hiddenyucatan.jpgI am going to the Yucatan (I will blog more about this later), so I’ve checked out Hidden Cancun & the Yucatan from the library. This 2003 edition is the most recent guidebook to the region that the library has. And, I’m sorry to say, it’s not much of a guidebook at all. You can use it to get general information about many (albeit by no means all) tourist destinations in the Yucatan, as well as some pointers to hotels and restaurants – but the book is pretty much devoid of any of the practical information you need to get around from city to city and site to site. You can use it to get an idea of what towns/sites you want to hit during your trip, but if you plan to do any traveling at all, you will need a book with more practical information – even if just to point you to where the tourist office is, so that you can ask them how to get to your next stop. The book has virtually no maps, no information about opening hours or admission prices and no information as to distances or traveling times, for example. Moreover, what information is in the book is truly “hidden” within its very badly organized pages. It also doesn’t appear to be comprehensive – I’m particularly interested in finding information about cenotes we can visit – but it doesn’t include very much.
True, this is a 2003 guide – but the issue is not with how up-to-date the information is, but by what is presented and how. And it’s not the fault of the writer either – I have an older edition of Hidden San Francisco and Northern California and it suffers from the same bad-organization problems. I am sure that the lattest edition is just as frustrating.
All this said, and until I became frustrated, I did enjoy reading the book. I’d been furious if I had actually paid money for it, though. I would definitely not take it with me to Mexico.
Yesterday, I ordered Moon Yucatan Peninsula (it’s the 2007 edition, a new edition is coming out soon). I haven’t looked at the book, so I have no idea how it is, but I used the 1990 edition as a resource when I traveled the region writing the Yucatan chapter for the Berkeley Guide to Mexico right after college, and I LOVED the book. Back then, it included probably 90% of the places there were to see in the Yucatan, and the ones it didn’t include weren’t that significant. What I don’t remember is how good its practical information was. I researched all the practical information myself (of course) so I didn’t really have to rely on the book so much. We’ll see when it arrives.