Since we are on the subject of hotels, here are a couple of recommendations. If you have been reading up on driving down in our previous posts and other blogs and websites, most people agree that stopping in Tampico on your first day's driving down and Villahermosa on your second night is the best idea.
As for these two cities, I don't feel that my safety is in jeopardy in Villahermosa but Tampico is a city I don't particularly like. The last time I drove down in May, 2011 with another expat we drove up on a murder scene. Because of this I advise you to stay in reputable hotels like Holiday Inn right on the main road through the city. When we stayed there we saw Haliburton contractors in the hotel so I am assuming it has a good reputation. It has secured parking in the back and is very clean. The staff was very friendly, they have a nice pool and lounging area outside, a functioning bar. You can order pizza through the hotel desk or eat room service if you don't want to venture out and risk being pulled over by corrupt policeman looking for bribes. Breakfast is also included in the price of the room.
Here is the map and a picture of the Holiday Inn in Tampico:
The Holiday Inn I am referring to is marked with an "A" on the map. You will see it as you are entering the main part of the city. It will be on your right at the SouthWest corner of an intersection with a stop light.
Villahermosa is a little more wide open. I have stayed at the Quality Inn twice now in that city. It sits two blocks back off of the main highway behind VIPS restaurant and the Hyatt Regency. It is very clean, well managed and has been newly renovated. The parking lot seems very secure and breakfast is included in the cost of the room which will run between $80 USD and $100 USD depending on the time of year. The first time I stayed there in May, 2010 I paid for my room with U.S. dollars. Not sure if they still take them however.
The hotel sits a few blocks back off of the main road. Because you will probably getting there around dark, just look for VIPS off the main road on the South side. Also look for the Hyatt which is a larger building. QI is right behind it off a short side street.
These are just two recommendation. Also, here is the link of the post I did on driving instructions. Email me if you have questions.