Friday, October 4, 2013

Tulum Shore Excursion

There are a lot of options for shore excursions in Cozumel, Mexico - from great beaches, island tours, or even swimming with the dolphins.  But on this cruise, we decided to venture over to mainland Mexico to see the Mayan ruins at Tulum.

We gathered in the theatre along with everyone else doing mainland excursions - with the idea being that it's easiest to walk all of us off the ship first and directly to the waiting ferry.  Do note - if you get seasick, going to mainland Mexico may not be such a good choice!  The waters you go through from the island of Cozumel to the mainland is pretty rough.  I will admit even walking across the "bridge" from the dock into the ferry was a bit challenging - and then once on the ferry until you could advance forward enough to grab the back of a seat - it was dicey.  

Once we found some seats by a window, we got settled and the ferry took off on our 45 minute cruise.  And I was immediately worried.  I don't get seasick - but watching out the window and our up and down and up and down - I just knew someone was going to lose their cookies. And then - when I saw the staff of the ferry wearing what could only be described as holsters - and they were armed with paper towels, Lysol, and "baggies" - well, it was not a good sign.  For people that do have issues - just remember - you have to take the ferry back to Cozumel after your excursion!

The ferry docks in Playa del Carmen - in a very nice square with shops and restaurants - and gorgeous beaches.  From there, the different excursions will split up and head to their respective buses.

After getting settled, we headed off with our guide telling us a bit about what we would see today.  But first we had to make a restroom stop at a place selling Mayan handcrafts.

And after checking out all the offerings, we headed back to the bus - finally we'd get to Tulum!
While getting off the bus, our guide handed us each a set of earbuds so that we could hear him as he talked to us.  It was great because I could still look around and hear the history of what I was seeing.  It was also a little disconcerting because I could hear him - but because I am slow - I often couldn't see him!  

Your first stop is the ticket gates - and if you are on a ship sponsored excursion, you should be able to just walk on past the line.  Do note that if you have a video camera, there is a $4 fee assessed by the government (but I understand that cell phone cameras that take videos are exempt).  Through the gates, you'll have a 3/4 mile walk to the entrance of the ruins.  It's completely flat and paved - so not a difficult walk - or there is an option to pay for a trolley ride.  Our guide discouraged us from using this so that we would stay together.  

After our trek, we were rewarded with this amazing view.

Then you walk through the "God of Winds Temple" to reach the main site spread out before you.  And as you walk around, you'll find lots and lots of iguanas.

The main buildings are the The Castle.

Do note, for quite a while now, you are no longer able to climb any of the pyramid ruins in Mexico.  The only ones you can climb are those at Coba (also a possible excursion from Cozumel) - and that may not be the case for much longer.

The Great Palace.

And the Temple of the Frescoes.

We couldn't see any frescoes - but we could see red hand prints in several spots on the facade.

After getting the group together for a short history lesson, we were given some time to explore on our own - and then we made our way back to the bus and to the ferry back to Cozumel.  It was a wonderful day - and I highly recommend an exploration of Tulum!

Have you been to any Mayan ruins?  Were you able to climb to the top of the pyramids?


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