Driving Highway from Cancun to Akumal at night

Old Oct 28th, 2005, 02:19 PM
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Driving Highway from Cancun to Akumal at night

Our flight has been changed and we are now arriving in Cancun at 10pm. We have a condo rented in Akumal and rather than spend the money on a hotel in Cancun for the night, we'd like to make the drive that night. Assuming we can check in after midnight, should we attempt the drive so late? I hear the highway is wide but we've never driven in Mexico before. The roads shouldn't be very crowded at that time of night (morning) though. Any opinions? We're fairly adventurous but don't want to attempt anything unsafe either. We've read up on driving laws in Mexico also.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 02:25 PM
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Sorry, this trip is planned for March, not in the near future!
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 08:39 AM
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What makes the highway unsafe, especially at night, is there could be people walking along the highway, riding bikes w/o reflection, or a car/truck w/o much light on it. You have to keep your eye out for those things.

Read up on how people pass on the highway also. You will see people driving toward you in your lane, so get over onto the shoulder. This doesn't happen all the time, but keep your eye out.

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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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nnancy,

I wouldd advise against driving at night in Mexico. It has been a lot of years since I have done so, but unless things have changed dramatically it is not an activity that promises long life or the approval of your insurance agent.

The problem is, or at least used to be, that much of rural Mexico is unfenced and cattle and other animals tend to roam onto the roadway. If you look, you will notice that many long-distance Mexican trucks have a really strong extra bumper, made out of heavy pipe, welded onto the front of the vehicle. Those things are designed to be like the "cowcatchers" that used to decorate the front of locomotives.

With some buddies, I once ran "under" a steer near Monterey while driving a Volkswagen. Did not do the car any good, and the steer didn't come off too well, either.

One incident sticks in my mind. I was staying at a resort south of Cuernavaca with a Dutch lady, and one evening we decided to drive to a nearby town to try a restaurant that had been recommended.

We got sort of lost on a back-country road. The roadway was narrow and raised above the level of the surrounding farmland. As I drove, I started seeing locals dressed in white show up in the headlights, walking ahead of us on the road. I slowed down, and soon had to creep along at their walking pace as they completely filled the road ahead.

Soon, they surrounded the car as we crept forward. There were men, women, and children in the crowd; all determinedly trudging ahead.

I started to get a bit nervous when my conpanion suddenly said, "My GOD! Dick, they all have KNIVES! Lock the doors!

She didn't have to tell me twice as I saw she was right. Each person was carrying some sort of edged weapon, ranging from machetes to butcher knives, as well as a collection of baskets. We really began to sweat as we slowly traveled about a quarter mile in the midst of these folks. I didn't dare blow the horn or try to rush them, as I didn't want to make them angry.

Finally, the crowd, now at least fifty people, stopped and all looked off into the darkness to one side of the road into the ditch. Then they turned an looked at us. One of the fellows tapped on my window and motioned me to roll it down. I did, much to the disapproval of my girlfriend who was poking me in the ribs and whispering in terror, "Don't you DARE --- they are going to KILL us".

The village elder spoke to me, and with my limited Spanish I found out that a truck had hit a cow on the road, and that the entire village had turned out with their knives to butcher the windfall. "Would I be so kind as to wait a bit, with my headlights shining into the ditch so they could see?", He said.

"Sure, you betcha, Senor", says I with a tremulous sigh of relief. We sat there as they made short work of the beast and packed the meat into their baskets.

You have fun driving at night in Mexico. I will not.

Have a great trip anyway.




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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 09:55 PM
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Wow, nuke - that's a great story!!

nnancy - It's a staight shot down highway 307 from the airport to Akumal. Never seen any cattle on it.
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Old Oct 30th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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My travel agent said that HWY 307 is a fairly wide highway that is well-lit and we should be okay as long as we follow the rules about how to turn left off the highway (pulling onto right shoulder and waiting for traffic to clear). I don't expect there to be much traffic at midnight though. Just wondered if many of you have done the drive at night.
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Old Oct 31st, 2005, 05:55 AM
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Rte 307 is a well travelled highway, you should have no problems. The only tricky thing I noticed was the wide range in in travelling speed of some of the vehicles. There were small busses and trucks putting along in the narrow right hand lane at 35 mph, and there were cars flying by them at 70 mph. Also be on the lookout for speed bumps - I can't remember if 307 has any but they are quite common on Mexican roads.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 11:11 AM
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I seriously doubt you would have any problems on 307. It's the main coastal highway - divided, as I recall, from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, but still wide and flat south of there.

Not sure I'd want to drive south of Tulum after dark, or from Tulum to Coba and Valladolid, but airport to Akumal should be fine.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 04:25 PM
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We drove from the airport to Akumal at night in November a few years ago and it was uneventual other than the left hand turn, which no one warned us about. Since you have been forwarned about that I would go ahead and drive to Akumal and save yourself the money. And have fun. That was one of our funnest family vacations and we love Akumal!
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Old Nov 3rd, 2005, 10:11 AM
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It can be done and I have driven at night, but like other say, be careful. I would drive slowly. Once at night coming back to cancun from Playa we came up onto a check point which was set up by the army. I did not see anything in the night ahead, until suddenly appeared a barricaded roadway and army soldiers. Also, watch for the Topes. I always buy all the insurance I can get from the rental car people. Read this: http://www.mexadventure.com/drivingtips.cfm
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Old Nov 7th, 2007, 01:09 PM
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I'm not sure whether he was driving at night or during the day, but read this horror story! Drive safe!
http://mexicaninsurancestore.com/article.asp?a=35
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Old Nov 7th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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nnancy, 307 is a very good road. once you are on it a straight shot to akumal. i would get very clear instuctions on how to exit the airport. www.mapchick.com will send you really good maps.

the "topes" are not just speed bumps though, they are huge car wrecking mounds. and just when you think there won't be another - there one is. go slowly - like 20 mph over them. they are near any towns or exits. also when we drove it last oct. there were a number of places where the road was torn up and you had to drive on a temporary dirt road beside 307 for a few hundred yards. not a problem but they are not well marked. you should watch for them.

when you get to akumal you will go under an overpass then make your left (do Not turn right! you'll see why in daylight) at a traffic light, so you don't have to do the pulling into the ditch lane, waiting for all cars in either direction to go by before you turn thing. the drive should take 45-60 mins.

re speed limits: follow them carefully. pay no attention to people going lots faster. they are locals and will go around you.

are you sure you can pick up your car that late?

akumal is great. try lol-ha and la buena vida - both fun bar/restaurants.
snorkel in yal-ku lagoon. go early, when they open, mind the slippery steps to get in.

get the drivers insurance.
do not be alarmed to see army men with machine guns beside the road.

you don't say how long you're staying but as you have a condo i assume you will do some cooking. akumal has a very small grocery just before the arch. don't know if you drink milk but they had it and other stores often did not. for real grocery shopping though go back up to pdc. you pass through on the way to akumal, on the south end of town on your right. you will see a mall of sorts with a 'sorianna'. huge grocery with everything including liquor dept. cash register does peso to US$ conversion.

atm is the only way to go to get pesos.

sorry this is a bit jumbled.
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Old Nov 8th, 2007, 04:23 AM
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We have driven from Cancun airport to Akumal (and beyond) at night several times. In fact, we will be there this weekend driving from Cancun airport to Puerto Morelos. It is a good, well lit road with good signage for exiting to Akumal. You should not have a problem. As for the topes, they are marked. Just go very slow across them. The first ones you come to from the airport should be at Puerto Morelos. Akumal is a wonderful place. Have a great time!
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Old Nov 8th, 2007, 05:24 AM
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You should not have any problems driving at night on that highway...done it many times. The highway has been widened to two lanes in each direction most of the way. There are a few unmarked topes that can jump out at you south of Playa Del Carmen. There is construction on the highway right around the Akumal exit which may make it difficult to see so just be aware that you should be around that area about 20 min south of PDC.
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