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Muyil, Chacchoben, and Coba

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#1 ljohnson



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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:34 PM

HI friends,

This weekend we took a trip to Chetumal and stopped at ruins on the way there and the way back. On the way there we visited Muyil and Chacchoben. Muyil is just past Tulum and signage is very good when trying to find it from the main road. It's the smallest of the 3 sites mentioned. We walked to see the entire area but did not walk the road to the Lagoon, which is actually part of the Biosphere and has an extra fee. But it's a quick and inexpensive site to visit tucked away in the jungle. I guess due to the time of year, we weren't bothered by bugs. We were practically the only people there. They did offer guide service for a fee but we just explored ourselves. If you're interested in seeing something less visited than Tulum and a smaller site, this place is perfect.

Next we stopped at Chacchoben which is past Felipe Carrillo Puerto. Signage was tricky, as there are two ways to get there. The 2nd exit will help you avoid the tiny pot holed road. This was a bigger site and slightly more people were there. Many of the structures have been rebuilt to resemble what is thought to be their original form. You can still visit the site in less time than it takes to see Tulum, and it is a well maintained area. I was suprised that more people do not opt to visit this site because it really does have a special and unique feel to it. Again, because of the time of year, we weren't bothered by bugs. Just as we were leaving, 6 big tour busses full of cruisers from Mahahual showed up (around lunch time). Get their early to avoid them.

Our our way back we stopped at Coba. It's about 30 miles inland from Tulum. The cost was about 56 pesos per person. We were there for 2 hours and I think it would be hard to spend less time visiting this large site. It is so spread out that they rent bikes and have triciclo taxis that will take you to the different areas. Each one of the main areas is about a kilometer apart, so if you want to see the whole thing, a triciclo taxi or bike is not a bad idea. The main pyramid (12 stories tall) is still open and you can climb to the top. Signs warn that it's risky. I was worried about the climb up being too steep to handle, but actually the climb up was easy. Climbing down was downright scarry! Especially in flip flops. You need sturdy shoes for this task. We all held our breath as a girl in front of us slid down two steps (at about 8 stories up) on her way down before catching her balance. There were many more tourist at this site but seeing the tallest pyrimid in the Yucatan penninsula is totally worth it.
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Laura Johnson

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 08:46 AM

Thanks for the report, Laura. You made me cringe with that tale of coming down those narrow and steep pyramid steps. We were at the Ek Balam ruins a couple of years ago and got stuck up at the top for over an hour during a very fierce thunder storm. Five stories was bad enough. Twelve? I don't even want to think about it. The whole time I was up there waiting for the rain to stop, I was thinking about how fun it was going to be to get down with the stones slick with rain. I made it fine by taking off my sandals and going barefoot plus climbing down in a zig zag diagonal pattern, a technique I highly recommend.

People who are not familiar with the Mayan pyramids take heed -- the depth of the steps are half the size of modern ones. Maybe less. I contemplated making the descent one stair at a time on my bottom but I'm not sure the steps were wide enough to accommodate that. And, of course, I have my pride. Or the frayed dregs of it.
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