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Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Tour


klfrodo
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Just returned from our cruise.

One of our stops was in Costa Maya. We wanted to do a Mayans Ruins tour.

We decided not to go with a cruise line sponsored tour for various reasons.

We ended up with The Native Choice. https://www.thenativechoice.com/tours/chacchoben-ruins-tour

The tour was GREAT and filled with local history and knowledge. I highly recommend it and a big shout out to Hugo, our guide.

The price was reasonable. If I had one thing to change about the web page, I would change the "Difficulty Level" from Easy to Moderate if like me (early 60's, out of shape, carrying about 40 pounds more than I should).

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On 11/4/2019 at 1:05 PM, hong64us said:

thanks for your shariing, just wondering how much cruise charge for ? we will be in Dec15 th 2019

 

A check of the web page shows $55 for adults and $45 for children.

 

 

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2 hours ago, BuckeyeMark said:

You all done it.  You convinced us!

 

We canceled the Royal Carib official excursion and booked Native Choice.  We'll be there next Friday and we'll let you know how it goes!

Yes, please do tell us about your experience when you return.  Have a wonderful cruise!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just got back from my cruise yesterday and we did the Ruins and Bacalor Lagoon tour with NATIVE CHOICE and it was wonderful!  

We got our educational activity in and we got to play in the water and have lunch and drinks!  They are a first class group that has comfortable vans with great guides! 

I agree there was a bit more walking then we thought there would be it was great to see the ruins. 

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This is all super helpful information!! We have only been on one cruise, so I am still a little nervous about navigating my way around once we get off the ship in the port. Did you find it easy to find the Native Choice folks once you got off the ship? We will have our 11 and 10 year old kids with us. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/12/2019 at 10:26 PM, BuckeyeMark said:

You all done it.  You convinced us!

 

We canceled the Royal Carib official excursion and booked Native Choice.  We'll be there next Friday and we'll let you know how it goes!

Can you report back on your experience? We are looking at this one as well.

 

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5 hours ago, emeraldcity said:

Can you report back on your experience? We are looking at this one as well.

 


Thanks for reminding me.  It was good.  I'd recommend it if seeing ancient history and learning about other cultures is your thing.

Native Choice is very professional and has very nice (new) vans.  The downside is you have to get out of the Costa Maya port complex to get to them.  I didn't really "get" this before going there but there is no such thing as Costa Maya.  No such town exists.  It's a shopping complex and pier that is completely artificial.  It is squeaky clean and nice and new - think Disney World building something.  So the ship docks and you head down the pier and into this big half circle "mall" with shops in it.  There is no easy exit.  You have to walk from 3:00 o'clock (if you get my meaning) all the way round to 9:00 o'clock to finally get out of the mall.  Crazy!  Then you go down the street a couple of blocks and there is Native Choice.  It did feel kind of weird leaving the compound and being in "real" Mexico but once you get to Native Choice's offices it's all good.  They have a lot of vans and they assign you a van and off you go.  Our guide was very conscientious and very good but his English wasn't always the best, so he was kind of hard to understand. He did know everything about the ruins and culture and really took the time to show us stuff, especially plant life.

 

It takes about an hour or so to get to the ruins.  It's about the most un-scenic drive ever.  Think driving across Florida.  It's mostly a big swamp/wetlands.  How the Mayans survived in that area I'll never know - it's not an easy area to live in.  The highway is absolutely arrow straight.  I've never seen anything like it.  The driver could have lashed the steering wheel in place and took a 30 minute nap.  I'm not kidding - the road is that straight.  Absolutely not curves or turns for what seems like forever.  Finally you hit a main highway ("wake up, driver, time to turn left!") and you're there in a few more minutes. 

The tour is kinda cool.  The Mayans built these big stepped pyramid like things and a variety of other stone buildings etc that go with it all.  Some of it the experts aren't super sure how it all went together.  It is hacked right out of the jungle - we did see some monkeys.  And it is HUMID.  We were there in November.  I am not sure what that would have been like in July but I'm thinking it would have been unpleasant times eleventy bazillion.  There is a fair amount of walking and even some climbing.  Our bus driver brought chilled water bottles (thank you!) and even had a bunch of golf umbrellas if it had been sunny.

The tour takes about an hour then you shop the little craft kiosk area (note: crafts more expensive here than the same thing being sold in the "mall" at the port) and go to the restroom.  Board up and back you go.  We stopped at a native farmer's market and the guide hopped off and bought pineapple for those who wanted some.  A ziploc baggie with several chunks for a buck.  We bought some and I was surprised it wasn't nearly as sweet as Hawaiian pineapple I've had.  It was okay.  Then back to the compound/mall.

It's kinda long ride to see the ruins.  Not sure what else to say.  Is it the single greatest thing I've ever seen?  No.  Was it interesting and am I glad I saw it? Yes.  Would I go again?  Prolly not.  It's not the kind of thing you need to see again. Did Native Choice do a good job and would I book something with them again instead of the cruise excursions?  Absolutely.  I don't blame NC at all for the ruins being  a long drive from the port or that they are in a steamy jungle.  If you want to see the ruins they can get you there.  They do a good job getting you out there, explaining it to you, and they don't charge as much as the cruise line.  For me that's a win.

Edited by BuckeyeMark
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2 hours ago, BuckeyeMark said:

 

Thank you for your very detailed report.

 

I am doing the research for a family group of 12, so the savings this represents over the NCL excursion is considerable. Mayan ruins have been identified by the adults as a "must do" experience at some point in the cruise.

 

I did an excursion to Chacobben about 15 years ago, so I know what to expect., but none of my family has been there and the represents a far better experience than the all-day thing to Chichen Itza (I've done that too, and it was grueling). I was aware that Costa Maya is the Disneyland Mexico created by the cruiselines, so I was plesantly surprised to find out that it's possible to connect with a local operator to get the same experience at a lower rate. I also feel that's a better way to infuse some of our tourist dollars into the local economy. I also like the idea of comfortable van transportation instead of mega buses.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I did a different excursion with Native Choice. They had half a dozen tours leaving about the same time doing different combinations of their offerings, including Chochoben Ruins, Mayan Family experience, 7 Colors Lagoon, Beach Break, etc.  I think they may have had a zip line option, too.

 

Due to my mother being part of our group and having mobility issues, we chose the Mayan Family (local home with native lunch included) and 7 Colors Lagoon excursion (with open bar) and it was great.  We also stopped at a roadside fruit stand for honey pineapple and dragon fruit. 

 

The tour guide was extremely impressive for a young 22 year old who looked 15.  We all learned Mayan math during the longer portions of our drive and lots of local Mayan history.  The vans were newer and the A/C worked well.  Cold water was provided several times, as well as bug repellant. 

 

So, while I haven't been to the Chachoben ruins yet, I give thumbs up to Native Choice as an excursion company at this port.  And their prices included more than the cruise ship's similar offerings.  The only difference being you have to walk about a mile to their shop location versus taking a bus out of the cruise port.  On your return, their vans drop you right at the cruise port entrance by the taxi stand.

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On 11/25/2019 at 5:28 PM, dancingfish said:

I just got back from my cruise yesterday and we did the Ruins and Bacalor Lagoon tour with NATIVE CHOICE and it was wonderful!  

We got our educational activity in and we got to play in the water and have lunch and drinks!  They are a first class group that has comfortable vans with great guides! 

I agree there was a bit more walking then we thought there would be it was great to see the ruins. 

 

I was looking at this for my family.  My daughter is 11.  do you think it is interesting enough for her to enjoy it? 

 

 

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On 12/30/2019 at 12:18 PM, helensobol said:

was looking at this for my family.  My daughter is 11.  do you think it is interesting enough for her to enjoy it? 

We did the Chacchoben ruins with Mayan family visit and I had my two 12 year old boys with.  We all LOVED it.  I thought the Mayan family visit would be awkward, but it wasn't at all.  Both parts of the tour were awesome, but together they were amazing.  Really tied the past and present together.

 

I can't recommend this tour enough.

 

My boys are typical electronics loving, swim and beach loving kids.  We did plenty of that at other ports, so I'm sure the difference of this experience helped, too.

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We too did the same ruins/village tour with Native Choice and loved it.  Clean, delicious meal and home visit after an interesting tour of the Mayans ruins.  Yes, the ruins are an hour away, but worth it.  The village visit is mid-way on the way back to town and breaks up the long drive.  Native Choice offers many options and combinations of tours and are a safe and more reasonably-priced  choice with a true cultural bent. 

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I was at this port two years ago and when we got to the beach area ( had to pay for some sort of shuttle to get there, although they said walking was possible, but area seemed too isolated) there were vans offering this tour at a very low price.  I didn't take the tour because I was worried about getting back to the ship in time.  Did anyone try these cheaper tour vans?

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  • 3 weeks later...
55 minutes ago, cdoobiest said:

We are doing this tour in a few weeks with group of 15 including some grandparents.  I know the walk to the tour is about a mile.  How long is the walk from van to Ruins.  Just want to make sure they can handle the walk.  Thanks

Not far at all, and all flat other than the exploration of the ruins at the end, which is entirely optional.

The entire tour is probably a mile or less of walking.  It's all pretty close together.

Climbing the last set of ruins may not be something people with limited mobility care for, but they could simply walk around the bottom area, or just sit at the base.

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