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Which Mayan Ruin?

Upstate New York
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53 posts
20 reviews
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Which Mayan Ruin?

We are traveling to Cancun in April and want to spend one day at a Mayan Ruin. We don't mind a long ride but cannot decide which one would be best. I have a 16 and 13 year old. Also, what would be the best way to see them, tour or plan it myself?

Denver
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66 posts
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1. Re: Which Mayan Ruin?

Either take a tour, but compare prices and dont fall for any timeshare deals.-but if Tulum you might be better off renting a car since there are 4 of you and you can spend more time at the beach below the ruins that way.

If a tour, I would do the COBA- cenote snorkel, cave tour combo day with those ages-rent the bikes for $2 while at Coba-take bug spray-buy it in Mx , cit is like exploring a lost world , less common,research the tours for that online as it is harder to find in Mx than the others. Tulum w/ Xelha combo second or just Tulum by rental car for time at the beach below (not sure how you get down to the water, but folks do and the cliffs to beach is magnificent.. for young) NOne of the ruins are enough to entertain most kids\teens all day-Chichen Itza is a long day's rides and not enough to hold their interest losing a day at the beach.

There are small ruins in Cancun strip-Ruinas Del Rey and the very unknown and unremarkable El Meco just north of town-you can take a cab to either of these 2 if you are staying in Cancun.

USA
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5 reviews
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2. Re: Which Mayan Ruin?

Tulum is the nearest to you but the smallest of the three main ruin sites (Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza). Great beach but only a limited exposure to Mayan ruins due to its size and very little shade. Coba is the next nearest (slightly closer than CI), and in our opinion, the best of the three. Coba is the oldest of the three sites and is almost pure Mayan with very little Toltec influence. It is more of a jungle setting with a fair amount of walking or you can rent a Pedi cab with a driver to peddle you around or (as mentioned) rent a bike. You can still climb the main pyramid at Coba and this is a plus for us. Also, less crowded than Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza is one of the new 7 wonders of the world (very interesting how this was arrived at) but the farthest from where you are staying and the most commercialized. The ruins at Chichen Itza are combined Mayan and Toltec and excavated more than Coba. However, Chichen Itza can be very crowded and you have a lot of vendors/family’s selling stuff along many of the trails/paths between buildings. Again, our favorite of the three is Coba.

Owen Sound, Canada
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496 posts
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3. Re: Which Mayan Ruin?

Have never been to Chichen Itza, but have visited both Coba & Tulum. Enjoyed both, but if aksed to recomend 1 only, definately Coba

Edited: 06 December 2009, 13:11
Calgary
Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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22,426 posts
8 reviews
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4. Re: Which Mayan Ruin?

I'm the same as Artie - never been to Chichen Itza (I just don't want THAT long an excursion) but out of Tulum and Coba, I'd pick Coba for sure.

Upstate New York
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53 posts
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5. Re: Which Mayan Ruin?

I am leaning towards Coba, it sounds like something we would enjoy. Anyone gone to both Chichen Itza and Coba that can compare?

USA
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7,144 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: Which Mayan Ruin?

Yes, we have been to all of them and as I posted we prefer Coba.

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel, Merida
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7. Re: Which Mayan Ruin?

Another vote for Coba!

Upstate New York
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53 posts
20 reviews
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8. Re: Which Mayan Ruin?

Thank you, BobDidIt , Your post is what made me seriously consider Coba. I was originally going to CI because it is the most well known and felt like I should see it since I am so relatively close. Would you recommend visiting both coming from Cancun? Not sure I could convince the rest of family of that though.

Shafter, California
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452 posts
7 reviews
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9. Re: Which Mayan Ruin?

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Ek Balam.

I have been to Coba, Chitzen Itza, Tulum, and Ek Balam. If it were me, from Cancun I'd go west on the toll road to Ek Balam, its a small site but very interesting. Then back to Vallodolid for lunch and visit one of the nearby cenotes for an afternoon swim before heading back to Cancun.

Detroit, Michigan
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12 reviews
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10. Re: Which Mayan Ruin?

Whichever you choose, please hire a Guide, for a guided tour, to explain what and why you're seeing, this makes it come alive (especially for teens!). My choice is Coba, maybe because it's partially excavated and seems more "real" (not DIsney), maybe because it's in the jungle or because it's very much "hands on". There are buildings to enter, climbable monuments, etc. There are several options for the length of time your guide will be with you then you can explore on your own. Also, check out the cenotes and little shops on the road to/from.