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Yucatan Trip--which plan sounds better?

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Hola Fodors friends! We are planning a trip to the Yucatan the week after Christmas. We know what we would like to do and see, but just wondering about the logistics of some of it. We are also looking for some specific advice about a few things. So here goes... we are a family of 6, with children ages 14, 11, 8 and 8. We already have reservations on Isla Mujeres for 3 nights, but we are wondering how we should structure the first 3 nights before our reservations begin. In these three days before, we would like to see either or both Chichen Itza and Ek Balam, and also explore a cenote. These are our two ideas...let me know what you think would work out better:

1. Get another reservation on Isla for the other three nights, and spend the whole time there, but on one of the days, take the ferry back over to the mainland and rent a car to drive to the Chichen Itza/Ek Balam and a cenote. This would be a long day, but maybe easier than hopping around, staying at different locations.


2. Arrive in Cancun, stay one night there, and then the next morning, rent a car, and head over to Chichen Itza area (maybe stay at Mayaland for night number 2?). Get up early in the morning, see Chichen Itza, then head over to Ek Balam, and then find a cenote to explore for a couple of hours. Drive back to Cancun (or another night at Mayaland?), stay the night for night number 3, and then take the ferry early to Isla and spend the rest of the 3 days there.

I would be curious to know if anyone has any thoughts on either of these two options. We are set for the Isla part of the vacation, but just don't know if we would regret not spending more time on Isla (by just being gone one day exploring the ruins and cenote on the mainland).

Also, I would love some advice on what cenote should we visit? Is there one that is nice for a family like ours with children?

Muchas gracias in advance for your help!

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