Too often lumped in with North America, Mexico is a country that stands out on its own.

Solo trip to Mexico - 3/7/11 to 3/31/11

Jacob G. Norlund

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  • Added on: February 23rd, 2011
Hello,

I recently booked a trip to Mexico. I'll be arriving and departing from Cancun on March 7th and March 31st respectively. I don't plan on spending any time in Cancun, but instead going to Valladolid to go to the cenotes and 'Ek Balam ruins (and maybe a few other sites in Yucatan as well), and then going to Merida to meet up with my friend, who lives in Cardenas, and then from Cardenas to meet up with my other friend, who lives in Comalcalco. Then about a week to 10 days will have passed, and I'm wondering what to do with the rest of my time.

My plan is: Cancun -> Valladolid -> Merida -> Villahermosa / Cardenas / Comalcalco -> Oaxaca (my friend says it's a beautiful city) -> Puerto Escondido (want to see the Pacific coast) -> San Cristobal de Casas / Aguas Azules -> Palenque -> Chetumal / Corozal, Belize (want to get at least 2 countries in) -> Cancun.

1. Does this sound manageable for the time gone? I'll be using public transportation exclusively.
2. Any recommendations? Alternatives?
3. Are the cenotes fun to visit alone?

Thank you in advance.
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Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: February 24th, 2011
Jacob G. Norlund wrote:Hello,

I recently booked a trip to Mexico. I'll be arriving and departing from Cancun on March 7th and March 31st respectively. I don't plan on spending any time in Cancun, but instead going to Valladolid to go to the cenotes and 'Ek Balam ruins (and maybe a few other sites in Yucatan as well), and then going to Merida to meet up with my friend, who lives in Cardenas, and then from Cardenas to meet up with my other friend, who lives in Comalcalco. Then about a week to 10 days will have passed, and I'm wondering what to do with the rest of my time.

My plan is: Cancun -> Valladolid -> Merida -> Villahermosa / Cardenas / Comalcalco -> Oaxaca (my friend says it's a beautiful city) -> Puerto Escondido (want to see the Pacific coast) -> San Cristobal de Casas / Aguas Azules -> Palenque -> Chetumal / Corozal, Belize (want to get at least 2 countries in) -> Cancun.

1. Does this sound manageable for the time gone? I'll be using public transportation exclusively.
2. Any recommendations? Alternatives?
3. Are the cenotes fun to visit alone?

Thank you in advance.


That's an awful lot for 24 days. The extreme points of your loop - Cancun and Puerto Escondido - are at least 32 hours apart by bus. (I've done the trip between them in two stages, with an overnight in San Cristobal.) I'd recommend dropping Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido from the itinerary, as much as it pains me to say. (I spent a few months in Puerto Escondido, and love the place.) I'd also drop Belize, and add Guatemala as an excursion from Chiapas (easy from San Cristobal or Palenque, and much more rewarding than ducking across the border to Corozal, which would be a colossal boondoggle.)

Consider that Villahermosa (not a particularly rewarding city) is only about two hours from Palenque, but probably 10-12 from Oaxaca City (itself another 6-9 from Puerto Escondido). Palenque is 5-6 hours from San Cristobal. From SC, you can take a shuttle to Huehuetenango, in Guatemala. Or, you can buy a tour (not an obnoxious one - a minibus with river ferry) from Palenque to Flores, near Tikal in norther Guatemala. Flores is about 15 hours by buses from Cancun, via Belize. (You'll get three countries this way.)

Really, with what you have planned, the Oaxaca destinations are outliers - too far out for the time you have, in my opinion. If you trim Oaxaca, you can add Guatemala on a more compact loop back up to Cancun in time for your flight out. If you really want to see the Pacific, look into Puerto Arista, in Chiapas. I haven't been, but have heard it's pleasant.

Cenotes are very cool, but I don't know about visiting one alone. Would you be happy hanging out in a cave by yourself? There are lots of opportunities to visit one in a small group from hostels and guesthouses in Merida or Valladolid or Tulum.

You still in northern Minnesota?

Jacob G. Norlund

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  • Added on: March 4th, 2011
Thank you for your advice. I'll certainly take it into consideration. I'll be in Mexico, perhaps for the only time, and want to see a big part of the country, but annoyances with packing, carrying suitcases, etc. (caused by moving almost every day) definitely is a negative factor.

And yes, I still live outside of Duluth. The total plane fare is going to be $451 R/T from Duluth to Cancun and back (via MSP) - not that good of a deal, but not that bad either.
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vagabondette74

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  • Added on: March 19th, 2011
It's probably too late but I want to throw in a vote for SC and Puerto Arista. I live in SC most of the time and I love it. P. Arista is a great trip from there. I spent a week there last year and it was amazing. It's off the gringo tourist track though so you'll want to know some spanish. It's also probably not the place to go if you have to be busy all the time as it's a very small, very chill beach town.
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!



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