Although Chetumal  is by no means a resort town, its status as the state capital and its location on the Belize  border make it a busy town. Arrive as early in the day as possible to have your choice of hotel rooms. Better yet, call ahead for a reservation.
Hands down, Hotel Xcalak (Av. 16 de Septiembre at Av. Mahatma Gandhi, tel. 983/129-1708, www.hotelxcalak.com.mx , $34 s/d with a/c) is the best budget deal in town: modern rooms with tasteful decor, strong but quiet air-con, SKY TV, and wireless Internet. The on-site restaurant also provides room service (you’ve got to order in person, however). All that, and located just about one block from the Museo de la Cultura Maya .
Next door, Hotel Ucúm (Av. Mahatma Gandhi btwn Avs. 5 de Mayo and 16 de Septiembre, tel. 983/832-0711, www.hotelucumchetumal.com , US$18 s/d with fan, US$23 s/d with fan and cable TV, US$32 s/d with a/c and cable TV) is an older hotel offering stark, clean rooms. Beds are hit or miss, unfortunately, and some rooms can be downright stuffy (ask for a room on the top floor for the best breeze). There is a refreshing pool on-site with a separate wading area for small children, however, and the parking lot is secure.
A throwback to the mid-1980s, Hotel Caribe Princess Express (Av. Alvaro Obregón btwn Avs. 5 de Mayo and 16 de Septiembre, tel. 983/832-0900, toll-free Mex. tel. 800/831-0232, www.caribeprincesschetumal.com , US$42 s with a/c, US$50 d with a/c, US$64 suite with a/c) has comfortable rooms nonetheless, with decent beds, cable TV, and powerful air-con. There’s Wi-Fi in the lobby and a self-serve breakfast (i.e., toast, cereal, fruits) every day. Be sure to ask for a room facing the interior of the building; the karaoke bar in front blasts music—good, bad, and terrible—until the wee hours.
Hotel Los Cocos (Av. de los Héroes at Calle Héroes de Chapultepec, tel. 983/835-0430, toll-free Mex. tel. 800/719-5840, www.hotelloscocos.com.mx , US$76–152 s/d with a/c) has pleasant rooms with updated furnishings, cable TV, in-room phone, and quiet air-con. Each category of room has its own style (and wing): modern, sleek, or Mexican villa. Regardless of where guests stay, all have access to the lush garden and inviting, albeit small pool area. There’s also a good open-air restaurant on-site. Wi-Fi in the lobby only.
Don’t be fooled by its name; Holiday Inn Puerta Maya (Av. de los Héroes near Av. Mahatma Gandhi, tel. 983/835-0400, toll-free U.S. tel. 888/465-4329, www.holiday-inn.com/chetumalmex , US$128–172 s/d with a/c) offers more than your standard-issue room. It’s downright plush with thick beds, marble floors, wood beam ceilings, and amenities like wireless Internet, security box, and in-room coffeemakers. There’s a gym on-site, as well as a well-maintained pool, which is surrounded by a tropical garden. Kids also stay for free. Be sure to check the website when you book—there often are killer deals.
On the road to Kohunlich  is the luxurious Explorean Kohunlich (tel. 555/201-8350, toll-free Mex. tel. 800/504-5000, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/343-7821, www.theexplorean.com , US$265 pp with a/c), an all-inclusive resort boasting 40 deluxe suites set on 30 hectares (74 acres) of jungle property. Each has gleaming stone floors, high palapa ceilings, elegant furnishings, and private stone-walled yards for sunbathing. Two suites also have private plunge pools.
At the main building, there is a fine restaurant (7:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. daily, US$12–24, open to nonguests), a full-service spa, and a sleek lap pool that overlooks the jungle (you can see the ruins at Kohunlich from here). One excursion per day—rappelling in the jungles of Campeche , kayaking through a crocodile reserve, or mountain biking through forgotten forests—is included. Transportation to and from Chetumal ’s airport also is thrown in. All told, this is an incredible value.