We had a fantastic tour director & were very happy with our choice of excursions. The ferry ride (very rough waves) were unsettling both to & fro, but the crew about the ferry knew how to handle all the motion sickness issues. The bus ride was a bit long, but expected to travel into the Yucatan. While at the Chichen Itza, we enjoyed wonderful views and an excellent presentation from our tour guide. This was an excellent choice for us to visit the ruins. Very Very happy.
Chichen Itza is amazing. The excursion takes you there, with a dedicated ipad and headset to explain this important Wonder of the World, and leave you with an extra hour to explore yourself or go shopping. Amazing! This is highly recommended!
Angel, tour guide, and David, driver, were really nice. I would highly recommend them. We went to the Mayan ruins about 45 minutes outside the city and spent about an hour or so there. It was very interesting. Back in the bus to the east side of the island where we stopped at a beach. There was a man there with his pet iguana. The beach was absolutely beautiful. About 30 minutes at the beach, then back on the bus. Final stop at the Mayan Cacao Company for a demonstration of how chocolate is made from the pod to the final product. A few samples of mole, hot chocolate and into the gift shop for more samples of chocolate candy and things to purchase, including but not limited to bars of fantastic chocolate.
The tour we did included visiting the San Gervasio ruins, the Mayan Cacao Company, and the beach. We started off by taking a bus to the San Gervasio ruins. On the way, the tour guide was very informative about the island and day to day life there. We spent a good hour at the ruins with a full tour and then about 20 minutes of free time to explore on our own. The ruins were very interesting and our guide was fantastic. He had a lot of factual information and even included local stories/legends. The bus ended up making a full circle of the island so we got to see a lot of the city and rural areas. We made a quick stop at the beach so we could take pictures and enjoy the view. There were some local shops along the street that you could purchase souvenirs from. Our final stop was at the Mayan Cacao Company. We got to sample fresh made tortillas with mole. Then we got to tour the grounds and see a demonstration on making Mayan chocolate. The presentor had lots of information and was very personable. We then had a few minutes to look around the shop and purchase chocolate of our own. This tour was my favorite of the whole cruise. There was no salesman pressure and I felt the description on the cruise website was actually very acurate to what we got.
Our tour guides were very knowledgeable and their English was excellent. The excursion first took us to the San Gervasio ruins on Cozumel Island, which were very interesting and not an intense tour - the ruins area is small, and we were there for maybe 90 minutes at most. Then we were taken to the eastern side of the island to see the uninhabited portion, with a brief (10 minute) stop at one beach to take pictures, etc. Then the final stop was at the Mayan Cacao company, where we learned about the history & importance of the cocoa bean to Mayan culture, a demonstration of making chocolate (with samples!) and then finally of course a pitstop at the store where you could buy chocolate, souvenirs, etc. The chocolate is EXPENSIVE ($8 per bar) but was quite good. Then back to the ship. This was maybe a 3.5 hour long excursion.
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.
We went to Chichen Itza. The ruins were great, and the guide and company did a great job, but I can't give it 5 stars because it's just too far away. We only got an hour at the ruins, so were very rushed....and we needed all the other time to get there and back. The lunch was ok, nothing special and a larger bottle of water would have been a good idea.
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.
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