Merida Hotels & Bus vs car?

Old Dec 30th, 1998, 06:03 AM
Bill Torretti
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Merida Hotels & Bus vs car?

My wife and I and our 2 girls along with her brother and 3 children are planning on going to Cancun in March and taking a side trip to Merida & Chichen Itza. Plan to spend 1 day in Merida & overnight there and then 1 day in Chichen Itza and back to Cancun. We would appreciate any recomendations on hotels in Merida & prices. Do you need to make hotel reservations in advance for hotels in Merida or can we arrive there and find a room? Also do you recommend driving from Cancun to Merida and then back through Chichen Itza or would taking a bus be as enjoyable, scenic & less tiring. Do the buses run on a regular schedule to be able to do this round trip? If you have any other recomendations on things to do in Merida , please include them. We plan on being there on a Sunday to enjoy the local festivities. Thanks in advance for any info/assistance. Bill([email protected])
Old Jan 1st, 1999, 11:32 AM
Tom Waring
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A few suggestions.
Definitely take the bus. The first class ones are still reasonable, air conditioned and have overhead televisions in English with Spanish subtitles. A help for everyones' language skills.
Chichen Itza is excellent, but very hot. So, at high noon, leave the park and take a US$4.00 cab ride to the Blue Lagoon Cenota. Have lunch, swim in the cenota and relax in the all encompassing shade. Then back to the park.
Merida is a large, busling, crowded city. There's a big market at the town square where you might enjoy shopping.
If you enjoyed Chichen Itza, the ruins at Uxmal, between Chichen Itza and Merida, are actually better than Chichen's, in my opinion.
There's a fabulous hotel right at the entrance that has palm trees surounding a beautiful swimming pool. They'll take your food order and bring it to you by the pool. Tour the ruins, get hot, walk to the motel, swim have lunch.
The sound and light show at night at Uxmal is a don't miss.
Have a great trip!
Old Jan 5th, 1999, 07:48 PM
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I spent four months in Merida this past year and absolutely love the city. It's big enough to have all types of cultural events. Check out the university..sometimes they have show for free. The Paseo de Montejo is quite elegant. There are a few museums and hotels (mostly luxury hotels) here, but its a good ways from the town center. As I was a student, I stayed at the university, but a good middle priced hotel is Hotel Dolores Alba (same name as one in Chichen Itza, but Merida's is nicer). It's constructed around a courtyard that you can't see from the outside and also has a car-park inside if you have a rental. It has a lot of local flavor. Hotel los Aluxes is quite nice and (I think) only a block away from the zocolo. Merida also has a Holiday Inn that's nice but a bit pricey around $100..a plus it's in a very good location.
Sundays are a must-see. During the week the local army has a flag ceremony every day around 5 or 6 where the band comes parading down town and they lower the Mexican flag a parade it around the square.
Ruins... Uxmal is great a lot less crowded than Chichen and still a lot to see a plus..they are still working on excavating at Uxmal so new things are constantly bieng found. The ruin feel more authentic than Chichen...Don't get me wrong chichen is great and convienent to travelers coming to and from Cancun, but the ruins only feel authentic if you can get there right as the park opens before busloads of tour groups come pouring in.
The drive is really hassles as is experience when crossing state line like in other parts of the Yucatan. THe first class bus system really makes driving unnecessary. It cheap and comfortable and the bus will actually pick up and drop off at Chichen from Merida.
I hope this helps. If you have any specific question,e-mail me and I'll try my best to answer as Merida is almost my second home.
Old Jan 6th, 1999, 05:08 AM
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I had posted a few days ago, but it didn't go through somehow. I will try to give you the highlights of the long posting I had originally typed. Take the bus. First class is not very scenic but is faster, has better air conditioning, and travels on better roads - about 4 hours. Second class is very scenic - small towns and cities all along, is used mostly by locals, and is quite a bit slower - we took this one going. Sundays are wonderful in Merida! Try Casa de Artensenias (spelling?) for souvenirs, and definitely try Los Almendros for great Yucatecan food. Do try to visit Uxmal. It is only an hour or so from Merida by bus, and I too liked it better than Chichen Itza. I have travelled quite a bit, and I list Uxmal as one of my "most magical places." The Nunnery Quadrangle is particularly beautiful.

Some advice on buses. Try to get tickets ahead. Maybe the night before for leaving Cancun. When leaving Merida, try to get return tickets a few hours before, especially since you will fill several seats. We had to wait two hours for another bus and got back to Cancun at 3 in the morning. When at Chichen Itza, just decide on a departure time after you get there and get tickets an hour before. Buses will pick you up right there at the front entrance. The second class buses will drop you at the entrance too, despite what some guides may say.

I can't remember the name of the streets, but there are several nice, inexpensive hotels near the Plaza Mayor. If you are in the square facing the cathedral, walk about two blocks to your left. I think I found these listed in Lonely Planet and Fodors. We stayed in one with air conditioning, on a small courtyard, for about $25 a night for two.
Old Jan 9th, 1999, 07:30 PM
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We spent several nights at the Hotel Caribe in Merida in August. Its in the $40 - $50 range if I remember. Not luxurious, but clean and one block from the central plaza, and was within walking distance to nearly everything. The best rooms are on the top floor where the pool is. All the rooms are around a central courtyard. email me if you want more information.

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