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annieanddaryl

Mayan Riviera ruins - which one?

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We are staying at the Grand Sunset Princess near Playa del Carmen. Can someone let me know which are the best ruins to visit? Tulum? Coba? Chichen Itza? Thanks!

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I think that really depends on what you are looking for. Tulum is the closest, but I think it's the most "touristy" for that reason. Many people have said they LOVE Coba and Chichen Itza way more because it's more authentic and you get more of an idea for their lifestyles. BUT, they are at least an hour away and would definitely be a full day excursion.

So it really depends on how much of your trip you want to devote to it.

Also, the Tulum ruins are on the beach (GORGEOUS beach) and that's a big draw for many.

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We are doing Tulum one day cause its so close to Akumal and our guests can go around Tulum for the day. Then another day we are doing Coba for a couple reasons Although Chichen itza is amazing its a FULL DAY trip, we don't want our guests to lose an entire day when they are only their for a week (w/ wedding i there we want them to be able to relax). And Chichen Itza is really touristy. We aren't real fans of a bunch of tourists, which is why we are doing our own non-resort wedding in Akumal, so Coba is more our style. Coba is much closer to us and although we will be doing it all day we won't have to leave really early and get back really late. It will just be like a mid day trip.

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we did tulum and chichen itza, tulum would have been better for us if we had had a better guide and or more time there. we were only there 2 hours on the tour we did and it just wasnt enough time.

 

chichen itza was amazing! our guide was fantastic and we were there about 3 hours. honestly we would have loved to stay another 2 hours at least but it was just too hot! so even tho we werent really done seeing everything, it was so hot we were ready to go back to the bus and cool off. from GBP it was a full 2 hour ride.

 

for more info on the tours we did, click on the honeymoon link in my siggy :)

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I've done Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Coba and Tulum. I think that Tulum is the easiest and really nice, especially if you hit it first thing in the morning before all the tourists arrive. Another option for Tulum is the night light show, but that can be hit and miss because they keep changing the days that it is available. This is a beautiful, fully excavated site on breathtaking cliffs overlooking the ocean. It is easy to walk around the sites and read all the markers, getting a good idea of the history and architecture.

 

Coba is the second easiest for you, and it is also very nice but be aware that this is a huge property and it's not very well marked. In order to really enjoy this site you need to hire a guide ($300 pesos) once you enter the site, and then rent a bicycle after your tour in order to ride through the entire area, because it's huge. This is not a very touristy area but unlike Tulum or Chichen you are allowed to climb and explore anything. It is set in the beautiful jungle and the day trip ends up being more like a hike through the jungle with ruins then a ruins tour.

 

My most favorite set of ruins is Ek Balam, near Vallodolid. It is half excavated, a 45 minute tourwill cost your $200 pesos if you find another family willing to share the guide with. It is an older set of ruins, so it is pure mayan, and only partially excavated. They also have the third highest mayan ruin in the world (taller then Chichen) and they allow you to hike all the way up. They also have some beautiful original plasters that have been so well preserved that you can still see the carvings. You can also combine this trip with the cenotes near Vallodolid, Dzitnip and Ik Kil which are beautiful cavernous, but small cenotes. It's easy to visit these two cenotes and have a pleasant lunch in the quiet little colonial town of Vallodolid if you either rent cars or hire private transportation.

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Tulum was definitely my favorite, but I'm not into the long day trips and I liked that it was not too far of a drive!

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