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BajaMama
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[*] posted on 12-28-2017 at 07:47 AM
Yucatan


I know this isn't a Baja question, but I know many of you are well traveled in Mexico. My son and I want to tour the Yucatan to see the Mayan ruins. While I feel very comfortable navigating Baja in a car, how is driving that part of Mexico (in a rental car). Plenty of gas? We would loop starting Cancun, Chichen Itza, Meridia, Campeche, Chetumal, Tulum back to Cancun. Doable in 7 days? Oh, I have never been to that part of Mexico, which is why I am asking...

If this is inappropriate to ask, let me know.
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[*] posted on 12-28-2017 at 08:37 AM


Go for it. Roads are good. When moving about between Cancun, Ch!Chi and Meridia options are the toll road, straight and boring, and the free road, neither straight nor boring. Both are well maintained. Lots of fuel available too.

Mahahual is a few hours south of Tulum on the coast. Although the cattle boats stop there, just a few minutes south of town are some really nice beaches if you just want to chill on a tropical beach away from the banded pigeon zones.

Roughly halfway between Cancun and Meridia is Valladolid. There outside the prison walls hammocks made by the prisoners are sold. Some of the nicest hammocks made in Mexico, many sizes and so much color. Affordably priced also.

The ruins and their network of trade routes are awesome. Some really good food in the Yucatan too. All in all one of my favorite parts of Mexico and one of the easiest to visit too.

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[*] posted on 12-28-2017 at 09:20 AM


You shouldn´t have a problem with that time frame. The roads are great . We try to get to the ruins at opening time. Much less crowded. Try and visit a cenote or 2.
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[*] posted on 12-28-2017 at 09:26 AM


Roads good, flat, scenic with tons to see in between arch sites. Rent car online, cheaper than onsite, and if you have other insurance coverage, as cheap as $6/day, economy model. Great food, friendly people, last to become part of the Republic with their own cultural identity.

Pretty ambitious covering all that ground in seven days. You will be on the road half of it with that itinerary. Just the ruins, caves, and small towns around Merida could eat up a week easily. Days could be consumed exploring just Uxmal, Chichen Itza, not to mention the numerous sites in the area.
I'd back off and enjoy one area, my preference would be around the less touristed and beautiful capital city of Merida. Cancun and Tulum are very touristy, Chetumal, Campeche not so much, (except during Carnival).
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[*] posted on 12-28-2017 at 12:59 PM


Roads are better than in Baja.

If ruins are the priority, 3 biggest and most spectacular sites are Chi-tza, Uxmal/Merida, and Palenque. Looks like you're skipping one.

There is not much to see in Cancun. Consider flying in and out of Merida or Villahermosa.
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[*] posted on 12-28-2017 at 01:10 PM


Quintana Roo is a relatively safe state. Merida is cool place to visit with awesome regional foods. Consider continuing to Belize. Bring a bug bomb for the rental car. Dang those lizards are huge and they can really move quick, eyes wide open:o



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BajaMama
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[*] posted on 12-28-2017 at 01:21 PM


Thank you so much for the awesome insight. I will take all of it into consideration!
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[*] posted on 12-28-2017 at 03:07 PM


Just did this last year. Drop the Cancun side of it. We flew into Merida and were picked up by American Car Rental late at night right at the terminal with a short drive to car rental area. Excellent staff. Stayed in a hotel a few miles away and headed south first thing in the morning to Uxmal and then on to Palenque. You can spend a couple of days just visiting the ruins between Merida and Palenque. You will miss a ton of places if you zip by in a day or two.
In Palenque stay at the Maya Bell campgrounds on the road to the ruins. They have great bungalows, pool, restaurant and its surrounded by jungle with howler monkeys all night. Its a couple of miles from the ruins.
Also in Palenque arrange a guided tour to Yaxchilan. It is a boat ride up the river that divides Guatemala and Mexico. You will not regret the all day adventure. DO NOT drive the Mexico side yourself. It is a tough drive and known to be problematic.
DO get yourself an international drivers permit (available at AAA if your a member). At the border of Chiapas and Campeche on your return the border guards are infamous for demanding all documents and vehicle records and this is their trump card for getting a few dollars for you. The look on their face when they ask for it and you pull it out is memorable! You should have one any time you drive in Mexico just to be safe.
Not many people get to Yaxchilan compared to all of the other places you will go to and it is still in a state of rustic overwhelming jungle and the river ride is awesome. We had the body of a Jaquar come floating past us with a huge vulture riding it while picking at it. It is not a 'tour' like the rest...it is more like an adventure.
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[*] posted on 12-28-2017 at 03:30 PM


We rented a car in Cancun and also spent a week driving around. I am trying to find my trip report as it was an a ma zing trip.

cenotes or the underground swimming pools are a must

I wasn't too impressed with Merida but we loved Valladolid so much that we actually went back to it on the same trip.


We had fun walking around TULUM - a busy resort town that is rustic and charming.

down south there is a lake called LAGO BACALAR - I can't tell you how beautiful it is. It is called the lake of 7 colors and really - there are so many shades of blue! I think we stayed at the Laguna Bacalar hotel. Really pretty and right on the shore of the lake.

We fled Cancun - it is huge hotels and you cant even see the beach from the road and they don't let you walk thru the hotel to put your feet in the sand unless you are a guest. Ughhhhhhh

We really liked Palenque and our guide gave us lots of history. He also agreed that his people considered themselves Indians and not Mexicans. Very interesting side of Mexico.

Have fun and I sure wish we were going.




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[*] posted on 12-28-2017 at 07:12 PM


Ditto on newbi's sugestions, if you have the time..Merida, Uxmal, Palenque and boat ride to Yaxchilan, vale la pena.

Forget the Cancun side, Tulum, Playa de Carmen, maybe 20 years ago...
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[*] posted on 12-29-2017 at 07:31 AM


I knew Nomads would come through for me! I cannot thank you all enough for your advise and tips. This give me such good bones for planning.
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[*] posted on 12-29-2017 at 11:20 AM


Quote: Originally posted by BajaBlanca  
We rented a car in Cancun and also spent a week driving around. I am trying to find my trip report as it was an a ma zing trip.

cenotes or the underground swimming pools are a must

I wasn't too impressed with Merida but we loved Valladolid so much that we actually went back to it on the same trip.


We had fun walking around TULUM - a busy resort town that is rustic and charming.

down south there is a lake called LAGO BACALAR - I can't tell you how beautiful it is. It is called the lake of 7 colors and really - there are so many shades of blue! I think we stayed at the Laguna Bacalar hotel. Really pretty and right on the shore of the lake.

We fled Cancun - it is huge hotels and you cant even see the beach from the road and they don't let you walk thru the hotel to put your feet in the sand unless you are a guest. Ughhhhhhh

We really liked Palenque and our guide gave us lots of history. He also agreed that his people considered themselves Indians and not Mexicans. Very interesting side of Mexico.

Have fun and I sure wish we were going.


I agree with Blanca. All the incredible Mayan ruins are must sees if possible. Our favorite cities and hotels were in Vallodolid, Campeche, and Chetumal. We were in Yucatan for almost a month, and felt we barely scratched the surface. We did stay one night in "Old Cancun" but passed on the touristy part of Cancun other than a drive-by.. It will be an adventure you will not forget, that is for sure. No bad experiences-----all just great!!!


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[*] posted on 12-29-2017 at 04:55 PM


Please don't skip Tulum. I went to the Yucatan because I had seen photos a friend posted when she was there. People? yes, crowded? yes

but In My Opinion, it is one of the more fantastic ruins because it is right on the coast and there is one safe, very narrow way "in" via the sea and the Mayans built one of the buildings so as to guide boats in. Truly incredible. I saw a special on this before we went that made it all the more impressive.

There are so many ruins, quite a few were remote and not too popular but we went anyways as I have a special fascination with everything ancient.



[Edited on 12-31-2017 by BajaBlanca]




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[*] posted on 12-29-2017 at 05:11 PM


Quote: Originally posted by BajaBlanca  
Please don't skip Tulum.



If you get here early you might get it for an hour with 2 other peeps like we did:cool: .

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[*] posted on 12-29-2017 at 07:48 PM


7 Days isn't near enough time to do all that. Nix Chetumal, Compeche. Merida is very large city with a lot of traffic, no parking and 5-lane highways. Save it for another trip. When going to Chichen, stay in Valladolid and also go to Ek Balam. Swing down to Coba, then Tulum. Even that is a hurried trip. Definitely do a cenote each day - you'll see signs on the road, on tourist maps. They're inexpensive, refreshing and part of Mayan life. You'll be back for more.
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[*] posted on 12-30-2017 at 12:46 PM


We have narrowed it down to flying into Cancun (most convenient time/price), immediately escaping to Tulum after a Walmart stop for an ice chest and snacks then head to Valladolid/Chichen Itza, Merida, Uxmal then finish up in Palenque (one day dedicated to that awesome sounding jungle tour to Yaxchilan) Fly out of Villahermosa. That gives time to relax and enjoy.

Thanks again for all the input, I can't tell you how much it helped with planning. When hubby and I go we will definitely make it 2+ weeks.
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[*] posted on 12-30-2017 at 03:56 PM


:biggrin:



Sounds simply spectacular. I remember big iguanas, tablecloths and hammocks for sale outside the ruins and the most incredible turquoise color of the water. Google says:


Tulum ruins are perched on 12 metre high cliffs facing the Caribbean Sea.

•It is the 3rd most visited site in Mexico and the most visited spot in the state of Quintana Roo.
•The site was inhabited as early as the 6th century.
•Tulum is a rare city built by the Mayans because it is one of the few walled cities.

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[*] posted on 12-30-2017 at 04:14 PM


When/if in Merida visit the new "Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya", world class museum, 8-5, weds-mon.
Just the exterior architecture is a sight, designed after the sacred ceiba tree.
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[*] posted on 12-30-2017 at 06:45 PM


Quote: Originally posted by BajaTed  
Dang those lizards are huge and they can really move quick, eyes wide open:o


Those large lizards are iguanas.

Palenque is the best ruin in Mexico's Yucatan but is hard to reach. It gets fewer visitors.

[Edited on 12-31-2017 by Skipjack Joe]
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[*] posted on 12-31-2017 at 08:15 AM


Palenque is visited by the busloads. There is an airport and bus station - a key destination for world travelers. With any ruin site, try to get there as soon as they open before the tour buses get there. Especially true for Tulum.
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