View Full Version : Tulum visit in Cozumel

05-23-2004, 12:24 AM
We are doing the 7 day western this summer and want to visit the ruins in Tulum. Has anyone done this without doing the tour that you can sign up for on the ship? We would like to consider all of our options before reserving the tour. Thanks, Nancy

05-23-2004, 09:12 AM
we did the tulum tour through dcl. the ruins were fabulous. the trip there and back not so much. first, a high speed ferry from cozumel to playa del carmen. walk approx 1/2 mile to bus. 90 min. bus trip to tulum with a stop for bathrooms and, imo, a cheezy gift shop.

again, the ruins are fabulous. we went in june and it was very hot. the so-called beach break is very short and there is no place to change. lunch on the return trip is a subway sub, chips and soda. perhaps it was an authentic mexican subway.

on the ferry trip back a storm hit and all were seasick except me.

believe it or not the ruins were so magnificent that it balanced the unpleasant parts of the trip.

i actually suggested to dh that we rent a car and do the tour ourselves. he reminded me that we don't speak spanish, our cell phones won't work and disney won't wait for us in case of a problem. so i agreed to the dcl tour.

it was worth it to see the ruins but i cannot unconditionally endorse the trip because of the tranportation to and from and the mediocre, no lousy, lunch. even so, i would go with dcl. there is nothing to see on the way and practically nowhere to stop.

hope this answers your question.

tap & dap
05-23-2004, 12:04 PM
The ruins are well worth the ride. Keep in mind that there is very little else to do on the way there and back, there is absolutely nothing on the roads.

Once at the ruins, there is a village outside with many shops and such to look around. We got a few good souvenirs. Also when you get there you have the option of walking to the ruins or riding a tram, pay the dollar or two for the tram it is well worth it not to walk the long road in the heat.

The subway sandwich we got on the return was actually pretty good, so must be hit or miss.

We also had people on the return boat selling t-shirts and such at a reduced price.

But I would strongly recommend doing the excursion through Disney as it seemed all the tours were organized and had reserved space on the boats to and from Cozumel, I would imagine it would be quite a wait without the reservation, because we walked passed alot of people waiting in line to get on the boat, who actually never made it on our boat.

05-23-2004, 10:41 PM
Thanks for the information! That is what I needed to hear! I do not want to pay the $$, but for the peace of mind it sounds like it is well worth it. Nancy

05-24-2004, 08:13 AM
a small correction on my earlier post. the subway sandwich was perfectly acceptable for a subway sandwich. in fact, if i were home i would consider that a good lunch. its' just that i expected something more exotic in mexico, ie, mexican food. we could have eaten at the market area outside the ruins. a cold corona would have tasted real good.

i still think, however, that going with dcl is your best bet.

05-24-2004, 10:24 AM
:earsboy: We did the Tulum excursion last August through DCL. We had a GREAT time at Tulum and it is definitely worth the peace of mind of going with DCL for the excursion since you know they won't leave you. Beware: with all of the travel it makes for a long HOT day in Mexico - but well worth it! Enjoy!!!

05-24-2004, 03:42 PM
We also did the Tulum tour through DCL in July last year - VERY HOT. Make sure to take plenty of water to drink if you can and also a wet hand towel or something to help keep you cool. You can overheat easily up there without even thinking about it.

The ride on the "ferry" was rocky but ours was very good. Just wish they would have told us beforehand how rocky it can be because there were several people on there that got sick and I think it would have been maybe a bit more enjoyable if they had known. It is nice and air conditioned though so worth it. Once you get to Playa you also have to walk a little distance to the bus.

I also recommend the tram. On our excursion it was included in the price we paid.

The Subway sandwich we had was so so. It was warm by the time we got it and for soda (they offer soda or beer) all they had was Pepsi (not diet) and it was also warm. It was okay - I love Subway but I didn't like this sandwich. I guess seeing the lettuce on there made me a bit quessy (just thinking about it although I know it was fine).

All in all I'm glad we did it. We got a great photo out of it (they had a person taking "professional photos" for $10) and my dd and dh got nice shirts from the ones that were being sold on the ferry - $5 and they WERE nice shirts.

05-24-2004, 06:42 PM
btw, i bought a beautiful tablecloth at tulum. it is allegedly woven from bamboo and it is a representation of the mayan calendar. i haggled the seller from $50 to $20 and he included a hat (baseball cap, i collect them). the market area is definately worth a look although the tour doesn't leave much time. if i did it again i would skip the beach.

05-25-2004, 10:11 PM
Can someone tell me what the bathroom facilities were like -- and how many opportunities you had for restroom stops?

tap & dap
05-25-2004, 10:59 PM
Do not recall them being a problem.

I think they were at the entrance to the ruins and at the shops. Recall that they were ok.

05-26-2004, 07:18 AM
the bathrooms at the ruins are ok. we stopped once on the way there and the "bathrooms" were practically open air, not particulary clean, etc.

no stops on the way back so i had to trot out the obligatory "did everyone go to the bathroom?" i thought we were past that.

05-26-2004, 08:51 AM
Is the beach worth the time -- or is it better spent in the shops? And how much actual time do they give you at the ruins themselves?

Thanks for your help. There's so many excursions, but this seems to be the one the family wants right now.

05-26-2004, 09:36 AM
We did Tulum on a Carnival Cruise....same situation with the bus ride & boat ride. Like everyone else says, the ruins are worth any other negative point on the trip. Our tour guide was excellent and very informative. My best souvineer ever was a print I purchased at Tulum. On the bus they gave you a form on which you could put some special date, they then translated it into Mayan Hieroglyphics and made a really cool print. We have it framed in our office.

05-26-2004, 09:56 AM
you get about 60 - 90 minutes at the actual site. enough time for the children. not enough for me and dh. it is very hot. the beach is very small and there are no facilities. i would rather shop. the marketplace is quite well stocked with typical souveniers but if you have the time to look you can find some interesting and unusual items. i got a great tablecloth, a woven mayan calendar.

05-26-2004, 12:27 PM
Can someone tell me what the bathroom facilities were like -- and how many opportunities you had for restroom stops?

No facility on the bus or ferry? I'd hate to have to ask them to stop and let me off!!!! Drinking water to stay hydrated does have its drawbacks, ya know.

05-26-2004, 12:46 PM
We were on a Carnival trip to Tulum, and the ferry across did have restrooms. However, because of rough seas, they were not very clean, 60% of the people used their barf bags, 20% didn't quite make it to the rest rooms. DH took meds and they worked fine, I'm OK with rough seas.

On the Playa del Carmen side of the ferry, there was a new facility that included clean rest rooms. This was in December.

On our trip to Tulum there was a stop at an open air market and the restrooms there were clean. We also were given the opportunity to have a date translated to the Mayan calendar, and we didn't do it, I guess we have to go back! The ferry boat photographer took pictures with the ruins in the background and it was available for purchase on the ferry back. I had thought it was the ship's (Fascination) photographer, but it wasn't. Maybe that isn't available on the Disney cruise, but it's a great souvenir.


05-26-2004, 01:19 PM
i agree. the photo we had taken at tulum was terrific. definately framing quality. plus having the photo taken professionally saved time during the tour. it was very hot and i'm sure the children would have rebelled if i made them stop for photo ops.

i thought the translation was a rip-off and i like souveniers i can use (tablecloth) or display (photo).

05-26-2004, 01:22 PM
To the DCL people who have done this excursion -- you mean you take a 30 minute ferry ride and a 90 minute bus ride with no bathroom breaks? Got to know this ahead of time!

05-26-2004, 02:08 PM
At the Playa del Carmen side of the ferry, there are clean public restrooms. I'm sure you can have a rest stop. I also don't think that Disney has their own ferries, they are public ferries, chartered for the specific cruise lines, and ours did have rest rooms. I don't think there will be any problems for you. We have gone on the ferry ride twice with 2 different cruise lines and only once was there a terrible crossing.


05-26-2004, 02:12 PM
Thanks, Bobbi! :hyper:

05-26-2004, 03:32 PM
NEW QUESTION: Just thought of this -- do they take American dollars at these markets or did you have to exchange currency?

05-26-2004, 04:09 PM
They will take American dollars. We bought a really nice blanket for $20. DH haggled the seller down from $50 and had him throw in some other stuff too.

Doctor P
05-27-2004, 09:21 AM
The trip TO Tulum you have a rest stop with bathrooms. The trip back is an express trip. The express trip by bus is about 45 minutes. The trip out takes a total of 60-65 minutes including the stop. A rough time schedule for the DCL trip is as follows: Meet at Walt Disney Theater at 9:40 am. Leave Theater about 10:10 am and directly board ferry on deck one on opposite side of ship as the pier. Leave ship via ferry at approximately 10:30 am. Arrive at Playa Del Carmen at approximately 11:00 am. Walk to bus staging area (leisurely 10 minute walk with much shade along the way). Board air conditioned buses and leave for Tulum approximately 11:30 am. Stop for restroom/shopping break at about noon. Arrive at Tulum approximately 12:40 pm and take short (3-4 minute walk) to pick up tram to archeological area. Begin tour about 12:55 pm and take guided tour until 1:30 pm. You are then free to explore on your own or go to the beach or return to the Tulum market area where you picked up the tram. You must be back on the bus by 3:00 pm. Leave fairly quickly and get back to Playa del Carmen about 3:45 pm. Wait in shade for your ferry and leave Playa del Carmen about 4:00 pm and get delivered back to the town end of the pier about 4:30 pm so that you can easily go into the shopping area before returning to the ship. BTW, you travel both ways with the people from the Xcaret excursion so the basic timing of the two excursions is the same except the actual trip to Xcaret.

Hope this helps. It is a long day, but not as taxing as it might seem due to the opportunities to be in air conditioning and to be sitting down. The ferry ride is definitely rough but most people do not get sick, especially if they have taken any seasickness remedies for the cruise anyway.

05-27-2004, 10:09 AM

What an amazingly concise and helpful summary! This will help greatly in planning our trip. Thank you so much.

We actually don't take any seasick medicine for the ship, but I do tend to get sick on ferries. I was thinking of bringing Bonine. Do you think that will help?

Doctor P
05-27-2004, 02:17 PM
Yes, Bonine will help, but keep in mind that you will really need to take it well before you get on the ferry. I used meclizine (Bonine) and sea bands throughout the cruise and never had a problem though I tend to have some motion sickness issues.

05-27-2004, 02:30 PM
DOCTOR P - thank you for your report! Answered many of my questions.