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Considering a trip to the Yucatan next year

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Hi Everybody - I am new to the Mexico forum, but have been around Fodors for awhile on the US, Europe, and Asia forums. My husband and I are considering a trip to the Yucatan next year, probably in October or November. I'm doing some preliminary research now - other places under consideration are Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. We've both been to Europe and Asia multiple times and are interested in exploring Latin America. I've never been to Latin America at all and my husband has only been to northern Mexico as a child to visit family. He speaks passable Spanish and mine is pretty decent.

I'm just looking for any advice or recommendations you guys can give to help me out with the preliminary planning process.

Our main motivation for going to the Yucatan is to visit some Mayan ruins, secondary motivation is the beach. I've also read about some interesting nature preserves such as Sian Ka'an that I'd like to see. Being that Mayan ruins are tops on the list, I am a little concerned about going in 2012. Are lots of extra tourists expected? Are there additional events and/or festivals planned that would make it worth braving any extra crowds? I really have no idea what to expect.

I am also trying to get an idea of daily expenses for the area for 2 people. I know this is highly variable, but I am looking for a general range for planning purposes. We'd probably spend about 10 days in the area, not including flights - half the time in a coastal area (thinking Tulum) and half inland (maybe a few nights in Merida, a few nights in the countryside closer to Chichen Itza or Uxmal). We like comfortable accomodations, but don't mind if things are a little rustic. Plumbing and hot water is a must though - and we really prefer to have a private bathroom unless we are specifically staying in a nature reserve in a tent cabin or something along those lines where shared facilities are the norm. We definitely aren't looking for AI resorts or anything like that - want a more local experience and we just prefer smaller places to large resorts, although we aren't opposed to smallish resorts with amenities like spa services and a pool.

Thanks for any advice or direction you can give.

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