You cannot make everybody happy, you are not a taco.


My destinations on a round-trip in the southeast of Mexico

At first, I would like to give an overview on the route, and afterwards write a little text on each of the Mexican stops including some pics. The Mayan sites Chichén Itzá and Palenque deserve an extra article.

  • Cancún (more like a stopover due to the airport, nothing special)
  • Holbox (famous island, especially among backpackers, a little too hyped in my opinion)
  • Valladolid (nice town and close to Chichén Itzá)
  • Mérida (big city in Yucatán)
  • Palenque (with a historic Mayan site in the jungle and beautiful waterfalls in the surrounding area)
  • Flores & Tikal (Guatemala)
  • Bacalar (very nice and chilled village at a lake)
  • Tulum (party hub or airport-stopover)


Accessibility in Mexico

In theory, I saw many wheelchair ramps in Mexico. However, during my three weeks staying in the country, I’ve only met two wheelchair users who were begging. So I am wondering where all the wheelchair users are who would use the ramps. Maybe this is also the reason for why there are ramps but some hindering spots a few meters after. Even if you’re able to enter a supermarket, you will not be able to enter one of the long-distance buses. Also, hostels often include stairs. Whenever I made a reservation, I requested the bottom bed, since I am not able to climb ladders in the morning. However, this seemed to be rather an issue, since the Mexicans I talked to didn’t fully get that it’s really an issue and not just a nice to have. 

Traveling by Bus

If you are able to climb the stairs into the bus (a wheelchair won’t fit through, the space is too tiny), traveling by bus is very convenient as you reach many places easily without the hassle of driving. During my stay, there were many roadworks around Cancún, which even encouraged the big bus company ADO to cancel some trips. My trips were all as scheduled. When sitting in a primera clase ADO, you have even more space than in an economy seat on the plane. A lot of space for me as I have short legs.

On primera clase you have 2+2 seats which are also broader and more comfortable than economy seats on the plane. Most connections are served through primera clase buses. ADO also offers the clase ejecutiva, having 1+2 seats and some snacks included. However, in my opinion, primera is truly sufficient.

However, when you consider taking an ADO, keep in mind that robberies are likely if you take one of the night buses. I’ve heard of travelers being robbed of all their “hand luggage” consisting of laptop, camera, bank cards etc. This is why I took the only day-bus from Mérida to Palenque. Sure, you’re in the bus for a whole day, but the bus is convenient and paying one night more in a hostel is still cheaper than being robbed. Instead, I had a good view now and then, as you see on the pics.

Moreover, at least on an Android phone, you may download the ADO app, which you can use to book your tickets. Payment through credit card without queuing at the bus station. Moreover, if you know your desired trip 2+ days ahead, you might get a discount through the app. That’s how I booked almost all my tickets.


Wheelchair Service at the Airport

I requested wheelchair service on each of my trips from/to Cancún airport. It worked quite well, however, the staff will most likely ask you for a tip. I denied because I have experienced Mexicans as asking for a tip in quite pushy manners for no matter what reason. They don’t help because they’re nice, but because they expect a chance for some tip.


My destinations


The city of Cancún doesn’t really offer anything, it’s just a convenient stopover for the airport. There are plenty of hotels in and around Cancún, also not the cheapest. Many people from the surrounding villages come to Cancún to party, that’s about it. I walked around during the one day I spent in Cancún as a stopover before heading to Guatemala. In my opinion, that was sufficient, there are so much more beautiful places not too far away.



Holbox is a sand-island you reach by ferry from Chiquila which has an ADO station. I took the bus from Cancún to Chiquila and then the ferry. However, since the island has no paved roads, I took a taxi between ferry and hostel, since I wasn’t able to walk on that ground with all my luggage on.

I experienced Holbox as a chill and party island for backpacker couples. I stayed in a quite chilled hostel (Mapache) which was nice. If you don’t consider swimming and partying for a couple of days, 2-3 days are sufficient to spend on the island. The winds around the area are great for Kite surfing, there have been many courses. However, it’s not a spot for diving (Chetumal is supposed to be better for diving). In theory, one could spot pink flamingos, however, I didn’t meet anyone who did because they also avoid the crowds of tourists.



I really enjoyed my stay in Valladolid, a rather relaxed town with some charming architecture in its center. Moreover, it was a very convenient place to head to Chichén Itzá. I stayed in a chilled hostel and met really cool people, even a girl who knows a German guy who knows my sister. What a small world. 😀

Beyond Chichén Itzá, there are plenty of Cenotes around Valladolid. I will include them in the article on the Mayan Places.



Mérida is a big city with an architecturally beautiful center. However, the other parts further out were not the most beautiful. So I recommend staying in the center. I’ve done a free walking tour to learn something about the city and why you can recognize so much Spanish and European architecture. It was due to some rich people who missed Europe…

Each Saturday evening, there is a show of “Poktapok” in the city center in front of the Cathedral. Poktapok is a traditional Mayan game which only the best families were allowed to play with their best players. It was quite impressive to watch the 1hr show, especially when they played with the burning ball.

In my opinion, Mérida is definitely worth a visit. There are many events going on in the evening, Yucatán is considered as the safest state of the Mexico’s, and Mérida has a fantastic kitchen if you go out! You could also take a colectivo to the coast to see pink flamingos, however, 2hrs in a colectivo one way was too much for me in order to see flamingos (which I already have in the past).



Palenque is in the jungle! I didn’t expect it the way it was, especially after spending all my previous time somewhere along or close to the southeastern coast. Palenque somehow reminded me a bit more of Guatemala than the other places I went to before. Like the markets in the center or the hotel area for the tourists. The majority of hotels are either close to the ADO bus station or even at the entrance to the archeological site of Palenque (which is not far from town).

The Mayan site will be covered in another article, I would use this space to point out the beautiful waterfalls around Palenque. I was quite in a rush since I only had one full day in Palenque, due to the two full-day bus journeys the days before and after. However, if you have more time available, you might spend more time at the Roberto Barrios waterfalls or visit different ones. There are indeed many natural sights to check out in the surrounding area, there are even colectivos and tours are a little cheaper compared to the Cancún area.

It’s a little weird though to have so many police officers around, once one entered the ADO bus, picked a random person and asked to open the bag. Another time they checked our packed luggage (while I didn’t know exactly if they checked or rather added something to be transported…)



After a long and exhausting journey from Flores to Bacalar, I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of Bacalar even more. I would count Bacalar and Palenque as my favorite places in Mexico until now. There are many companies offering lagoon tours, don’t go for the first one and ask for the “ultimate price”. This way I got on a fancy boat for a reduced price of the lancha cruise. They couldn’t fill the lancha so put a French girl and me on the fancy boat. 

Another cool thing to do must be “Los Rapidos”, when you walk on land and jump into the water to float back to your starting point due to the strong current. I decided to go on the lagoon tour since I considered 200 pesos for a taxi one way, just to reach Los Rapidos, as too expensive. I got the whole 3hrs lagoon cruise incl. swimming spots for 250 pesos.

A restaurant to recommend is the Maracuja y Chile, very relaxed, stable Wi-Fi, cool view over the lake and natural, if you want vegan, kitchen.



My hostel was in the center of Tulum, so I used my day to just walk along the main street and have some coffee at a place with live music. In general, I didn’t go to many places with live music, since I mostly prepared my own dinner at the hostels’ kitchen. Tulum doesn’t offer much more than party and beach. However, during nighttime, you have to be careful on the streets. I’ve been told that there might be shootings (drugs…) and corrupt police officers acting as if you carry drugs and make you pay a fine.

You might also enjoy: