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City Guides: Chetumal, Mexico


by Brandice Till



Welcome to Chetumal, Mexico’s hidden gem nestled on the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula. This vibrant city is a true melting pot of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking an authentic Mexican experience.


Chetumal serves as the capital city of the quintessential Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. With its strategic location near the border of Belize, Chetumal is a gateway to the stunning wonders of the Caribbean, offering a unique blend of Mexican and Caribbean influences in its architecture, cuisine, and culture.


With a population of around 150,000, Chetumal boasts a warm and welcoming atmosphere that instantly captivates visitors. Known for its friendly locals, relaxed pace, and vibrant street life, the city offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of more tourist-driven destinations in Mexico.


Chetumal’s rich history dates back to ancient Mayan civilization, with evidence of human occupation in the region dating back over 2,000 years. Throughout its history, Chetumal has been a hub of trade and cultural exchange, attracting settlers from various indigenous communities, European colonizers, and African immigrants.


Today, Chetumal stands as a testament to its multicultural past, with a unique blend of traditions and influences visible in its architecture, language, and cuisine. Visitors to Chetumal can immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Mayan heritage, explore the colonial-era buildings, indulge in delicious seafood dishes, and enjoy the vibrant local festivals that showcase the city’s vibrant cultural scene.


Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a tranquil getaway, Chetumal has something to offer for everyone. From the fascinating Mayan ruins to the unspoiled natural reserves and pristine beaches, this city is a true haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Get ready to explore the hidden treasures of Chetumal and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Overview of Chetumal

Located on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Chetumal is a charming city that offers a unique blend of Mexican and Caribbean influences. As the capital of Quintana Roo state, Chetumal serves as a gateway to the stunning attractions of the region, including the pristine beaches of the Mexican Caribbean and the fascinating ancient ruins of the Mayan civilization.


Chetumal’s strategic location near the border of Belize has contributed to its cultural diversity, with influences from both Mexican and Caribbean traditions. The city’s rich history and multicultural heritage are visible in its architecture, cuisine, and vibrant local festivals.


One of the highlights of Chetumal is its fascinating Mayan past. The city is surrounded by ancient Mayan ruins and archaeological sites, offering visitors a chance to delve into the mysteries of this ancient civilization. From the impressive Kohunlich ruins, known for its magnificent temples, to the Dzibanche archaeological site with its well-preserved structures, Chetumal is a paradise for history enthusiasts.


In addition to its historical sites, Chetumal is also known for its natural beauty. The city is surrounded by lush jungles, mangroves, and cenotes, inviting nature lovers to explore the diverse ecosystems of the region. The nearby Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to a wide array of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.


Chetumal’s warm climate and proximity to the Caribbean Sea also make it a haven for beach lovers. Just a short drive from the city, visitors can find beautiful stretches of white sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. From snorkeling and scuba diving to kayaking and paddleboarding, there are plenty of water activities to enjoy in and around Chetumal.


When it comes to cuisine, Chetumal is a food lover’s paradise. The city is renowned for its delicious seafood dishes, influenced by both Mexican and Caribbean flavors. From fresh ceviche and grilled fish to spicy shrimp tacos, Chetumal’s culinary scene will tantalize your taste buds and introduce you to a fusion of flavors.


Chetumal’s vibrant cultural scene is undoubtedly one of its biggest draws. The city hosts numerous festivals and events that showcase its rich traditions and lively spirit. From the colorful Carnival celebrations to the International Culture Festival, visitors can immerse themselves in the music, dance, and folklore of Chetumal.


With its rich history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture, Chetumal offers a truly authentic Mexican experience. Whether you’re exploring Mayan ruins, relaxing on the beach, or indulging in delicious cuisine, Chetumal is a destination that will leave you captivated and wanting to return for more.


History of Chetumal

The history of Chetumal is deeply intertwined with the ancient Mayan civilization and the subsequent waves of European colonization. The region where Chetumal now stands has been inhabited by indigenous peoples for over 2,000 years, and evidence of their presence can still be found in the form of archaeological sites and ruins.


The ancient Mayan city of Chactemal, meaning “Place of the Red Wood,” was one of the most important centers of trade and commerce in the Pre-Columbian era. It served as a significant port, connecting the inland Mayan cities to the Caribbean Sea. The area was known for its abundance of precious woods, which were highly valued and traded throughout the Mayan empire.


With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the early 16th century, Chetumal’s history took a new turn. The first European to set foot in the region was Juan de Grijalva, who sailed along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in 1517. It wasn’t until 1519 when Hernán Cortés arrived and claimed the territory for the Spanish crown.


During the colonial period, Chetumal became a strategic point for Spanish galleons navigating the waters of the Caribbean. It served as a hub for trade between Spain and its colonies in the New World. However, due to its remote location and the constant threat of pirate attacks, the city remained relatively small and underdeveloped.


In the 19th century, Chetumal’s fate began to change with the arrival of immigrants from other parts of Mexico, Europe, and Africa. This diverse influx of settlers contributed to the city’s multicultural heritage and shaped its unique identity. The descendants of these early settlers, known as “Chetumaleños,” still preserve their cultural traditions and customs to this day.


With the rise of the sisal industry in the late 19th century, Chetumal experienced a period of economic growth and development. Sisal, a plant used to produce rope and twine, became a major export, leading to the construction of infrastructure and the expansion of the city.


Chetumal’s modern era began in the 1970s when Quintana Roo state became a tourist destination thanks to the development of the Cancun hotel zone. Chetumal transformed into a gateway for tourists visiting the Mexican Caribbean, providing access to the natural wonders and historical sites of the region.


Today, Chetumal continues to evolve and flourish, offering visitors a captivating blend of ancient history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. The city stands as a testament to its rich past and is a testament to the resilience and spirit of its people.


Climate and Geography

Chetumal enjoys a tropical climate, characterized by high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. Situated on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the city benefits from its proximity to the Caribbean Sea, which helps moderate the temperature and brings refreshing sea breezes.


The average annual temperature in Chetumal ranges from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F), with the hottest months being May through September. During these months, temperatures can soar to over 35°C (95°F), so it’s important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun when visiting during this time.


Rainfall in Chetumal is abundant, with the city experiencing a wet and a dry season. The wet season runs from May to October, with heavy rainfall and occasional tropical storms. The dry season, from November to April, brings more comfortable temperatures and less precipitation, making it an ideal time to visit for those who prefer milder weather.


Chetumal is surrounded by diverse natural landscapes, including lush jungles, mangroves, and stunning coastlines. The city is located near the southern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, bordering the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Chetumal Bay to the west.


The Chetumal Bay, with its calm and shallow waters, is home to rich biodiversity. It serves as a crucial breeding ground for numerous species of fish, sea turtles, and manatees. Visitors can explore the bay through boat tours or engage in activities such as snorkeling and fishing.


Heading inland from Chetumal, travelers will discover the stunning beauty of the Mayan jungle. The region is home to various protected areas and national parks, such as the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and the Bacalar Lagoon, known for its mesmerizing shades of turquoise and blue.


Chetumal is also located near the southern entrance of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest coral reef system in the world. This makes it a popular destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, who can explore the vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish, coral formations, and other marine species.


With its tropical climate and diverse landscapes, Chetumal offers unique opportunities for adventure and outdoor activities. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, trekking through the dense jungles, or relaxing on pristine beaches, the natural beauty of Chetumal will leave you awe-struck and eager to explore more.


Getting to Chetumal

Chetumal is easily accessible by various means of transportation, whether you’re traveling domestically within Mexico or arriving from international destinations.


If you’re flying to Chetumal, the city is served by the Chetumal International Airport (CTM), which offers regular flights from major cities in Mexico. International flights are also available, mainly from Central American countries such as Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. From the airport, you can easily reach the city center by taxi or car rental.


For those traveling by land, Chetumal has excellent road connections. The city is located along the federal highway 307, which runs from Cancun to Chetumal. Buses operated by ADO, a reputable bus company, provide convenient and comfortable transportation options from major cities in Mexico, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. The journey from Cancun to Chetumal takes approximately 4-5 hours.


If you’re coming from Belize, Chetumal is just a short distance away from the border. Buses and taxis are available to take you across the border, and once you’re in Chetumal, you can easily explore the city and its surrounding areas.


If you prefer the convenience of traveling by sea, there are ferry services available from Belize City to Chetumal. The journey takes around 2-3 hours, and it’s a scenic way to reach Chetumal while enjoying views of the turquoise Caribbean Sea.


Within Chetumal, getting around is fairly easy. The city has a well-developed public transportation system, with buses and taxis readily available. Taxis are a convenient option for shorter distances within the city, while buses serve as an affordable mode of transportation for exploring the wider area.


For those who prefer to have more flexibility and independence, renting a car is a popular option. Car rental agencies can be found in Chetumal, offering a range of vehicles to suit different budgets and preferences. Having a car gives you the freedom to explore the surrounding attractions at your own pace.


With its accessible transportation options and well-connected road networks, Chetumal is a city that is easy to reach from various destinations. Whether you’re arriving by plane, bus, or ferry, you’ll find yourself immersed in the vibrant culture and natural beauty of Chetumal in no time.


Where to Stay in Chetumal

Chetumal offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and budget. Whether you’re looking for luxury resorts, budget-friendly hotels, or cozy guesthouses, there are plenty of choices to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay in the city.


If you’re seeking luxury and indulgence, Chetumal has a few high-end resorts and hotels that offer top-notch amenities and services. These resorts often boast stunning beachfront locations, private pools, spa facilities, and gourmet dining options. They provide the perfect setting for a relaxing and luxurious getaway.


For travelers on a tighter budget, there are numerous mid-range hotels and guesthouses available in Chetumal. These properties offer comfortable rooms, friendly service, and convenient locations near the city center. Many of these accommodations feature facilities such as swimming pools, on-site restaurants, and free Wi-Fi, ensuring a pleasant stay without breaking the bank.


If you’re looking for a more authentic and cultural experience, consider staying at a boutique hotel or a guesthouse in the heart of Chetumal. These accommodations often reflect the local charm and traditions, with attention to detail and personalized service. They provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and get a taste of the genuine Chetumal hospitality.


Chetumal is also known for its eco-friendly lodges and eco-resorts, which allow visitors to stay close to nature while minimizing their environmental impact. These eco-friendly accommodations are usually nestled among lush jungles or near pristine beaches, offering serene and tranquil surroundings. They are ideal for nature lovers and those seeking a more sustainable travel experience.


Regardless of where you choose to stay in Chetumal, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the city’s warm and welcoming atmosphere. Chetumal is known for its friendly hospitality, and many accommodations go above and beyond to ensure their guests have an enjoyable stay.


The city center is a convenient location for travelers, with easy access to restaurants, shops, and attractions. The coastal areas, such as Bahía de Chetumal and Costa Maya, offer beautiful scenery and proximity to the beach. These areas are popular among visitors seeking a beach vacation or wanting to explore the nearby natural attractions.


Whether you’re seeking luxury, budget-friendly options, or a unique cultural experience, Chetumal has a diverse range of accommodations to suit all preferences. No matter where you choose to stay, you’ll find yourself immersed in Chetumal’s charm and ready to explore all the city has to offer.


Places to Visit in Chetumal

Chetumal, with its rich history and vibrant culture, offers a variety of attractions and landmarks to explore. From ancient Mayan ruins to museums and natural wonders, here are some of the must-visit places in Chetumal:


1. Oxtankah Mayan Ruins: Discover the ancient Mayan city of Oxtankah, located just a short drive from Chetumal. Explore the well-preserved structures, including temples, plazas, and ball courts, and learn about the fascinating history of this ancient civilization.


2. Museum of Maya Culture: Immerse yourself in the rich Mayan heritage at the Museum of Maya Culture. This modern museum showcases artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that provide insight into the Mayan civilization and its contributions to the region.


3. Chetumal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary: Nature lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Chetumal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Explore the mangroves, wetlands, and lagoons that serve as a sanctuary for numerous bird species and other wildlife, making it a paradise for birdwatching and nature photography.


4. Bacalar Lagoon: Just a short drive from Chetumal lies the stunning Bacalar Lagoon, often referred to as the “Lake of Seven Colors” due to its mesmerizing shades of turquoise and blue. Explore the lagoon by boat, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard, and take in the breathtaking beauty of the crystal-clear waters and lush surroundings.


5. Santa Rita Archaeological Site: Visit the Santa Rita Archaeological Site, located on the outskirts of Chetumal. This site offers a glimpse into the ancient Mayan trade routes and features a well-preserved temple pyramid. Take a guided tour to learn about the significance of this archaeological site.


6. Boulevard Bahía: Stroll along Boulevard Bahía, the city’s waterfront promenade that offers stunning views of the bay and a vibrant atmosphere. Enjoy the breeze, take in the views, and explore the shops, restaurants, and cafes that line the boulevard.


7. Cultural Center of the Fine Arts: Explore the Cultural Center of the Fine Arts, a hub for art, theater, and cultural events in Chetumal. Admire the exhibitions, catch a live performance, or participate in a workshop to get a taste of the local creativity and talent.


8. Payo Obispo Zoo: Pay a visit to the Payo Obispo Zoo, home to a wide variety of animal species, including jaguars, monkeys, crocodiles, and exotic birds. It’s a great place to learn about the region’s wildlife and conservation efforts.


9. Malecón de la Bahía: Take a leisurely stroll along the Malecón de la Bahía, a scenic boardwalk that runs along the bay. Admire the beautiful views, watch the sunset, and enjoy the lively atmosphere with street performers, food vendors, and local artisans.


10. San Felipe Fort: Visit the San Felipe Fort, an 18th-century Spanish fortress that once protected Chetumal from pirates. Explore the walls, climb to the top for panoramic views, and learn about the city’s history and defenses.


These are just a few of the many attractions that Chetumal has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or cultural experiences, Chetumal is sure to captivate you with its diverse array of places to visit.


Museums and Cultural Centers

Chetumal boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous museums and cultural centers that offer a fascinating glimpse into the city’s history, art, and traditions. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply interested in learning about the local culture, Chetumal has something to offer for everyone.


Museum of Maya Culture: Located in the heart of Chetumal, the Museum of Maya Culture is a must-visit for anyone eager to learn about the ancient Mayan civilization. The museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, including ceramics, figurines, and stone sculptures, showcasing the artistic and architectural achievements of the Mayans. Interactive exhibits provide insight into the customs, beliefs, and daily life of this ancient civilization.


Museum of the City of Chetumal: Housed in a beautiful colonial building, the Museum of the City of Chetumal delves into the history and development of the city. The exhibits chronicle the region’s indigenous heritage, Spanish colonization, and the transformation of Chetumal into a modern city. From displays of archaeological finds to historical photographs and documents, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the city’s past.


Cultural Center of the Fine Arts: If you’re interested in contemporary art and culture, the Cultural Center of the Fine Arts is the place to visit. This vibrant center hosts art exhibitions, theater performances, music concerts, and cultural workshops. It serves as a platform for local and international artists to showcase their talents and engage with the Chetumal community.


Museum of Popular Art: Located near Chetumal’s main square, the Museum of Popular Art celebrates the rich folk art heritage of the region. Traditional handicrafts, such as woven textiles, intricate wood carvings, and vibrant pottery, are on display, showcasing the artistic traditions passed down through generations. Visitors can learn about the different indigenous communities and their unique artistic techniques and symbolism.


Museum of the War of Castes: The Museum of the War of Castes sheds light on a significant chapter in Chetumal’s history. The war, which took place in the mid-19th century, was a rebellion by the indigenous Maya people against the oppressive rule of the Mexican government and landowners. The museum displays artifacts, photographs, and documents related to the conflict, allowing visitors to gain a deeper understanding of this pivotal event.


House of Culture: The House of Culture is a dynamic cultural center that hosts a variety of events, including art exhibitions, live performances, workshops, and conferences. It serves as a hub for local artists, musicians, and artisans, providing a platform for them to share their talents and promote the cultural heritage of the region.


These museums and cultural centers reflect Chetumal’s proud cultural identity and offer a glimpse into its diverse history and heritage. Exploring these institutions provides a deeper appreciation for the city’s traditions, customs, and artistic expressions, making it an enriching experience for visitors seeking a deeper connection to Chetumal’s cultural tapestry.


Popular Local Restaurants

Chetumal is a culinary delight, offering a diverse range of flavors that combine Mexican and Caribbean influences. From traditional Mexican dishes to fresh seafood and international cuisine, the city boasts a vibrant food scene that will tantalize your taste buds. Here are some popular local restaurants in Chetumal that you shouldn’t miss:


La Milpa de los Mayas: This restaurant is a local favorite for its authentic Mayan cuisine. Experience traditional flavors with dishes like cochinita pibil (slow-cooked pork marinated in achiote) and sopa de lima (lime soup), made with local ingredients and prepared according to ancient recipes.


El Mercado de Chetumal: For a truly local experience, head to the bustling Mercado de Chetumal. This vibrant market is a food lover’s paradise, offering an array of street food stalls and seafood stands. Indulge in freshly grilled fish, ceviche, tacos, and other Mexican delicacies while immersing yourself in the lively atmosphere.


Taquería Doña Mary: Located in the heart of Chetumal, this no-frills taquería serves up delicious tacos filled with juicy meats, fresh vegetables, and homemade salsas. Enjoy flavorsome al pastor, savory carne asada, or succulent cochinita pibil tacos, along with a refreshing agua fresca or horchata.


La Casita del Taco: As the name suggests, this restaurant is a must-visit for taco lovers. Feast on an assortment of traditional tacos, including favorites like pastor, carnitas, and grilled shrimp. The friendly staff and casual ambiance make it a go-to spot for locals and tourists alike.


El Faro: For a taste of the Caribbean, head to El Faro, a seafood restaurant located near the coast. Indulge in fresh ceviche, grilled fish, shrimp cocktails, and other mouthwatering seafood dishes while enjoying the panoramic views of the sea. Don’t miss their signature coconut shrimp.


El Kiosco Verde: This vegetarian-friendly restaurant offers a healthy and delicious menu filled with fresh salads, wraps, smoothies, and vegan options. Enjoy a refreshing acai bowl, a flavorful quinoa salad, or a filling vegetarian burger, all made with locally sourced produce.


Los Almendros: Known for its cozy atmosphere and excellent service, Los Almendros offers a menu that celebrates traditional Mexican cuisine. Indulge in dishes such as mole poblano, chiles en nogada, and cochinita pibil, all prepared with authentic flavors and traditional cooking techniques.


Café con Cacao: Coffee lovers should make a stop at Café con Cacao, a charming café that serves up specialty coffees and chocolate-infused treats. Savor a rich cup of locally sourced coffee while enjoying a slice of chocolate cake or a chocolate-covered cacao bean.


These popular local restaurants in Chetumal offer a delightful culinary journey through the diverse flavors of the region. Whether you’re craving traditional Mexican cuisine, fresh seafood, or international fare, the city’s gastronomic scene will leave you satisfied and craving for more.


Shopping in Chetumal

Chetumal offers a range of shopping opportunities, from bustling markets to modern shopping centers, where you can find unique souvenirs, local handicrafts, and international brands. Whether you’re searching for authentic Mexican crafts or looking to indulge in some retail therapy, Chetumal has something for every shopper.


Mercado de Chetumal: Located in the heart of the city, the Mercado de Chetumal is a vibrant market where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and find a variety of goods. Browse through the stalls selling fresh produce, colorful textiles, handicrafts, and souvenirs. Don’t forget to bargain and interact with the friendly vendors for a truly authentic shopping experience.


Boulevard Bahía: This scenic waterfront boulevard not only offers beautiful views but is also home to several shops and boutiques. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along Boulevard Bahía and discover a variety of stores selling clothing, accessories, artisanal products, and more. Take a break at one of the waterfront cafes or restaurants for a refreshing drink or bite to eat.


Plaza de las Américas: This modern shopping center provides a mix of local and international brands, making it a popular destination for those seeking a diverse shopping experience. From clothing and footwear to electronics and cosmetics, Plaza de las Américas has a wide range of stores to explore. It also offers a food court where you can grab a quick bite between shopping sprees.


Calle 5 de Mayo: Known as the city’s primary shopping street, Calle 5 de Mayo is lined with shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Here, you’ll find a mix of local vendors offering clothing, accessories, artisanal products, and traditional Mexican crafts. Take your time to explore the various stores and haggle for the best prices.


Artesanías de Bacalar: If you’re visiting the nearby town of Bacalar, be sure to explore the local handicraft stores. The town is famous for its wooden crafts, hammocks, embroidered textiles, and ceramic pottery. These traditional crafts make for unique and authentic souvenirs to take home with you.


Duty-Free Shopping: Chetumal is a popular border city, making it a strategic location for duty-free shopping. Take advantage of the tax-free status and find great deals on a variety of products, including liquor, tobacco, cosmetics, and electronics. The Chetumal International Airport and the Belize border are ideal locations for duty-free shopping.


When shopping in Chetumal, keep in mind that bargaining is common in local markets and smaller shops. Don’t be afraid to negotiate prices and enjoy the interaction with the vendors. Remember to support local artisans and shop responsibly, ensuring the authenticity and sustainability of the products you purchase.


With its diverse shopping options, Chetumal provides a unique blend of local culture and international brands, allowing visitors to find everything from traditional crafts to modern goods. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, gifts, or a little retail therapy, Chetumal’s shopping scene is sure to satisfy your needs.


Nightlife in Chetumal

While Chetumal may be known for its laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, the city also offers a vibrant nightlife scene. From lively bars to cozy lounges, there are plenty of options to enjoy after the sun sets. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away, enjoy live music, or simply unwind with a drink, Chetumal has something for everyone.


Paseo de los Héroes: This lively street is a popular nightlife hotspot in Chetumal. Here, you’ll find a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues that come alive in the evening. Enjoy a few drinks, dance to the beats of the DJ, or catch a live band performance. Paseo de los Héroes offers a vibrant and energetic atmosphere, perfect for those looking to have a memorable night out.


Calle de los Cocoteros: Located near the coast, Calle de los Cocoteros is home to several bars and restaurants that cater to both locals and tourists. This area offers a relaxed vibe where you can have a few drinks, enjoy delicious food, and soak in the coastal ambiance. Many bars along this street feature outdoor seating and live music, creating a pleasant and lively atmosphere.


Centro Histórico: The historic center of Chetumal also offers a taste of the city’s nightlife. In this area, you’ll find charming bars and lounges that present a more intimate and cozy setting. Enjoy craft cocktails, local beers, or a glass of wine as you unwind and chat with friends. The distinct architecture and ambiance of the Centro Histórico add to the overall charm of the nightlife experience.


Casinos: If you’re feeling lucky, Chetumal is home to several casinos where you can try your hand at various games. These establishments offer a mix of slot machines and table games, providing an exciting option for those interested in a different kind of nighttime entertainment.


Lounge Bars: Chetumal also has several lounge bars that cater to those seeking a more relaxed and upscale atmosphere. These venues often feature live music or DJs, creating a sophisticated ambiance. Enjoy a wide range of cocktails, fine wines, and premium spirits while socializing with friends or savoring the live entertainment.


These are just a few examples of the nightlife options in Chetumal. It’s worth noting that the city’s nightlife scene is continually evolving, with new establishments and events popping up. From lively streets to more intimate venues, Chetumal offers a diverse range of experiences to suit different preferences and tastes.


When enjoying the nightlife in Chetumal, make sure to drink responsibly and adhere to local laws and regulations. Embrace the vibrant energy of the city and create lasting memories as you explore the various establishments and immerse yourself in the exciting nightlife scene.


Outdoor Activities in Chetumal

Chetumal, with its stunning natural landscapes and tropical climate, offers a wide range of outdoor activities for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Whether you prefer exploring the lush jungles, relaxing on pristine beaches, or immersing yourself in the vibrant marine life, Chetumal has something for everyone.


Explore the Mayan Ruins: Chetumal is surrounded by ancient Mayan ruins that are waiting to be discovered. Visit sites such as Kohunlich, Dzibanche, and Oxtankah to observe impressive pyramids, intricate carvings, and ancient ball courts. Learn about the Mayan civilization and its historical significance in the region.


Boating and Kayaking: Take to the water and explore the stunning waters and mangroves surrounding Chetumal. Rent a kayak or join a guided boat tour to navigate through the intricate network of channels and experience the vibrant biodiversity of the region. Keep your eyes peeled for birds, fish, and other wildlife.


Snorkeling and Diving: Discover the incredible underwater world of Chetumal by snorkeling or diving. The region is home to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest coral reef system in the world. Explore colorful coral formations, swim alongside tropical fish, and maybe even encounter marine creatures like sea turtles or rays.


Birdwatching: Chetumal and its surrounding areas are a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts. The region is home to a diverse range of bird species, including herons, egrets, toucans, and parrots. Explore the mangroves, wetlands, and nature reserves to spot these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.


Hiking and Nature Trails: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Chetumal by exploring its hiking trails and nature reserves. Head to places like the Chetumal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, or the Bacalar Lagoon to trek through lush jungles, encounter unique flora and fauna, and witness breathtaking views.


Beach Relaxation: Chetumal offers access to beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Spend a day unwinding on the shorelines of Bacalar Lagoon, Costa Maya, or the nearby Caribbean coast. Lounge under the sun, swim in the refreshing waters, or simply enjoy a picnic while taking in the stunning coastal scenery.


Fishing: Chetumal is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, you can try your luck at both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Choose from a variety of fishing spots, including the Chetumal Bay, the Bacalar Lagoon, or nearby rivers, and cast your line for an opportunity to catch species like tarpon, snapper, or bass.


With its diverse array of outdoor activities, Chetumal allows visitors to connect with nature and experience the beauty of the region. Whether you choose to explore ancient ruins, dive into vibrant coral reefs, or simply relax on the beach, the outdoor adventures in Chetumal will create unforgettable memories.


Day Trips from Chetumal

Chetumal’s prime location in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula makes it an excellent base for day trips to nearby attractions and destinations. From ancient ruins to natural wonders, there are plenty of options to explore just a short distance from Chetumal. Here are a few popular day trip ideas:


Bacalar: Just 40 kilometers north of Chetumal lies the stunning town of Bacalar, known for its idyllic Bacalar Lagoon. Take a day trip to Bacalar and immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of this “Lake of Seven Colors.” Enjoy swimming, kayaking, or simply relaxing on the serene shores of the lagoon. Be sure to explore the Cenote Azul and visit the historic Fuerte de San Felipe Bacalar, a fortress that offers panoramic views of the town and lagoon.


Kohunlich: Journey back in time by visiting the magnificent Mayan ruins of Kohunlich, located approximately 100 kilometers from Chetumal. Explore the ancient city’s impressive temples, pyramids, and ceremonial platforms. Admire the stucco masks and intricate carvings that still remain remarkably well-preserved. Kohunlich is also known for its large central plaza, considered one of the grandest among Mayan sites in the region.


Mahahual: For those seeking a laid-back beach town atmosphere, Mahahual is an ideal day trip destination. Located about two hours south of Chetumal, Mahahual is known for its pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs. Spend the day lounging on the white sand, swimming in the turquoise waters, or snorkeling along the reef. Explore the town’s promenade with its shops, restaurants, and beach bars serving up delicious seafood.


Cayos Cochinos: Embark on an adventure to Cayos Cochinos, a group of uninhabited islands located off the coast of Honduras. As part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, these islands offer extraordinary snorkeling and diving opportunities. Explore the vibrant coral formations, swim alongside tropical fish, and marvel at the underwater beauty of this protected marine reserve. Day trips to Cayos Cochinos can be organized from Chetumal, providing a unique and unforgettable experience.


Dzibanche and Kinichná: Venture into the dense jungle to discover the ancient Mayan cities of Dzibanche and Kinichná. Located approximately 80 kilometers from Chetumal, these archaeological sites offer a glimpse into the majesty of the Mayan civilization. Marvel at the impressive pyramids, including the towering Temple of the Owls at Dzibanche and the ornate Temple of the Sun at Kinichná. Explore the plazas, courtyards, and residential structures that were once part of these ancient cities.


Río Hondo: Take a peaceful boat ride along the tranquil waters of the Río Hondo, a natural border between Mexico and Belize. Marvel at the lush mangroves and diverse wildlife that call this region home. Nature lovers will appreciate the serene atmosphere and the opportunity to spot birds, crocodiles, and other indigenous species. Some boat tours also include visits to nearby villages where you can learn about the local culture and traditions.


These are just a few examples of the exciting day trips you can take from Chetumal. Each destination offers its own unique charm and attractions, allowing you to enhance your Chetumal experience and discover the natural and historical wonders of the Yucatan Peninsula.


Safety Tips for Visitors

Chetumal is generally a safe destination for travelers, but it’s always important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Here are some safety tips to ensure a smooth and worry-free visit to Chetumal:


Stay in well-lit and populated areas: Stick to well-lit and populated areas, especially at night. Avoid isolated or poorly lit areas that may pose a higher risk to your safety.


Use reliable transportation: When getting around Chetumal, opt for licensed taxis or reputable ride-hailing services. If you’re using public transportation, be cautious of your belongings and keep an eye on your valuables.


Be cautious with your belongings: Keep your valuables, such as passports, wallets, and electronics, secure at all times. Be mindful of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas, and avoid displaying expensive items.


Research and plan your activities: Before embarking on any activities or excursions, research and choose reputable companies or guides. Read reviews, ask for recommendations, and ensure that they have proper licenses and safety measures in place.


Follow COVID-19 guidelines: Due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s essential to stay updated on the latest COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions in Chetumal. Follow local health guidelines, practice good hygiene, and wear masks in public places where required.


Respect local customs and traditions: Familiarize yourself with the local customs, traditions, and laws of Chetumal. Show respect for the local culture, dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and be mindful of local traditions and sensitivities.


Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun: Chetumal has a warm climate, so it’s important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun. Drink plenty of water, use sunscreen, wear a hat, and seek shade during the hottest hours of the day.


Trust your instincts: If something feels off or uncomfortable, trust your instincts. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe, remove yourself from it and seek assistance from local authorities or trusted individuals.


Keep emergency numbers handy: Save emergency contact numbers, such as the local police, ambulance services, and your country’s embassy or consulate. It’s always good to have these numbers readily available in case of any emergencies.


By following these safety tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable visit to Chetumal. Remember that personal safety is a priority, so stay vigilant, be aware of your surroundings, and take necessary precautions to ensure a memorable and trouble-free trip.



Chetumal, Mexico, is a destination that seamlessly combines history, culture, and natural beauty. From its roots in ancient Mayan civilization to its present-day charm, this vibrant city on the Yucatan Peninsula offers a wealth of experiences for travelers. Whether you’re exploring the ancient ruins, indulging in local cuisine, or unwinding on the picturesque beaches, Chetumal has something to captivate every visitor.


With its strategic location near the border of Belize, Chetumal serves as a gateway to the wonders of the Mexican Caribbean and offers a unique blend of Mexican and Caribbean influences. The city’s multicultural past is evident in its architecture, cuisine, and lively festivals, which showcase the rich tapestry of indigenous, European, and African traditions.


Chetumal’s natural landscapes, including mangroves, cenotes, and coral reefs, provide ample opportunities for outdoor adventures. Whether you’re hiking through the jungles, snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters, or birdwatching in the wetlands, the natural beauty of Chetumal will leave you awe-struck.


When visiting Chetumal, it’s important to prioritize safety by staying in well-lit areas, using reliable transportation, and being cautious with your belongings. Respecting local customs and traditions is also key to fostering positive interactions and immersion in the local culture.


Chetumal offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels, ensuring a comfortable stay for every traveler. Its diverse culinary scene will satisfy every palate, with a mix of traditional Mexican flavors and Caribbean influences.


Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, lounging on the beach, sampling delicious cuisine, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Chetumal promises a memorable and enriching experience. This hidden gem on the Yucatan Peninsula invites visitors to delve into its vibrant history, embrace its cultural diversity, and bask in the natural splendor that surrounds the city.


So pack your bags, prepare for an adventure, and discover the wonders that await in Chetumal, Mexico.