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oregonative

Aug 17, 2013, 4:13 PM

Post #1 of 21 (6194 views)

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Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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This is a difficult question to ask, since it encompasses ruins located in many directions from any main location. I've visited all the major ruins in the Yucatan, plus Labna, Kabah, Sayil, and others. Now I want to explore some that are a little more off the beaten path, such as some of the Chenes that I haven't seen (Dzibilnocac, Xtampak, Hochob, and others); some on Ruta Puuc (ek Balam, Cobuba, Ikil, and others); also important to me are Coba and Muyil. Actually, Coba is most important, and I will stay at the Villas de Archeologica for a few days (unless someone tells me that the hotel right at the ruins is a good choice). I've been studying maps to find the best place from which to start this leg of my trip, where I will rent a car and return it. I thought Valladolid might be a good choice, but am unsure if I would find a car rental there (also I've never been to Valladolid and would like to visit). I've rented cars in Merida, Oaxaca, and Puerto Vallarta by asking desk clerks or walking around, and have always found new Volkswagens and low rental prices. I once reserved a car for pickup in Cancun from a U.S. company and it was way too expensive for my budget, so I'd like to go with a local rental.

My convoluted question is: any advice about the best town to rent a car and begin this quest for ruins? Do you know a local car rental company? Do you have special ruins or routes?

I thought it might be best to bus to Coba for a few days, then bus to Valladolid, rent a car and go from there. I'd like to go on to Rio Bec, if I can afford to keep the car that long. I visited Rio Bec with friends a few years ago, but they were in a hurry so I didn't explore as much as I'd like. We stayed at Rio Bec Dreams, which is too expensive for my budget this trip, so I will need to find another stopping place.

I would also appreciate your thoughts about my driving to and visiting these ruins alone---I'm female. I've driven a lot all over Mexico, sometimes alone, but the solo trips were just to the countryside around Merida.

Sorry to be so long-winded, and I'll be very appreciative for whatever gems of wisdom you care to impart!



oregonative

Aug 17, 2013, 4:57 PM

Post #2 of 21 (6181 views)

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Re: [oregonative] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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Now I'm embarrassed for asking all these questions! After searching around a bit on this site I found the recommendation for YucatanToday.com, which has a wealth of information. Finding calendars for art and music was a plus. I still like eye-witness advice, though.


chicois8

Aug 17, 2013, 6:32 PM

Post #3 of 21 (6170 views)

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Re: [oregonative] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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I drive solo this area each year, I suggest you rent a car in Merida and do a round trip:
from Merida I would visit ruins in the Puuc region and spend the night in Ticul or Oxkutzcab...
next day head south and visit Calakmul staying in Xpjil and maybe visit Becan on the Rio Bec area...
next day visit Kohunlich on your away to the Maya Museum in Chetumal then onto Laguna Bacalar for the night...
heading north visit Chacchoben, turn left in Tulum to Coba then on to Valladolid...
next day visit Ek_Balam and on to Chichen Itza if you want then back to Merida....Suerte
Rincon de Guayabitos,Nayarit
San Mateo, California


fishfrier

Aug 18, 2013, 5:35 AM

Post #4 of 21 (6153 views)

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Re: [oregonative] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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We have visited pretty much all the ruins listed. Much the same route as already suggested. I would start in Merida and take the route through the middle of the state passing through Holpechen then south to Ixpuil. Santa Rosa Xtampak is about 30 kilometers inland off the main road. The road in is pretty rough and slow going. Might take 5 hours just to see the 1 site. Hochob is easy access. There is a hotel in the town of Ixpuil that is relatively inexpensive compared to others in the area. You should not miss traveling to the ruins of Calakmul. The site is 60 kilometers into the biosphere and is full day just to explore the site as it is huge. Balamku can be accessed after leaving Calakmul and also should not be missed. The others ruins around Ixpuil are all easy access and done in 1 day. Travel toward Chetumal and visited the ruins in the area. You can chose to stay in Chetumal or Bacalar. There is a small ruin site north of Chetumal on the coast road and the museum in Chetumal is quite good. From there you can visit Tulum, Coba then onto Valladolid. Over night in Valladolid then you can hit Ek Balam, Yaxuna then back to Merida. Take a dip in the various cenotes in the area and get a well made hammock from the prison just outside of Valladolid on the free road towards Merida. Another option is to travel to Campeche from Merida and see the ruins of Edzna then continue on through Holpechen. It is either Xtampak or Edzna but I doubt you could do both in 1 day. I do not know if you live in the area or are flying into Cancun or Merida. If flying into Cancun, which is often cheaper, then take the suggested route in the opposite direction.


(This post was edited by fishfrier on Aug 18, 2013, 6:11 AM)


citlali

Aug 18, 2013, 7:09 AM

Post #5 of 21 (6137 views)

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Re: [fishfrier] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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Thanks for the info on the time it takes to get around. We are planning to do the ruins we have not seen and revisit some of our favorite in January or February. Is there access through the biosphere to Guatemala or do you have to go through Belize or further up towards Palenque? We did the Palenque, Frontera Corazol into Guatemala last year and it would be nice to check out other places to go in through the jungle.
Do you know if Holmul in Guatemala on the border with Belize and Mexico is open?


fishfrier

Aug 18, 2013, 10:44 AM

Post #6 of 21 (6119 views)

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Re: [citlali] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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I have no idea whether there is legal access to Guatemala through the biosphere but I doubt it. We never saw any evidence that there might be an access route.


citlali

Aug 18, 2013, 11:54 AM

Post #7 of 21 (6114 views)

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Re: [fishfrier] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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Thanks, I want to see what is the easiest access to Holmul, I wonder if onecan see the latest discovery there that sounds really interesting, that 8 m frieze and the new pyramid that they just found a ffew weeks ago.


oregonative

Aug 18, 2013, 3:15 PM

Post #8 of 21 (6098 views)

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Re: [citlali] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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I've gone into Flores, Guatemala to visit Tikal, once flying out of Cancun, and once busing from Chetumal through Belize, which obviously takes longer, but was an interesting trip, causing me to go back to Belize for a longer stay.


oregonative

Aug 18, 2013, 3:50 PM

Post #9 of 21 (6093 views)

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Re: [fishfrier] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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Thx to you and chicois8 for the good suggestions. I will be busing, starting from Puerto Vallarta, with a loose itinerary through Oaxaca, or, along the way, I may get tired of the bus and fly into Cancun. With your suggestions, I now have a better handle on the logistics of what I want to do. Does anyone have an opinion about my safety? In the past I've driven from Merida to the surrounding ruins, but had my teenage son with me. I have only tried once to drive alone into a secluded ruin; I got a bad feeling after being noticed by some men, and, since the parking lot was deserted, I left. I am definitely not paranoid, but I'm tall and blonde and cannot hide in Mexico. I'm hoping I will meet a fellow traveler who would like to drive with me. I like traveling solo, but I don't want to be stupid. I should add that the only time I've been "molested" was in Belize, when my guide to a remote ruin became very excited when a huge rainstorm came up---he wanted to dance and kiss in the rain! I'm proficient at saying "no" in Spanish. lol

Well, actually I did have another incident that I call "Molested in the Metro", but that is another story..... Oh, and the taxi driver's partner in Guatemala City who stole my bag full of dirty clothes..... lol again.


fishfrier

Aug 18, 2013, 7:49 PM

Post #10 of 21 (6080 views)

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Re: [oregonative] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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Walk softly and carry a big stick. I do not think anyone can comment towards your safety with any sort of certainty. Sounds like you have some good common sense so that is probably your best defense.


(This post was edited by fishfrier on Aug 18, 2013, 7:50 PM)


oregonative

Aug 19, 2013, 11:21 AM

Post #11 of 21 (6043 views)

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Re: [fishfrier] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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One of the things I was concerned about was any recent activity threatening to tourists, like the incident at a niteclub in Cancun months or a year ago. I assumed there was no drug activity in the area I'm going, but thought I would ask you who live there. I don't want to seem like one of those foolish ppl who think that everywhere in Mexico is dangerous. For example: where I used to hail a taxi on the street in Mexico City, I now use those parked in front of the hotel, or summoned by the desk clerk; you just adjust to changes.


La Isla


Aug 19, 2013, 11:40 AM

Post #12 of 21 (6041 views)

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Re: [oregonative] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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I have lived full-time in Mexico City for almost 6 years and have spent lots of time here before that. I remember those days when it could be dangerous to hail a taxi from the street but wouldn't worry about that anymore. I don't take taxis that often, but when I do I just hail one on the street, make sure the driver has at least a general idea how to get where I'm going, and then get in. No problems so far ...


oregonative

Aug 19, 2013, 3:38 PM

Post #13 of 21 (6020 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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What we read here is that we're liable to be kidnapped or robbed if we use street taxis! And ppl are afraid to go anywhere other than Cancun or Cabo. Can you tell me where to find Frida Kahlo's paintings while I'm in Mexico City? I've been to her house and to Rivera's studio, and I'm planning on going to Xochimilco to Rivera's ex-mistress' mansion-turned-museum. Pls correct me if I'm wrong about the paintings in Xochimilco, as I read that long ago. (I'm looking at a large Frida on my wall as I type.)


yucatandreamer


Aug 19, 2013, 3:52 PM

Post #14 of 21 (6014 views)

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Re: [oregonative] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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The nightclub in Cancun was not one that tourists would generally frequent I believe. I have never felt threatened in the Yucatan and we have traveled extensively on all sorts of back roads. Some of the out of the way ruins are dangerous to a car's or in our case the truck's suspension (Santa Rosa Xtampak and Hormiguero come to mind) but you should be quite safe in all of Yucatan. If you want to go to those ruins hire a taxi from the closest city and don't take a low slung rental car. It has been several years since we were at Xtampak and it may have improved. We have often been the only folks at some of these lesser known places and it is wonderful.

The gasolinera station in the town of Xpuil is full of crooks and will pull all sorts of scams, in fact I have run into that in quite a few stations in Campeche and it is not unheard of anywhere. Order a peso amount of gas and be sure that they do not switch out your bill for one of a lower denomination to insist that you handed them a fifty instead of a five hundred or something like that. They are faster at dreaming up scams than I am at catching them at it.

In the past three or four years I have been more aware of my surroundings and if I saw something curious I would keep on going. This is not to say I have ever run across anything that I shouldn't but I do not want to put my head in the sand either. There are Zetas here; there is drug activity in almost all the tiny pueblos and though we are considered one of the "safest" areas of Mexico we are not immune to the problems that are in other areas of the country.


La Isla


Aug 19, 2013, 3:55 PM

Post #15 of 21 (6013 views)

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Re: [oregonative] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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That might have been true in the 1990s, but fortunately that terrible time has passed. Who is afraid to go anywhere in Mexico but Cancun or Cabo? Certainly not the friends from the States who have visited me here in the last few years, including one friend who came with her 86-year-old mother. The three of us spent about a week running all over the city in taxis that I hailed from the street, and nothing untoward happened, I assure you.

Unfortunately, most of Frida's best paintings are not in public collections in Mexico. There are some at the museum in Xochimilco, the Museo Dolores Olmedo (http://www.museodoloresolmedo.org.mx/), and others may be displayed from time to time at places like the Museo de Arte Moderno in Chapultepec Park. It's ironic that very few of the best are even part of the collection at The Blue House in Coyoacán or the twin studio-house in San Angel.

There have been (and still are) many fine female Mexican artists besides Frida, who owes a great deal of her fame to her relation with Diego Rivera and good PR after her death. I recommend that you spend a few hours in the Museo de Arte Moderno (http://www.mam.org.mx/), where you may find a few other female artists you like almost as much as Frida :-)!


(This post was edited by La Isla on Aug 19, 2013, 8:31 PM)


citlali

Aug 19, 2013, 8:25 PM

Post #16 of 21 (5995 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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The taxis seem to be more under control than they used to be. I hail taxis there too and feel pretty safe as well.


oregonative

Aug 19, 2013, 8:42 PM

Post #17 of 21 (5992 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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Good suggestion re the Museo de Modern Arte, and I will follow up on it. I'm also trying to locate some of Leonora Carrington's work; I know she lived in Mexico for a time and was part of the group of female surrealists there. I first became aware of her when I stayed in the Edward James house in Xlitla. I was the only hotel occupant, and all of the staff went home at night (the owner, one of James' "adopted daughters" lived a stone's throw across the street.) I was exploring the hotel at dusk and came upon a fantastic mural by Carrington; the surreal, strange figures both frightened and intrigued me.

When I said "no one" goes to Mexico, I was generalizing, and referring to ppl I meet in the workplace and the like; even ppl who are experienced travelers seem to opt for "safe" European countries, because of all the bad press.


oregonative

Aug 19, 2013, 8:45 PM

Post #18 of 21 (5991 views)

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Re: [citlali] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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Okay, now tell me how to get over my fear of earthquakes! lol


La Isla


Aug 19, 2013, 9:00 PM

Post #19 of 21 (5988 views)

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Re: [oregonative] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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I've always wanted to visit the Edward James house in Xilitla. Lucky you to have spent time there! Leonora Carrington was a wonderful British artist, who moved to Mexico in the 1960s where she became one of the leading lights of the Mexican Surrealist school, along with the Spaniard Remedios Varo and the French artist Alice Rahon, who isn't as well known as Carrington and Varo but whose works really appeal to me. You'll be able to find works by all three of these amazing women at the MAM. Right now there is an outdoor exhibit of some of Carrington's sculpture in downtown Mexico City in an art space next to the Church of San Francisco right across from the House of Tiles on Calle Madero.


oregonative

Aug 20, 2013, 9:12 PM

Post #20 of 21 (5958 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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I will definitely make the effort to see the work of these artists---I so appreciate your sharing your knowledge. I bought a small watercolor in Sullivan Park some years ago, and I love it---after I bypassed all the Rivera-like paintings, I found this artist whose work reminded me of the Cuban artist whose name I can't remember; he painted the chubby people dancing together, and women in what looked like brothels---I'm sure you know his name. I cherish this painting because I can still see in my mind's eye the woman whose work it was.

I hope you get to Edward James' jungle installation; I want to go back, and also to explore the countryside there---is it called Rio Verde? I hesitated to ask if anyone had information about towns around there, where to stay, etc., because I couldn't say exactly where it is.


La Isla


Aug 20, 2013, 9:22 PM

Post #21 of 21 (5950 views)

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Re: [oregonative] Extensive Open-ended 11/13 Trip: Chenes and Ruta Puuc ruins

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In Reply To
I will definitely make the effort to see the work of these artists---I so appreciate your sharing your knowledge. I bought a small watercolor in Sullivan Park some years ago, and I love it---after I bypassed all the Rivera-like paintings, I found this artist whose work reminded me of the Cuban artist whose name I can't remember; he painted the chubby people dancing together, and women in what looked like brothels---I'm sure you know his name. I cherish this painting because I can still see in my mind's eye the woman whose work it was.



I believe the Cuban artist you're referring to is Colombian, and his name is Fernando Botero. Here's some information about him you may find of interest: http://www.biography.com/people/fernando-botero-241190.

I live near the park where you bought your painting - it's called El Jardín del Arte, and the art fair you mention has taken place on Sundays for many years. I don't find many of the paintings for sale that interesting - too many of them look like large postcards or are derivative of famous artists, like Diego Rivera. I did once find a woman who does lovely small-format etchings and and bought a charming one of little winged elephants sitting in a row on a tree branch, lovely and whimsical and rather original.
 
 
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