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Yucatan Trip--which plan sounds better?

Old Apr 30th, 2017, 09:04 AM
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Yucatan Trip--which plan sounds better?

Hola Fodors friends! We are planning a trip to the Yucatan the week after Christmas. We know what we would like to do and see, but just wondering about the logistics of some of it. We are also looking for some specific advice about a few things. So here goes... we are a family of 6, with children ages 14, 11, 8 and 8. We already have reservations on Isla Mujeres for 3 nights, but we are wondering how we should structure the first 3 nights before our reservations begin. In these three days before, we would like to see either or both Chichen Itza and Ek Balam, and also explore a cenote. These are our two ideas...let me know what you think would work out better:

1. Get another reservation on Isla for the other three nights, and spend the whole time there, but on one of the days, take the ferry back over to the mainland and rent a car to drive to the Chichen Itza/Ek Balam and a cenote. This would be a long day, but maybe easier than hopping around, staying at different locations.

or

2. Arrive in Cancun, stay one night there, and then the next morning, rent a car, and head over to Chichen Itza area (maybe stay at Mayaland for night number 2?). Get up early in the morning, see Chichen Itza, then head over to Ek Balam, and then find a cenote to explore for a couple of hours. Drive back to Cancun (or another night at Mayaland?), stay the night for night number 3, and then take the ferry early to Isla and spend the rest of the 3 days there.

I would be curious to know if anyone has any thoughts on either of these two options. We are set for the Isla part of the vacation, but just don't know if we would regret not spending more time on Isla (by just being gone one day exploring the ruins and cenote on the mainland).

Also, I would love some advice on what cenote should we visit? Is there one that is nice for a family like ours with children?

Muchas gracias in advance for your help!
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Old Apr 30th, 2017, 11:07 AM
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Option 2, rent the car and drive to Chichen Itza. We have stayed twice at Hacienda Chichen Itza (we looked into staying at Mayaland but it does get a fair number of tour buses) which is lovely with beautiful grounds and nice pool. Food was also very good. This was built for the Carnegie Expedition and the rooms are all duplex bungalows so you could rent two side by side.
Visit CI when they open at 8am before the vendors get set up, then leave and maybe visit Valladolid for lunch and a cenote, then visit Ek Balam. You can climb at Ek Balam, which is a terrific ruin and one of my favorites, CI has been closed to climbing for some time now.
We rented our car from Easyway, small sedan with full insurance was about $40/day but you will need a larger car with 6 people and luggage. Don't use a third party like Kayak or Expedia.
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Old Apr 30th, 2017, 03:31 PM
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Option 2.

IMO, Chichen Itza and Ek' Balam cannot be reasonably visited in the same day.

You could stay near Chichen Itza or in Valladolid.

The cenotes Dzitnup (X'keken and Samula), just outside of Valladolid, are stunning and would, I think, be appreciated by those of all ages:
http://www.yucatansecrets.com/cenote...zitnup_eng.php
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Old Apr 30th, 2017, 06:18 PM
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I like option 2 also, and I would spend 2 nights near CI to give you enough time to see both CI, EB, a cenote AND the town of Valladolid, which is a neat place and worth at least a couple hours, if not longer - we wished we had longer.
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Old Apr 30th, 2017, 09:10 PM
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Thank you all so much for your responses. They are all very helpful. I've looked at the other hotel you mentioned, jamie99 and it looks great! I'm going to have to look into it a little more because from what I read, they charge $40 for every extra person over two people a night, and with a family of six, that makes the total price a considerable amount more. And kja, thank you again for helping me. Last year you gave us some excellent advice about how to spend 4 days in San Sebastian-Donostia (we had such a great time last summer--thanks again!) November_moon, the two nights makes more sense to me also. It looks like we could easily fill our days there with some of the unique offering that part of the Yucatan offers.
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Old Apr 30th, 2017, 09:23 PM
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I'm glad to know I was helpful with your plans for San Sebastian / Donostia -- thanks for letting me know!

And I agree with november_moon: Valladolid is delightful. You children might like the open cenote there, once the city's main water supply -- Cenote Zaci.
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Old May 1st, 2017, 11:10 AM
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You could also consider staying in Valladolid rather than next to Chichen Itza. That would give you more options.

We stayed a night at the Mayaland when we visited the area. It is a nice place - beautiful grounds, right next to Chichen Itza - we could see the Mirador from our balcony. There are tour buses at the hotel, but it seems to only be an issue when the buses are dropping off and picking up, and only in the parking lot area. It's a bigger hotel, so it can absorb the groups. The food was really the only downside - we ate at the buffet because the restaurant was booked up - and the food was passable, but that's it.

On that trip, we DID see Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, a cenote and Valladolid in 1 day, and then drove to Tulum - it was too much, and if I were to do it again, I would spend 2 nights in the area.
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