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First timer needs help

San Diego...
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First timer needs help

Hi all:

This will be my first time to Cancun and Yucatan state. I have only 10 days and am a bit worry about time allocation. In general, I don't care too much for the beach. It's not my style to sunbath at the beach and do nothing. It's nice and all but I am more interested in seeing ruins. However, I have read that Isla Mujeres is worth spending time there. I am thinking of spending 1-2 nights there. For the rest of the 8 days, I will divide them among Tulum, Chichen Itza, and Merida. Is that too rush?

I will be arriving at Cancun Airport at 4:15 PM. Should I go straight to Isla Mujeres or should I stay at least one night in Cancun? I prefer not having to hunt for a place to stay if it is dark outside.

My return flight will be at 3PM. I am wondering how long it takes from Merida to the airport by bus (If there is a bus).

Many thanks in advance.

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: First timer needs help

cancun is miami with pesos. your trip is easily doable.

PS cancun is in quintana roo state, merida is in yucatan state

Edited: 06 May 2011, 03:11
Cape Cod
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2. Re: First timer needs help

Yes, I think your trip is too full. If beaches aren't your thing, why go to Tulum AND Isla Mujeres? Two sides of the same coin, as far as I'm concerned.

If it was me, I'd split the trip into thirds, the east coast (Maya Riviera), the interior, and Merida. And I'd finish on the coast because I'd want to be closer to the airport on my departure day.

I'd do an itinerary something like this:

DAY ONE: Arrive Cancun, rent car, overnight near airport.

DAY TWO: Drive to Valladolid, explore that city. Visit Ek Balam. Drive to Chichen Itza (the Hacienda Chichen is my preferred place to stay).

DAY THREE: Explore Chichen Itza in the morning, Cave of Balancanche in the afternoon, Ik Kil cenote for a dip. Overnight at Chichen.

DAY FOUR: Drive to Merida, find hotel, get settled. Explore the city.

DAY FIVE-SEVEN: Visit Ruta Puuc (the sites of Uxmal, Kabah, Labna, etc.); Visit Celestun to see the flamingos; Visit a henequen hacienda (can't remember the name);

DAY EIGHT: Leisurely drive to Tulum. Possibly making sightseeing diversions to Izamal, Mayapan, Coba -- all of which are on the way.

DAY NINE: Visit Coba in the morning if you didn't stop on the way. Or spend the day relaxing at the beach.

DAY TEN: Relaxing morning, pack, and leave well before noon to get to the airport in plenty of time. Watch speed limit signs, as there are numerous traps with policia looking to nab gringos heading to the airport.

Have a good trip!

San Diego...
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3. Re: First timer needs help

Hi all,

Thanks for your replies.


Regarding Isla Mujeres, I know what you meant. Since Isla Mujeres is so great (or at least I have read about it) so I thought staying there just for one night and the rest will be devoted to seeing ruins.

Renting a car seems like a great idea. I am a bit hesitant though as I am on my own. I am a bit concerned about security. I think I will use buses/taxis/or other means of transport. Again thank you for your detailed suggestions.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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4. Re: First timer needs help

I think you could do Isla Mujeres either at the beginning or end of your trip - it is a short hop from the airport (we usually arrange transport like with Best Day) as you do not need a car there. Isla is a great island - and even if you don't really like to hang out at the beach, it is a great place to eat! :)

Check out the Isla forum here on TA or go to www.islamujeres.info.

I would also check out getting some maps here - www.cancunmap.com

Happy Travels!

San Diego...
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5. Re: First timer needs help

Hi Coalminer:

I would prefer to stay and visit Isla Mujeres at the end of the trip if I can. However, I will be arriving to the airport at 4:15PM. Ideally, I would like to go straight to Merida upon arrival. I am not sure how long it would take to get to Merida from Cancun Airport. Even it is just a few hour bus ride from the airport, it will be dark outside when I arrive to Merida. Do you think that it is a feasible option to go to Merida straight from the airport? Thank you for your help.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: First timer needs help

The bus that leaves from the bus station in Centro (Downtown) Cancun to Merida takes approximately 3 1/2-4 hours. My recommendation would be to settle at a hotel in Downtown Cancun for your first night. I recommend you consider the Xbalamque, a Mayan-style hotel on Av. Yaxchilan. I believe that taking bus trips is the best way to stay safe and secure, especially because you are traveling on your own. Also it is my opinion, two days is enough to see and do the fun and interesting things Merida has to offer. I agree that it would be better to conclude your trip on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. If you end up in Cancun again, don't worry, you never have to avail yourself of any of the beaches or popular attractions, and still have a great time. Something you may not know about Cancun is that it is home to literally hundreds of restaurants, in all price ranges and cuisine types. If you enjoy haute cuisine, Cancun is definitely a place to find it. Have fun planning your trip.


212eric (Author)


7. Re: First timer needs help

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