Subject: Re: Yucatan tour-Need advice
Yucatan visitor,

It has been a long time since we've been in Yucatan, so I will let others comment on this, except to advise you to allocate half a day or more to Chichen Itza. I will throw in two cents about driving. We have done a lot of driving in Mexico and, luckily, have never had a problem. It is a great way to see things and stop where you want. Many times Sarah and I have gone searching for some particular kind of art and ended up in the artisan's home talking about his or her craft. That is an experience you could not have except with your own car. We highly recommend it, but there are some things to think about.

The superhighways can be expensive, but they are well-maintained and are very fast. Highway 180D looks like one of these, but I am not sure about 307, going down the coast. You will not see much on these roads, so we use them when we are in a hurry to get somewhere and don't care about the sights on the way. There is gas regularly on the superhighways; further spaced apart on the regular roads. Gas costs 5.35 pesos a liter now, so figure a little more than $2 a gallon. Think about that if you rent a Suburban. Gas is sold through the government-owned stations called Pemex. They are open late. They do not take credit cards. Driving from Nogales to San Miguel I never had a problem paying with dollars.

Driving at night is dangerous, except maybe on the superhighway. There are potholes, in mountainous areas the road can wash away, there are bicycle riders riding towards you in your lane, there are many pedestrians (and the roads typically do not have large shoulders), and most importantly there can be animals in the road. I almost hit a cow in the road on the way to Morelia. It was late at night and the cows was standing sideways and hard to see. Could have been ugly, but I narrowly missed it. Oh, make sure you slow down when you are going through towns. They will encourage this through speed bumps, which can be marked or unmarked. They can either be half cylinders across the entire road or a series of half spheres. Both are tough on your car. Bus and truck drivers can be aggressive, especially when it comes to passing blind. Also, drinking and driving is not as frowned upon here as it is in the US; another reason to be careful at night.

If you are renting a car, you should definitely get insurance. If you are in an accident in Mexico and do not have insurance you could wind up in jail until the costs of all property damaged (this includes people) are paid. It is just easier to buy the insurance. My personal experience is to remove the hubcaps when I rent a car if I am driving in bumpy or out of the way places.

Ed in San Miguel de Allende