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Chichen Itza


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#1 brisheden

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 08:41 PM

Are there any trustworthy excursions from Coz to Chichen Itza? My wife and I will be visiting the Island in May and would like to visit Chichen Itza. I would like to stick to the ferry instead of plane to try to save some money, time isn't too big of a deal to us since we will be on Coz for 7 days.
What do you all think?

Thanks
Brian
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#2 Carey

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 04:39 PM

You can easily do it yourself. Rent a car in Playa and drive is one way to go. You cut off before you get to Cancun so there is never any major congestion.
Or take the bus which is really inexpensive.
Make your reservations in advance at Mayaland or Dolores Alba and stay the night. Get there in the afternoon and settle in. Then you can go to the night show. Next morning get up early and beat the tour buses by a mile and enjoy the site in the cool of the morning. Then head back to Cozumel. That's the way I'd do it.
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#3 brisheden

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 08:24 PM

Thanks Carey for the great suggestion! We aren't sure what we will do but I do like your idea of doing it without the tour bus crowd. I can't wait to get to Coz. Thanks for the suggestions on your website also. We have booked a Dream Sailing excursion with Tucan and we can't wait to take it all in.
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#4 DanB

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 07:47 AM

Here's a second to Carey's suggestion. Our first family trip to Coz we stayed a couple extra days so that we could see Chitchen Itza. We rented a car in Playa (they met us at the ferry dock and took us and our luggage to the car rental office). We drove the southern route past Tulum and Coba but the route past the Cancun airport is probably faster. At that time there were three hotels located right at the ruins site. Mayaland is one of them. We stayed at Villas Arqueologicas which is next door to Mayaland and at the time was significantly less pricey. From either of these places you can walk to the ruins. There is a second entrance to the ruins right at the Mayaland fence. Some of the hotels are actually in Piste, a small town just a couple miles from the ruins, but probably not walkable. I have found www.travelyucatan.com to be a good site for lower cost hotel rooms. If you get there later in the day you can buy a one day pass and get them to authorize it for the next day. That way you can go to the night light show, and then get an early start at the ruins the next day and not have to pay for two days admission. The busses start showing up around noon so you can get a lot of viewing in before the hordes arrive. We used a tour guide and we were glad we did. He was a wealth of info and made the visit much more informative that it would have been. Also, there is a really nice cenote just a couple miles from Chitchen called Ikil. There is an admission cost. You can swim in the cenote. If you are adventurous or have younger kids, they have a stairway to a couple platforms where you can jump into the waters. This place was an unexpected pleasure to visit. Have a great time!
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#5 Coz2wonder

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 02:30 PM

I would fly...

I have done it twice, and I would not spend lost time on a bus or driving.

Also, the cost of ferry to and from...

fly in, enjoy, fly out.
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#6 kmacarey

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 02:40 PM

Who is flying there from Coz. or Playa ?
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#7 Coz2wonder

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 02:51 PM

the site does not allow me to post the URL but is you type into Google, "tours to chichen itza from Cozumel"

It will pop up.
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#8 Carey

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 11:11 AM

Here is a great report on a March 2010 car trip from Coz to Chichen. It was forwarded to me by my friend, Juen Hutchinson, a local artist and intrepid traveler who lives here full-time. Learn and enjoy. I know I did!

Hi Carey,
I told you I would send you a report of my Chichen experience if you would like to post it feel free. Juen

The goal of our journey was to get to Chichen Itza and enjoy the light and shadow show that occurs around both the Spring and Fall equinoxes. At this time of the year a shadowy serpent of 7 perfect isosceles triangles descends from the main pyramid at Chichen Itza from the top temple around 4:00 pm to the bottom at 5:00 pm where it meets the stone serpent heads. I like to arrive on the 20th when the serpent is also visible, then go to the light and sound show at 7 pm that evening and go back to the ruins on the 21st. Since the 21st is Benito Juarez's birthday and a national holiday, it is always a huge festival with busloads of people coming from all over. I like the energy and the festival that day, along with tens of thousands more people who also are there to enjoy the fiesta for Kukulcan. It is like Woodstock, music, good vibes, vendors, foods, fun.

We rented a car with America Car Rental, reservas@america-carrental.com . I have used this company twice now and the manager in Playa, Heriberto, is very accommodating. Car rental prices start at $38 USD and that INCLUDES all insurance with 0 deductible, so it is quite the bargain compared to some of the other car rental places like Hertz and Avis which I have also used in the past. America Car Rental also has cars that you can take into Belize and Guatemala.

We headed straight to Chichen. The roads have gotten so much better in the last several years that we arrived via Tulum and Coba in 2 and a half hours (I always take the toll road from Valladolid to Piste to avoid a multitude of pueblitos and topes). Amazing, when you consider that just a few years ago it would have taken you that long to get to Coba, dodging Volkswagen sized potholes at 20 kph! One thing I can say about the current Federal administration is they have put mucho dinero into roads around here and I appreciate it. So, 2.5 hours later we pulled into my favorite place to stay in Chichen, the Dolores Alba Hotel . It is 3 kilometers east of the ruins. It was $600 pesos for a double room and included a full breakfast. I always ask for a room on the limestone swimming pool side. The hotel is a family run business and is always clean, friendly, efficient and economical. They have free wireless and also coin operated computers in the lobby.

We included a visit to the Balankanche grotto just a couple of kilometers east of the hotel. It is a sacred cave that was hidden until 1959 and all the artifacts found there were left where they were found so you get a real feeling for how important this site was to the Maya. One chamber takes you into a giant Ceiba tree formed out of the limestone and another chamber takes you into water so clear you can barely see it. Be forewarned however that the guided journey is quite a hike and the air is hot and stuffy and the bats are flying to greet you! It is well worth the inconveniences however, because the magic of the place is awesome. The tours are run according to languages, so if that kind of thing is important to you, wait for your language group's time. I have a hard time understanding the tape in any language so I go whenever I get there. I do recommend, for both this and all the sites and ruins, to get there as soon as they open to avoid the hundreds of tourists coming from Playa and Cancun in buses on any given day.

We were able to see Kukulcan descend on the 20th but it rained and was cloudy all day on the 21st so he was a no show. The 22nd was beautiful and I believe we could have seen him then too but we were on our way back to Playa via Ek Balam and the Zaci cenote in Valladolid. Ek Balam is about 40 minutes north the hotel and has only been open to the public since 1995, when upon pulling out a tree root, a glorious tomb was found. It is so worth the visit if you want to experience what the temples looked like a thousand years ago. Ek Balam is a fusion of many of the architectural styles of the area and is unique in its stucco sculptures of pre Christian angels and Grateful Dead skull borders. Francisco is an excellent guide there and his pride in being a part of this dig is obvious.

Leaving there we headed south back down into Valladolid where you follow the signs to Zaci cenote. It is my favorite place to lunch there, specializing in Yucatan fare. It is always such a difficult decision between queso relleno and longaniza! After lunch you can walk down into the cenote and swim if you want. It is huge. There is a chac mool statue they say they pulled out of the cenote that is believed to be over 700 years old. It is always a yummy spot to rest before the ride home.

We discussed stopping at Coba (and we would have had time with the great new roads) but decided to save it for another time. When I do stop at Coba I always recommend hiring a tricycle driver. For 95 pesos a young man will drive you and a second person to the 4 main spots. The sites are quite separate from each other, so it saves time and energy! I tip the young men before we get back to the owner's station, they are so poor and work so hard to help support their families. The drivers all speak Maya as their first language and learned Spanish in school. All the young men will try their best to speak whatever English they know. They have great stories about the some 5000 uncovered buildings there which date back over 1500 years. It is said to be the oldest ruins in the area and one of the last climbable pyramids. If it is your desire to climb pyramids, the tallest one in the Yucatan is here to climb and at the top you can see Ek Balm and Chichen. Well my imagination can anyway! Every year more and more pyramids are closed to climbers so I recommend not waiting too long before climbing it or you will miss the opportunity.

Back to Playa to turn in the car and catch the ferry back. 3 days and 2 nights. 2 ruins, 1 cave, 3 cenotes, 1 descending snake and 4 happy but tired women. I love living here!
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#9 MexFan2

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 07:07 AM

Nice report--thanks for posting. I also like the Dolores Alba at Chichen. The Dolores Alba in Merida is another favorite of mine when visiting that city.
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#10 Charles

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 12:20 PM

Attached File  cayo6_640x444 #2.jpg   62.82KB   16 downloadsAttached File  cayo2_640x382.jpg   75.52KB   14 downloads

Lighting tower collapse in preparation for Elton John concert

I saw this on the U.S. news of this weekend's scheduled concert. Three workers injured, only one more seriously with a broken leg. The reports I read from the U.S. news said they were analysing the situation but it was not anticipated to affect the scheduled concert.

There have been objections over holding concerts at a location of such significance.
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#11 Guest_pecosgirl_*

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 05:31 PM

Charles, please tell what the objections are and why.
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#12 Charles

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 02:42 AM

Attached File  Clip_3_640x429.jpg   21.01KB   9 downloadsWell maybe the Mayan God's were not happy with holding an event of this nature, they sure collapsed the stage. Native Peoples never take kindly to commercial events held in locations that some deem sacred. Sir Elton first and then Paul McCartney next year.
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