Road Trip - Merida to Holbox Hwy176

I am cross posting this to my WordPress blog. I think I am going to start using WordPress, I am having issues with Blogger and this new computer that uses Vista.

One of the problems I encountered in trying to plan our trip to Isla Holbox in Quintana Roo was how to get there. I read all sorts of stuff on the internet. Most of it incomplete or misleading, or inacurate, or any combination of the aforementioned. Plus most everyone talked about taking the cuota/toll road. What's up with that - why pay all that money in tolls? We decided with all this uncertainty to just drive it ourselves and to keep notes of our route and to report back. Unfortunately I didn't stop to take photos at turns or landmarks, so you just have to go by my meager descriptions.

We live in the San Sebastián area of Centro here in Mérida. I give a starting point of Ave Quetzalcoatl (calle 65 in Centro) and the Periferico because it is a common starting point for many leaving the City.

For the sake of this post, and to keep from getting pulled over, we traveled at the posted speed limits which were most of the time 80 - 110 kph.
Also keep in mind this trip was at the last week of August 2009, for when I mention construction or road blocks, etc.
* The trip took us approx 170miles/274kilometers and about 3 1/2 hours each way - we stopped for a potty break going, and a lunch break coming back.
* I make no guarantees about these directions, I wrote them as best I could while also watching for signage, checking mileage, and checking the time.

So from Ave Quetzalcoatl at the Periferico you turn left towards Progresso - proceed and follow the signs that will direct you towards Tizimin and Motul (Rt 176), at the sign to Tizimin/Motul you bear Right. (This is at the Avenida Yucatan exit on the Periferico.) To this point the signage is very good. The posted speed on the road to Motul is 90kph, but we were getting passed by most of the few cars that were out. About 5k before Motul there was a lot of construction. The Hwy splits with the Left fork to Tizimin, and the Right fork to Motul; unless you want Huevos Motuleños, take the Left fork towards Tizimin.

At this point the Hwy is very good, and signage is pretty good, the only confusion for us was when we came upon big blue/white direction signs for Beach Areas - Telchac Puerto, San Felipe, Rio Logartos. These are actually the by-pass routes from all the small towns along the way. So if you want to make haste and not visit the small towns follow the Beach Area signs (Telchac Puerto, San Felipe, Rio Logartos). So, for example at the split to Suma de Hidalgo take the Left fork towards Telchac Puerto, San Felipe, Rio Logartos, at Temax split take the Right fork towards Telchac Puerto, San Felipe, Rio Logartos, at Buctzotz take the Right fork... Through this area there are a lot of old Haciendas, both in use and in ruin. The land also opens up into pasture land and you will see lots of Brahma cattle, as well as goats. And some really HUGE old trees.

Entering Tizimin - Tizimin is tough, there are no signs - Follow the Hwy into Tizimin, follow through to a glorietta, merge into the glorietta but go straight through. NOTE once you've come to the Main Square in Tizimin there are some old faded battered signs for Col. Yucatan, once you've seen the first you know what to look for, but must keep your eyes open. Go 2 blocks and take a left, there is an old faded green sign that says Col. Yucatan - you come next to the main square in Tizimin, go around the square and turn Right at the Church but stay to the left as you will make a quick jig to essentially stay straight. There is a stop light and you should see the BanComer. There is another faded sign for Col. Yucatan. Progress on but keep vigilant for another faded sign for Col Yucatan, make the Left continue to the stop sign and make a Right.

You are now on Hwy 27 - It's easy going now, just stay on the Hwy till you get to Col. Yucatan.

There is a lot of construction going on in Col Yucatan, and again signage to get through town is non-existent. The Hwy you are on enters Col. Yucatan and T-Bones, meaning it stops and you must turn left or right. In my neighborhood we call that a chop calle. So at the T-Bone in Col. Yucatan you turn Right towards La Sierra, not Left towards El Cuyo. You go just a short distance along what appears to be dirt road and on the left you will see a small chapel, at the chapel you turn left. It's a mess, there are detour/desviacion signs, just go past them... Continue on, the dirt road gives way to solid again. Then next sign you are looking for is Teapa, go towards Teapa; however if you need to ask directions anywhere in Col Yucatan ask how to get to Kantunilkin. After the Teapa sign it is a straight shot to Kantunilkin. This is a small Hwy, one lane in each direction, lots of topes/speed bumps, and lots of fresh produce, fruit, drinks, etc.

At some point before Kantunilkin you will enter Quintana Roo.

Entering Kantunilkin it is easy, and there are good signs to direct you towards Isla Holbox.

You are actually trying to get to Chiquila which is where you get the ferry/lancha across to Holbox. Although the ferry runs about every 2 hours you don't need to worry about it. There are boatmen there waiting, and for the same amount of money (60mxp p/p) they will take you across, of course they'll wait for a a few extra people.

GAS - we didn't notice any PEMEX stations between Tizimin and Chiquila. We stopped in Sucilá and topped off, mainly because I needed to use the Damas/Ladies.

Upon arrival in Chiquila you will need to locate parking, there are lots of lots/estacionamientos around the dock. - This is neither a recommendation nor endorsement - We used don Patricio @50mxp per day. don Patricio, once you enter the glorietta you take the first Right and he is on the Right. The spaces were covered, there was a man on staff during the night we were told, and there was a big metal gate that they rolled shut and padlocked at night or so we were told. Our car was exactly where we left it when we returned. No money or paperwork exchanged hands until we returned when I handed the man 150mxp and we drove away.

It is a short walk across to the dock. There are lots of little loncherias, it costs 3mxp to use the Damas at the PEMEX which was dirty and had no paper, luckily I know to travel with my own paper and hand gel.

So now you've gotten yourself to Chiquila - How do you get back to Merida -

From Chiquila you head straight South to Kantunilkin, approx 27 miles. At Kantunilkin you turn Right at the statue (a pillar with a bust), there is no sign.

Straight on till Col Yucatan, approx 17miles. You come to a 3-way stop, go Right a short distance then turn Left towards Tizimin.

Once again Tizimin is tough, there are no signs, you come in differently than you left so nothing is familiar. Entering Tizimin, there is a park on your left, then a sports field with a long white wall. The one-way street you are on deadends, You turn Right onto calle 49, at calle 48 you turn Right, at calle 55 you enter and go around the square, go Right by the San Francisco de Assis store, then keep on straight to a greenish gazebo with a dome set in a small green space right in front of you. Stay to the Right of this structure. There will be a small zoo/park on your right.

From here you just stay on the Hwy, and follow the well marked signs all the way back to Merida.

The Hwy enters Merida here at the Periferico crossing through to to Ave Yucatan.

So there you have it! My version of There and Back Again!