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Thanks Sam Meacham, great photo!Believe The Hype!

One of the best two-day trips that a true adventurer can enjoy in the area is Chichen Itza, Valladolid, and Rio Lagartos. Rent a car in Cancun or Playa del Carmen, and high tail it to Valladolid, a great colonial town about 2.5 hours away from Cancun, 3 hours away from Playa del Carmen. Visiting Valladolid actually makes you think you are in Mexico. The people are very friendly, restaurants are good, hotels are comfortable, crafts are great, and perhaps most important the prices are great. Prices tend to be about 1/2 of those in Cancun and other beach towns.

Run to the Rio

Once in Valladolid book a room at the Mesón de Marqués, and have a little breakfast or lunch, depending on the time. Take a walk around town and hop in your car. Head to Rio Lagartos about 100 km north, 2 hour ride. You will pass through a few neat small colonial towns such as Tizimin. Look but don't stop until your return. Once you arrive in Rio Lagartos, book a lancha, or small fishing boat, for about $300 pesos and see the flamingos and flocks of other big birds. The trip should take 2-3 hours. Try to get back on the road well before sunset, roads get very dark and a little dangerous at night. Besides, the more time you have to eat dinner and walk around Valladolid that night, the better.

See Chac Mool with the Early Birds

Leave Valladolid at 7am on route to Chichen Itza This great place to visit has two big negatives that can easily be avoided. Heat and Crowds. Each day thousands of tourists fill tour bus after tour bus on a pilgrimage to the temples of Chichen Itza The bus takes about 3 hours to arrive from Cancun or the ferry dock in Playa del Carmen (cruise ships send a group to Chichen each day). Basically the whole world gets there around 11am. It also gets pretty darned hot by 11am or noon, so these huddled masses share the same Group of 1000 columns, Chichen Itza, Mexicofate of sweat filled journeys. Enjoy your ruins in the comfortable temperatures between 8am and noon and then get out. You can either go back to Valladolid for more sightseeing, making sure to see the cenote Zací and getting lunch,, or just head back towards civilization to enjoy the remainder of your vacation.

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