Mayapan was my favorite Maya site. The buildings were so close together and approachable. You could almost visualize the way it was long ago. Mani and the Monastery were great. The Grottos were very interesting, but unexpectedly hot and humid! I always thought caves were cool.
This is a less popular tour compared to the crowded and touristy Chichen Itza which was the beauty of this tour. There were only two in our group.
First stop and the highlight was Mayapan. Not only was it deserted of tourists giving you the entire site to yourself you can climb the pyramids which is not allowed at the more crowded tourist sites.
Next was Mani and the colonial church and nearby cave where scrolls were discovered and destroyed by the conquistadors. Lunch was at a traditional restaurant with a variety of choices.
Finally Tzabnah Grottos which as the earlier reviews suggest was difficult. It is pitch black so you enter with torches but the caverns are small with crawl spaces, uneven ground, slippery, and somewhat dangerous. The air is harder to breath the deeper you go in so I chose to come back out. I would only suggest the full tour for the most adventurous and athletic otherwise a partial cave tour is sufficient.
Just down the street was an impressive European cathedral which would have been just as interesting and much safer. Or as an earlier review suggested a stop in Acenceh.
Otherwise I would recommend this tour for Mayapan which was the highlight having the entire site to yourselves to explore, and the friendly and enthusiastic guide Augusto.
Jeremy United States of ...
I had a wonderful time on this tour -- we actually started by going to the ancient Mayan ruins in Acanceh even though this wasn't listed on the itinerary bonus!. It was a small site, but the plasterwork of the Mayans was well-preserved and impressive to see up close.
Mayapan was the highlight of the day. This was a large Mayan city that rivalled some of the more well-known sites. Very few people visit this city, so you will likely have the place to yourselves, and the buildings are quite impressive. There are even painted frescoes that are on display that have miraculously survived to this day.
We stopped for lunch in Mani at an absolutely delicious restaurant Restaurante El Principe Tutul-Xiu that is reknowned for their poc-chuc dish. It is a pork dish that has been marinated in the juice from the local sour oranges, and it was spectacular! The Monastery of San Miguel Arcangel is also in this town, and is a nice stop to see the church. While here, ask your guide to take you to a little shop across the street where they make homemade corn tortillas -- they were delicious, and it was interesting seeing the process.
Finally, we stopped at the Tzabnah Grottos for our cave tour. This part probably could have been skipped without any detriment to the tour. The cave was swelteringly hot and humid, and there really wasn't anything to see in there other than empty rooms. Expect to come out soaked to the bone and exhausted. If you're really wanting to see impressive caves, you should visit the Loltun caves nearby on another tour, which are spectacularly lit up and easy to walk through.
All in all, it was a wonderful day trip from Merida, and I'm very glad I took this tour!
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