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Assistance needed in selecting ancient ruins to visit

Assistance needed in selecting ancient ruins to visit

Old Aug 3rd, 2004, 05:25 PM
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Assistance needed in selecting ancient ruins to visit

Last year I took my first trip to Cancun and did not get an opportunity to visit any of the ancient ruins. Now I am planning to go back this October and make that a high priority.

I will spend 5 days and 4 nights in Mexico, with at least the last 2 nights staying in PDC.

Would it be too much to drive to the Chichen Itza area spend 1 night there see the ruins; next go to the Uxmal area and stay 1 night and then to PDC? I have looked at the map but I don't want to spend all my time in car.

Or another option I have thought about was to just go to PDC, and take day trips to Coba, Tulum, & Xcaret/Xel-Ha?

All recommendations and experiences will be greatly appreciated as usual. Also, any tips on the driving or renting cars would be great since I haven't really got to that point in my planning.

kdm is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2004, 05:55 PM
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We were in Mexico in June.
We went to both Tulum and Coba. My advice would be to get there early morning before the big crowds and before the sun gets too hot.
They're both amazing to see. Coba is further out than Tulum and more widespread so it will take you longer to see the Coba ruins. The nice thing about Coba is that the walking areas are shaded with trees.
We rented a car from Hertz office at a hotel. The roads to both Coba and Tulum were good (very easy to get to both sites).
We didn't do Chichen Itza because we had our 2-year-old with us and thought that'd be a bit too much. I understand that Chichen Itza is pretty spectacular (longer drive too) so we're bummed that we didn't make it.
We skipped Xcaret/Xel-Ha because they appeared to be too touristy in a disney-iesh sorta way for us.
If you like to snorkel, I would recommend Yal-ku lagoon.
Do a search for my screenname and you will find my trip report.
Have a great trip.
Old Aug 4th, 2004, 04:10 AM
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The PDC area has much to offer and you can easily do day trips to Tulum, Coba and even Chichen Itza. We rented a car and did pay for the extra insurance just to be sure we would be covered - it was worth the peace of mind. We had NO problems driving in this area - altho we avoided driving at night. For Tulum - be sure to bring a bathing suit for a swim when you are done touring. I also was sooo glad I brought an unbrella for touring - it helped keep the hot sun off my head. It is incredibly hot at the ruins! Enjoy!
Dorgal is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2004, 06:19 PM
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I can give you some approximate drive times... From Playa Del Carmen to Chichen Itza is about 1 1/2 hours. From Chichen Itza to Uxmal is about 2 1/2 hours. Uxmal is wonderful... but if you can't do it, definitely be sure to do Chichen Itza. Can you fly into Merida and visit Uxmal from there (be sure to do other "Puuc route" ruins too)... then make your way east, stopping over one night in Chichen Itza and ending up in PDC? It's possible, but will be somewhat rushed.

If you want to see Coba, try the Coba Pac-Chen tour from Alltournative (www.alltournative.com). It's incredible and combines some fun activities (canoeing, rappelling into a cenote, zip-lining) along with a tour to Coba.
CarolM is offline  
Old Aug 10th, 2004, 06:16 AM
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I would take the advice of caribtraveler and rent a car to visit Tulum and Coba. This way, you can set your own pace and avoid the HUGE crowds at Tulum from the tours and ships.
I, too, would avoid Xcaret and Xel-ha--they both have become much too commercialized for my taste. Thats a shame--I used to enjoy them both.
RobertSDF is offline  
Old Aug 10th, 2004, 07:12 AM
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If you stay in Playa del Carmen, I would strongly recommend flying to Chichen Itza rather than driving. Along the beach you can book flight tours. By flying you get to Chichen Itza about 10 am, long before all the tour bus crowds arrive and before it gets too hot and humid. You will also have the ruins almost to yourself. A guide is also included in the flight and ours was very good and explained many things that I would have missed without a guide.
Old Aug 10th, 2004, 08:12 AM
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The alltounative tours are awesome. We did the cave snorkling one. Or you can very easily go to Coba and Tulum in one day with a rental car. There are places to get something to eat or drink near the entrances of each ruin.

We met a couple last year, while in Mexico, who went to Uxmal. They said it was spectacular.
playadelcarmeninfo.com has useful info on the ruins under mundo maya.
pepper131 is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2004, 04:56 PM
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We just returned from PDC. THis trip we rented a car and drove to Chichen Itza. It took us about 2 and 1/2 hours, a very easy drive on the toll road. We left early and got there around 10:00. It was indeed very hot but there is some shade. The ruins there are absolutely awesome.

We've also visited Tulum, which is quite pretty on the shore but much smaller and from an historical perspective less important.

We had a good time at Xel Ha 3 years ago but it is pretty commercial and I guess getting more so. We did enjoy the snorkeling and if you have kids I would still recommmend it.

Enjoy your trip!
skigirl is offline  
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