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nyliberty100 Mar 27th, 2006 12:27 PM

Which are the best mayan ruins?
I am planning a trip to Cancun in May and would like to take a day trip to one of the big Mayan ruins. Which is better Tulum or Chichen Itza? Or are there others that are better?

Poppa Mar 27th, 2006 01:59 PM

If you can do and overnight at Chichen, do that. Stay at Dolores Alba.

If not, do a day trip to Ek Balam just
north of Valldolid. Pretty site and with a couple of stunners.

Tulum is beautifully sited but, among Maya ruins, is a post-Classic fort rather than a grand city. It is also crawling with tourists.

colokid Mar 28th, 2006 04:07 AM

Chichen Itza over Tulum but Coba is also high on my list. More jungle and less crowded than Chichen Itza. If it's your first site visit Chichen Itza is more groomed. Go early when they first open to avoid the crowds which arrive on buses around 11 and the heat.

jaclynpoulson Mar 28th, 2006 06:36 AM

In my opinion, it depends on what "better" means to you. Chichen Itza and Coba I think have more ruins, and larger ruins, in a totally different setting ... but they are quite a drive. Tulum, on the other hand, is so beautiful overlooking the sea, doesn't have as many ruins, but is much closer.

Poppa Mar 28th, 2006 06:46 AM

Yes, it would be Coba over Tulum.

I really like Ek Balam, too. It is not

so groomed as Chichen (yet) but it has

a magnificent and enormous mask on the

side of its largest (so-far) excavated

temple. I hate to knock Tulum (actually

I don't), but it is a crude little

compound and not a great Maya city as

are the others.

Pausanias Mar 28th, 2006 07:10 AM

Another vote for Ek Balam. The high relief carvings are superb.

Chichen is vast and impressive and crowded. Really, really crowded. But I guess it's a must.

Tulum, as the other poster says, is a small, crude city in an incomparable setting.

Uxmal, and the surrounding Puuc hills cities are the finest, IMHO, but a little far for a day trip.

Haven't been to Coba yet.

Poppa Mar 28th, 2006 08:18 AM

But then ....

for another trip ....


Pausanias Mar 28th, 2006 11:48 AM


Haven't been there either, unfortunately, nor to Bonampac nor Yaxchilan . . .

colokid Mar 28th, 2006 06:09 PM

Calakmul, Palenque and Ek Balam are on my list for definite trips this year. Muyil is also a small ruin south of Tulum good for a quick look plus the boats at the end of the boardwalk will take you out to the canals for snorkeling.

judibur Mar 31st, 2006 09:24 AM

Chichen Itza.

Curt Mar 31st, 2006 09:49 AM

Chichen Itza is excellent and what makes it ideal for trip from Cancun (assuming you won't have car) it that Grey Line Tours runs (or did anyway) an excellent tour. You leave from their terminal (will have to get there from your hotel by taxi but it is in heart of hotel zone), and with a guide on board a modern air conditioned bus drive towards Chichen Itza. You stop in the really neat town of Valloid on the way and get to visit one of the oldest churches in Mexico and stroll through a very nice town square (plaza). Then on to a "shopping opportunity" at a craft center (ok this is only so-so) and then on to the Mayaland Hotel right at the ruins. There you have lunch (included) and then visit the ruins. You can go along with your guide or off on your own. You will have most of the afternoon and when through exploring you can return to the hotel and if you want you can have a swim in the pool. The bus then departs and heads straight back to Cancun via the express way and you are back in time to freshen up and go to dinner. The bus will also drop you right at your hotel when you return. I do not recall the cost but it was reasonable and we really enjoyed it.

It will be hot at the ruins so dress accordingly and take water.

Curt Mar 31st, 2006 09:52 AM

Here is the link for the Gray Line tours in Cancun

norbrad393 Apr 9th, 2006 08:47 AM

The best Mayan ruin in Yucatan is Uxmal--hands down. It is of the classic period--the Golden Age--and is near its satelites, all of which are interesting,: I.E. Kabah, Labnah Sayil, etc. Chichen is interesting, but a bit grim, post classic Maya-Toltec (not pure Maya). About a fourth of Chichen is early (classic per.)--the south part below the road. The rest is later--11th century onward. Uxmal is about three hours longer trip.

People go to Tulum because it is accessable, not because it is a good Mayan site. The location is beautiful. The man building, El Castillo, is decent, but much of Tulum is very late, very decadent architecture. If you were ever at Uxmal and then at Tulum, you would see this very clearly, even if you have no background in pre-Columbian art.

Uxmal is one of the four main Mayan sites in the whole Mayan area including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, etc. (Tikal, Palenque, Uxmal, Copan).

Chichen would be of the second level. Tulum way down.

norbrad393 Apr 10th, 2006 05:42 AM

Correction:--The man building, El Castillo, is decent, etc.--

Make that, The main building, etc.

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