Fly drive Yacatan Penisula
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Jan 10, 2013 3:52 AM Last Post By: mgtraveler
Jan 8, 2013 3:12 PM
Fly drive Yacatan PenisulaHi
We are considering a fly drive holiday to Mexico in March, flying in to Cancun, we are intending to stay for around 11 nights and were thinking of stopping at a few destinations around the Yacatan Penisula for 2-3 nights in each, can anyone offer advice on:
suggested destinations/ itinery
How far ahead we will need to book hotels
Are there any dangers/gotchas we should be aware of?
any help or advice much appreciated.
Jan 8, 2013 9:11 PM
1Car hire -- car rental is very inexpensive in the Yucatan. www.kayak.com is a good place to check for the best prices.
Itinerary -- depends on what your interests are. If you like to scuba dive, I'd suggest 4 or 5 days diving in Cozumel with about a week on the "mainland" visiting the highlights. Assuming you don't dive, I'd suggest picking up a car in Cancun when you arrive and heading over to Chichen Itza to see the Mayan ruins, maybe stopping en route for a couple at Valladolid to see the spanish colonial town and visit one of the cenotes (stay o/n near Chichen Itza). From Chichen Itza, I'd visit Merida for a couple of days. Excellent, vibrant Spanish colonial town with a lot of different types of entertainment, etc. If you want to see more Mayan ruins, you could head down to the Puuc route and see Uxmal and other nearby ruins (allow maybe 2 days, 1 night). Then I would suggest heading back towards the Caribbean coast. Be sure to visit Tulum (beautiful ruins overlooking the ocean and great beaches) and Playa del Carmen. Playa del Carmen is a good centrally located place on the coast with nice beaches and is a good place to "home base" for a while. There are many tourist attractions in that area you can visit if you are so inclined... some of them very touristy. For example, you could spend a day at Xcaret or Xelha.
At the end of your trip you can return from Playa to Cancun (about an hour away) and drop off the car and fly out or you can visit Cancun for a few days. Cancun has nice beaches but it is lined with miles of mega-resorts. If you want night life, this is the place, particularly in March during spring break, although I would personally avoid it like the plague around that time due to the throngs of college students on holiday (it is the most popular Caribbean destination during spring break). If you do visit Cancun, take a day trip over to the much more laid back Isla Mujeres.
If you would rather explore Mexican colonial towns instead of logging a lot of beach time, you could consider going from Merida and the Puuc Route down to Campeche on the west coast of the Yucatan peninsula. It is a very nice place with a colonial old town that is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Nothing particularly dangerous about travel to the places I noted above or the route I noted, other than avoiding driving at night (due to pedestrians, animals and other such things in the road that are hard to see as much as anything else). Most of the route I mentioned above is accessible via well maintained 4 lane road.
As for booking hotels ... you should go ahead and do that as soon as you can as it is their busiest time of the year. The beach towns (Cancun, Playa, Tulum, but especially Cancun) will be very crowded. If you stay inland to Merida, Campeche and near the ruins at Chichen Itza and Uxmal, there won't be nearly as many tourists (Chichen Itza gets a lot, but they are mainly day trippers from the Caribbean coast)and I don't think it will be particularly challenging finding rooms, though I would still recommend doing so in advance.
You may want to post your question on the Mexico branch as well.
Jan 9, 2013 1:56 PM
Jan 10, 2013 3:52 AM
3Good plan! If you want to find a nice little beach area in a totally laid back place that you'll practically have to yourself, go up to Isla Holbox. It's an island off the northern coast of the Yucatan about a 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive from Cancun. You'll park your car on the mainland (there are secure, inexpensive lots where you park cheaply ... A few years ago it was about $5 per day) and take a ferry over to the island (do an advanced search on this thread for Isla Holbox and my user name ... I was having trouble doing it just now on my iPad, but if you can search I have some posts that go into more detail). It has a nice wide, empty beach, pedestrian only (other than a few golf cart taxis) dirt streets, a handful of decent restaurants and bars, and some nice little places to stay (many are pretty inexpensive). Great place for bike riding as it is flat and no vehicular traffic. Holbox is known for its world class whale shark watching (one of the best places in the world to see and snorkel with them), but that occurs during the summer months around June - September. Nonetheless, this is a good destination if you want a few days at the beach away from the spring break crowds.
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