Which ruins in Yucatan/QR road trip

Nov 10th, 2019, 08:55 PM
Original Poster
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Which ruins in Yucatan/QR road trip

My husband and I are doing a two-week road trip in the Yucatan and Quintana Roo at the end of February. I'd like to include visits to a couple of ruins but am a bit confused on the differences among them. (In addition, we were in Belize this year and toured a couple of big sites there, so I don't want to overdo it!) Chichen Itza seems an obvious choice, but is it so crowded as to be a turnoff? Are there two that would make a good contrast?
pthomas156 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2019, 09:19 PM
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I was stunned by how very different the Mayan ruins in that area truly are -- which I guess shouldn't have come as a surprise, as they date from very different eras and represented somewhat different ruling groups.. IMO, the Moon Guide did a particularly good job of helping me see and understand the differences, so you might want to look at it. I went too long ago to comment on current crowds, but FWIW, I thought Uxmal magnificent, and some of the smaller sites near it --- part of the Ruta Puuc -- well worth a visit. (In 2008, I was the ONLY person at some of the smaller sites, and Uxmal is so vast that even with many people, it was easy to get away from the crowds. Again, I don't know about today.) The frieze at Ek' Balam is both extraordinary and unusual. IME, each site had unique merits.
kja is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 11:59 AM
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We went to Chichen Itza several years ago, and are very glad that we went - it is an amazing site. We knew it would be crowded, so we went right when it opened in the morning and had about an hour at the site with relatively few people, then it started to get busier. We spent about 3 hours there and by the time we left, it was getting very crowded.

Ek Balam is a good site to pair with CI. It's nearby and very different experience. We went in the afternoon and when we got there, there was 1 tour group of about 30 people and a handful of other people. The tour group left and I guess so did the others - at one point, it was just us and a dog that apparently lives there and decided to hang around us.

Of the larger sites, Uxmal is my favorite. The main pyramid is amazing and the rest of the site is very good. I also really enjoyed the smaller sites along the Ruta Puuc. When we visited the smaller Ruta Puuc sites, we were often the only ones there, or almost the only ones there. There were never more than 5 or so cars in the parking lot.
november_moon is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 02:48 PM
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I've been to most of the majors and some of the minors and my two favorites were Coba and Ek Balam although Uxmal was really nice also (we got to Uxmal when it opened and had the place pretty much to ourselves, ruins open at 8am).
jamie99 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 04:31 AM
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In that part of México I’ve just visited Tulúm, Cobá, Chichén Itzá, and Ek Balám. I highly recommend visiting any of those first thing in the morning, although with Ek Balám it won’t matter as much. Chichén Itzá didn’t blow me away - I’m sort of crazy about climbing things which you can’t do there and have visited dozens of sites in other countries and have other favorites among the larger sites.

Years ago (2010) we did a 2+ week loop that was wonderful. We headed first to Tulúm for most of the first week for flyfishing (my husband) and diving cenotes (me) and the nearby Maya sites, then stayed in Valladolid for 3 nights as a base for Chichén Itzá first thing in the morning, cenotes, cute town, then headed north with a stop at Ek Balám for a stay in San Felipe for tarpon fishing (my husband) and flamingo tours (me), before heading to Isla Mujeres, in our case mainly for snorkeling with whale sharks (season won’t be open yet for you).

My photos with blog links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there.
Happy trails!


hopefulist is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 06:08 AM
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Lots of good information here... My choices would be (based in Valladolid) Ek Balam, laid back and quiet where you can climb the main pyramid and with luck , you will meet that little black dog. Chicken Itza, early in the morning for a quick getaway in early afternoon.
In the Tulum area, I would choose Coba, again, you can climb one of the highest pyramids in the Yucatán and have lunch at the restaurant at the entrance. South of Tulum, you could always visit Muyil ruins, ( on hwy 307) and what is different there is the walk over to the lagoon, very peaceful area to relax*and enjoy. Based in Merida, Uxmal is undoubtedly the crown jewel of ruins peppered with a dozen other smaller sites nearby.*

Last edited by Rohelio; Nov 12th, 2019 at 06:17 AM.
Rohelio is offline  
Nov 13th, 2019, 10:55 AM
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Ek Balam and Chichen-Itza are the best options to visit. At Yucatán there's also some Haciendas with Cenotes, "Cenotes Hacienda Mucuyche" is one of the most beautiful places too.
manmendoza is offline  
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