Nice bus, good driver.
Tour guide talked too much about himself, current Mexico while he was trying to sell us things. He did present information about the Mayans and ought to stick to that in my humble opinion. I resented him called me/us "friend" 100+ times during his pitches.
Tulum is a very interesting place. The downside is that it is pretty popular and, hence, rather crowded.
Great site. No real free time to explore. Sack lunch and bottled water provided at start of day. "Mexican" Coca-Cola at end of tour. No time to shop or explore independently. Were last ones back to ferry and back to ship.
Terrible experience. We chose to go to Chichen Itza. Great historical sight. We had never been before even though we had been to Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen in the past. We thoroughly enjoyed the ruins at Tulum so we thought "why not?" The ship docks in Cozumel. That means that you have to take a 45 minute ferry from Cozumel to the mainland and then the ruins are about the center of the Yucatan peninsula so there is about a 2 hour bus ride to get there. Of course all of that is reversed coming home. We thought we would book it with the cruiseline just in case there were issues.
Some of the challenges we had with this tour:
1. 8 hours turned into 10. We had planned to have dinner at a specialty restaurant but missed that reservation by almost 90 minutes. Fortunately when we got back to the ship they were still open and were willing to seat us after we showered and changed into appropriate dinner attire.
2. The tour guide was good. Shared a lot of information with us that was relevant to the culture. He spent a good portion of the 2 hours talking about the culture of the Mayan people which was awesome. What I didn't like is the sales push to buy Mayan cartouche's of your name or initials or whatever from the "poor Mayan family living on the reservation". The guilt trip tactic was an immediate shutdown for me.
3. The government imposes a tax for those that want to record video on the property. I looked it up and it is a valid tax. It just seemed shady the way they collected 5 dollars from each guest. They should just include this in the tour price and forget about it.
4. It was 105 degrees the day we were there. The driver was thoughtful enough to bring coolers with beer, water and soda pop on the trip. He of course charged you for these. The only water provided in the cruise price was a 6 ounce bottle with "lunch" which I will talk about next. This is an embarassment. Water if nothing else should have been made available with the tour.
5. Lunch. I guess that is what it is called... Remember this is a 10 hour day. Once we got back to the bus after our tour of the ruins we were given a paper bag with a small 6 ounce bottle of water, a croissant with one slice of ham, a bag of chips, and a cookie. I realize this was a box lunch but seriously the ship could have done a much better job at providing box lunches than wherever these came from. Everything was dry and you had your 6 ounces of water to wash it down with.
5. Return trip... the guide was mostly quiet... until we almost arrived in Playa del Carmen. The it was another sales opportunity. They have a gorgeous book available explaining the Mayan culture and the ruins. The guide presented the book to most of the guests on the tour and it had a page of pictures of the guests on the tour. Apparently they had no pictures of us as we were never presented with a book. We likely wouldn't have chose to purchase it for $30.00 anyway. Then he talked about how hard he and the bus drivers work... their families, etc... teeing up for the tips are needed discussion. I know they all have it but this one was on a different level.
Overall... Don't do it!!! I likely will not do another shore excursion with Princess. It is painfully obvious that they do not do adequate screening of all of their tours as this one likely would NOT have made the cut.
Tulum tour was cancelled so we went on this. Nice group of people on our tour. Driver was informative and showed us the other side of the island; the beaches. All were lovely and I got a few good pictures. San Gravasio was a nice 'small' site and we had a nice tour guide there.
3 hours travel (inc. ferry) each way for only 1 hour of the actual tour is kind of disappointing, but Chichen Itza is one of the Wonders of the World and we chose to take that journey. I would prefer to marinate rather than microwave on a tour like this, but it is what it is. The tour company and the road are excellent, and of course the ruins themselves are amazing.
We were supposed to see the pyramids at Chichen Itza for an hour and a half. Instead, we only got to see them for about 35 minutes because the ferry was late. It's supposed to be a three hour trip to get there, but that ferry ride screwed everything up. The tour guides were amazing at least. And they saved the whole experience.
The Myan Ruins were not as great as expected and not exactly as pictured. You board a ferry to the mainland, about a 45 minutes ride. When you arrive at the Myan Ruins you are greeted by hungry sellers, which at times, make you feel uncomfortable. The Myan Ruins themselves were ok. This excursion is 7 hours so when we got back we didn't get to explore any of Cozumel. I wouldn't recommend this excursion to anyone. I felt it was way over priced for what it was.
We did the ruins located in Cozumel with a small group, which was great. We spent about two hours with our guide who was very knowledgeable. The ruins were amazing to see. A great excursion for anyone who is able to walk for a while.
Took Chichen Itza excursion thru Princess. Mode of Transportation was great,
only draw back was the very rough waves traveling to Plya del Carmen. Roads leading to the park were excellent by Mexico standards. Tour operator was a bit pushy when trying to hawk his wears on the way to the site. Chichen Itza was awh inspiring but with the flaw of all the Mexico souvigner vendors. That by itself is a Mexican tragedy.
This was an AWESOME excursion, especially for history buffs. The scenery was beautiful, the guide so knowledgeable. I am a Spanish teacher and will be sharing the photos we took and information we learned with all of my students!
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