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Which ruins are more spectacular?

Old Sep 29th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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Which ruins are more spectacular?

It seems as if the ruins are around Cancun or Mexico City. It is too expensive to fly into Cancun and fly out of MCity, or vice versa. So, if you had to focus on ruins around one of the cities, which city would you choose? Would also love to get listing of ruins or great sites to visit.
travel333 is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2004, 08:22 AM
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They are surprisingly different from one another, so it is rather a matter of individual taste.

I have been to the following and anjoyed all three very much. (I've put them in order of MY definition of spectacular - others may disagree.

All are accessible from the Cancun area...

Chichen Itza - very large and you need a day and a guide to do right

Tulum - the view from the cliff is what makes this site so special. Can be done in 2-3 hours

Coba - amazing jungle ruins that are very spread out and harder to get to but worth it

Have a great time!
Diana is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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Question for Diana -

We'll be staying in Akumal and it would be much closer for us to visit Coba rather than Chichen Itza (we don't plan to do both). Is Chichen worth the extra distance?

We definitely plan to visit Tulum also.
cdt is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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You'll love Akumal - it's great!

Chichen Itza is definitely the biggest and most extensive of the two, and in my opinion, it's also the most interesting, but I don't think you would be disappointed in Coba.

If it were me, I'd say, yes, it's worth the extra effort.

You can take one of those cushy A/C bus tours that has beer on board to make the drive less painful. The tours are easy to find and reasonably priced.
Diana is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2004, 11:52 AM
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Chichen Itza is the jewel of the Yucatan,not to be missed.
mgmargate is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2004, 01:02 PM
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I agree with all that Diana said about the 3 ruins.

Also mgmargate..I also think that Chichen Itza is the best of the 3 .

You would enjoy anyone of them
Percy is online now  
Old Sep 29th, 2004, 01:12 PM
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Have you looked into flying into Cancun and out of Belize City? Or vice versa? We did that last spring and it wasn't cost prohibitive. There are great ruins in Belize, plus once you are there, it's a simple matter to get to Tikal in Guatamala. Travel from Mexico to Belize via bus is cheap and easy, and, at least in the Yucatan, very comfortable. Once you are in Belize, there are very cheap local flights throughout the country as well as bus service. You can also fly to Flores in Guatamala, which is close to Tikal. Jean
JeanH is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2004, 01:28 PM
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I always enjoy Coba. Close to Akumal and not nearly so overrun with tourists as the others--especially Tulum. Coba is one of the largest sites with many reconstructed buildings but not nearly as resconstructed as the others.
RobertSDF is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2004, 08:07 PM
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To answer travel333's original question, Cancun is the better option of these two cities --- it gives you easy access to the entire Yucatan Peninsula, although honestly, if I were JUST interested in the ruins, I'd probably fly directly to Merida (MID).

Mexico City is an awesome place, and there are some great ruins within easy striking distance of the capital (especially Teotihuacan), but it's not as easy and there aren't as many of 'em as in the Yucatan...

To get a *GOOD* list of the sites, check around on some of the following web sites:

* (these folks run tours in the area, but have some good
background info on some of the sites)

* (click "Archaelogical Sites" to see more details about different sites/ruins)
* (focuses only on Chiapas, but
some good info on the sites in that state)

* (official site, run by Mexican government, lists all of
the archaelogical sites and museums by state)

Diana's advice to hit Chichen-Itza is pretty sound. It *IS* one of the larger sites, and it is very well developed and tourist friendly. It would be a good first exposure to the Mundo Maya.

RobertSDF is also on the money. Coba is at least as large as Chichen Itza, but it is MUCH less developed and significantly less visited than Chichen Itza. That can be a good thing if you're into the Indiana Jones feel.

How much time are you thinking of spending on your ruins expeditions? If just a day trip or two from Cancun, then stick to Chichen-Itza, Tulum (awesome sea views, less interesting ruins), and Coba.

If you're spending much more time, plan to spend at least 3-4 days in the area around Chichen-Itza because it is very close to two other excellent sites that are WAY under-visited for what they are: Uxmal and Ek Balam.

The states of Chiapas and Campeche also have many excellent Mayan sites. The most important is probably Bonampak (famous for its intensely colorful and well-preserved murals).

Have fun!
TioGringo is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2004, 10:09 AM
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As always, good advice from Tio Gringo!
Merida would be a good option if just interested in the ruins. In my opinion, much better than Cancun.
RobertSDF is offline  
Old Oct 2nd, 2004, 05:06 AM
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Never been to ruins near Mexico City, but here are my suggestions on the ruins in the Cancun area:

Chichen Itza: the most impressive, you need a minimum of a half day if not a full day. It is best to arrive early in the morning before the loads of tour buses arrive and before it gets dreadfully hot.

Tulum: pretty surroundings since it is located on the ocean. It only takes 2 - 3 hours at most to tour and gets very crowded by mid-morning because of the tour buses. If you have a small amount of time, this is the one to do.

Coba: long walking trails. You can rent a bike, but your rear end will be sore because the trails are so incredibly bumpy. There are trikes that you can rent, where a local wheels you and another person around on a padded seat. That is the way to go. These ruins are not nearly as impressive as Chichen Itza, but there are two cenotes just a couple of miles down the road that are absolutely worth seeing. So for that reason alone I recommend Coba. The cenotes are Cho-Ha and Tiro-Leza. One of them is completely underground and you can swim in it. Very fun!
twoinluv is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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Hi, I am new to this board and has never been to Mexico. My husband and I used to travel quite extensively to Europe and Asia, but not so much to Latin America. We are planning a trip to this region for December. Mexico sounds interesting. However, is it a place easy to travel with a 3 year old? There are so much news about crimes in Mexico, is it really the case? Which area is relatively safe? Are these ancient sites doable for little ones? If Mexico is not the idea place for little ones, then any other suggestions? Any opinions would be highly appreciated?
xgao is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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First Class "long distance" bus service in Mexico is VG and inexpensive.
There are many web sites with costs and schedules.
mikemo is offline  
Old Oct 9th, 2004, 06:19 AM
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You might want to check the website for info on buses in Mexico. Many first class and also luxury buses such as ADO-GL or UNO.
RobertSDF is offline  
Old Oct 9th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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Ruins in Yucatan best seen from Merida, not Cancun. From Merida, you can easily get to Chichen-Itza, Uxmal (and satellites), Dzibilchaltun, etc. Not so easy from Cancun. Uxmal is the 'Jewel in the Crown' of Yucatan, Classic Period, stunningly gorgeous, Frank LLoyd Wright called the Governor's palace "The most beautiful building in the western hemisphere". Better than Chichen and fewer tourists. Day trips from Merida to Uxmal generally include dinner at nearby hotel, swim in the pool, and back to ruin for nighttime light show. Between Chichen and Uxmal, I would chose Uxmal hands down.

Buena suerte,
norbrad393 is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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I've read that those cenotes (Cho-Ha and Tiro-Leza) are closed to visit. Could you tell me something about this?
Where are they located?
Beto is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2004, 05:23 PM
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Chitzen Itza is the place to go..yes it is worth the extra time it takes to get there.. Tulum is great but by no means does it compare to the awe of CI..
it is truly-truly an amazing place.
malibu is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2004, 05:20 PM
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You really should go to Uxmal. Chichen is post classic--well, most of it--and a hybrid culture, Mayan and Toltec. Uxmal is classic period and pure Mayan, the most beautiful of the Northern Mayan ruins, one of the four best of all.
norbrad393 is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2004, 01:19 AM
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I recommend that if you go to Uxmal you do the whole Ruta Puuc experience to get an idea of how Uxmal spread out its influence, roads etc. to the outlying areas. You also get a picture of how the Maya proletariat lived in the 'burbs around Uxmal. I liked the Yucatan and I also liked Teotihuacan. If impressive means size then Teotihuacan. Further afield and OT, for craftsmanship nothing I've seen beats the stellae and hieroglyphs of Copan. I still have a soft spot for Palenque and I sweated like a pig in Tikal.
rquirk is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2004, 05:48 AM
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What is the best way to travel to Uxmal from Cancun? Or should one spend a night at Chichen Itza (coming from Cancun), then to Uxmal the next day? Is rental car generally recommended for Cancun and side trips?
xgao is offline  

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