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3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

Dusseldorf, Germany
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3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

Hi everyone,

we are currently planning a three week trip to Mexico in November 2013. We are a married couple (agre 28 and 32), we love the combination of getting to know the culture and also relaxing on a beach, we both speak a little Spanish (enough for little conversations), are both Open Water Divers (beginners) and love Mexican Food. We would like to see a bit of Mexico and its culture, but also want to go diving and have a bit of relaxation on the beaches in the Riviera Maya.

I would love to get some feedback on our itinerary:

Day 1 Arrival in Mexico City in the early evening

Day 2 Mexico City

Day 3 Mexico City

Day 4 Bus trip from Mexico city to Oaxaca

Day 5 Oaxaca

Day 6 Oaxaca

Day 7 flight from Oaxaca to Cancun (via Mexico City), then ferry to Isla Mujeres

Day 8 Isla Mujeres

Day 9 Isla Mujeres

Day 10 Islja Mujeres to Chitzen Itza (rental car)

Day 11 Chitzen Itza

Day 12 Merida

Day 13 Merida - Celestun /Flamingos (day trip from Merida)?

Day 14 Drive from Merida to Playa del Carmen (rental car)

Day 15 Playa del Carmen

Day 16 Playa del Carmen / Diving Cozumel?

Day 17 Playa del Carmen - Day trip to Tulum or Akumal

Day 18 Playa del Carmen / Diving?

Day 19 Playa del Carmen

Day 20 Playa del Carmen

Day 21 Flight back home to Germany from Cancun via Mexiko City

Any feedback is highly appreciated. Is there a "must see" on Yucatan which we missed? Is the time in Mexico City and Oaxaca enough?

We thought we better stay in Playa and then make a dive trip to Cozumel instead of sleeping on the island..

Thank you in advance for all your comments!

Cozumel, Mexico
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1. Re: 3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

In my opinion, not enough time in Merida and too much in Playa del Carmen. Not certain exactly what you want in a beach resort but Playa is a busy, very touristy place. To me, not very relaxing.

Edited: 10 May 2013, 23:49
Edmonton, Canada
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2. Re: 3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

You'll be visiting three great cities (Mexico, Oaxaca, Merida), but not having much time in any of them. Maybe leave one out entirely, and promise, promise yourself to visit that one on the next trip. (Following my own advice, I've spent weeks each in Oaxaca and Merida, but haven't yet allocated a trip for Mexico DF.)

For car rentals, Easyway is a forum favourite and has offices in both Merida and Cancun, so you can do a one-way rental. I've used them for that, and they were great.

Some think Chichen Itza is overrated (I've taken the advice and avoided it), but you'll be within reach of mighty Uxmal, a great substitute.

San Jose, California
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3. Re: 3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

I agree that the trip is too rushed. I would cut out something.

We visited Uxmal and Chichen Itza on our trip and enjoyed them both. I did like Uxmal better though, so if I was going to choose one or the other, Uxmal would be it. The reasons I enjoyed Uxmal better are that you can walk around on and amongst many of the buildings and I found the architecture to be more interesting. We visited Uxmal as part of our visit to the Ruta Puuc, which is south of Merida - we saw several other small sites in that area.

Chichen Itza is very good though and well worth a visit, esspecially if you can visit first thing in the morning when it opens, before the crowds arrive and before the vendors are out in force - with your current plan you can do just that because you are planning to stay nearby. We stayed at the Mayaland, which is adjacent to the site. It was really neat to be at Chichen Itza first thing with that iconic pyramid almost all to ourselves.

Merida is a really neat city - we loved our stay there. We went to Celestun, which was good, but given your short time, I would skip it in favor of more time in Merida.

We didn't go to Isla Mujeres or Playa del Carmen, so I can't speak to those, but from my research, Playa del Carmen doesn't seem particularly appealing - mass tourism, very busy, big resorts. We spent our beach time in Tulum, which we really enjoyed.

Dusseldorf, Germany
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4. Re: 3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

Hi everyone, thank you for your replies!

I will try to change our travel plans a bit. However, it's very hard to cut something out. We will definitely be in Mexico City, since our flights will arrive there - and I don't know if I leave out Oaxaca or Merida. I don't think that we will come back to Mexico so soon, since there are so many interesting countries in the world to see, that I would like to see a bit over everything while being there.

Thank you for the advice for the car rental and also for Chichen Itza and Celestun. We will decide if we go to Celestun when we will be in Merida - maybe we leave that out if it's too rushed. And for Chichen Itza, we will try to be there first thing in the morning - thank you for that!

Concerning Playa del Carmen: We will maybe shorten our time there. But we wanted to have some beach time after the cities and also want to go diving or do some day trips on the riviera Maya. I thought after all the traveling from Mexico City / Oaxaca / Merida etc we would to just take some rest..

I just thought about flying from Oaxaca directly to Merida and then go to Chichen Itza from there (on our way to the Riviera Maya). Do you think it's better to have a rental car on the Yucatan or should we do the trips by bus?

Thanks!

San Jose, California
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5. Re: 3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

I think spending time on the beach is an excellent idea - dont want to discourage that at all. Just pick the location for your beach time carefully so you get the type of experience you are looking for. PDC might be exactly what you want. A lot of people really like it.

Merida, Yucatan
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6. Re: 3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

I agree with Robert, that's a lot of time in Playa. More laid back would be Akumal or Tulum, but even then 6 days sounds a lot.

Given you won't be in Merida long, I'd go to Uxmal rather than Celestun. If you add an extra day in Merida, include a visit to Hacienda Sotuta de Peon.

Remember that most museums and galleries are closed in Merida on Monday. On Sunday, the main square is closed to traffic and there are lot of cultural events and typical clothes, etc clothes to buy.

You don't need to drive to Playa, the ADO bus service is very good. If you do have a car, you could overnight near Chichen (either going to or coming from Merida) and in that way avoid the worst of the crowds/vendors by getting to the pyramids at 8 am

Hope that helps. .

Colo Spgs
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7. Re: 3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

Other things to consider. Cenotes are an interesting thing to see/swim/dive. You have Ik Kil very close to C. Itza, Dzitnup close to Valladolid, and beaucoup in the Tulum area (Gran, Dos Ojos, etc)

If you might like ziplines, you have the following:

hiddenworlds.com

xplor.travel

selvatica.com.mx

Another ruins worth seeing near Valladolid is Ek Balam.

From the Playa del Carmen area or south, you have Coba (my favorite) and Tulum. So you have plenty to do and see once you get to the Riviera Maya.

Edited: 12 May 2013, 22:02
Detroit, Michigan
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8. Re: 3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

Playa is a good base for day trips south: Akumal, Tulum, Coba, Sian Ka'an and others

San Jose, California
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9. Re: 3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

Uxmal, south of Merida, is a very good site - definitely worth a visit. And I think given the limited time, that would be my choice over Celestun as well.

We visited Sotuta de Peon on our trip, and it was definitely a highlight. If you are interested in the history of the Yucatan, the hacienda system was very important to that history, so a visit to a hacienda would be a great addition to the trip. And at Sotuta de Peon, with the demonstration of the machine house, the ride through the fields and the swim in a cenote, it is a really good, comprehensive tour.

Dusseldorf, Germany
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10. Re: 3 weeks Mexico itinerary (Mexico city, Oaxaca and Yucatan)

Hi everyone, thank you again for the advice. We will try to make it to Uxmal and then maybe skip Celestun.

Can you name average prices for a bus trip from Merida to Chichen Itza or Valladolid and from Chichen to Playa?

I wanted to compare the prices for a rental car (plus toll road) vs. travelling by bus with two people.

thanks again

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