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Roundtrip in Yucatan

Helsinki, Finland
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Roundtrip in Yucatan

Hi!

We are a couple (38yrs. old) an going to Cancun 28th of September. We already booked a hotel for three nights and the plan is to go at least to Merida, Valladolid, Chichen Itza and Tulum. We have three weeks time. What is the smartest way to do kind of a round trip. Idea is first to go to the direction of Merida and then some how to Tulum. Our flight back to Finland departs from Cancun 17th of October. Our interests are Maya culture, local food and traditional bars and at the end of the holiday laying on the beach, snorkling.. enjoying. Like to have some ideas from nice hotels (30-50$/night) and what is the cheapest way to move around in Yucatan. Is it safe there and how is the weather at the moment? Budget travel with a little luxury is our thing!

Edmonton, Canada
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1. Re: Roundtrip in Yucatan

Go to Merida first, and wing it from there. You might end up spending more time in Merida than you expected. Valladolid is a smaller version and less interesting. Chichen Itza is an overrated tourist trap; consider Uxmal from Merida instead. Tulum I can't speak to, but sounds nice.

Buses are the way to get around. It's safe.

Cape Cod
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2. Re: Roundtrip in Yucatan

That's a lot of questions. A lot. Here goes

- What is the smartest way to do kind of a round trip.

As you wish to visit Merida, Valladolid, Chichen Itza, and Tulum, the least expensive way is to travel by bus and other public transport. But as you're from Finland, you might consider renting a car, as the cost of doing so (including gas) is probably a quarter to a third what you pay in your own country. The big challenge I find with buses is the lack of English, especially once you are outside of the so-called Maya Riviera. It took me a few trips before I had any confidence that I could get where I wanted to go. If you speak Spanish, zero problems. But at the end of 3 weeks, you'll be able to ride the bus system like a native.

- Idea is first to go to the direction of Merida and then some how to Tulum.

Your trip means Merida would be at one end, and Valladolid becomes the center (you can easily get to Tulum or Cancun from there). I would therefore plan on staying a few days in Merida, a couple of days in Valladolid, and finish in Tulum. I would stop in Valladolid first, because as Viajero has intimated, Valladolid is really a small version of what you'll see in Merida. By going there first, you'll get a feel for Mexican colonial cities.

- Our interests are Maya culture, local food and traditional bars

I assume you mean the ancient Maya culture. From Merida, you can visit Uxmal and the other Puuc sites; From Valladolid you can see Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and a cenote or two; From Tulum you can see, uh, Tulum.

Yucatecan food is everywhere. I'd ask your hotel for suggestions or skim TripAdvisor for suggestions.

I don't know what a "traditional bar" is. If you mean a bar where today's Maya go, I would not recommend it.

- Like to have some ideas from nice hotels (30-50$/night)

I've never stayed at a hotel that is $30-$50 (I assume you mean US) that I would consider "nice." Others on this forum have more experience than I.

- what is the cheapest way to move around in Yucatan.

Bus. But as you're covering a lot of ground, consider getting a car.

- Is it safe there

I've felt safe everywhere, and statistics back that up. If you go slumming (the "traditional bar" I spoke of above would be an example), that's where tourists tend to run into trouble.

- how is the weather at the moment?

It's the rainy season and you would be there during the end of the rainy season.

Have a great trip!

Illinois
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3. Re: Roundtrip in Yucatan

Make sure that you go to the Coba ruins, much nicer than CI and less developed. You might consider getting a very detailed map from http://www.cancunmap.com/

They are very detailed and include all kinds of information about hotels, roads, restaurants, etc. However, they currently don't have one for Merida, but do cover the other areas. They are a very big help.

Cozumel, Mexico
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4. Re: Roundtrip in Yucatan

Much good advice here. As far as your hotel price of 50 dollars, you should have no problem. I have stayed in many nice hotels in Valladolid and Merida costing no more than that. Good values in both places. You might have a problem finding a decent hotel in Tulum for that amount. I find it to be very much overpriced .

5. Re: Roundtrip in Yucatan

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Cozumel, Mexico
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6. Re: Roundtrip in Yucatan

You are wrong, EJ. I don´t stay in hotels as you describe. I have never stayed in a place with ¨crusty sheets¨.

Really a very insulting post. Before I had a permanent place in Merida, I used a small hotel in the Santa Ana area. It is still under 50 dollars a night with very nice rooms, a small pool, air conditioning, cable tv, free wifi, etc. I use it for guests and assure you I would not put them in a place such as you describe. And, of course, having been to Finland, I know the prices don´t compare to that area.

As for your wife staying in these places, I wouldn´t hesitate to put anyone in the hotels I use. The last person I put in the hotel in Santa Ana was a friend from my airline days who stays in hotels all over the world. She was very pleased and has since sent others. Also I am frequently in San Cristobal where I spend about 40 dollars for one of the cleanest , best managed hotels I have used anywhere. It has all the amenities and very well located.

You are entitled to an elitist view of things but don´t assume what you describe is typical or describes where I stay.

San Jose, California
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7. Re: Roundtrip in Yucatan

I recomnend at least a couple nights in the Ruta Puuc area - this is south of Merida and has several smaller ruins in addition to Uxmal. With 3 weeks you definitely have time. You can also tour a hacienda or 2 - we toured Sotuta de Peon, which was a great tour. While in that area, we stayed at the Pickled Onion B&B, which is in Santa Elena - its in your budgey and one of my favorite places I have ever stayed.

In Merida we stayed at the Casa de las Columnas for US45/night. It is about a 10 min walk to the city center or a 20-30 peso ride.

Tulum was definitely the most expensive part of our trip, but we wanted beachfront. If you stay in town, you can stay for much cheaper, or on the beach if you don't need many amenities like electricity in your room :-)

Cozumel, Mexico
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8. Re: Roundtrip in Yucatan

You are correct about Tulum, n_m. It can now be an expensive place if you want much in the way of amenities.

The Casa de las Columnas is another good place in Merida. I had friends who stayed there for years and they loved it.

Cape Cod
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9. Re: Roundtrip in Yucatan

@Robert. On re-reading the post, you are correct. I went overboard and was not clear, therefore I've asked to have it deleted. But here's my point again without the histrionics -- I've never stayed in an under-$50 room that did not have some problem(s). Here is my definition of what qualifies as a "nice" room in a hotel:

Doors and windows that lock

No moldy/musty smells

No sagging mattress

Bedclothes that are clean, without holes

Appliances (television, air conditioning, fans) and electrical outlets that work

No loud traffic noise

Well managed, where guests are not allowed to have parties or be loud until all hours of the morning

And how bad can a $30 to $50 hotel be? Pretty awful based on some of the experiences I've had (the now-deleted crusty brown sheets incident being the worst). But these days that's the price range I prefer. So for the original poster, don't assume you'll get a nice room for that price. Get specific recommendations (sounds like Robert has some) or check out TripAdvisor reviews.

Cozumel, Mexico
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10. Re: Roundtrip in Yucatan

Thanks for the post , EJ. I have not had any of the problems with any of the items you mention in your new post. And I rarely pay 50 dollars. In Mexico City, I use a modern hotel where all is in good condition (with huge bathroom, including bidet) for 350 to 400 pesos a night. Of course, it is not in the heart of the tourist zone but in a very nice area close to the subway. The kind of location I prefer, with many good local restaurants nearby.

I agree, you can´t assume a nice room for that price but the only hotel I ever quickly checked out of was one for 75 dollars in another Mexican town.

Edited: 21 September 2013, 15:46