Mexico City - Cancun in 12 days
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jan 24, 2013 12:44 PM Last Post By: Jroen
Jan 20, 2013 4:00 AM
- I'm planning to rent a car and drive from Mexico City to Cancun (we are two guys). I've driven around countries like South Africa, Thailand, Argentina... or is Mexico just something totally different? Would you recommend or advise against touring around in a rental car?
- I know it's a busy schedule. However, I'm used to intensive road trips and I'm planning 1 extra week in Miami afterwards (relaxing) before heading back to home town Brussels. But happy to hear if you think some parts are just not feasible!
- Is there a way to avoid the 8h car trip from Oaxaca to San Cristobal? I read that Aerotucan proposes direct flight (though impossible to see prices on their website). If we drive, is Oaxaca-San Cristobal feasible in just one day? Tehuantepec could be a night stop, but it just doesn't seem that interesting to me and it would leave me less time for the rest of my itinerary.
- Am I missing out on interesting places? Any stops you would recommend on the road?
- I could maybe skip one night at Playa del Carmen (as I'll be doing the beach in Miami afterwards). Where should I add that extra night in my itinerary?
A lot of questions, I know! Would just be great to have your top of mind thinking! Thanks!!
Tuesday 12 March
Arrival in Mexico City at 5 AM
Wednesday March 13
Thursday 14 maart
Mexico City - (1h37 drive) Puebla - (3h47) Oaxaca
Friday 15 March
Visit Monte Alban and possibly mountainbiking in the surrounding area
Saturday 16 March
Oaxaca - San Cristobal (8h09 drive or alternatively fly??)
Sunday 17 March
Monday 18 March
San Cristobal - Palenque (3h19)
Tuesday 19 March
Palenque - Merida (6h25)
Wednesday 20 March
Merida - (3h34) Tulum - (47 min) Playa del Carmen
Thursday 21 March
Playa del Carmen
Friday 23 March
Playa del Carmen - fly out from Cancun
Jan 20, 2013 4:46 AM
Jan 20, 2013 4:47 AM
Jan 20, 2013 5:18 AM
3Why drive when there are great buses that service those routes? Mexican buses are some of the best in the world. Also, spend more time in Mexico City (assuming jet lag on the first day...you need more than one day there.) Though I haven't been to Merida, many I know love it...so just spending a night seems like a waste. There's no need to go to Tulum if you are not staying there. Well, generally, your trip is way too rushed for my taste.
Jan 20, 2013 6:13 AM
4As for your questions:
-Driving in Mexico: Roads are good, but federal highways are toll roads and are expensive and gas isn't cheap either. Watch out for the deadly topes in towns and rural highways.
-Schedule: The trip is too rushed for my tastes, but doable. I'd borrow some time from Miami to add to Mexico.
-Oaxaca to San Cristobal: I haven't heard about any direct flights between Oaxaca and San Cristobal (Tuxtla Gutierrez actually). Remember, you have an hour van ride from the Tuxtla Gutierrez airport to San Cristobal and flying between them would most likely involve a change of planes in Mexico City.
-Interesting places: Yeah - tons of them - too many to list - and that's before you encounter the unanticipated pueblo, mercado, festival, or street scene. I keep my camera at the ready as soon as I arrive in Mexico until I leave.
-Skipping Playa del Carmen: You could skip it, but you won't gain that much if you do. Instead I'd borrow three or four days from Miami to add to Mexico.
Jan 20, 2013 6:53 AM
5The car drop-off fee is enormous - I checked Hertz (just as an example) and they will charge you 890 USD just for dropping the car off in Cancun (picking it up in Mexico City). So the car rental idea is going to be VERY expensive once you add in rental costs (40 USD a day with full insurance), gas, tolls and parking. Bus between cities makes more sense because you can actually sleep (or at least rest) on the bus which you can't do if you're behind the wheel. (Renting a car is fine if you want to travel around a base but not good for inter-city travel with very little time.)
So your itinerary is possible but will be absolutely exhausting if driving yourself.
Also there is a service Oaxaca to Tuxtla on Aerotucan but you still have to get to San Cristobal from there as pointed out above. And, again, it's more money.....
Jan 20, 2013 8:55 AM
Jan 20, 2013 9:30 AM
7Thanks for the feedback. Might indeed forget the idea of renting a car for the whole trip and see what I can do by bus.
I think I'll also skip Playa del Carmen and stay at Tulum to get the Mexican beach experience. This means:
2 nights Mexico City
2 nights Oaxaca
2 nights San Cristobal
2 nights Palenque
1 night Merida
1 night Tulum
I'm also thinking of skipping Merida and go directly to Tulum, with a stop/night somewhere on the way there. What could be a possible stop? Or what's a good reason to keep Merida in the schedule (eg Chichen Itza on the way to Tulum (but I'll have seen already quite some ruins) or Celestun's flamingos)?
1 night extra in Mexico City could also be a good idea.
Jan 20, 2013 10:08 AM
Jan 20, 2013 9:48 PM
9It's still much too rushed. Consider reducing your time in Miami to two days, so you can spend 5 more nights in Mexico, dispersed along the planned route.
Or, if you've already reserved your flights into MC and out of Cancun, locking in the dates, consider dividing your 12 days between the MC area (the City + one smaller place) and the Yucatan Peninsula, linked by taking a MEX-CUN one way flight.
Or, stick with the taking buses but drop Oaxaca from the plan, That could both give you two nights to spend elsewhere and also reduce significantly the duration of your Mexico City to San Cristobal bus journey.
"I think I'll also skip Playa del Carmen and stay at Tulum to get the Mexican beach experience."
Are you aware that Playa del Carmen is also a beach resort, as is Puerto Morelos, a small town even closer to the Cancun Airport? After having come all the way from Mexico City by bus, why not enjoy your hurried, less than one day long, "beach experience" at Puerto Morelos instead of traveling further to Tulum. Staying at P. Morelos rather than Tulum would eliminate three hours of unnecessary 'back and forth' bus travel from your already ambitious plan.
Jan 21, 2013 6:41 AM
Jan 21, 2013 1:27 PM
11IWhen you get off the bus in Playa del Carmen you are 1 block from the beach... and have a wide selection of hostels and inexpensive hotels available. In Tulum, the bus depot is in downtown Tulum and you will either be staying there or at a pricey place on the beach. You will need to take taxis to the beach (and back) if you stay in less expensive downtown. Just a thought... I also think this itinerary is very rushed. I would take it day by day and see if you want to stop and linger for awhile. The buses are very efficient and inexpensive in Mexico... forget the car!
Jan 21, 2013 8:17 PM
12Have been to Tulum 3 times but have never bothered staying there. Most backpackers have advised me that the places on the beach are too expensive. Easy trip from PDC to go to beach/ruins at Tulum and then back to PDC. Tulum town is pretty much a dump.
Jan 24, 2013 12:44 PM
13Thank you all for the feedback!
3 nights Mexico City (bus to Oaxaca)
2 nights Oaxaca (plane to Tuxtla)
2 nights San Cristobal (rental car or bus to Palenque)
1 night Palenque + night bus to Tulum
2 nights Tulum
I understand that there are different opinions about Tulum, but based on what I read I think it's a good place for two nights in a luxury hotel on the beach.
Tuxtla GutiérrezBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$157.70 per night
Tuxtla GutiérrezBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$65.60 per night
Playa Del CarmenBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$10.03 per night