|Subject: Re: Mexico Trip Advice|
Quite the trip you have planned there.
In Mérida consider dining at the Hacienda Xcanatun http://www.xcanatun.com/ Also a visit to Eladios for cervezas, botanas, and entertainment is well worth the effort.
I highly recommend that you take the opportunity to visit Celestún. In addition to the flamingos, other birds, and crocodiles in the lagoon the town has a wonderful beach with a number of beachside restaurants. I find that a diversion from visiting the multitude of Mayan ruins will help to break up the trip.
As you head out towards the Puuc Route you can stop by the hacienda at Yaxcopoil. http://www.yaxcopoil.com/
For your visit to Chichen-Itza I suggest spending at least one night in Valladolid (two would be better). In addition to its proximity to Chichen-Itza it also is an interesting colonial city. Nearby is the Dzitnup cenote which is a must- visit (be sure and take your swimsuit). And just a few miles north of town are the ruins of Ek Balam with their incredible stucco friezes unbelievably still intact. This artistic detail is not shared by any of the other excavated Yucatan ruins. Vallodolid offers you the opportunity to get an early start on your visit to Chichen-Itza. Do so, and climb El Castillo first before the buses begin to arrive from Cancun. We stayed at the Hotel El Mesón del Marqués: http://makeashorterlink.com/?Z1E451431
Cobá was mentioned as being less excavated as other sites. This is part of its charm. One can get an appreciation for how these cities were carved out of the jungle in the first place. And how much work it took to restore them. A climb up Nohoc Mul (the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan) allows you to see over the jungle canopy and imagine the desire of the Mayans wanting to rise up above the enveloping forest. Plus, the bike ride is a pleasant way to see the city.
Closeby Cobá is the Spider Monkey Reserve at Punta Laguna. Stop by and hike through the jungle. Soon a troop of curious monkeys will be overhead chattering about the funny looking tourists. A site about the study: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~ramosfer/spmkpl.html A trip report: http://www.locogringo.com/past_spotlights/oct2003.cfm
Finally, Frank, if you search the archives you'll find other postings by myself and others regarding the Yucatan. Mine probably will contain similar information to what I've written here. However there might be some additional links.
Buen viaje, John in San Diego