Chetumal, Mexico is Quintana Roo’s capital, and an unexpected destination. Without the popularity of Cancun or Playa del Carmen, Chetumal is way less crowded and more affordable than it’s touristy counterparts. You’ll still find great things to do, great food, and beautiful surroundings in Mexico’s ‘Gateway to Belize’!
What to do in Chetumal?
Mayan Culture Museum
Arguably the best thing to do in Chetumal, you can learn about and discover the ancient Mayan Civilization. Learn about all of the different aspects of the Mayans, such as how Mayans related to nature, the Mayan architecture, and the Mayan expansion. No historial stone is left unturned, as you can also observe some artifacts curated from these ancient times. Visiting the Mayan Culture Museum is fun, informative, and one of the best things to do in Chetumal.
Unlike the crowded ruins of Chichen Itza, visiting the Oxtankah Ruins is completely the opposite. You will feel like you have the ruins all to yourself, as you trek through the brief stretch of jungle to reach these ruins. The Oxtankah Ruins are pretty remote sitting about 15 km north of Chetumal, you can take a tour from the town, or hire a taxi to bring you there. The scene of the isolated ruins is beautiful and one of the best things to do in Chetumal.
Evening on Boulevard Bahia
The main boulevard in Chetumal is Boulevard Bahia. Once the sun begins to set in the evening, the street comes to life. You can find food vendors, some music, occasionally carnival rides and games, you can even take a fun tour bus to drive you around the city! One thing is for sure, you will have to try the tacos and all of the treats you can find on the Boulevard Bahia!
About an hour outside of Chetumal is Bacalar, another small town on the Yucatan peninsula similar to Chetumal. But, Bacalar has a stunning lagoon with pristine waters, and perfect places to relax and take a swim. You can easily spend the day relaxing here as there are beachside bars and snack shops. The beautiful waters of Bacalar Lagoon, make it one of the best things to do here.
El Taco Loco
Dine at TripAdvisor’s number 1 rated restaurant in Chetumal. El Taco Loco has the best tacos in town, flavorful and fresh, you will definitely be coming back for more! It is important to note that El Taco Loco is only open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, so plan on grabbing these tacos for lunch or an early dinner.
Is Chetumal Worth Visiting?
While many tourists may write off Chetumal as boring, we disagree. Chetumal is a perfect place to soak up some authentic Mexican culture, from the food to the atmosphere, interacting with the locals is always recommended and a lot of fun. We recommend only staying for about 2, maybe three days to fit everything in your itinerary. Chetumal is very underrated and if you have the opportunity, it’s a great city to stop in!
Is Chetumal Safe?
Like most towns and cities on the Yucatan Peninsula, Chetumal is safe. It’s not as touristy, so you don’t have to worry about people upcharging you on prices for food and drink. We always recommend practicing common sense safety habits, such as watching out for pickpockets and not wandering the streets alone at night. If you are not looking for crime, it will not find you.
If you want to know more about safety in Mexico, you can also read our article on: Is Mexico safe?