 days in Mexico Itinerary

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Route & dates

19 days in Mexico Itinerary

Start: Des Moines
Fly:  7 h 15 min
1
Cozumel
— 3 nights
Drive:  3 h
2
Cancun
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 15 min
3
Chichen Itza
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h
4
Tulum
— 3 nights
Bus:  2 h 45 min
5
Bacalar
— 1 night
Bus:  6 h
6
Palenque
— 2 nights
Fly:  3 h 15 min
7
Mexico City
— 3 nights
Fly:  3 h 15 min
8
Puerto Vallarta
— 3 nights
Fly:  6 h
End: Des Moines

3
nights
Cozumel

Thanks to the island's outstanding scuba diving and snorkeling options, Cozumel tourism sector remains a major employer and the main source of income for this Caribbean getaway.
Cozumel is known for wildlife, outdoors, theme parks, adventure, and beaches. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, get engrossed in the history at Museo de la Isla de Cozumel, find something for the whole family at Discover Mexico Park Cozumel, and put a fun spin on your tour with The Amazing Cozumel Race.

For where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Cozumel day trip planner .

Des Moines, USA to Cozumel is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time to Eastern Standard Time is 1 hour. Traveling from Des Moines in December, expect Cozumel to be much warmer, temps between 80°F and 68°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Thu) so you can go by car to Cancun.

Things to do in Cozumel

Wildlife Outdoors Tours
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Discover Mexico Park Cozumel ©
Discover Mexico Park Cozumel
Museo de la Isla de Cozumel ©
Museo de la Isla de Cozumel

2
nights
Cancun

Few destinations in Mexico dazzle visitors quite like Cancun, a modern resort town filled with glitzy hotels sitting on picturesque and well-developed Caribbean beaches.
On the 27th (Fri), buy something for everyone on your list at La Isla Shopping Village and then get close to the beloved marine mammals with a swim-with-the-dolphins experience. On your second day here, don't miss a visit to El Parque de las Palapas, steep yourself in history at El Rey Archaeological Zone, and then kick back and relax at Playa Delfines.

For photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Cancun day trip website .

Traveling by car from Cozumel to Cancun takes 3 hours. In December, daytime highs in Cancun are 82°F, while nighttime lows are 70°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Chichen Itza.

Things to do in Cancun

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Swim with Dolphins
La Isla Shopping Village ©
La Isla Shopping Village
El Rey Archaeological Zone ©
El Rey Archaeological Zone

1
night
Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza ©
Featuring the largest archeological site of the ancient Mayan civilization, Chichen Itza remains one of the most visited tourist destinations in Mexico.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Sun): explore the ancient world of Dzibichaltun, explore the striking landscape at Cenote Ik kil, then delve into the distant past at Chichen Itza, then explore the ancient world of The Ossuary, and finally delve into the distant past at Temple of the Bearded Man.

For photos, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Chichen Itza tour planner.

You can drive from Cancun to Chichen Itza in 2.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. December in Chichen Itza sees daily highs of 85°F and lows of 75°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sun) early enough to drive to Tulum.

Things to do in Chichen Itza

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trip

Dzibichaltun
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Chichen Itza ©
Chichen Itza
Cenote Ik kil ©
Cenote Ik kil
Dzibichaltun ©
Dzibichaltun

3
nights
Tulum

Tulum ©
The only Mayan site built to overlook the ocean, Tulum remains a coastal paradise preserving the last vestiges of a pre-Hispanic civilization.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Tulum: Cobá Zona Arqueológica Cobá (in Coba) and Playa del Carmen (Xcaret & Scuba & Snorkeling). And it doesn't end there: delve into the distant past at Tulum Archaeological Site, Head underground at Gran Cenote, view the masterpieces at MiNiAtUrE art Gallery, and look for gifts at Kaahal Home Tulum.

To see photos, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Tulum trip site .

Traveling by car from Chichen Itza to Tulum takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Plan for slightly colder temperatures traveling from Chichen Itza in December, with highs in Tulum at 80°F and lows at 68°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) early enough to catcht the bus to Bacalar.

Things to do in Tulum

Theme Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Playa del Carmen, Cobá Zona Arqueológica Cobá
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Xcaret ©
Xcaret
Tulum Archaeological Site ©
Tulum Archaeological Site
Scuba & Snorkeling

1
night
Bacalar

Bacalar ©
Bacalar is the municipal seat and largest city in Bacalar Municipality (until 2011 a part of Othón P. On the 2nd (Thu), get outside with Estromatolitos and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Bacalar.

For more things to do, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Bacalar trip planner .

Getting from Tulum to Bacalar by bus takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or drive. Traveling from Tulum in January, expect nights in Bacalar to be about the same, around 65°F, while days are a bit warmer, around 86°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) so you can travel to Palenque.

Things to do in Bacalar

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Lake Bacalar ©
Lake Bacalar

2
nights
Palenque

Palenque ©
Palenque remains best known for the nearby ruins of an ancient Mayan city, which probably flourished around the 7th century CE.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Fri): delve into the distant past at Zona Arqueologica de Palenque, admire the sheer force of La Asuncion, and then don't miss a visit to Iglesia Santo Domingo. Here are some ideas for day two: admire nature's wide array of creatures at Aluxes Palenque and then take in the dramatic scenery at Agua Azul Waterfalls.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Palenque online trip itinerary builder .

Traveling by bus from Bacalar to Palenque takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Traveling from Bacalar to Palenque, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Mexico City.

Things to do in Palenque

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Aluxes Palenque ©
Aluxes Palenque
Zona Arqueologica de Palenque ©
Zona Arqueologica de Palenque
Agua Azul Waterfalls ©
Agua Azul Waterfalls

3
nights
Mexico City

Mexico City ©
Breathtakingly large, Mexico City provides a home for almost 9 million people living in nearly 1,700 distinct neighborhoods.
Take a break from Mexico City with a short trip to Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacan Estacionamiento Puerta 5 in San Juan Teotihuacan, about 1h 15 min away. There's lots more to do: examine the collection at Museo Nacional de Antropologia, delve into the distant past at Museo del Templo Mayor, make a trip to Zocalo, and admire the masterpieces at Palacio de Bellas Artes.

To see maps, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, read Mexico City trip itinerary app .

Traveling by flight from Palenque to Mexico City takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. In January, daytime highs in Mexico City are 69°F, while nighttime lows are 44°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Tue) early enough to travel to Puerto Vallarta.

Things to do in Mexico City

Historic Sites Museums Outdoors

Side Trip

Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacan Estacionamiento Puerta 5
Find places to stay Jan 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Museo del Tiempo Tlalpan ©
Museo del Tiempo Tlalpan
Museo Nacional de Antropologia ©
Museo Nacional de Antropologia
Palacio de Bellas Artes ©
Palacio de Bellas Artes

3
nights
Puerto Vallarta

Boasting a coastline made for perfectly framed photographs of romantic sunsets, Puerto Vallarta continuously ranks among the world's top tourist resorts.
Puerto Vallarta is known for wildlife, nightlife, adventure, historic sites, and spas. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: take a leisurely stroll along Malecon Boardwalk, get to know the fascinating history of Zona Romantica, get outside with Outdoor Activities, and indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Puerto Vallarta trip itinerary planner .

You can fly from Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Mexico City in January, with highs in Puerto Vallarta at 80°F and lows at 62°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Puerto Vallarta

Tours Outdoors Adventure

Side Trip

Marietas Islands
Find places to stay Jan 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Malecon Boardwalk ©
Malecon Boardwalk
Zipline

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