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Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

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New York
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Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

We're a family of 4 (2 kids under 10) and flying into CUN in early May. Would love to have your thoughts on the following itinerary please:

Day 1 - Friday (Arrival in CUN) at around noon. Pick up car rental and drive west towards Merida. We've been to Valladolid before and it seems like a good stop for a late-ish lunch break. We've eaten at Taberna d l Frailes before... can always go back but open to trying something else?). Figure we would arrive in Merida mid-late PM. Staying at Piedra de Agua Hotel right in the Centro area. Guess we'll do some walkaround that area of the city - Cathedral, Plaza, etc.

Day 2 - Sat. Get up early to do bits of the Ruta Puuc, but with kids and heat, the trip destination will mainly be to see Uxmal. Any recs on which one of the other ruins we should not miss if anything for just a quick stop? Lunch at one of the Haciendas in the area - Yaxcopil? San Pedro Ochil? Temozon? Recommendations? 8)

After lunch, I'm curious about trying to hit Cenotes at Cuzama... realize it's a bit out of the Uxmal route but may be a nice respite from the heat and certainly different. If there's a way to accomodate that after lunch and still be back to Merida by sundown for dinner, that'd be great.

Dinner in Merida followed by any festivities in town on Saturdays.

Day 3 - Sun. Head west early to Celestun. Do the whole flamingo thing and maybe have lunch in the area. No idea where yet. Drive back to Merida to check out more of the city in afternoon.

Day 4 - Heading out to Tulum. Waypoint in Izamul to check out the town. Not sure where for lunch on the way to Tulum. Once in Tulum we're a bit more familiar.

One thing that's also not clear to me. We are staying at the Piedra de Agua Hotel right by the Cathedral on Calle 60. I understand some of the street get blocked off for weekend festivities/events. Will it be a problem for us to drive in and out of the hotel parking during that time?

Oh, and we speak zippo Spanish! LOL.

Any tips and advice would be great! Many thanks ahead of time!

Cozumel, Mexico
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1. Re: Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

As far as parking at the Piedra de Aqua, the street will be blocked but I am not sure where they are parking the cars since nothing right around that area. So the parking may well be far enough away, to not be a problem.

Merida, Yucatan
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2. Re: Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

I'd recommend Remate on Saturday night - it's at the end of Paseo de Montejo (Calles 47 & 56). You'll find stalls, eating places and live music. You could also have a stroll along P de M as many of the houses are nicely illuminated.

The best food option in Izamal is Kinich. Very Yucatecan, very good. Other than that, you could eat in Valladolid. Have a horse-drawn carriage tour in Izamal and get the kids sitting up with the driver.

On Sunday afternoon see the traditional dancing in front of Palacio Municipal (about 5 pm, I think) and/or take the Carnavailto tour bus, which is funky and should appeal to the kids.

Have a great time.

PS. An alternative chance to see dancing is on Fri night in the university building on the corner of 60 & 57, but check as I don't think it's on every week. The setting is great and you could enjoy the lower temps.

Merida, Mexico
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3. Re: Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

My two cents:

Day 2 - Uxmal trip. It is going to be extremely hot and the kids may find it less than exciting, although the iguanas are always a big hit as is the climb at the back of the site. GO EARLY. And take water, ice in a cooler and stick hand towels in the ice water for when you come out. You will thank me when you feel the cold moisture on your charred and baking skin. I would skip the other sites except for perhaps the Museo del Cacao (Cacao Museum) which is very interesting, interactive and I think the kids will find it interesting. Once there, keep going and hit the LolTun caves which are, as the name suggests, underground which means COOL. From there head back via Mani, stopping there for poc chuc at the Tutul Xiu restaurant and then back to Merida. More caves at Tecoh as well as cenotes in Telchaquillo, Pixyah and of course Cuzama but that will be a little further.

You can't eat at Yaxcopoil, there is no restaurant. There is a lady that makes panuchos under the tree in the square by the hacienda, but that is only in the morning. Lunch at Temozon may or may not happen, depending on who is staying there. Very exclusive. Ochil has decent Yucatecan food.

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Day 3 - Celestun. Are you a birder? The drive out there is 2 hours if you dont get lost and 2 hours back. Towns and speed bumps galore. If you like birds then the trip will be worth it. Skip the 'meh' speedboat thing from under the bridge and go do the ecological canoe trip at Dzinitun just down the road. You can eat seafood anywhere at any of the restaurants there. Try the pescado frito, the whole fried fish and ask for boquinete if they have it.

That's it!

Have a great trip!

Cape Cod
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4. Re: Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

My two centavos:

Day 1, Cancun to Merida - As you arrive at noon, I wouldn't bother stopping at Valladolid. Merida is Valladolid on steroids, and V. suffers by comparison. As you've already seen it, skip it and drive straight through as you want to get to Merida and get checked in well before dark. If you get hungry, eat at the service area between Valladolid and Chichen Itza exits. There's a nice taco place, Doña Something. Last time I ate there a can of iced tea exploded all over me (that's right -- no carbonation, but it blew up -- only in Mexico!).

Day 2, Ruta Puuc - I agree with most of Bill's recommendations (esp. bringing the water and towels) except for one -- I'd skip Loltun. Lately I've been made aware of a respiratory ailment contracted by inhaling bat guano, which can be very serious in children. I'd skip all caves as your kids are under 10.

And another vote for what Londoner calls "Remate," but I only know it as "Noche Mexicana." I go every time I'm in town, I enjoy it that much.

Day 3, Celestun - No opinion, other than it seems like a lot of effort to see flamingoes. But I'm not a flamingo kind of guy. And let me ditto Bill's suggestion of getting pescado frito, especially if you have kids who aren't afraid of icky things. Nothing like eating meat from a whole fish, head, tail and all.

Day 4, Izamal to Tulum - A couple of hours in Izamal is plenty from my perspective. You might want to leave early and swing through Motul and go upstairs of the mercado to get some huevos motuleños for breakfast. It was a dish invented for a governor who was murdered.

Have a great trip!

Cozumel, Mexico
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5. Re: Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

Many good suggestions. I always enjoy "Noche Mexicana." . A great place to spend Saturday night. And while there, dont miss buying tacos from Sabrina. She is the closest to the entertainment area---and always a line for her tacos. If you miss her there , you will find her at St. Lucia park on Sundays . Also music and dancing there.

Merida
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6. Re: Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

I definitely vote for lunch at Ochil.... great food, a little henequen museum, small gift shop, lots of place for kids to explore...

Cape Cod
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7. Re: Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

@Robert: On my most recent visit I promised myself I would get a Sabrina taco based on your recommendation. Unfortunately I was still full from my Saturday supper when I got to Noche Mexicana. But I watched her and her crew work. A marvel of culinary engineering.

Merida, Yucatan
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8. Re: Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

Ochil is a good option for a visit and I also agree that Celestún is a long way to go to see flamingoes, especially as your visit is so short.

Have a look at Sotuta de Peon, a working hacienda. That should have enough for your kids - a ride on a 'truck', the cenote for dip and a very well given tour in fluent English. You can eat there, too.

New York
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9. Re: Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

Many thanks for all the suggestions!

I'm modifying a bit based on the recommendations here, so now this is what it looks like:

Day 1 (Fri): Head straight to Merida from CUN if at all possible, skipping Valladolid if need be, but keeping that as an option if we're starving. Late lunch followed by walk around centro area in evening to get our bearings, plus dinner somewhere. Need to find a place to get an ice box or some container... hopefully will see some kind of supermkt on the way into the city.

Day 2 (Sat): Head out early to Uxmal... hang out a bit then head to Hacienda Ochil for brunch. If routes permit, go on to Chukanan for the 3 cenotes there to beat the heat. Maybe check out Sotuta de Peon before that if there's time (probably not). Are the roads pretty straightforward? Especially from Ochil towards Chukanan? We brought out Garmin GPS to Yucatan last year and it was generally quite accurate except for the smaller roads within Valladolid.

Back in Merida by evening to rest up for Noche Mexicana!

Day 3 (Sun): Pretty much convinced we will skip Celestrun. Didn't realize it will end up taking almost a whole day. Plus sounds like there's a lot going on in Merida because of the Sunday fairs, etc. Outside of restricting ourselves to the centro area, are there other parts of the city or Merida vicinity worth killing time on? Dzinilchaltun ruins/chenote? Just trying to be cognizant of the heat and kids.

Day 4 (Mon): Early rise... head to Motul for them eggs and bfast. Then on to Izamal, and then long drive to Tulum via Coba!

Quick question... what is parking like generally? Are there unique rules to public parking? Think we're ok in Merida and the major tourist spots... but I assume I can just park where I see other cars parked along streets or in lots and should be safe-ish?

Many thanks everyone! You guys have been amazing and we're so excited about our trip!

La Crosse, Wisconsin
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10. Re: Merida 3-Day Itinerary Opinions Please

As in the case with any urban area in the US, I would avoid parking my car on the street overnight. Your hotel should be able to direct you to a secure parking lot. As you drive down the street you will see signs "Estacionamiento" or a red circle with the letter "E". This is a parking lot. Costs will be 5-10 pesos per hour. Make sure they will be open when you want your car back. I would prefer a parking lot rather than trying to cheap it out with on street parking.

Enjoy