Review: Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with Gap Adventures (Part 3 of 4)

This hub belongs to a 4-part review of my trip to the Yucatan Peninsula with Gap Adventures. To read Part 1, click here.

Pool at The Maya Bell (our accommodations) in Palenque, Mexico.
Pool at The Maya Bell (our accommodations) in Palenque, Mexico. | Source


The type of accommodations provided can vary greatly per trip. I recommend checking out the Gap Adventures website for information on specific trips. My trip was listed as classic trip. Because I was a single traveler and didn’t want to pay extra for my own room at every hotel, I was placed with another female traveler from our group. I actually liked sharing a room, because I had someone to talk to in the evenings.

I found the hotels to be decent. In Cancún, for instance, we did not stay right at the beach, but in the downtown area (Radisson Hotel). As a result, I was able to experience more of the local way of life, as opposed to the tourist scene which most visitors to the peninsula opt for. The Radisson Hotel had air condition, which helped in the hot month of May. However, this hotel and the one on Isla Mujeres (Chac Chi hotel) were at the higher end of comfort on this trip.

Although I liked the air condition in hotels, my body had a hard time adjusting to the outside temperature every time I walked into town. I did get a headache in Cancun after leaving my hotel room.

Howler Monkey "Howl"

On the other hand, the hotels in Mérida and Palenque were much more basic. For instance, in Mérida, the hotel room did not have air condition—but it did have a fan. However, for an additional price (8 dollars, according to others in my group), it was possible to upgrade to an air-conditioned room. In Palenque, my group stayed in jungle huts. I will be honest—I found it very hard to sleep here for two nights. At night, I heard the howler monkeys outside the window (right beside my bed), and they sounded like angry bears or cats or something. Listen to a clip from YouTube (right). Furthermore, I had some gecko bed mates that crawled on my sheets. Although harmless, I kept thinking about what other creatures might visit me in the night…

We took an overnight bus ride from Palenque to Tulúm. We ended up traveling with a first class bus with two toilets—one for women and one for men— and extra leg room. Earlier in the trip, our tour guide asked us if we wanted to upgrade our bus from a 2nd class bus with only one toilet and limited leg room. She had done this in the past with groups, and they really appreciated it. The upgrade cost each person 100 pesos (at the time, equal to $10 USD). I enjoyed the additional leg room, especially because I wanted to and did manage to sleep on the 8 hour bus ride. I slept well on the bus; however, the air condition was cold, so I’m glad that I brought an extra sweater to wear on the journey.

Travel Companions

The people I met on this trip made the trip so much more memorable. The youngest person had just turned 18, while the oldest people in the group were over 50. Being in my mid 20s, it was nice to share my Mexican experience with people from different walks of life and from different parts of the world.

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