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Proposed Itinerary - achievable or not?

Melbourne, Australia
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Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

In Dec '10/Jan '11 my partner and I are travelling to the Yucatan Peninsula for 2 weeks. Our time will be spent pre and post a 3 week trip to Cuba. I am proposing the following Itinerary and would appreciate input anyone may have:

9 Dec – Arrive Cancun Airport (approx 16:25); transfer to Tulum (thinking of organising a private service through the Cancun Airport website – does anyone have feedback on this service?) Overnight: Tulum

10 Dec – Relax after our long flight from Australia; visit Tulum ruins (late pm after day trippers start to disappear). Overnight: Tulum

11 Dec – Visit Coba ruins Overnight: Tulum

12 Dec – Travel (by bus) from Tulum to Merida Overnight: Merida

13 Dec – Explore Merida (am) / visit Izamal (pm) Overnight: Merida

14 Dec – Visit Uxmal (and maybe Kabah) Overnight: Merida

15 Dec – Visit Celestun (primary purpose to see flamingo's – are there lots?) / explore Merida (pm) Overnight: Merida

16 Dec – Explore Merida (am) / travel (by bus) from Merida to Valladolid (arrive pm) Overnight: Valladolid

17 Dec – Visit Chichen Itza (arrive very early; pre crowds) / visit Ek Balam Overnight: Valladolid

18 Dec – Transfer to Cancun Airport (fly to Havana at 13:05) (note sure whether to take public bus or organise a taxi – don't want to miss our flight!)

19 Dec to 7 Jan – Cuba

8 Jan – Arrive Cancun Airport (approx 16:35); transfer to Puerto Morelos Overnight: Puerto Morelos

9 Jan to 11 Jan – Lots of relaxing in a hammock (we will no doubt need it after an action packed 4+ weeks) Overnight: Puerto Morelos

12 Jan – Transfer to Cancun Airport (approximately 13:00) and begin long flight back to Australia.

We would like to visit at least one Cenotes, but are not sure which one to visit (or where to fit it into the Itinerary). Should we perhaps omit one of the Mayan sites? Recommendation would be greatly appreciated.

Overall, I think the Itinerary is achievable, without it being too rushed. What to you think?

Many thanks, in anticipation of any suggestions.

Cozumel, Mexico
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1. Re: Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

A very busy itinerary but you probably can do it. Its not for me but I liked more relaxed, less planned trips.

You mention the Cancun airport website. I dont know which website you are seeing but many imposters exist. The official website is asur.com.mx/asur/…cancun.asp

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

Thanks RobertSDF - the website I was referring to is www.cancun-airport.com/transportation.htm. I thought it looked legit?

Cozumel, Mexico
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3. Re: Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

That site is one of several commercial sites made to look official. But their is only one official site and it is the one for ASUR--the operators of the Cancun airport. The other may be OK but I never appreciate a site pretending to be something it is not.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

Absolutely, couldn't agree more. Just goes to show how easily one can be mislead ... and I didn't think I was a gullible traveller! Thanks again for the valuable advice.

Olmsted Falls, Ohio
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5. Re: Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

I agree with Robert that the itinerary, while doable, sounds too hectic. I realize that you want to see as much as you can in a limited amount of time, but sometimes you can overplan to the point of fatigue. Not only that, but much of the charm of Merida, and the Yucatan in general, is in just savoring the atmosphere, wandering the streets, and sitting at a sidewalk cafe.

I hope that you can get a very early start going from Tulum to Merida on Sunday, December 12, so that you will have time to enjoy the weekend festivities... the main street is closed to traffic, the main plaza becomes a huge craft market, and there are free music and dance performances on various plazas. In my opinion that is the number one absolute "must see" in Merida. It would be a shame to miss it.

I'm not sure when the flamingos arrive, but when we were there in February we saw a good sized flock in the lagoon. Don't count on doing a lot sightseeing in Merida that day... the excursion to Celestun will pretty much take up the day. The boat ride to see the flamingos took around 3 hours if I remember correctly. The drive to Celestun will take you between 1 and 2 hours.

Merida, Yucatan
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6. Re: Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

You plan to do plenty, but if you feel up to it, why not? A few comments.

Sunday in Merida is great fun and you could look to spend the entire day there on Dec 12th. As this will be Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, you will see pilgrimages and processions in addition to the usual goings on.

On Mondays, government museums are closed, so be aware of this for the following day (13th). Izamal is 90 mins by car and obviously more by bus. Doing that in half a day isn’t really practical. Izamal is also on the way to/from Valladolid, so looking to combine the two is an option.

There are flamingoes at Uaymitun (if not in the same quantity as Celestun). You could spend a (half) day going from Merida to Dzibichaltun, where they have a great cenote, and then onto Uaymitun. Then it could be a fish lunch in Progreso. Celestun is 90 mins by car from Merida; Progreso is 40 mins.

I hope this helps your planning.

San Mateo...
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7. Re: Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

In November I went on the boat tour to see the flamingos and was told by the guide before we left that this was not the peek time for the flamingos but June/ July are...I went anyway and there was a flock eating of only about 50 birds....still worth it but don't expect see hundreds or thousands of birds..

Colo Spgs
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8. Re: Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

I can't go to Cuba but I am perplexed why you would spend so much time there and not more in the Yucatan. Your stay is hurried.

Saint James City...
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9. Re: Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

I'm guessing I could easily spend a month in Cuba and not see the entire island. I spent a week in Havana a few years ago and just scratched the surface.

Lots of geographical and culturla diversity in Cuba. Unless you go out of your way to research the things to do in Cuba, Americans never hear anything but the political side of the country.

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: Proposed Itinerary – achievable or not?

Many thanks everyone for your fabulous comments.

I thought allowing (almost) 9 days pre Cuba would give us a good taste of the Yucatan. I like to see as much as possible when I travel (you know, just in case something prevents you from returning) but this does look like I am being a little ambitious! My partner likes a quieter pace so he will be delighted if I slow the pace down somewhat.

Thanks wmsf and londener_in_yucatan for reminding me about Merida's weekend festivities. You're right, there won't be much time to enjoy them! Hopefully Ticketbus won't change their schedule - currently an ADO/GL bus leaves Tulum at 08:35 (arriving Merida around 12:00). At least an afternoon will be better than nothing!! Assuming the festivities last all day? I'll also investigate the Dzibichaltun (cenote) / Uaymitun (flamingoes) option. As time is of the essence, the shorter distance will assist greatly. I've also read about viewing flamingoes at Rio Lagartos (via Valladolid). Could that be another option and therefore free up some time in Merida?

For convenience, I would love to hire a car but there are a few issues which worry me; obviously driving on the "other" side of the road (hahaha), police scams / service station scams (we would be the unlucky ones), traffic and then concentrating more on maps and street signs (my job) rather than enjoying the surroundings. Sometimes it's nice on holidays to sit back and let someone else drive you. I guess we could always hire a car for the odd day trip if we felt inclined.

Why so long in Cuba and so little time in the Yucatan? The main purpose for this trip CO_Pilot54 was to visit Cuba (hence spending 3 weeks there). Unfortunately we can't enter Cuba via the USA so we decided to go via Cancun (since it's a hop, skip and a jump away). We thought it would be a waste not to have a brief look around the Yucatan, so added another 2 weeks to the trip. I wish we had more time this trip, but we will definitely return again and dedicate a trip solely to Mexico. The more I read about Mexico, the more I want to see!

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