Drive from Tulum to Merida?

Old Sep 21st, 2005, 05:44 AM
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Drive from Tulum to Merida?

We are planning a 10 day visit (Tulum for 7 days) and we were planning on making our way back up the coast and spending a few days in PDC then fly out of Cancun. But the more I see, the more Playa del Carmen seems like a mini Cancun. So we're looking at Merida, which so many people seem to love. Is it doable and safe to drive (we'll rent a car) from Tulum bypassing PDC and up to Merida? How far is it? Any hotel and sights recommendations once we get there?

muchas gracias!
wasigan is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2005, 07:54 AM
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Haven't made the drive myself, but it would probably take five or six hours.

In Merida, we stayed at Casa del Balam, which has fallen out of a few guide books. Can't say why, we thought it was charming and is well-situated downtown. You want to be in town for the weekend, when they close down some of the center streets and create a pedestrian area full of music and dancing. There is a good archaeological mjuseum in town. We found our favorite activity was strolling the streets talking in the colonial architecture and the street life.

On the way or nearby . . . Uxmal and the Puuc cities -- elaborately decorated Mayan buildings; Chichen Itza -- an almost Roman projection of power; Ek Balam -- beautiful high relief Mayan carvings. You might consider a stop in Valladolid to see CI and EB, looks like an interesting town.

Playa has its fans, though I am not among them.

I'm just thinking you might like the flow better if you visited Merida and the interior first, then took your days on the beach, winding down. The city might seem hot and cramped after the time on the shore.
Old Sep 21st, 2005, 10:45 AM
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We took a first class bus from Tulum to Merida stopping, for the day, at Chichen Itza. It was an easy trip. Pausanias is correct- Merida seemed very hot and cramped (and very busy!)after staying at the beach. Merida was actually the low point of our trip. I thought that we would love it...

Best Regards,
sparklegem is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2005, 07:13 AM
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While I personally think Playa is far from a mini Cancun -- if nothing else their different sizes and objective differences such as the height restriction (3 floors) on all buildings in Playa do a lot to distinguish them -- but to each his/her own.

Getting to your transportation question, you can if you like take the shortest route between Tulum and Merida and not have to bypass Playa at all, taking the highway that leads past the ruins at Coba. You might want to say "highway" with scare quotes, however, since it's really a rather narrow, low/no shoulder affair with some considerable stretches full of holes in it. I drove the stretch between Tulum and Coba (about 45 minutes) just about 10 days ago and although the first half of that leading away from Tulum was without holes (they'd obviously been repairing them recently), the rest was a bit like a video game affair, dodging them as they came at you, often in bunches. Still it is much shorter then driving all the way north past Playa to the airport to get on the toll road and then doubling back west towards Chichen.

Ryberg is offline  
Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 03:41 PM
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Playa del Carmen has definitely been developing lately, but it can still be an enjoyable beach town, it is not Cancun yet. PDC is so close to Tulum that you will probably have visited there during your stay in Tulum. I have driven the roads to the colonial towns of Valladolid and Merida and they are safe and smooth, well worth the effort, I think. I hope you have a great trip.
scottr is offline  
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