Merida, Chichen Itza, etc. itinerary help

Old Nov 1st, 2014, 12:50 PM
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Merida, Chichen Itza, etc. itinerary help

DH and I are flying in to Cancun in late January. We are staying at a time share in Cancun for the second week and are looking for an itinerary for week one.

We land in Cancun at 3pm and would like to go straight to Merida, but are hesitant to rent a car and have a 4 hour drive at that time of day. Any suggestions for somewhere about an hour towards Merida from Cancun airport?

As far as Merida is concerned 3 nights? Maybe 2 in Chichen Itza? That gives us 2 more nights before we need to return to Cancun, so anywhere else fun to explore?

We enjoy ruins, good food, beaches (although we will get plenty of that in Cancun), getting to know little towns, really anything. I speak Spanish so no worries about language barriers.

Any advise is greatly appreciated.

Ginger
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Old Nov 2nd, 2014, 06:05 PM
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Valladolid is a cute colonial town with great cenotes much closer to Cancun than Mérida and only about 20 minutes from both Chichen Itza (which we didn't love) and Ek Balam (which we did). We also enjoyed San Felipe, due north and a great place to fish for tarpon and see thousands of flamingos. You could spend a night or 2 in Valladolid and swing by San Felipe enroute to Mérida.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2014, 06:07 PM
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PS Ek Balam is on the way to San Felipe. My photos with blog, travelogue, and review links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there.
Happy trails!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
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Old Nov 2nd, 2014, 08:22 PM
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I agree that Valladolid would be the perfect place to stop en route from the Cancun airport to Merida, and yes, by all means, consider visiting Ek' Balam and Chichen Itza from there, along with the Cenotes Dzitnup and the town itself. I think it would be closer to a 2 hour drive, though.

IMO, 3 nights (2 days) is very reasonable for Merida. Try to include a weekend, when you can experience lots of really fun stuff.

My first recommendation for your "free" time is to visit Uxmal and the Ruta Puuc, best seen IMO with an overnight near Uxmal. I was very pleased with The Flycatcher Inn:
http://flycatcherinn.com

Another option would be Izamal, but IMO, lovely Izamal can be seen in just a few hours en route from Valladolid to Merida if you have a car.

Whether the flamingos are at San Felipe or Celestun depends, I think, on the season, so do check into that before committing to a visit. Personally, I thought Uxmal and the Ruta Puuc more memorable than the flamingos; YMMV.

Hope that helps!
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Old Nov 5th, 2014, 06:46 AM
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Thanks! I've never heard of Valladolid but seems like a good plan.

So, night 1 drive to Valladolid. 2 hours seems manageable. Stay there for 3 nights total and explore all suggestions. Maybe head to Flycatcher Inn from there for 2 nights, then in to Merida for 3 nights before returning to Cancun.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old Nov 5th, 2014, 09:14 AM
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We stayed in Valladolid for a nite and loved it.Consider also staying right at Chichen Itza as well and at Uxmal. Uxmal and surroundings are very, very interesting as KJA suggests.
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Old Nov 5th, 2014, 10:53 AM
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We've stayed at both Hotel Meson de Marques in Valladolid and also the Hacienda Chichen Itza near the ruins (fantastic grounds, this was built to house the Carnegie Expedition in the late 1920's). Both were excellent.
Another nice place for a night was Izamal.
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Old Nov 5th, 2014, 04:27 PM
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Sounds like a good plan to me!

Another vote for the Meson de Marques in Valladolid.

You might want to get the Moon Guide to the Yucatan -- it was the best of the half-dozen or so guidebooks I used when planning my time in the area.

Enjoy!
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Old Nov 6th, 2014, 10:18 AM
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I agree that 2 nights in Valladolid would be nice - you could visit Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and some cenotes as mentioned. When we were there, we just had 1 night in the area and stayed next to Chichen Itza. That worked out well for us so that we could easily visit CI first thing in the AM, but if we had been there more than 1 night, I think I would have preferred to stay in Valladolid for more interesting things to see in the evenings.

Three nights in Merida is a nice stay. Four is better, but with 3 you will be able to see quite a bit of the city.

With your extra nights, the Uxmal and Ruta Puuc is a great choice. We stayed near the Flycatcher Inn at the Pickled Onion. We liked the Pickled Onion a lot. The Pickled Onion has a good restaurant and we talked to people at dinner who were staying at the Flycatcher - they reported good things about it too.

A surprise highlight of our trip was a visit to Hacienda Sotuta de Peon (http://www.sotutadepeon.com/who_we_are.php#), which is between Merida and Uxmal.
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