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Mexican Ruins...

Rhode Island
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Mexican Ruins...

We started a conversation with our 16 year old about visiting Mexico and particularly the Mayan Ruins. We were under some notion (we being the adults) that you could just walk up the pyramids etc.....In other words I don't know ANYthing about the ruins. I have done a bit of research and it sounds like mostly they are all roped off etc....Except these ones. Is this the most authentic place to visit ruins? Would we get the most out of them here? How do you get here? By that I mean where would we fly into? We would be coming from the New Enland area. It says it is a 5 and half hour drive into the jungle? Are there any comparable ruins not so far off the beaten path? Thanks for any and all help. I certainly could use it!

Queretaro City...
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1. Re: Mexican Ruins...

The biggest pyramids in Mexico (and ones you can actually climb up) are at Teotihuacan just outside Mexico City and so they are the easiest to get to. Google it to see some pictures. Of course these are not MAYAN ruins but are still very spectacular.

Palenque is more remotely located in the south of Mexico. The nearest airport is Villahermosa and it's a 2-hour bus trip from there. There are lots of reasonably priced hotels in Palenque. I have no idea where the 5 1/2 hour drive figure comes from! The ruins are very easy to get to but they are big and you have to be fit to get round the entire site!

Edmonton, Canada
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2. Re: Mexican Ruins...

It's only a few of the most insanely popular ruins, like Chichen Itza, that are off-limits to climbing. At the rest, you're usually allowed to climb some but perhaps not all of the structures.

I've see plenty of ruins around the world, and Palenque is my second-favourite of them all. Tikal is number one.

Rhode Island
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3. Re: Mexican Ruins...

Clearly I know less than nothing about ruins of any sort,Mayan or otherwise. So if I may bother you all further,do you have any recommendations on the following kind of trip? We would love to see ruins of some sort. We are pretty fit and welcome some walking/hiking/simple climbing. (No ropes,repelling,sheer cliffs!!!) Fairly easy to get to. Safe. How many days do you suggest for a trip to Palenque? There are ruins of some sort in Tulum(?). Do they compare and are they worth it? The 16 year old is looking for a bit of adventure......parents looking for nice trip.

Queretaro City...
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4. Re: Mexican Ruins...

Either consider the Cancun area with pyramids at Chichen Itze (touristy) Coba (climbable!) and Tulum (overlooking the beach) OR Chiapas containing Palenque and many rivers, mountains, etc. (but no beach!).

Alabama
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5. Re: Mexican Ruins...

Napatree...I agree with everything Steve and Viajero said. Both gave you some good advice. If your son wants adventure, I recommend visiting Chiapas (Palenque, Bonampak, Yaxchilan, Tonina, etc) as well as Misol Ha & Agua Azul Waterfalls. One the other hand, if you want a beach nearby, the trip to Quintana Roo would be better for you (Chichen-Itza, Tulum, Coba, Ek Balam, etc.). You can visit some cenotes there, too..

The majority of older ruins will be in Chiapas. In my opinion, the most beautiful Maya ruins in all of Mexico are at Palenque. There are monkeys and parrots in the jungle there, too, as well as crocodiles on the rivers. You'll have to decide what you want. I've probably visited more Maya ruins than anyone on the forums, as I've visited 108 different sites so far. That doesn't make me an expert or anything. It just simply means I've see more than most.

Additionally, I've visited Machu-Picchu, Teotihuacan, El Tajin, Tula, Tenochtitlan, etc.. The sites in Quintana Roo don't even compare to the ones in Chiapas in my opinion. I'll post a link to my trip account when I went to Chiapas last year. We rushed through Chiapas to see as much as we could during the trip. You don't have to do the same as I did as it was quite tiring. There's also a slideshow of some photos you can look at too.

mayaruinsonly.com/february_2011_mexico_trip.…

Rhode Island
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6. Re: Mexican Ruins...

Thank you so much! I have just now seen your post and I can't wait to begin reading it and looking at the pictures. I am sure I will learn alot.

Thanks to everybody!

Elsewhere
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7. Re: Mexican Ruins...

I agree with the posters here, that the archaeological sites in Chiapas are spectacular. You certainly will not regret seeing the Palenque site and for some added adventure, you cannot beat the trip to Yaxchilan. It is located in the rainforest and can only be reached by lancha along the Rio Usumacinta, after a drive from Palenque. If you are lucky you might even see some crocodiles on the riverbank. It is easy to get a reasonably priced day tour, which also stops at the Bonampak site before you head for the river. The day tour is long, 12 plus hours from Palenque and back, or you can stay overnight in the area. Mind you, this long tour includes meal stops and of course two boat rides, which is great fun.

I thought one of the most thrilling parts in Yaxchilan was climbing to the highest point and looking over miles of jungle while hearing the howler monkeys roar. While it hasn’t been restored as Palenque has been, that is part of its charm and one does feel like being in another world. I’m sure your son would enjoy it. And yes, you can climb up all the ruins.

Although, Teotihuacan outside of Mexico City is quite an experience too, and a favorite site of mine – Chiapas seems more ‘adventurous’ for a young man.

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8. Re: Mexican Ruins...

Napatree...last August I arrived at Cancun & arranged private transportation for a day trip & visited colonial town of Valladolid, Ek Balam, Cenote Dzinup & Ik-kil, Chichen Itza & ended the trip at Merida (all in one day). It was great to be in Merida on a Sunday because they have a big party at the zocalo (town center) with music, dancing & different food vendors. The following day (from Merida), I arranged another private day trip transportation & visited Grutas de Loltun (cave), ruins along the Ruta Puuc route, and Uxmal. We got dropped off at the Merida CAME ADO bus station where we took the 4 hr 1st class back to Cancun. Inc Cancun, we also took a bus tour to Coba & Tulum. On another day, we took a ferry to visit La Isla Mujeres, what a wonderful little island! Our vacation was only for 6 nights, but we had the time of our life! We were able to climbed all the structures except Chichen. I will be returning again in June of this year strictly to visit the ruins along the beaten path around Progreso, Campeche & Chetumal. I'll be flying into Merida & flying back from Cancun to LAX. It's unfortunate that I only have 6 nts again, otherwise, I would've tried to get to Palenque too! Good luck!

rovigo
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9. Re: Mexican Ruins...

Hi napatree. Last August visited Chichen Itzà, nice but touristy and you are not allowed to climb anywhere. Then Uxmal, very nice, few tourists you can climb wherever you want. Then Palenque, nice as well you can climb only some pyramids. But the best ones were Monte Alban near Oaxaca, wonderful place take your time to visit it, quite a mystical experience, not Maya but unforgettable and ......... all for yourself, and the huge and incredible Teotihuacan, not far from MEXICO D.F. an amazing place, nice to climb, magnificent views from the top of the Sun Pyramid. Enjoy!!!

Spain
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10. Re: Mexican Ruins...

Hi Mayaruinsonly,

I just read your post on Mexico 2012. Most interesting and enjoyable reading plus it has whetted my appetite to visit some of those more obscure sites, too. It is a shame that your slideshow can't be accessed anymore. I saw that you also did a post on Guatemala 2012 but can't seem to find the link again. As I am visiting Guatemala as well, it would be a great help.

Thank you so much for sharing.