Very educational and interesting experience. Sergio, our guide, was very informative as well as entertaining and personable which made the long drive almost 2 hours feel much shorter. I usually like long car/bus trips because it is a good opportunity to see the natural countryside, but in the Yucatan, the only thing you see is heavy shrubs no rainforest plant life
Our first stop was Chichen Itza. I have read many reviews with complaints about large crowds, but I did not get that impression. In late February, the weather was hot but not uncomfortable. The ancient structures did not disappoint and one could not help but wonder what the culture and scene was like 700 years ago.
Next, we traveled less than a half hour to the buffet lunch and Cenote. The lunch was surprisingly good possibly, because it was traditional Mexican food I would rate it 3. There was also entertainment during lunch, Mexican folk dancing, which was a nice plus. After lunch, we took a plunge in the Cenote. It was not interesting or spectacular and the water was very cold, but the thing here was the Mayan warriors who would let you take a picture with them for tips. These guys looked like the real deal and I started to wonder if Mel Gibson got the Idea for Apocalypto on a tour like this one. I definitely had to get my picture taken with them.
After the Cenote, we got back on the bus for about 15 minutes and arrived at Ek Balam. This place was as amazing as Chichen Itza for the huge staircase alone. Very scary and more than a decent workout that you can climb to see the landscape of the Yucatan to the horizon.
All-in-all I thought the tour was very well executed, defiantly worth the money we paid, and I didnt really mind the long day we left at 7 am got back to our hotel past 10 pm. In fact, I thought that we didnt get enough time to enjoy the sights so the only solution to this is just see one site per day. The only thing I would recommend is that they attempt to arrange seating on the bus so that people who are traveling together can sit together.
Really good tour and Carmen was a top top host but a few things important to note if you are staying in Cancun!!!!! as it is a long long day!
The good stuff. The tour itself was excellent, Carmen who was our tour guide for the day really knew her stuff and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing Chichen Itza, Hubiko cenote and Ek Balam, the latter very impressive, not as busy as Chichen but you can climb structure 10 the acropolis giving you an amazing view over the jungle. 10 out of 10 for that part of the tour.
The bad stuff
We were disappointed to find out that after a 6am wakeup pick up from our hotel near Playa Mujeres, we were picking up a few guests on the way.. however this quickly turned into a drive all the way to Playa del Carmen where the tour operator merged us with other groups from another tour operator AlisTours. This extended pick up and meeting point added 2 hours as we only left Playa de Carmen at 0800 for our drive to Chichen. This was not well managed our expecatation as we were led to believe that we would only have a few pick up near our hotel . Cancun and not that we were due to go to Playa del Carmen first 85km from our hotel. It added a lot of time and travel that was not clearly communicated before hand.
The same in the evening at the end of the day, were led to believe we would be back in the hotel by 1900, but that turned out to to be 21:15... again manage your paying guests expectations correctly. We left Ek Balam at 17:15 and that is a 2.0 - 2.5 hour drive max to our hotel but again, meeting guests again on other tours in Playa del Carmen, switch busses etc, and then and endless number of drop off on the way to our hotel - where we finally arrived at 21:15. ie 4 after leaving the last site
Tour great but that is all due to Carmen the guide... would not go again with this tour operator as they simply mislead you on the real travel time.
The reviews for this trip were very good and we decided to book it. We are at Villa Del Palmar hotel and our pickup time was 5:45 am most of the other hotel pickups are in Playa Del Carmen. From our hotel we went to the Iberostar hotel, Princess Hotel and a food place to pick up 4 other Spanish people who were always late coming back to the van by this time it was 7:30-8:00 before we started.
Viator used a local company called Yalku Tours for the tour. The guide Jerry was very good and our driver outstanding. The tour was very good except when we were driving back we did not use the toll road but the local road towards Tulum which took at least an extra hour or more. After a long day of touring an estimated 12 hour tour getting back to our hotel after 15 1/2 hours it was too much. I spoke with Raul the manager of Yalku Tours and asked why he didn't take the toll road back he informed me that it cost about 600 pesos. When we arrived back in Playa Del Carmen after dropping off the Spanish people, we were told that the company was doing us a favor by meeting our van with another van to drop off the people from the Princess hotel but refused to drop off the people at the other hotel and take us directly back to our hotel. Yalku tours was suppose to email us with an estimated pickup time I did not hear from them and had to call them myself. It would of been nice of them to tell us that it would of have been better to take a private tour so we would not have to spend 4 hours picking up and taking people back to their hotels. Raul informed me that at least I was in a comfortable van, it isn't so comfortable when your sitting in it for HOURS we could of taken a tour from our hotel but heard so much about Viator and decided to use them. Very disappointing
Très belle journée. Un guide très interessant et connaissant son sujet parfaitement. De plus il parlait Français.
Le site de Chichen Itza est grandiose, le cénote de HUBIKU magnifique et le site el BEKAM à faire pour avoir le plaisir de monter au sommet de la pyramide de 32m de haut.
Même si le tour est long, surtout pour ceux habitant CANCUN, le jeu en vaut la chandelle. Je recommande ce tour.
We had Carmen and Martin as our guides. The whole day was excellent. They picked us up around 6 am from our hotel and drove us to Chichen Itza. We had a couple hours there to walk around and shop a bit and then we went to Hubiku. The Cenote was amazing! The water was very refreshing after walking around Chichen Itza in such heat. We finished with Ek Balam which was personally my favorite part of the tour. It is a recent discovery and as such you are still able to climb the structures. Overall, this was our favorite day of our vacation and I highly recommend the small group tour!
Best tour I have ever been on in Mexico. Marcela Camarena is the perfect guide, she is knowledgeable and funny and loves the Mayan ruins. I would go with her anywhere in Mexico. Well run, got to photograph and see everything at both sites which is the first time in three visits to these places. Two thumbs up. Very nice cenote for swimming before lunch. The lunch was varied and very tasty.
This tour was fantastic! Carmen was an excellent guide. She was friendly, warm, and knowledgeable. The pace of the tour was not at all rushed and we had time to explore each place on our own. Lunch was delicious. We didn't swim in the cenote, but a lot of people on our trip did and they loved it. It was a nice small group so we got a chance to get to know a few other travelers, too. Carmen made sure we had water, snacks and restroom breaks throughout. This wasn't a cheesy, over the top tourist experience but more like having someone great show you around all day. Putting the activities together makes it a long day, so keep that in mind. But if you're up for it, we recommend it 100!
We spent so much time thinking what tour to do - so let me help you out - book this! It is more expensive than the other tours, but this is why
You get picked up at the same time as other tours, but you do not spend any time going round every hotel picking up other guest
We were at Chichen Itza first, as you can see from my pics, there was no one there, no other tourists in my pics.
We had free time at Chichen Itza to walk round and take site in
We had a tour round Chichen Itza, Pablo was sooooo knowledgable, I have a degree in archaeology, and love ancient history, but he knew so much more, and it was interesting, not boring!
Nothing dragged out.
We left just as the main coach tour pulled up, we were at Chichen Itza for an hour and a half - rather than that coach!
Cenote Hibuku was empty, it was like we had discovered it ourselves - amazing
Ek Balam - wow - has only recently been discovered, its in the jungle, but you park up and you are there, have water though!
Our driver Orlando was one of the most polite and courteous men I have ever met - he really looked after us, made sure we were hydrated, opened doors for us, but most importantly, he drove safe! We did another tour and the driver was so erratic I was frightened!
Pablo was so a lovely guy, and had greta knowledge, he didn't hassle us, he gave us free time and left us alone in the van. Being British, sometimes we like to just chill out and we felt it was the perfect tour. The fact i also felt really safe made it worth he money. Yes there are cheaper tours out there, but, when i go back next year, i will book with these guys. Worth every penny! I have added some pics so you can get an idea, but we are well travelled and this is the best tour we have ever done.