Destinations | Mexico

Our Mexican journey in the Yucatan peninsula: itinerary and takeaways

13 August 2017

 

One week of a fantastic holiday in Mexico: that’s what I wanted to share with you today. We had a blast!

Picture it … Mayan ruins, colonial towns, white sand beaches, the jungle, swimming in natural pools (a.k.a. cenotes), snorkeling on the mesoamerican reef, eating authentic Mexican food and tasting real good tequilla. Yes, we truly had a blast!

In this post, you’ll find our itinerary (which involves quite a bit of driving), the hotels we stayed at, as well as the restaurants we went to. I also share a few practical tips to help you plan your very own Mexican journey.  

 

Campeche

 

Our itinerary

 

 

Duration : 7 days

Places visited: Cancùn > Izamal > Merida > Uxmal > San Pedro Ochil > Temozon > Campeche > Temozon > Cenote San Lorenzo Oxam > Punta Maroma > Tulum > Punta Maroma > Cancùn.

 

Our day-by-day travel journal as well as the related pictures  can be found by clicking on the following links:

  1. From Cancùn to Izamal: “the yellow city”
  2. A Sunday in the colonial town of Merida: the “white city”
  3. The mayan ruins of Uxmal and the haciendas San Pedro Ochil and Temozon
  4. Day-trip to Campeche: the city of colors
  5. From Temozon to Punta Maroma stopping by the San Lorenzo Oxman cenote
  6. Tulum: between ruins and beaches
  7. Absolute bliss at the Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa

 

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Hotels and restaurants

 

Hacienda San Pedro Ochil

 

Hotels

 

All three hotels were very good, with the apotheosis being our stay at the Belmond. I’ll go into more details in the relevant articles. 

Hotel Hacienda Merida – Merida

A nice “boutique hotel” ideally located three blocks from everything there is to see and do in Merida. The rooms are comfortable, quiet and decorated with taste. The staff is very nice. Also, they have a private parking a few steps from the hotel.

Hacienda Temozon – Temozon Sur

Lost in the middle of nowhere between Merida and Uxmal, this beautiful hacienda was a great place to stay. We liked it a lot. Our suite was gorgeous, with a mayan hammock hanging in the middle of it, a private garden with our own pool and a gigantic bathroom. The entire place has this great colonial vibe which makes it a very good choice if you want to dive into colonial Mexico.

Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa Punta Maroma (Playa del Carmen)

Exceptional ! More about it here. The hotel has it own private beach, away from all the excitement of Playa del Carmen or Cancún. The place is secluded and so calm. Ideal if you want to unwind and rest. The level of service is also great. 

 

 

Restaurants

 

Merida

 

La Chaya Maya

Calle 55 between 60 and 62

Manjar Blanco

Calle 47 between 58 and 60 – Parque Santa Ana

Apoala

Calle 55 at 60 – Parque Santa Lucia

 
Between Merida and Uxmal

 

Hacienda San Pedro Ochil

 
Campeche

 

Marganzo

Calle 8 #267 – Puerta de Mar

 

Playa del Carmen

 

El Sol

Hotel Belmond Maroma – Carretera Cancún-Tulum KM 51, Punta Maroma, 77710 Playa del Carmen

El Restaurante

Hotel Belmond Maroma – Carretera Cancún-Tulum KM 51, Punta Maroma, 77710 Playa del Carmen

 

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A few words on Mexico

 

Tulum

 

Verdict

Mexico is a great compromise if you like to associate culture, gastronomy, history but also relaxation. From the mayan ruins to colorful colonial towns, from the jungle to white sand beaches: there is something to please each kind of traveler. We went for as much as possible and tried a bit of everything. Needless to say that in seven days, we did not stop much (except towards the end). Although it was intense at times, we had the satisfaction of discovering gorgeous spots, of interacting with the locals (who were really eager to tell us about their life and their culture) and overall, of spending a wonderful holiday.

Weather (July/August)

If we had to do it all over again, we would definitely pick another season to visit the Yucatan peninsula. Of course, going in August was probably not the smartest thing to do!  But we didn’t have the choice and had to deal with the very hot temperatures and high humidity. If you plan to go in the summer time, be mindful that we are talking about 105°F almost everyday which feel like a lot more due to the humidity. Therefore, be careful not to get dehydrated! It’s also good to confirm with hotels and restaurants that they have A/C prior to going. Same goes for the car you’ll rent. 

Safety

Sure, we didn’t go to the dangerous parts of Mexico, so it would be presumptuous to make a general assessment. However, as far as we are concerned, we did not encounter any safety issue. This may come from the fact that the peninsula welcomes a lot of tourists.

Roads

The main roads are ok although you’ll notice some gigantic holes once in a while. Some of the smaller roads are trickier to drive on. One difficulty is the presence of many speed bumps (very high and that you can’t really see before it’s too late). Drive slow if you don’t want to wreck your car. Also, the repartition of gas stations is very uneven. Always make sure to have at least half a tank left before taking the road.

 

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Practical tips

 

Uxmal

 

Before departure

 

Money

Plan to have some cash on you at all times. You’ll need it to pay for tolls and to access many sites (cenotes etc…).  

To easily understand how much something is worth in USD, my trick was to divide by ten and then by two. Example: 1 000 pesos divided by ten equals 100. Then 100 divided by 2 gives 50 USD.The real value is a bit higher (56$). My method just gives you a ballpark number to avoid having to pull out a currency calculator every time you see a price in pesos.

 

Things to pack absolutely
  • Mosquito repellent  (you’ll need it!)
  • Hat (you’ll thank me when you’ll find yourself in the middle of mayan site without any shade)
  • Sunscreen (SPF 30 at the very least)  
  • Medicine/Drugs that you know (Mexican pharmacies didn’t strike me as being super reliable)

 

 

In Mexico

 

GPS

Getting a GPS is an absolute necessity. Some places are hidden in the middle of nowhere and without proper guidance, you will get lost and lose precious time looking for directions. Most cars are not equipped with it. A good idea may be to purchase a specific plan for your smart phone before you go. We used Google map on our Iphone using the 3G and it worked out perfectly.

Gas

Most gas stations accept credit cards. However be careful! As I wrote earlier, you can sometimes drive for an hour without seeing a station. So, be prepared and load up as often as you can. 

Hydration 

Drink a lot of water! Even if you follow this recommendation, you may still end up dehydrated. In order to avoid that, you can purchase some Suero or Electrolit (at the pharmacy, in gas stations or supermarkets). It’s a serum that contains mineral salts and that helps preventing or treating dehydration.

Health precautions

Don’t drink tap water. Not matter how hot it is, avoid ice cubes as well, unless you are 100% sure that they are made with filtered water. Raw food or fruits that are not peeled can also make you very sick so be careful. 

 

 

 

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