You may want to consider renting a car for a few days or even for the whold time as I did.
Having a car gives you great freedom, you can go where and when you want. You can spend a few nights a different locations around the Yucatan. You also have the freedom of changing your plans as you travel as long as you are back in time for your flight back home. We saw a small time bull fight which we would have never have seen if we didn't have a car. I posted a video of the bull fight.
If you can live with a small car with manual transmission, it will be even cheaper. I rented a very small car with a manual transition. I declined CDW because my credit card covers it. The total bill (not including gas) on my credit card was $145 USD for 9 days, about $16 USD/day. Rates drop when you rent over 5 or 6 days.
I rented at the airport. There is a small additional onetime fee using the airport but it was cheaper and a lot easier then taking the bus or taxi into town. The airport Hertz also had a small car then the downtown Hertz so the price was actually cheaper.
There was a lot of debate on VT if my credit card CDW is valid in Mexico. Most car rentals in Mexico mandate that you pay additional CDW insurance. However, I called both the credit card and rental company (Hertz) and they said it is valid. The rental did have a deposit on my credit card for the CDW waver but I was never charge that on my card.
I later found out that someone at work did the same thing and had an accident. The rental company charged his credit card the amount for the accident but his credit card waved that charge because they have CDW as benefit of using the card.
When you pick up the car, they have a form you sign about preexisting damage. I pointed out every scratch and dirt on the car. After pointing out so many things, they gave me the form to note pre-existing damage. I put a lot of marks on the diagram of the car indication scratches (really just dust because it was a newer car). I don't think that would have help if I cam back with a dent.
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If you are planning on renting a car and own a Garmin GPS with card slot, you can a GPS map for Mexico for about ½ price on E-Bay. The 2008 map worked very well during my trip to the Yucatan. The Points of Interest database is not as good as the one for the US and some of the one way roads in Valladolid were not marked as one way roads. However in general, the GPS map worked out very well.
I was planning of re-selling the map once I returned. The price even went up after my trip so I could make a small profit. But my friend wanted me to save the map for a next trip. I procrastinated and then the Bird Flu (H5N1) came and the prices dropped.
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Wirh a little reasearch, we ended up going the Yucatan Peninsula from Sunday, March 1 through Tuesday March 10. This was during Spring break but before the main crowds were arriving. We left when the main crowds started to arrive.
Airfare prices to Cancun, Mexico vary greatly. A different of a week or even a few days can make the fare double or be ½. When we first investigated going to the Yucatan from Boston, the fare were very expensive. We later found that this was Spring Break time and disappointed the travel agent didn't tell us that. We told the travel agent we are flexible.
We dropped the agent once we found they didn't advise us how to get better fairs. Boston has two airlines with non-stops to Cancun. The competition help lower the price in my opinion. USAir had a reasonable price and posted this fare was ending on Monday. So we booked the flights.
Yes, the advertise fare was over on Monday. The new fare was cheaper for the same flights we booked!!. Buying air tickets is a balancing act and a game of chicken. You have to balance the best time and price. You do not want to miss a good fare but also not find out the price is cheaper after you buy it.
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Not that Chiquila isn't safe, but why pay for a car you're not using and will worry about? I'd take the bus from Cancun, enjoy Holbox, return to Cancun, and then start your road trip.
Yucatan Today has some excellent travel itineraries you might enjoy:
The Puuc Route http://yucatantoday.com/en/topics/puuc-route
and The Convent Route http://yucatantoday.com/en/topics/convent-route
Someone asked me a question about visiting Edzna in one day from Merida, and I had to write down the answer. This is what your day would be like:
0.5 hr - get from your hotel to the ADO depot
2.5 hr - Merida to Campeche on ADO bus
0.5 hr - taxi to downtown Campeche (Campeche ADO depot is a long way from downtown)
0.5 hr - walk to the Mercado where the Edzna combi leaves
0 to 1 hr - wait for the combi to fill up (they don't leave unless it worth their while)
1.0 hr - combi to Edzna
2.0 hr - tour Edzna (you will have to do this on the run - no time to stop and read anything)
0.5 hr - walk out to the road where the Edzna combi drives by
0 to 1 hr - wait for the Campeche combi to drive by
1.0 hr - combi to Campeche
0.5 hr - taxi to ADO depot
2.5 hr - Campeche to Merida on ADO bus
0.5 hr - Merida ADO depot to your hotel
That's a total of 12 to 14 hours, and you haven't eaten, you haven't walked about Campeche, you've speed-toured Edzna, and the ADO Merida-Campeche-Merida ADO bus schedule is somehow is going exactly when you need it.
Don't forget this is Mexico - the land of manyana - take it easy.
I usually do not recommend car rental by tourists to Mexico (see Mexico transportation prior tip), but I have made exceptions for places in the Yucatan where the roads and traffic are reasonable and having a car can allow you to see so much more. This is especially true for visiting Uxmal from Merida. In the same area there are lots of smaller ruins, caves, a good restaurant in Tucul and an old hemp hacienda to visit. A circuit tour can be made in a day. I find some of these smaller places as rewarding to visit as the larger more famous sites. Many years ago I visited hopping on and off small buses, but on my last visit I was with a group and we rented a van for a Merida to Merida loop. This was great because not only did we see Uxmal conveniently, but I could see some a few of those off the beaten track sites I had not been able to see before. If we had tried to take local buses we would have spent a lot of time waiting and still not been able to see as much.
We encoutnered no problems driving about but the rules we were given by both guide book & local Mexicans :
1) Always full up "lleno" (full tank) with petrol EVERY time you see a petrol station - sometimes you can drive for miles and miles and not see another car, let alone petrol station.
2) Try to avoid driving at night when it is dark. (a) Some areas may have bandits.
(b) In the dark it is nigh on impossible to see the "topes" (sleeping policeman / road calming humps) and (C) animals have little to no regard of whether you can see them on the road in the dark or not!
Remember cars may not all function to the same standard as you are used to so headlights may not work as you would expect.
3) Always be vigilent if the road appears to be blocked. In 1999 I was warned by a fair few Mexican's that what may appear to be a road block due to an accident or a broken down motor could possibly be a "set up" by bandits.
The major roads were mostly well maintained.
Do be sure to have a break - the roads are very long, completely flat (except in the Puuc Hills) and totally straight. The driving can become rather tedious if you are knocking up miles and hours at a time.
Occassionally you might see a road sign warning of a sudden and sharp bend in the road. I am not saying that there aren't places that may need these signs but... usually they turn out to be the slightest nudge on the steering wheel! The danger then, of course, if oversteering from the anticipation of something more dramatic!
Toll roads (autopistas) are referred to as cuota roads (you have to pay on that). If you're in a hurry, getting from Mérida to Cancún, you should take the toll road. It's worth its prize. The second road, the libre, will get you there for free, and it is a lot more scenic as it gets you through a lot of Mayan villages. But it takes you a lot longer to arrive in either Cancún or Mérida. An idea is to take the cuota road one way, and toll road getting back.
If you are going on an excursion from Progreso along the coast, fill up before leaving the town. The Chicxulub gas station is closed. If you go into the interior of the state, fill up when you see a station and try to not have less than half a tank. It is important to check that the gas station attendants puts the pump back to zero before he starts pumping. If he does not, he may add the bill from the previous purchase. Gas in Mexico is expensive. The cost goes up every month by about five centavos. At the moment, gas is about 2.50 USD a gallon.
YYYAAAHHHHH!!!!! You think people here are bad, HOLY COW!!! Man, I felt like I was in an extreme sports show driving in Progreso and Merida! Anyway, if you do drive in this area, be sure you get full coverage with Mexican insurance. When you rent a car, rent from Executive Auto rental, they are reputable, and you can rent a car for a day and purchase Mexican auto insurance for $52 US!!!
Also be sure to read my Warnings / Danger tip on driving in Mexico.
There is a collectivo that runs from Ticul to Oxcutzcab. From there, you can take a truck collectivo to "las Grutas de Loltun."
I had a wonderful stay at the beautiful hotel in the center of Merida. The rooms are all unique and...more
The rooms are comfortable and reasonable. Public restaraunt is built around the 1st courtyard and...more
Km 120 carretera Merida-Puerto Juarez, Chichen Itza, Yucatan, 97751, Mexico
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business