We are taking our first cruise in Feb., the ship visits Grand Cayman and Cozumel. In GC we will do the Stingray sandbar tour for sure, and hope to have time for some shopping. Once in Cozumel however, we cannot decide what to do. We will only have about 8 to 10 hours to explore. We would like to see some Mayan ruins, but it seems all the truly large sites are quite a distance from Coz. Will we be disappointed if we stay on the island and go to one of the smaller sites? We would like to see as much as we can and still get in some beach time at Chankanaab Park. We are also limited on money so a plane trip to Chizten Itza is out! Would love to hear all opinions out there.
My advise would be to stay on the island...Especially if this is your first visit to Coz. There are a lot of things to do and enjoy on Cozumel, but the San Gervasio ruins would not be high on my list. IMO your time would be better spent renting a jeep and driving around the island, taking in the scenery, and stopping at several beaches.
Chankanaab, besides being a nice beach to visit, does have a very nice botanical garden. There are long shady pathways, iquanas, and reproductions of statues from different ancient Mayan cultures.
If you are interested in Mayan ruins, Carnival offers a shore excursion to Tulum that is very interesting. It does take a while; ferry to the mainland, then bus to the ruins. I did this shore excursion and really enjoyed it. It took four or five hours with all the transportation time, but we did have enough time to have a nice dinner at Pancho's Backyard and do some shopping before returning to the ship. It was very easy to have the whole trip arranged for us; didn't have to worry about a thing.
If you would prefer less cultural pursuits, i.e. snorkeling, staying on the island and going to Chankanaab park would be the way to go. I've heard many good things about it.
Michelle gave you the best answer. I did my first Western cruise on a Celebrity ship so now we know Carnival also offers ship tours to Tulum. A Mexican tender will come alongside the ship and you will get off pretty early in the morning. It will be about a half hour ride to the port of Playa del Carmen. You will board a bus and make one (shopping/rest) stop before arriving at Tulum. There are many stalls for souvenirs at Tulum and you can bargain with them. Enjoy your time at these marvelous ancient ruins. Upon return to Playa, you will tender back to Cozumel. They may ask if you wish to get off downtown. That is a good thing to do so you can check out the shops and as mentioned, don't miss a stop even just for a cool refreshing Margarita at Poncho's Backyard inside the great Mexican shop at the end of the main street. There may be even strolling Mariarchi's.
You won't have enough time for a beach excursion too. The ruins are not to be missed.
I found the website cozumelinsider.com very helpful when my wife and I visited the island. It is run by an american woman living on the island who helped us save some money planning our activities. You can reach her at email@example.com
Having been to both, I would forego Tulum and wait until you can get to Cancun. Then go to Chichinitza. Chankanaab is ok but don't expect a beautiful beach. You will be very disappointed. And when I was there, the snorkeling was mediocre. If it's a true beach experience you are looking for, you should continue to explore other options. If you want a chair under a palapa with someone coming by to wait on you, then go to Chankanaab. By the way, it's $10 pp to get into the park.
Well, we LOVED Chankanaab park! We didn't want to leave. The grounds are beautiful. Lots to do. Did lots of snorkeling, great mexican food, watch the dolphins, walk along the grounds, beautiful lagoon, botanical gardens. You could drive around and explore Coz., but remember, you don't have much time. We did a few hrs. of shopping in the morning and the rest of the day at Chankanaab Park. Time flew by! If we had had more time, we might of thought of exploring more. But didn't want to get lost or miss the ship. (which a few did on our cruise a few weeks back)
I haven't taken time to read the other responses, but if someone offers a ferry boat to Talum on the mainland (as they used to ) THAT'S IT ! Talum is the second most exciting ruin in all of Mexico, after Chitzeniza, and doesn't take long to cover. Imagine the genuine fear in the hearts of the Spanish Conquistadores when they sailed up expecting crude indians in huts and found a sophisticated city with colorfully painted buildings. (Of course virtually all the paint is worn off now, and you may not want to take time for the ferry ride.) We havn't been to Cozumel (will be in Feb.), but all the reports we've seen are very low key on ruins and high on their beaches. Well, there is a glorious beach at the foot of the cliff in Talum. Don't overlook dining in Playa Carmen (Port for Talum) if you have time. "Shrimp Civeche" = WOW ! We are sorry to get mediocre reports on Costa Maya Tours. The Washington Post crew is pretty hip and they still put Talum high. Bon VoyageTIM FOLLANSBEE wrote:
Hey everyone , We really appreciate all the great ideas and help. the question is? who is right? Ha Ha. All of you have different thoughts. We love it . Thanks for confusing us even more. TIM FOLLANSBEE wrote:
> We are taking our first cruise in Feb., the ship visits Grand
> Cayman and Cozumel. In GC we will do the Stingray sandbar tour
> for sure, and hope to have time for some shopping. Once in
> Cozumel however, we cannot decide what to do. We will only
> have about 8 to 10 hours to explore. We would like to see some
> Mayan ruins, but it seems all the truly large sites are quite a
> distance from Coz. Will we be disappointed if we stay on the
> island and go to one of the smaller sites? We would like to
> see as much as we can and still get in some beach time at
> Chankanaab Park. We are also limited on money so a plane trip
> to Chizten Itza is out! Would love to hear all opinions out
> Tim and Debbie
> Carnival Sensation 2-8-03