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So much to see...So little time.

Northern Ireland
Level Contributor
91 posts
49 reviews
So much to see...So little time.

Planning Mexico vacation...only ever been to Puerta Vallarta- and such a huge country with so many interesting sites. Believe me I have read through the forums and everyone has got their favourite places to recommend. So heres my considerations and hoping someone can help me whittle them down so I can have the best mix of sightseeing and R and R with best connections by road/air without doubling back if possible.

Places I would like to see:- Mexico city, Puebla, Oaxaca, San Christobal de la Casas, Tulum, Merida, Isla de Mujeres- (or Playa del Carmen).

My arrival point is flexible on/about 29 November 18, but I expect best to arrive in Mexico City and work my way towards Cancun for my departure 21 December 18. My backpacking days are well

past now. Not fit enough for lots of trekking but keen to see a few Mayan sites with some bars/restaurants in the evenings.

8 replies to this topic
San Miguel de...
Destination Expert
for San Miguel de Allende, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast
Level Contributor
8,325 posts
129 reviews
1. Re: So much to see...So little time.

You can accomplish that itinerary on ADO buses. Go to the website for the timetable. From SCC you should head for Palenque, which is possibly the most impressive Mayan site in Mexico. The ruins around Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca aren't Mayan, but you probably know that.

Indianapolis...
Level Contributor
2,024 posts
55 reviews
2. Re: So much to see...So little time.

Your route is a pretty common one. The order is good except Merida should come after San Cristobal -- so:

Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, San Cristobal, Merida, Tulum/Isla Mujeres/Playa del Carmen, Cancun.

Plenty of buses on these routes, or you could look for some internal flights on the longer sections. For example, if you wanted to fly from San Cristobal to Merida, Viva Aerobus has flights that cost under $50 US and would take under 2 hours, replacing 11+ hours on the bus. However, you'd miss destinations along the way, like Palenque, as Londinense mentions.

Northern Ireland
Level Contributor
91 posts
49 reviews
3. Re: So much to see...So little time.

Thanks Londinense and Peter 826 for your valuable advice...I will research these routes and timetables. One more thing if I may, any suggestions on how long should be spent in each place to get a flavour of the area without feeling rushed- should I drop any of them?

BC
Level Contributor
5,598 posts
201 reviews
4. Re: So much to see...So little time.

When I have done interesting trips, like you are planning, I have been disappointed in beach time at the end. It just seems so boring, and I really disliked Playa del Carmen for that reason. But I understand that you may want some beaches before heading home (I lived outside Belfast) to the chilly weather.

San Cristobal is very charming and interesting, lots to do and very inexpensive. But it will be very cool when the sun goes down, so be prepared for that. Merida is full of tourists, lots of Brits there on tours. The city puts on lots of free entertainment, the food isn't as good as elsewhere, lots of english spoken. The Folk Art Museum is surprisingly good, very well curated with items from all over the country.

I haven't been to Oaxaca in years, so can't comment. But Chiapas is incredibly beautiful, so do try to see more than just San Cristobal. If you stop in Palenque, keep a separate day open for the trip to Yaxchilan and Bonampak. You could stop in pretty Campeche instead of Merida and then go on to Valladolid before the coast. Having been to both I prefer Campeche.

Indianapolis...
Level Contributor
2,024 posts
55 reviews
5. Re: So much to see...So little time.

I'm not a beach person, so the eastern side of the Yucatan (Playa del Carmen, Cancun, etc) holds little to no interest for me. I would probably drop those in favor of more time somewhere else, or an added destination like Palenque or Campeche. I'd spend at least 5 days in Mexico City, 2 in Puebla, 4 in San Cristobal, 2-3 in Merida. I'm not familiar enough with Oaxaca to have an opinion.

Merida, Mexico
Level Contributor
2,752 posts
12 reviews
6. Re: So much to see...So little time.

I'd add more time to Merida if you are serious about Maya ruins; e.g. one day for the city (preferably a Sunday), two days for visiting Maya sites, one day for cenotes. There are some nice beaches near Merida, as well. While the Gulf beaches don't quite have the same expanse of white sand and crystal clear blue water as the Caribbean they also don't have as many tourists nor are they being affected by seaweed to the same degree. I'd also add a day or two to Valladolid, which is a charming town and near the great Maya sites of Chichen Itza and Ek Balam as well as more cenotes.

Oaxaca deserves as much time as you can give it. A couple of days just for the city and then a couple of days for exploring the surrounding valley.

Pumpermum, I live in Merida but I've never heard of the Folk Art Museum. What museum, specifically, are you talking about? The Anthropology museum on the Paseo de Montejo?

Northern Ireland
Level Contributor
91 posts
49 reviews
7. Re: So much to see...So little time.

Thanks again guys for your input....and pumpermum has first hand experience of Belfast and how cold and dreary our winters are, with continual grey skies from November to March. Hence the R and R time at end of trip. Have always built this onto the end of our holidays and it sort of undelines the (usually) great times exploring before and allows wind down time and set up for our winter to come when we get back... So Yucatan/Isla Mujeres definitely a must. Thanks for the other suggestions but I am afraid adding further places would mean sacrificing others. So I will keep looking and open to any suggestions/input. Just seen this report https:/… which obviously can be done in reverse, so if I were to replace Escondida with SCC??? decisions, decisions.

BC
Level Contributor
5,598 posts
201 reviews
8. Re: So much to see...So little time.

Visitingnow had a really good comment about the Gulf beaches near Merida. Yes they aren't as picture perfect postcard pretty, but they will have way more of an authentic feel, versus the very touristy other coast. And that coast is being hit hard with the Sargassum seaweed right now, although I believe that Isla Mujeres has spots that are free of it. So if you aren't into major foreign tourists give a thought to spending your beach time based from Merida. I went to one last November and enjoyed a nice fish lunch, time on the sand, and going in the water. You will have hot weather.

And if you don't get to Palenque (my favourite Mayan ruin), do visit Uxmal from Merida.

VN: I wrote "Folk Art Museum" without consulting my notes, as that is what it is called on TripAdvisor and on Google Maps. I called it Popular Arte Museo. It is adjacent to Parque Mejorada, I was lucky enough in early November to see the Camino de Flores (Flower Street) on display in the park. Had to go a couple of times as the museum was closed for a long weekend when I first tried. It is really very good, I was happy to note that I could place almost all items from where they are from, without reading the descriptions (they had english cards), having seen the items in the geographic source. Lots of items from Chiapas and Michoacan, my two favourite Mexican states. So many beautiful items, I actually was a bit annoyed at a tourist who was just breezing through and not even really looking at the creations.

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