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Arriving Akumal in rental car at night

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Dec 14th, 2012, 08:32 PM
  #1
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Arriving Akumal in rental car at night

My wife and I have a 3:30 PM arrival in Cancun. We will most likely have a bag checked, so by the time we actually get started in our rental car it could be dark when we get to Akumal.

I've read a couple of online descriptions, laden with warnings, of making the turn into Akumal when coming from the north: going past it and doing the U turn.

Is it significantly more difficult to do this for the first time at night, or is the area sufficiently lit?

Thanks.
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Dec 15th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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Hwy 307 that you will be driving on is somewhat dark in btwn the big resort entrances at night. And yes, it is going to be dark when you get in your rent car to drive. It is getting dark at 5 pm down there now (I was in Playa at Thanksgiving and my husband and daughter arrived there last evening at 5:30 in the dark), and I recall from your other post that you are going down in January.

Personally it does not freak me out to drive on Hwy 307 early in the evening. There are TWO official military/police checkpoints (little concrete huts w/wwindows where cops are stationed) on that hwy btwn Cancun airport and Playa del Carmen. You slow down (TOPO speed bumps all along the hwy., GO SLOW and beware!)and there are cops w/guns who they randomly pull over cars once in awhile, not all the time, just when they feel like it (they do seem to pullver SUVs w/tinted windows). I got pulled over once, they looked in trunk and car briefly, and told me to go on (no bribes or any other interaction). Once they saw I was a tourist they didn't seem to interested in me.

You can drive past Playa del Carmen and you will see a very large Chedraui shopping store on right side of Hwy 307 just before Puerto Adventuras. You can stop there and get drinks, beer/wine, fruit, etc for your hotel room or whatever. Then cont. on Hwy 307 south, and here is a picture of the HUGE sign you will see overhead alerting you to the UTurn for Akumal playa. Take a look, I nt know ho yuo can miss the huge sign.

http://www.travelyucatan.com/akumal_mexico.php

Personally I would be ok driving this route early in evening when it is dark. I wouldn't want to do it late at night though.
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Dec 15th, 2012, 05:24 PM
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I would strongly suggest that you read the US State Dept advisories. Then, if at all possible, have carryon baggage or mail some clothes ahead to get you to Akumal before the light goes, dusk, darkness falls, etc. You DO NOT want to be on the roads at night (and we are in Mexico now). Read the advisories.
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Dec 15th, 2012, 09:39 PM
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jan47ete, I recall that you were driving across the border and through Northern Mexico states to get to your destination, is that right?

That is very different than renting a car at Cancun airport and driving to Akumal. The latest advisories from the U.S. State Dept regarding MX state that there are no advisories at all for Quintana Roo

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_p...w/tw_5815.html

"Quintana Roo: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum are major cities/travel destinations in Quintana Roo -see attached map to identify their exact locations: No advisory is in effect."
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Dec 15th, 2012, 09:44 PM
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jan47ete, Thanks for the State Dept advice. I have done that, and while grim reading the word on Yucatan and Quintana Roo is "No advisory is in effect". Even if we had only carryon we'd still not make it to Akumal before dark, so the only option is to spend a night near Cancun. That is possible, so we have an out if we decide.

Note that we are not reckless, and in fact changed plans for this trip because we didn't want to deal with malarial risk. While not happy about driving at night this one drive is, so far, falling into the "acceptable risk" category. We could always change our mind at the last minute if the vibes are wrong and stay somewhere en route or in Cancun. One takes one's chances!

But thanks again for the advice.

emd3, muchas gracias once again for your info. The photo of the sign is helpful for sure.

I saw on another thread where you use Caribbean Car Rental. They get mixed reviews online, as does everyone else except Ace/Executive, but their prices and advertised policies are good, for what those are worth. I'll probably use them.
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Dec 15th, 2012, 09:45 PM
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Our replies crossed ...
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Dec 16th, 2012, 07:02 AM
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I use Easy Way often and like them.
As far as not driving at night that is ridiculous in this area. Sorry, but I've lived there for 7 years. This is a very populated place and, believe it or not, people do go out at night. We drive to restaurants, shopping malls and to visit friends. This is not a border town. There are police checkpoints. I have been pulled over before. No one has ever tried to get me to pay a bribe but they did try it on a friend of mine last summer who lives there full time. She said no, he said ok and we drove away.
Will it be dark on the highway further south going toward Akumal, sure. Will you be able to find your way, sure. Don't worry, people are not out to take advantage of you unless you act like a complete fool and flash your money around. Which I wouldn't do anywhere.
Do not mail your clothes ahead of time. They may or may not arrive on time and then what would you do? There is absolutely no reason to do this.
Mexico is a big country. Statements that cause fear because people are uniformed or who state blanket warnings without any knowledge of the area are doing a disservice.
Akumal is a beautiful place. Go and enjoy.
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Dec 16th, 2012, 08:50 AM
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I agree with colokid - we've been visiting Akumal for 8 years, and frequently drive at night. The biggest hazard to night driving is being aware of bicyclists along the side of the road. 307 is a heavily traveled road with several new gas stations, shopping malls, etc. As in the USA, there are stretches that are dark. There are many expats in the area driving about at all times.
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Dec 16th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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Nelson, one more thing about renting a car. The smaller local agencies, which are much cheaper, (like Carribean) usually meet you at the airport and shuttle you over to their office, a few miles away. It can be a little confusing trying to find your driver. The car rental drivers DO NOT stand with the limo drivers and bus drivers directly out front, but off to the side along the front wall of the terminal building. We wasted nearly a half hour trying to find our shuttle driver who was there all along, but not where we were looking. We have used Easyway the past two years, they were great.
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Dec 16th, 2012, 09:14 AM
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Thanks for the info guys! I just booked with Easyway. One deciding factor is their office location looks to be within a stone's throw of the Marriott Courtyard hotel, where we are staying for our final night before the return flight.

Anyway, the car is now booked. If we were only going to Akumal we wouldn't bother with the car, but we are pushing farther south on this trip and the car makes sense.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Dec 16th, 2012, 11:14 AM
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Good choice, Easyway is a good reliable company I have used them 3 times now with positive results. Enjoy your trip, where are you staying?

PS - We often have to drive partially in the dark because the nonstops from LA often get in the same time as yours, no problems.
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Dec 16th, 2012, 04:42 PM
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Easyway responded promptly with confirmation and detailed instructions on how to find their representative at the airport. So far so good!

jamie99, we are spending a week in Akumal at Vista Del Mar, which is close to the wedding events we are attending. Then we'll spend another week in the Mayan Beach Garden down the coast near Majahual. Looking forward to it.
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Dec 17th, 2012, 11:01 AM
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Vista del Mar looks real nice, never stayed there myself but know folks who have, and you are right next door to La Buena Vida beach bar. Be sure and eat at the Loncheria at least once near the arches - great local inexpensive food.
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Dec 17th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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there are no state department advisories applicable to this part of Mexico.
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Dec 19th, 2012, 06:50 AM
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True about the current advisories as Nelson did not originally say when they were traveling.

I was just trying to say that when we mentioned to friends, relatives and people we just met at parties that we were traveling to Mexico, everyone, absolutely everyone said "don't drive at night--even the staff at the Mexican Consulate I went to see. And no one had even known where we were going--just don't drive at night, don't drive after 5pm.

Another situation to consider is many highways (like the ones outside of Sa Miguel Allende) have topes--those bumps in the road to slow you down. There are no signs indicating that they are ahead.

Suppose you break down--it's bad enough during the day, let alone at night and we have a Mexican cell phone.

We've traveled that Cancun-Akumal road, so not as though I am unfamiliar with it but times change, conditions change and Mexican conditions change.
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Dec 19th, 2012, 07:53 AM
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Correct jan47ete, I never did state when we were going, an oversight on my part. It's next month, three weeks from now! Your advice to check the State Department advisories was sound, so thanks again for that.

I'd prefer not to drive at night, but am willing to make this one trip. Actually my wife will be driving and I navigate. That system has worked out well for us over the years.

On another topic, for those interested, last night we watched the DVD "Breaking the Maya Code". We got it from Netflix, but here's the amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Maya-.../dp/B001B2U1BE

Fascinating! Very highly recommended for anyone planning to visit Mayan sites.
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Dec 19th, 2012, 08:20 AM
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We've stayed at the Vista del mar several times. It is in a very beautiful, quiet area. The beach there is well groomed, and quite empty. Just be aware that Half Moon Bay is not ideal for swimming - the bottom is covered with coral, rocks and seaweed. Because of this there is lots of sea life, and it's a good spot for snorkeling (for an experienced snorkeler). If you want to swim, you can walk, bike or drive down to Akumal Bay beach, which is about a mile away.
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Dec 19th, 2012, 12:30 PM
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Nelson, is that the show (breaking Maya code) where they dive w/intense lights into the deep centoes around Merida that were used for ritual sacrifice by the Mayas? If so, I saw it last night on cable. It was amazing!
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Dec 19th, 2012, 01:06 PM
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emd3, No, different show. This one is about how people working over the course of last 200 years figured out how to decipher and read the Mayan glyphs. Commentators in the show included Mayan experts like Linda Schele, David Stuart, Michael Coe, and Merle Greene Robertson.

My wife and I both found it fascinating and mind boggling. Made me want to read the book of the same title by Michael Coe.

Next we are going to watch a Nova documentary on the same subject, which you can see here:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient...maya-code.html

Thanks for the snorkeling info, zootsi.
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Dec 19th, 2012, 01:26 PM
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Nelson, take a look at the video link on this page for INAH Cenote LAs Calaveras, about the puzzles of the Yucatan's cenotes and the Mayan Underworld (water underworld). Watch all 5 of the videos (it is broken into 5 sections) Other interesting links on that page also. Amazing.

We snorkeled in Dos Ojos underrground cenote near Tulum, also included on that page.

I will look for info on the show I saw last night on cable. Some divers dove into this very remote and sacred cenote near merida and found hundreds, thousands, of skulls and total body bone remains of Mayan sacrified people, sacrified during times of stress (drought, etc.) once it was realized the priests could not get thru to Chac (water god). The divers left it all alone but filmed it for the program, whihc was on trying to undertand the mayan prophesies.

http://sacredmayancenotesandcaves.blogspot.com/
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