So there are some very mixed feelings about the new proposed ‘Rapid Train’ between Playa del Carmen and Merida that will stop at Valladolid, Chichen Itza and Tulum. The ‘Transpeninsular Train’ would travel at 110 kms per hour and carry up to 400 passengers, and will travel through the Yucatan jungle. Some people love the idea, others are opposed. With change comes two sides to every story, and we have that story.
Currently there are three ways to drive to from the coast of the Riviera Maya to Merida and surrounding cities. You can take the back roads via Tulum (our personal favorite), the free highway from Cancun to Merida, or the toll highways from the Riviera Maya coast to Merida. This drive is at least 4 hours anyway you look at it. If you opt for the toll roads your trip is cut a bit shorter but the cost of your trip significantly increases.
If you are public transportation person, which we have to say we are here in Mexico, local buses take a load off the driving, but do not save time.
The new Transpeninsular train will clear up the highways and save time. More people will be able to plan day trips to the interior of the Yucatan where local ruins, culture, and history can be found. Vacations become more manageable, travel becomes more fluid, and education is more abundant. This is exciting and makes the entire project palatable for many.
If you love to drive, roads and highways will have less traffic once the train is introduced, smaller cities like Valladolid will become less congested. Thumbs up for this advantage.
Where people start to get a little discouraged is when they hear that the train will also service the coastal areas, which could mean more travel between villages and cities, and hence the potential of more ‘human’ congestion in the beach areas. Hmmm, it is easy to travel up and down the coast before the train travel becomes a part of the Riviera Maya routine. As people share information about the beauty in each coastal town more visitors are jumping between beach areas to take full advantage of the beaches and attractions located up and down the coast. Would train travel really disrupt what has already been disrupted? This is where it gets sticky, and quite frankly I am not sure that anyone has an answer to that question.
The President of Mexico is looking to increase transportation options throughout Mexico to encourage more travel between states and attractions. Mexico is a big country, something that I think many of us forget, and having more travel options is a wonderful way to explore this beautiful country in more detail.
Change is always hard, and how we feel about change is different for everyone. The new train could end up being a wonderful way to explore more, and can open up many different options for vacations.
What I do know is this. If the train becomes unmanageable then there are many coastal areas that will not be effected and can become another ‘haven’ on the coast. The Costa Maya is one of these areas, and after recently visiting Mahahual for a few days, I have to say, it is definitely an option as a wonderful and quiet beach haven.
Have you explored the Costa Maya lately? Have a look at what these beaches have to offer and the remoteness that many people enjoy without foregoing great services, vacation rentals, hotels and restaurants.