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Cozumel, Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum

Which ruin site to visit?

Hi, we (2 couples) will be visiting in Novemeber for a week, staying in Cozumel.  We are having trouble deciding on which ruin site to visit.  Chichen-Itza is the front runner out of the places I have done some research on (Coba and Tulum) but the distance is a bit of a bummer. Any insight on these places would be very helpful! Thanks!

3 Answers

top answer by
Nathaniel from Boston

I fell in love with Tulum; but more so for the vibe, charm, and it's boutique inns and restaurants right on the amazing beach. But if you're just looking for the ruins, then it can't compare to Chichén Itzá. Tulum's ruins are only noteworthy because of their proximity to the sea - unique and great for photos.

That said, Tulum is not far from San Miguel de Cozumel and plenty to do while wandering in Tulum to give you a varied experience. I'd also consider an overnight trip to Chichen-Itza, staying in Valladolid, which is a really nice colonial town.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tulum (city)
  2. Chichén Itzá (attraction)
  3. San Miguel de Cozumel (attraction)
  4. Valladolid (city)
4 thanks

answered by
Jennifer from Austin (Texas)

Coba is actually my preferred ruins of choice. They are set within the jungle about 1.5 hour drive from Tulum, you can rent bikes to ride around within AND climb to the top of one of the ruins with an overlook of the surrounding jungle. Chichén Itzá is one of those bucket list places you have to see, but the overly pushy/touristy aspect and that you can't climb to the top anymore detract overall from the experience you could otherwise have there. 

My vote goes with Coba and the Tulum ruins. 

Unless you are scuba diving in Cozumel most of the time, I would highly recommend to invest the majority of your stay in that region in either Tulum (more pristine beaches) or Playa del Carmen (better nightlife, as most of it ends in Cozumel when the ships head out for the evening).  

For more off the beaten path ideas check out Isla Mujeres and Bacalar (lagoon of the 7 colors).  

Happy to help with any other suggestions - I lived in the area for about a year and spent every weekend exploring the other-worldly Quintana Roo :) 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Coba (attraction)
  2. Chichén Itzá (attraction)
  3. Tulum (attraction)
  4. Tulum (city)
  5. Playa del Carmen (city)
  6. Isla Mujeres (island)
  7. Bacalar (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Jason from Redwood City

If you're looking for cliff-side ruins with white sandy beaches and clear blue water below, Tulum is the place for you. Not to be missed. 

Chichén Itzáis also lovely, but definitely hotter and further inland. 

It's very doable to rent a car, do Tulum and surroundings in one day, and then drive to Chichen Itza the 2nd day for an overnighter.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tulum (city)
  2. Chichén Itzá (attraction)
2 thanks

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