Mexico – November 2017
This was my third trip to Mexico and it’s quickly becoming my favorite country to visit. I planned this trip as a week to visit Mayan ruins, swim in cenotes, and relax on the beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula; followed by a few days in Mexico City, one of the most amazing cities in the world.
Day 1: late afternoon flight from NYC to Cancun, overnight in Cancun
Day 2: visit Chichen Itza, drive to Merida, overnight in Merida
Day 3: visit Uxmal and surrounding ruins along Puuc Route, overnight in Merida
Day 4: visit Izamal, Uayma, and Valladolid, overnight in Valladolid
Day 5: visit Grand Cenote and Tulum beach, overnight in Tulum
Day 6: visit Tulum ruins and street art in town, overnight in Tulum
Day 7: visit Akumal and Cenote Yal-ku, evening flight to Mexico City, overnight in Mexico City
Day 8: visit Centro Historico sites, overnight in Mexico City
Day 9: visit more Centro Historico sites, overnight in Mexico City
Day 10: relax, overnight flight to NYC
Delta (premium economy): JFK-CUN
I paid for an economy seat, but upgraded to premium economy at check-in. It wasn’t worth it for the short flight.
Interjet (economy): CUN-MEX
I didn’t have high expectations for this unknown airline, but the flight was comfortable and spacious. They also served full-size snacks. I would fly them again.
Aeromexico (economy): MEX-JFK
Aeromexico is a nice airline and this 5 hour flight was perfectly fine.
Ibis Cancun – basic – $
Ibis is cheap and the rooms are super small, but you can’t beat the price.
Hotel Merida – moderate – $
I couldn’t find many reviews for this hotel, so I was a little apprehensive. But we arrived to a beautiful hotel with two large courtyards. The room was spacious and well-kept. A tasty breakfast was included and served at the adjoining restaurant.
Hotel El Mesón del Marqués, Valladolid – moderate – $
Best hotel of the trip with a central location and great pool, great views, and great breakfast served in the hotel’s highly-rated restaurant.
PavoReal Resort, Tulum – moderate – $$
PavoReal is an all inclusive resort and the price for a single traveler per night was a great deal. The food was basic, but good and my room overlooked the ocean. There was also a hammock on my balcony, which I used to watch the sunrise every morning.
We rented a car for the one week trip in Yucatan. It was necessary to cover as many places as we did everyday. In Mexico City, I relied on the 25 cent Metro and Uber.
Uxmal has the most amazing Mayan ruins I’ve ever seen. There are so many rich architectural details. Also, visitors are allowed to climb one of the pyramids for a great bird’s eye view of the site.
This large lagoon near Akumal was the best snorkeling of our trip – we saw so many variety of fish. The lagoon was busy but it’s big enough to get some alone time with the sea life.
Sayil, Labna, Kabah
These three sites, along with Uxmal (above) and Xlapak form the Puuc Route, a group of Mayan cities that were built in a similar style, with heavy ornamentation. The name comes from the surrounding hills on the otherwise flat Yucatan peninsula.
We arrived within the first hour that site was open and it was already busy. We spent two hours walking around the site and by the time we left, El Castillo, the main pyramid was overrun with tourists. The other temple complexes of the city were the most interesting.
Merida is the largest city of the Yucatan state. We had two half days to explore the city and barely scratched the surface. I quickly fell in love with the brightly colored façades of the single story colonial buildings in the historic center. Merida is also known for its extensive free entertainment. We saw a light show on the main cathedral, street and musical performances, and the Revolution Day parade.
Mayapan – Mayan ruins that you can climb
Muyil/Sian Khan reserve – Mayan ruins in the jungle adjacent to a bioreserve that can be explored by boat
Isla Holbox – chill islands in the Gulf of Mexico
Cozumel – famous island for snorkelling and scuba diving