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Five nights to fill

Northampton, United...
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Five nights to fill

We're leaving Akumal on a Saturday (December) and flying out of Cancun on the following Thursday.

That leaves five nights/four days to visit Chichen Itza and Merida - we'll be using public transport.

I'm thinking along the lines of:

Sat: travel by bus Akumal/Cancun/Merida

Sun: day in Merida

Mon: day in Merida

Tues: travel to Chichen Itza

Wed: visit Chichen Itza

Thurs: bus to Cancun airport

or we do it in reverse; when is it best to visit the ruins, weekend or weekday?

I think from reading the forum that it might be best to be in Merida at the weekend.

So will we need to book a hotel in advance in Merida and if so, can you recommend any (mid-price) where we won't need a car?

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1. Re: Five nights to fill

Sounds like a good plan to me but it would be much easier to go Akumal-Tulum-Merida and avoid Cancun. ADO has first class buses Tulum to Merida. I would not stay at Chichen Itza but instead in Valladolid. An interesting colonial city and excellent, low priced hotels , quick collectivo or bus transportation to the ruins.

If your travel plans are not very early December, I would have reservations since later in December is one of the heaviest travel times for Mexican families.

For well located Merida hotels that are not expensive, I would recommend the Dolores Alba near the center or the Hotel Santa Ana, in one of the nicest areas and an easy walk to the Paseo Montejo and the center.

Edited: 26 June 2012, 11:18
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2. Re: Five nights to fill

Thank you for your reply. We leave Akumal on 7 Dec and fly out of Cancun on the 13th - is that early enough to avoid the rush? Hope so, 'cos flights are booked. :D

That's really useful info re. going via Tulum; I must admit as a non Spanish speaker, I'm a bit nervous travelling about on our own but perhaps I should stop being such a wuss!! I was wondering about Valladolid - I'll look into that too. Thanks.

Edited: 26 June 2012, 11:40
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3. Re: Five nights to fill

It looks early enough. Looks like the big rush will begin on Dec. 19 or maybe a day or two before. Looks like good timing.

Its very easy to travel on the ADO buses. While most employees are not fluent in english, they are exposed to enough tourists to understand some.

I think Valladolid is a good choice. Its a nice city to explore on foot with easy

access to the ruins.

The ADO site is in spanish but easy enough to navigate if you want an idea of schedules and prices. The prices are in pesos and you wont see anything for December. But, if anything, they add buses in December so you can look at current schedules for an idea.

www.ado.com.mx

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4. Re: Five nights to fill

There are direct buses from Merida to Chichen Itza. The first bus leaves Merida at 6:30 and arrives there around 8:15 or maybe a little later. The park opens at 8:00. This is ideal because no one else will be there and there will be fewer vendors, lines, etc. Last winter I took this bus from Merida to visit Chichen Itza and it worked out very well. We stored our luggage at the park luggage area, toured the site, then moved on to Valladolid for lunch and spent the night there. There is another bus to Chichen Itza from Merida at 9:15, but if you do that you will arrive about the same time as tourists from Cancun and Playa (think huge, massive crowds).

Doing this could give you a little more time, as opposed to busing from Merida to Valladolid, then going from Valldolid to Chichen Itza the next day.

Edited: 26 June 2012, 15:31
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5. Re: Five nights to fill

Good advice from Peter. If you choose to go from Merida to Chichen the 630 bus is the best option. The second departs Merida at 915 and , as said, will get you there when the throngs from Playa and Cancun are arriving.

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6. Re: Five nights to fill

While in Valladolid, do check out La Casa de los Venados, a private home that houses one of Mexico's largest private handcraft and artisan collections .... REALLY cool! And the house itself is a mansion. Check out their website. casadelosvenados.org

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7. Re: Five nights to fill

When you go and the order of your visits is up to you. Here are some suggestions. Merida has a lovely center of town and two full days would be good enough. Sundays are the day to be in Merida in the main plaza and get there in the morning although not necessarily early. Lots going on including food. Also check it out Friday and Saturday evening in case things are happening. We lucked out and found a dance contest. It seems like many always go to the very center of town on weekend evenings. If you are there in the mornings do take the center of town walking tour and we had a great guide. We tipped since the tour was free (city information and not state run. Ask there also about what might be happening in the center of town during your evenings.

I try to encourage people to go to the Uxmal archeology site. Although not as well known as Chichen Itza it has small crowds and virtually no vendors selling to tourists within the grounds. It's not crowded since it is on the other side of Merida (an hour away?) so the bus loads from Cancun and other places don't crowd it up. Actually, as an archeological site it is comparable to Chichen Itza.

I too would encourage you to get to Chichen Itza in the morning before the crowds from elsewhere gang up on the lovely site. You do not need more than half a day to thoroughly see Chichen Itza and then you could go on and stay in Valladolid which is a nice little colonial city with plenty of places to stay and dine and buses roll through regularly to Merida and to Cancun. If you spend the morning and maybe early afternoon in chichen Itza you could easily be in Valladolid for lunch and have a walk around during the afternoon. And if you have not yet been to a cenote there is one within easy walking distance from the center of town and very worth while for a few pesos entry fee.

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8. Re: Five nights to fill

I would reverse the order of visiting Chichen and Merida. Under the itinerary you have now, you're leaving Chichen for the airport. While bus service is excellent, there are fewer regular buses to Cancun from Chichen or Pisté than Merida. Why take the chance? Visit Chichen first, finish in Merida, and be assured catching a bus.

My only caveat is if you need to be at the airport early, then I would leave from Chichen (two hours closer) and hire a cab.

Have a great trip!

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9. Re: Five nights to fill

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