It’s no doubt that Cancun is one of the best beach destinations in the world, but if you visit Cancun without visiting the nearby Mayan Ruins, you are merely getting “half” a Cancun Vacation, maybe not even half. I admit, it’s very tempting to get caught up in the relaxation of laying out on the beach everyday eating chips and salsa, and sipping on margaritas, and really, who wants to set their alarm for 6:00 in the morning in order to catch the bus for an all day excursion away from the beach? But, anyone who has been on any of these excursions will tell you that it was by far the best part of their Cancun trip.
Their are multiple adventurous and cultural excursions you can take in Cancun, some of the more famous ones are Tulúm, Chichen Itza, and Cobá. Chichen Itza is the most popular, and one of the best excursions, but it’s the longest. You can expect to leave early in the morning and return to the hotel after dark.
My wife and I visited Cobá, it wasn’t quite as long as Chichen Itza, we were back to our hotel shortly before 5:00 in the evening. We still had time to relax at the beach before dark, we had a nice dinner, and we were able to catch another show at our hotel.
Cobá is a Mayan village deep in Mexican Jungle. It has ancient structures and pyramids just as the other Mayan Ruins have, except you can actually climb up some of the pyramids. In the other Mayan Ruins, climbing the pyramids is against the law.
Hiking to the top of the pyramid is much harder than it looks, getting down is downright scary. If you look at the picture close enough, you will see a rope from the top of the pyramid to the bottom. Climbing down without using the rope is suicide, especially if the rocks are wet. Good fortune brought us a thunderstorm and a heavy downpour right at the moment we reached the top, so getting down was a very slow step by step, slippery and treacherous experience. But, despite how difficult the climb was, it was totally worth it. The view of the jungle from up high is breathtaking. The below picture doesn’t do justice, but it’s the best we could do with a cell phone camera on an overcast day.
The fun does not end at the pyramids. On our excursion, we also visited a deep cave with a swimming pool:
And we also visited a Mayan family’s home where the children warmly greeted us with a performance:
When going on these excursions, be prepared to hike and be prepared to sweat. Bring lots of water and electrolytes with you to keep yourself hydrated. The temperature is noticeably warmer in the jungle and you don’t get the ocean breeze as you do at the beach. We visited Cancun and Cobá in November, and it was a sweltering 90° F (32° C) with high humidity. On top of that, be sure to bring some bug spray. In the jungle, the bugs are big, the bugs are huge, and the bugs are aggressive.
In conclusion, if you decide to visit Cancun, go on at least one excursion. Be willing to get up early that one day. Be prepared as mentioned above. Be prepared to hike (no flip flops) and prepare for heat and humidity. Do this and you will likely find that your excursion to the Mayan Ruins will be your favorite part of your Cancun Vacation as it was for my wife and I.