Please help with my Yucatan itinerary

Apr 18th, 2017, 01:01 PM
  #1  
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Please help with my Yucatan itinerary

Hi all,

I am starting to plan next winter's travels to get me out of snowy New England . I would like to incorporate some days in the Yucatan during a 3-6 week trip to Mexico. I thought we would:

1- Fly into Cancun,and take a bus to Tulum to see Tulum ruins and Coba. (3 nights)

2-Then we would take a bus to Vallodillid to see Ek Balam, the cenotes, and perhaps Chichen Itza (3 nights)

3-Then we would take a bus to Merida to see Uxmal, ruta Puc, Izamal and Merida.(5 nights)

4-Then we would fly from Merida to Mexico city to continue our trip.

We would do this entire trip by bus and taxi as DH does not want to drive.

I'd like your input into:

1-Are the number of days allocated to each destination sufficient?

2-Are there any other must sees you would recommend in these areas?.

3-Do you have any recommendations for hotels in these areas? A/C and a good location are priorities. I'd like to stay at around $100/night or less, but would spend more for an exceptional place.

4-Would you recommend skipping Tulum and visiting Coba from Vallodilid in the interest of a more leisurely trip. Is Tulum worth the extra bus ride to get there from Cancun? We are not beach sitters though I like walking on beaches. Our main reason to be in Tulum would be to see the ruins.

Any help you could give me would be appreciated.
shelleyk is offline  
Apr 18th, 2017, 01:08 PM
  #2  
RAC
 
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Tulum ruins are fairly mediocre but the setting is spectacular.

Have you thought about doing a stopover in Chiapas to see Palenque and/or Yaxchilan and Bonampak?
RAC is offline  
Apr 18th, 2017, 01:53 PM
  #3  
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The ruins you mention sound fabulous, but they are too far afield for this trip as I don't want to spend too many hours in a bus. Hope we can add them to another trip. Thanks for your reply.
shelleyk is offline  
Apr 18th, 2017, 05:40 PM
  #4  
kja
 
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IMO, your number of days are generally on target, at least if your time in Merida includes the weekend festivities – and I hope it does! If not, see if you can adjust your times, or consider cutting down a bit on your time in Merida.

I can’t speak to the current prices, but in Valladolid, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Meson del Marques, where I also appreciated dining. It might even merit consideration as a bit of a splurge!
http://www.mesondelmarques.com

Interesting question about Tulum. The ruins are unusual, but not particularly impressive IMO. On the other hand, I thought Tulum’s beach among the most spectacular I’ve seen anywhere, and as someone who has extremely little interest in beaches, I was delighted to walk a bit of it. Too, Tulum is the logical “jumping off” point for the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which I’m glad to have visited via a tour.
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/410

I also enjoyed visiting Izamal, but am not sure how hard/easy it would be to do by public transportation, or whether it would make more sense to try from Valladolid or Merida.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Apr 18th, 2017, 08:45 PM
  #5  
 
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We did essentially the same trip a few years ago, but in reverse. It was great. We had a car, but bus and taxi service is good, so that's totally workable. I'm not sure about transport to Uxmal and the Ruta Puuc, but there are drivers in Merida you can hire for the day.

I agree that the Tulum ruins aren't as interesting as the others, but the beach south of the ruins is fabulous.
november_moon is online now  
Apr 19th, 2017, 12:18 AM
  #6  
kja
 
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I agree that Uxmal and the Ruta Puuc could be a bit of a challenge without a car. There are, I believe, day-long bus tours out of Merida, but the problem is that this set of sites easily merits 2 days. Faced with the difficulties of working with public transportation, I gave in and rented a car for that part of my trip, but that was back in 2008, and things could easily have changed since there. At least you should be able to see some of these amazing places on a tour!

If it helps, Uxmal is the clear anchor of this route, and easily deserves at least a half day (if not more) IMO. Kabah's Codz Poop is spectacular. The rest of the sites of the Ruta Puuc each have stunning unique features, but IMO, were most notable for their quietude (I was often the only person on site). So if you try to visit by tour, you might want to make sure you have plenty of time at Uxmal, at least some time at Kabah, and sufficient time at Kabah or one of the other smaller sites to roam a bit away from the tour group. Just my opinion....
kja is offline  
Apr 19th, 2017, 07:52 AM
  #7  
 
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The amounts of time and the flow of your trip seem right.
Added to the above comments Tulum is a costly place to stay if you are anywhere near the water. As said, the ruins, although important aren't all that spectacular. The setting is quite lovely, though.
You may consider going straight to Vallalodid and then Merida.
Depending on your wish list you could take a day trip north from Va to estuaries that are loaded with flamingos and interesting wildlife. You could also head directly north from Merida to a beach, as well. There are some interesting ruins with a cenote between Merida and Progreso. Progreso's beach isn't totally impressive but there are many shops and restaurants on the boardwalk and directly on the beach. The beaches east and west are prettier and less populated.
You can get away with not having a car and seeing sites at a leisurely pace by hiring a driver or someone who does small tours.
There are plenty of them in Merida. We also have Uber.
cybor is offline  
Apr 19th, 2017, 12:45 PM
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If I was coming from snowy New England I sure as heck would want more than 3 nights in Tulum or another beach area.
For $100 per night and AC in December, you are looking at a place in the pueblo, not on the beach. Few places on the beach road have AC due to not being on the electric grid.
The only place I found on the beach for under $100 (remember there is a 19% room tax in Quintana Roo state) was at Zazil-Kin which I refer to as a "stick-hut" type of place for $66 per night with no AC and a shared bathroom.
You'll need a taxi or bikes to get back and forth from the pueblo to Tulum beach road and beach clubs, no public transport there.
We stayed at a hotel in Uxmal to visit that ruin and two of the Ruta Puuc sites but had a car.
jamie99 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2017, 12:57 PM
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We stayed at one of the hotels near the Uxmal ruins, and hired a car and driver to visit the Puuc cities. Spent two days in the area.
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
Apr 20th, 2017, 05:24 AM
  #10  
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Thanks so much for your replies. Tulum is stil a question mark for me, but if we go we would not want to stay on the beach for many reasons. We would prefer the pueblo area and would taxi or bicycle to the ruins and beach. I still can't decide if it is worth the extra bus time for us to go to Tulum. If we skip it, I need to make sure that we can get to Coba from Vallodilid.

I've never been to Cancun and am thinking of staying 2 or 3 nights there (not at an AI) solely to recover from our travel day, and to just enjoy the sun. This would be more relaxing than going to Tulum, but....

Figuring out how to do Uxmal and the Ruta Puc area justice is in the research mode. I'd like to spend an overnight in the area, and may be able to persuade DH to rent a car from Merida just for that part of the trip. If not, I'll see if taking a bus to a hotel near Uxmal and hiring a car and driver from there is possible or if there is a tour from Merida that does Uxmal and Kabah in one looong day. FRa_Diavolo how did you get to the Uxmal hotel?

kja-The Meson del Marquis looks great. I'll research it more on TA.

Does anyone have a recommendations for a driver or a tour company in Merida?

Thanks again for your help.
shelleyk is offline  
Apr 20th, 2017, 06:06 AM
  #11  
 
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>>>
We were discussing just that issue in the lobby of our hotel in Merida when the desk clerk volunteered that he could get us a driver. Problem solved. I'm afraid I cannot remember the cost, and at any rate we split it with the couple we were traveling with. Generally, and especially now with the exchange rate, these things are not terribly expensive.
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
Apr 20th, 2017, 06:41 AM
  #12  
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Do you recommend your Merida hotel? If so, at which hotel did you stay?
shelleyk is offline  
Apr 20th, 2017, 08:41 AM
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Just get a car (Try Easyway. No hassles. All costs upfront, online. Maybe $45/day w/full insurance and taxes.) in Cancun. Driving is pretty easy, actually, especially if you've ever driven around Boston! Roads are very good and signage as well. Keep to the posted speed limits, no matter what traffic is doing. Just the ac itself is worth it after trekking around extremely hot and humid ruins. And you can get to lots of cenotes that might be harder by bus. No problems from cops. Gas scams are possible, but paying attention puts a stop to them.

Tulum:
"We would prefer the pueblo area and would taxi or bicycle to the ruins and beach. I still can't decide if it is worth the extra bus time for us to go to Tulum. If we skip it, I need to make sure that we can get to Coba from Vallodilid."

Coba is much closer to Tulum. With a car, you can do it in the same travel day as going to Valladolid. Otherwise the bus schedules are tricky. (We met one guy begging for rides because he got stuck at the Coba ruins after the last daily bus.)
You can also use Tulum as a base for snorkeling with turtles in Akumal and floating Maya canals (and more) in the Sian Ka'an biosphere, a treasure.
We like the pueblo in Tulum. Very handy to restaurants, clubs, shops, etc. Little tamale stands after dark; few tourists, lots of locals. And there is Maya culture and events you would not find if you stay on the beach.
However, IMO by the time you pay for expensive taxis, you might as well rent a car. Also, if you bike, you'll be sweating again by the time you get back.
SambaChula is offline  
Apr 20th, 2017, 08:41 AM
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We were recently in Tulum and loved it. We stayed at a more upscale/expensive on-the-beach hotel, but a friend's daughter has stayed at an airbnb in the pueblo and liked it so much she's going back next month. If you're interested, I can get the information for you. I can also recommend a few inexpensive places to eat in the pueblo (good seafood and other tacos at Aguachiles, good Mexican food in a fun part local-part tourist way with live music at Don Cafeto's, great ice cream (not cheap) at Campanella Cremerie (By the way, I didn't find the Tulum ruins at all boring).
sf7307 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2017, 08:50 AM
  #15  
 
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>>>Do you recommend your Merida hotel?<<<

We stayed at the Casa del Balam, which we liked -- however, it was some years ago so I would hesitate to recommend it without further research. Location is very good.

http://www.casadelbalam.com/en/index.html
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Apr 20th, 2017, 12:15 PM
  #16  
 
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I agree, Coba is much closer to Tulum, it was maybe a 40 minute drive or less.
If you like Tulum pueblo, you may hate Cancun, full of high rise hotels unless you stay downtown in Centro (no beach and some sketchy parts). Look into staying in Puerto Morelos a small fishing village with good snorkeling and only a 20 minute drive south of the airport, about the same distance as the Cancun Hotel Zone. The ADO first class bus from the airport to Playa del Carmen makes a brief stop in Puerto Morelos, you would need to take a taxi from the bus stop into the town itself.
jamie99 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2017, 04:51 PM
  #17  
 
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I don't think the OP is planning to stay in the Cancun area at all - just flying in and taking the bus south from there, right?
november_moon is online now  
Apr 20th, 2017, 08:17 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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If you stay near Uxmal, I highly recommend the Flycatcher Inn:
http://www.flycatcherinn.com
and I’ve seem many recommendations for the
http://www.thepickledonionyucatan.com

In Merida, I stayed at the Casa Sacnicte, which suited my needs very well.
http://www.casasacnicte.com
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Apr 21st, 2017, 10:36 AM
  #19  
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sf7307-I'd like to have the name of the airbnb in the puebla. At this point I am leaning toward spending 3 nights in Tulum, maybe more.

jamie99-I know I would not like the main hotel area in Cancun, but I was thinking of staying a few nights in the centro area. I will research Puerto Morelas as that seems more like my cup of tea, though ultimately I think Tulum will win out over all the other alternatives, especially if we decide to daytrip to Coba by bus. The main drawback to that is that we would need to be on the 3:10 bus out of Coba (or walk, lol) as that is the last and only bus back to Tulum.

I wonder if it is possible to rent a car for the day in Tulum, visit Coba and return it in Valladilid. I can't seem to find that kind of one way rental on the internet, but I'll keep looking.
shelleyk is offline  
Apr 21st, 2017, 11:56 AM
  #20  
 
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I'm not sure about Valladolid, you may have to rent in Tulum and return the car in Merida and pay a drop fee (maybe $100).
I know America Car Rental has offices in Tulum and Merida as well as at the Cancun airport and Playa del Carmen. EasyWay closed their Tulum office a year or two ago.There are others I am sure, but have used both those agencies in the past.
jamie99 is offline  

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