Sites
 
10
Transport
 
7
Hospitality
 
8
Value
 
8
Personal
 
8
8.4

Tulum
Tulum is a post-classic Mayan ruins site located on the Yucatan peninsula 127 km south of Cancun. The first thing that strikes you about Tulum, as you enter the site through the thick protective walls, is that the founders could not have chosen a better location: the majority of Mayan sites are located in thick jungle but Tulum's commanding position overlooking the Caribbean must have been like a resort for the ancients. Although there were certain settlements around this area, for centuries Tulum did not become the important port city and religious centre that it is famous for until much later. Tulum thrived from 1200 AD until the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. This well-preserved group of ruins is the 3rd most visited tourist site in Mexico, however it never seems to be overcrowded even though the total area of the site is not very large. This is because most people do a quick loop of the big buildings then retreat down the cliffs to the amazing white sand beach and cool off in the ocean. I must admit that it can get extremely hot and humid while exploring the site and the continuous pounding of the waves on the beach below is like a drum beat calling to you. A trip to the Yucatan peninsula is not complete without visiting Tulum; not only do you get to see some extremely well preserved ruins but you also get to enjoy one of the finest beaches on this stretch of coast.

The Resort
Mexico is a bargain destination for the all-inclusive traveller. Whether you are on the West coast or East coast there are large resorts that are stunning in their architecture, grandeur and service they provide. Most places cater to people year round but the best time to visit is between November to April. These impressive complexes that rise from the jungle on the coast provide luxuries like pool bars, a la carte restaurants, unlimited mini bars and entertainment for all ages. Often times the best part is the fact that you have paid in advance so you don't need to pay for anything while your there, other than to tip the bartender in order to keep those drinks coming thick and fast. For most people you never get the opportunity to sample so many different types of food and have the ability to eat and drink as much as you want.  That alone can be worth the trip. The beautiful beaches and numerous pools on-site can make all your worries disappear. If you are looking for a place to relax, soak up some sun and forget about work and your regular life for bit, there really is no better place to go.

Coba
Coba is a sprawling Mayan site that covers some 70 square km in the thick jungle about 40 km west of the Caribbean Sea on the road from Tulum to Chichen Itza. Coba has had evidence of people living in the area since 100 BC, however the majority of the remaining structures are from Coba's peak period between 500-900 AD. The city lasted until at least 1250 AD when it started to decline.  At its peak, there were around 50,000 people living within its boundaries. The site can be walked but be prepared for a bit of a trek as the main aspects of the site are spread out over a large area in the jungle.  Renting a bicycle at the front gate is recommended. Coba contains several large temple pyramids, the tallest is known as Nohoch Mul and it is one of the remaining Mayan pyramids that can still be climbed. Although you still have to share the moment with a hoard of other people, climbing the main Pyramid at Coba is a timeless experience: as you break above the tree line in this flat land you can see for miles in all directions. Thick unending jungle meets your gaze panoramically, with the crocodile infested lake that is at the entrance to the Coba site the only break in this sea of green. Coba is such a large site that there are times when you feel as if you have this ancient ruin to yourself. Visiting this site just to climb the pyramid is worth it but you also get Mayan ball courts, multiple temples and a good stroll through the jungle.