ok This is my first cruise (husband's too) and we are interested in going to see the ruins (Chichen Itza and Uxmal), however, spending 2.5 hrs on the road both ways (5 hrs total on the road) does NOT sound like fun. Please give your opinion on these if its worth it or not. I also saw the Dzibilchaltun which is closer, what do you think of these ruins? The Dzib ruins are tempting because of shorter time to get there (40 mins one way) and also a beach break. I love reading your responses! I've learned so much on these forums I almost feel like i've been on a cruise! lol Thanks for the info ya'll!!
We leave on the Ecstasy in 2 weeks! Halloween week!
We did the Uxmal tour last June and loved it. The bus ride did not seem that long (1 1/2 hours) because we had a terrific guide (Hugo) who gave us lots of information about the Mayans as we were traveling. We made one stop along the way to stretch our legs. We had another guide at Uxmal, Manuel, who was very knowledgeable and gave us a wonderful tour of the ruins. Our tour included lunch (a sack lunch that was very good) plus there are food and cold drinks available for purchase and clean restrooms. There are also several small gift shops and some souvenir stands at Uxmal. The day was very hot so I recommend a hat, suntan lotion, and good walking shoes. We did not take bug spray nor did we need it. The trip back was faster and we made no stops. We got back in a little over an hour and still had plenty of time to shop at the Progreso Terminal shops. I highly recommend this tour. Cruisegirl
S/S Yarmouth-7/62; Celebration - 9/99; Inspiration - 12/00; Jubilee - 10/02; Elation Thanksgiving cruise - 11/03; Elation again - 12/04; Carnival Conquest - 2/06; Carnival Glory Super Bowl cruise - 2/07; Ecstasy - 6/07; Ecstasy - 11/07; Carnival Conquest - 10/08; Conquest inaugural cruise to the Bahamas - 2/15/09; Triumph cruise to Western Caribbean Jan. 16, 2010, Ecstasy cruise to nowhere, July 4 weekend 2010. Carnival Magic, 10-28-2011, Barcelona to Galveston.
Hope you have a great time! I will be interested in your review as we leave on this cruise 12/1 and I have been thinking those same thoughts. I would love to see the ruins, but it just seems like it is all travel time.
We went to Dzibilchaltun January 2007. The main reason was because it was close and we had our six children with us. Also, a guy at the pier offered to take all 8 of us for $60. Said we could pay when we got back so that we wouldn't be afraid he would leave us stranded! It took about 20 minutes to get there. Entrance fee was $7 just to see the ruins (I thought they were great)! You can pay more to go into the museum and/or get a guide. I would like to have had a guide, but my little ones wouldn't have had the patience! FYI, the guides are standing on the pathway to the ruins. If you inquire about how much they charge and then start walking away, they will bargain with you. I think the final price they offered was $15. I think it would have been worth it. We're going again in January 2008 and we'll be going to see some ruins again, this time without kids! Might try a different one.
Have fun! I know you will!
Rhapsody of the Seas - long ago, in a galaxy far away!
Ecstasy - Jan. 2007
Conquest - Sept. 2007 cruisemates 4Bs
Ecstasy - Jan. 2008
OK, from what we saw September 12th on the Glory in Progresso.
They had Mayan Ruins with Beach Break.
Which was Dzilbilchaltun and the Beach right at the foot of the 6 mile pier.
Some friends from the first day we bumped into that night told us the beach was merely OK and the ruins there were pretty small.
We signed up for the Uxmal Mayan ruins on the advice of many on the Progresso boards and will forever be grateful.
They had stated that the ruins were similarly impressive sizewise to Chitzen Itza.
Just the Uxmal site wasn't as known or fully excavated yet, like Chitzen Itza.
Another plus was the fact that Chitzen Itza is now almost enitrely roped off and you can't walk or climb on any of the ruins.
At Uxmal, there was a tiny roped off area at the foot of the massive Magician's Temple with a sign asking to please not climb and one other roped off area around the still intact hoop at the ancient ball court.
That was it.
Everything else was open to be walked through, in, on or up.
Also many posters noted that Chitzen Itza suffers from huge lines and waits to see various temples, due to the huge number of ships excursions and land based visitors every day. (someone compared it to waiting in lines all day at Disney World for rides)
We were the only ship in port.
We docked and got off the ship and had to walk down the branch of the pier a hundred yards or so, to where there was a duty free shop and some small shops, right there at the pier, by the ship. (not 6 miles up the pier in town. And the pier IS indeed 6 miles. Doesn't look like it from the deck of the ship, but when you drive it, you quickly realize it is.)
Behind the duty free shop was a plaza where they had roped lines for people waiting for excursions.
Right away we knew we had made the correct choice.
The Chitzen Itza line was right next to ours and the Mayan Ruins/Beachbreak was on the other side of us. (maybe 30 people or so in that line)
We watched as they filled 4 huge busses for Chitzen Itza (about 40-50 per bus), then 2 busses for a crew only excursion there, then they already had another 20 people lined up for a 5th passenger bus, before we went to our van.
The van was air conditioned and indecent shape. Not ultra plush or anything.
The "lunch" was a baggie with a piece of fruit, a sandwich and a bag of chips that Carnival had given the guide for us.
Our excursion had a total of 12 people.
It took us about an hour and a half to get there, not counting a 30 minute stop on the way in a Mayan Village to walk through a huge Catholic Church built from a demoloshed Mayan Temple.
Then another 10 minute stop on the top of the highest hill just before Uxmal, where we could see Uxmal and 3 other Mayan sites from the amazing view.
At Uxmal, there was a nice visitors center, with a tiny museum to wander through, large, clean bathrooms and a handful of shops to buy some snacks or drinks. (but they only accepted Peso's here, so make sure to get some at the purser's desk before you debark, so you don't have to mooch off your fellow excursioner's like we did.)
The first thing you arrive at is the huge Magician's temple, which was an awesome site to behold.
Then you head to the right and climb a bit to some buildings to the right of the temple.(where like I said, we were able to walk in through and climb on)
Then you head up some more to the left to the school area of the ruins which was very impressive, which much of the details in the carvings still plainly visible.
Then you head down to the ball field area.
Then over to the left some more and up some huge steps to another huge temple. (not pyramid) Which again we were able to climb up another set of steps and walk all throughout.
Here the guide stopped and told us we had an hour to tour on our own and meet back at the visitors center.
There was another huge pyramid/temple directly behind the one we were in, that hadn't been fully excavated yet, that most of us went over to and climbed up and into.
The views from all the various vantage points at the top of hills and temples was breathtaking.
We all bought a few drinks and piled into the van for the hour and 1/2 ride back to the ship.
After a couple of us on the Uxmal excursion spoke to some of the Chitzen Itza people that night, we were all glad we did Uxmal, as the Chitzen Itza's confirmed that they indeed did not climb on anything or get to get close to almost anything. (let alone walk through or on the majority of the site like we did.)
When we arrived back at the pier we had 30 minutes to quickly breeze through the handful of shops there right next to the ship. (but after the suitcase full of deals we had picked up at Los Cinco Soles in Cozumel the day before, we didn't need much.)
Since we had a Mayan Ruins excursion planned in Belize anyway, I was extremely pleased with Progresso being substituted for Belize. (if I had planeed on scuba or snorkleing, I would not have been)
Hope some of the points we found important to us, help you make an informed decision.
I just couldn't skimp on seeing a tiny Mayan ruin like Dzilbilchaltun, just to save an hour each way driving.
When the opportunity to see either of two of the most impressive ruins available, Chitzen Itza and Uxmal were within a reasonable drive from Progresso. (and who knows when the opportunity to see such an impressive feat of historical enginerring, will be so easy to see by us again.)
Thank ya'll so much for the info! I did a little research on Dzib and I'll do the same for the other two, but word of mouth is so much better in my opinion. I will definately take all advice into consideration, especially Uxmal. An hour and a half road trip one way I can probably deal with. The carnival excursions said Uxmal was 2 1/5 hr drive, but everyone else knows otherwise Thanks so much!! I feel better prepared now! lol
Bguppies gave a great response! We were in Progreso on 10/3 and did the Uxmal tour. We booked through Carnival, $69 pp. It was worth every penny! The ride on the bus was maybe 1.5 hours at most. I'm glad we didn't rent a van or try to do it ourselves. Tony was the guide who talked on the bus; he gave great info - in a funny way - that kept us all very interested. The ride went by in a snap!
We were the only Carnival bus that went to Uxmal. There were NINE that went to Chichen Itza. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves! One of our party of 6 had been to Chichen Itza before and said Uxmal was much more impressive to her; it was neat that we could climb/walk through every bit of the place. Note: 3 of us climbed to the top of the "Great Pyramid" at the end... I was terrified! Going up wasn't so bad ('til I fell at the top and skinned knees and elbows - oops!) but coming down was one butt-scoot at a time! No way could I have come down standing upright! But I've got the pics to prove I actually did it!
We had a nice sack lunch provided. Also bought Diet Coke and ice cream at Uxmal, but we used us dollars, no problem. I also bought a guide book with lovely pics in it. Right outside the "gates" were several vendors set up; I bought a darling dress for $18; my friend purchased the identical dress the next day in Cozumel for $36!!! She was not happy that she waited!
This was one of the highlights of our trip. I would definitely do it again, and booking through Carnival allowed me the luxury of NOT worrying about making it back to the ship on time!
Also, you will have an hour or more back at the pier to go through their shops. We also bought stuff there - cheaper, again, than Cozumel the next day. There was also a little tiki hut bar there. Have fun!
first time cruise - group of teachers ready for fall break!
GREAT review! We'll have to go to Uxmal in January!
Just returning the favor some others did for us.
We had a last minute itinerary change after Hurricane Dean destroyed Costa Maya, so the reviews I was able to find, especially the more detailed, definitely helped us make the right decision in Progresso and have the best possible day exploring Mayan ruins.
I all depends on what a group's priorities are.
Short drive, but much smaller ruins = Dzilbilchaltun
Longer drive, but uncrowded and not entirely excavated ruins, that are massive in scope, but that you are able to freely walk through, on, in = Uxmal
Longest drive, and the most famous Mayan ruins. BUT almost entirely roped off and massively packed by ship and land excursions, 365 days a year = Chitzen Itza
Hopefully after a few reviews, people can make the correct choice, to enjoy their Mayan experience to the utmost.
Uxmal was most definitely worth seeing ...
In 2000 I was part of a tour which visited the Mayan site in the morning, had lunch in a local restaurant, and visited the real Mexican city of Merida that afternoon. Great 8) !!
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