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We will be cruising the West Caribbean in February 2019 and want to book a tour of Mayan ruins. Which one is the best to choose?

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12 hours ago, Cockatoos said:

We will be cruising the West Caribbean in February 2019 and want to book a tour of Mayan ruins. Which one is the best to choose?

Tulum is better as the bus ride there is shorter and more interesting than Chicen Itza.  Be prepared the ferry ride to the main land can be very rough.

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On 12/3/2018 at 8:52 PM, Cockatoos said:

We will be cruising the West Caribbean in February 2019 and want to book a tour of Mayan ruins. Which one is the best to choose?

 

We took a Celebrity excursion on a plane to Chichen Itza, absolutely amazing!  Included a private tour guide, great Mexican buffet at the hotel restaurant on the grounds and it was so nice to be able to fly over the entire ruins before landing.  The plane was new and the pilot very experienced.  It was costly, but so very worth it.  We had been to Tulum many years ago, but enjoyed this so much more.

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Some of the tours to ruins require buses and small river boats, are long tours and don't give you much leeway, should something delay your tour.  We normally don't take ship cruises....however we did take a Celebrity tour to Lamanai. There were three buses of folks.  We were on the first bus and arrived back at the ship 5 minutes after it was scheduled to leave.  The other buses arrived over an hour later.  The ship waited for them.  

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Not sure where your port is, but if it's Cozumel I would suggest Coba as your best bet. 

 

Tulum is beautiful and right on the ocean, but not nearly as big as others and there is NO shade.  If you go here bring plenty of sunscreen, water, and an umbrella for shade.

 

Chichen Itza is large and spectacular, but it is a long trip from Cozumel and is by far the most popular and the most crowded.  Over the years it's lost some of it's Mayan charm and has become too crowded and touristy in my opinion.

 

Coba was an entire Mayan city and has not yet been completely unearthed - you most likely will see archaeologists there.  The ruin contains the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan peninsula.  It's in the middle of the jungle so you get to see much of the natural landscape and lots of shade.  Less crowds as well.

 

Wherever you end up, have fun - this area of Mexico is gorgeous!

Edited by cricketgirl

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When we stopped at Belize City a few years ago, we took a ship's excursion to Altun Ha, where a number of impressive structures have been excavated (apparently there are many more that could be excavated).  We'd been to Tulum, but not Chichen Itza.  Altun Ha is much better than Tulum.  All depends on where you dock.

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If the ship goes to Costa Maya, the Chacchoben ruins are interesting.  It's fairly easy to get to and you can still climb some of the pyramids.  They also have an example of a wall with original pigment.

 

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Thanks everyone for your help, I find it hard to choose based on the brief descriptions given on the online booking page. I decided to book a tour that did not look to have too long on the bus to and from, and took advantage of the 30% off sale. 

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Cozumel also has a small site. We hired a guide to tell us about it, very informative about the history and it's on the island so you don't loose a lot of time traveling. You can take a taxi to it. Our group of 6 enjoyed it.

Edited by cruisin 07

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Chicen itza  is much better than Tulum but is not very practical from a ship . It is a long boring drive if you can afford the plane X does offer it.  I have heard you can no longer climb the pyramid ,which is a shame one of the most amazing things I have ever done.

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6 hours ago, BarbinMich said:

When we stopped at Belize City a few years ago, we took a ship's excursion to Altun Ha, where a number of impressive structures have been excavated (apparently there are many more that could be excavated).  We'd been to Tulum, but not Chichen Itza.  Altun Ha is much better than Tulum.  All depends on where you dock.

Bumpy bus ride but worth the trip!

Lots of mosquitos!!

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4 hours ago, abbydancer said:

If the ship goes to Costa Maya, the Chacchoben ruins are interesting.  It's fairly easy to get to and you can still climb some of the pyramids.  They also have an example of a wall with original pigment.

 

We enjoyed this very much..great guides bring history alive!

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12 hours ago, hcat said:

We enjoyed this very much..great guides bring history alive!

I agree the Guides are so important. We have been to several of the ruins but enjoyed the small site on Cozumel as much as any of the others because we had such a great storyteller as our tour guide. We saw most people walking around this site alone without a guide they had no clue what they were looking at or the history of the site. I guess they thought they were saving money?? 

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2 hours ago, southernbreezes said:

I agree the Guides are so important. We have been to several of the ruins but enjoyed the small site on Cozumel as much as any of the others because we had such a great storyteller as our tour guide. We saw most people walking around this site alone without a guide they had no clue what they were looking at or the history of the site. I guess they thought they were saving money?? 

We had a great guide at Altun Ha who gave us lots of interesting info.  One can climb the pyramids there.  The largest has a wooden (?) stairway up to the top, but it was at least 3 or 4 stories--too much for me.  As for "climbing" the other smaller pyramids, I tried.  But the first step is 18-24" off the ground--hard for a short person to "climb" that.  From the guide I found out that the original residents scrambled up the pyramids on all fours!

Edited by BarbinMich

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I would vote for Chichen Itza.  But take the plane from Cozumel.  It is really a hassle taking the ferry over and then the bus ride.  Chichen Itza is really special.  Get there early to avoid the other tourists if you can.  We really enjoyed it.

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