ruins in Mexico

Old Aug 6th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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ruins in Mexico

We are a family of 4 (2 teenagers) going to Cancun and want to know which ruin site is best to see? Tulum, Coba, or Chichen Itza? Is it too much to see all 3? We have a rental car and are going to do it on our own (not going on any tours). Also, has anyone done any zip-lining in Cancun ?
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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you will get more responces if you repost this on the latin america board.
if you have 2 weeks you could do all 3. but would still be a lot of archeology. imho do tulum and one of the others. there is sooo much to see and do in this area like the cenotes, zip line, x-caret and xel-ha, not to mention the beach and snorkeling. here's a link to a zip line i know is a good experience: and

locogringo site has a plethora of info on everything in the area.
regardless of which ruins you choose plan to arrive there at the crack of dawn. it gets very very hot at coba and chichen itza not to mention crowded by mid day.
re driving: be sure and have someone explain left turns to you. they have an unusual thing where you pull off to the right and wait until no one is coming in either direction and then you cross both lanes of hwy to make your turn. also they have huge bumps across hwy 307 before and after towns. slow Way down if you don't want to hit hard! it is advised you not drive after dark. and men with machine guns by the road are not a cause for panic.
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 05:09 PM
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A few years ago while staying in Cancun we had a rental car for one day and left very early to drive to Chichen Itza arriving before noon. We got to climb the pyramid and spent about 2 hours at the site.

We intended to visit Tulum on the way back but it just got too late (it was getting dark, the ruins were about to close.. you get the picture).
Chichen Itza was totally worth it!

This year we went to Tulum and it was also great but not as impressive as Chichen Itza. The beach at the ruins was absolutely gorgeous though.

Get there early wherever you go to avoid the tour groups!

Tulum would be a much shorter drive. I think visiting all 3 in a week would be too much but in two weeks I'd consider it.

Great advice from Virginia!
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 05:18 PM
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I have been to all three, though on different trips.

To me, Coba is by far the most impressive -- its much larger than Tulum and hasn't been as restored and sanitized as Chitzen Itza. Tulum's location is breathtaking, but its very small. Chitzen Itza likely draws 100 times as many daily visitors as Coba, and the main pyramid has been over restored, in my opinion. But its very easy to reach and has restaurants, gift shops, etc., which Coba does not have.
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Old Aug 10th, 2007, 08:10 AM
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We have been to all three as well. From Cancun there are nice tours you can do to Chichen Itza (one is run by Gray Line) that will take you there on a large air conditioned bus, usually includes lunch at the hotel located just outside the ruins, some time at the ruins, and return. If you do one of these it will be an all day affair (including the mandatory "shopping opportunity&quot. However, it is an easy way to see CI. Since you have a car you could do the same tour on your own. The road to CI is 4 lane all the way.

There are also tours to Tulum and Coba as well. We have not done those as this year we stayed at a resort near Tulum so rented a car and did both in one day on our own (Coba is only 40 KM from Tulum and a easy drive).

Chichen Itza and Tulum are both very much excavated and restored while Coba is still rough and in dense jungle. They are all interesting. Tulum's beachside location is awesome. Tulum would also be an easy drive from Cancun about 2 hours. The road is 4 lane most of the way except for the last stretch and even then it is a wide two lane. Driving is quite easy.

I think if I was staying in Cancun and had time to see only one I would opt for Chichen Itza.
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Old Aug 10th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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The Tulum ruins are in my opinion the easiest to get to. We took a collectivo, a local, clean, airconditioned shuttle bus, from the highway in Akumal straight to the area in front of the entrance of the ruins. You'll want to get there early before all of the tour buses come (and before it gets oppressively hot). We went at about 9 and it was fine.
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Old Aug 11th, 2007, 08:05 PM
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The current issue of National Geographic (August Issue) has a wonderful article on the Mayan Ruins. You might enjoy reading it. It mentions Chichen Itza briefly.

Depending on how many days you will be in Cancun and what other activities you will be doing - you probably could visit all three. But, it can get pricey with a family of 4.
We also took the tour bus to C.Itza and really enjoyed it because the tour guide was extremely knowledgable.
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Old Aug 13th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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All 3 are beautiful in their own way.

Tulum is the easiest to get to and the easiest to see (much smaller than the other two).

Coba is a little further. You can rent bicycles on site or use the guys with the pedicabs. 2 of you can sit on one. The tour would go much faster and would be less exhausting. There's a lot of shade so it won't feel as hot.

Chichen Itza is really spread out with no shade. You have to walk. You'll need an entire day just for that one (driving to it and touring).

Did not do any ziplining. Have a great trip.

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