Visiting the Mayan ruins while in Mexico is something I feel like you HAVE to do if you have the opportunity, but it’s not something that actually interested me. Sadly, I am not a history buff and despite having visited two different sites near Cozumel, I couldn’t tell you anything about the structures or the people who created them (other than that they were wrong about the world ending in 2012).
What I can tell you is what a visit to these places is like. Perhaps we can all think of it this way — I’m not giving anything away if you take a tour of them yourselves. It will all be fresh information. So there! Wouldn’t want to ruin it for you. 😉
Tulum is about an hour bus ride away from the Cozumel cruise port. The ride isn’t all that interesting since most of it is highway. Once there, expect huge crowds. There are several lanes of stalls selling souvenirs. And you’re sure to see lots of iguanas scuttling around. I took as many pictures of them as I did the ruins themselves.
You can also walk down a long set of stairs to get to the turquoise water below. It’s a nice break from the heat, but you may not have have time if you have to catch your bus back before the ship leaves.
These ruins were discovered more recently and haven’t gained in popularity yet the way Tulum has. These ruins are on the island of Cozumel itself and are only about 20 minutes from port. We stopped here on our way from the eastern beaches of Cozumel. There are plenty of tour guides and unlike at Tulum, there’s shade! Take advantage of that.
The ruins themselves were on par with what you’ll see at Tulum. Iguana roam the grounds here, too, and the requisite tourist stalls can be found at the entrance though the prices here are ridiculously high compared to anything you’d pay near the cruise ports.
If I had to recommend one over the other, I guess I’d pick Tulum for true history buffs. But if you’re not all that interested in the ruins and just want to see what they’re all about without committing a full day to exploring them, a stop at San Gervasio will do just fine.
I’d love to hear from people who do enjoy visiting ruins. What is it about them that appeals to you?