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“Mayan Experience Tour and Cool Tour were fantastic”
Review of Mayans' Explorers

Mayans' Explorers
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US$ 129.00*
and up
Mayan Experience Tour: Chichen Itza, Valladolid and Ek Balam
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Discover the real Mayaland! Small and private groups, all inclusive tours. Certified guides will provide you with info on the way to the places we visit and inside them. We always try to avoid the crowds. The perfect mix of culture, nature and adventure. Come join the experts! Also: snorkeling, zip lines, archaeology, natural reserves, airport transfers.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Reviewed 26 March 2012

My wife and I did 2 tours with Mayans Explorers in March 2012, the "Mayan experience tour", and the "cool tour". They were both great tours, and both were full day tours.

We booked the tours online with Gudelio about a month or so in advance. tour prices vary based on the number of people (at most 12 in a group), we were open to sharing with other folks, and we let Gudelio know which days we would be able to do the tours on. We communicated in email and he was always very prompt responding to emails.
From the email and their website, I had a very good idea of what to expect and where/when to meet.

We stayed on Cozumel, so we took the ferry to Playa del Carmen, and we met up with our tour guides right at the entrance to the ferry on both days., they were there waiting for us when we arrived. We had the same driver for both tours, Diago, he was very friendly and was a very safe driver.

The Mayan experience tour went to the ruins at Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and also did some swimming at an underground cenote. Our tour was with one other couple. Our guide Luis was very knowledgeable and was interactive during the long drive from Playa del Carmen to and from the ruins. The tour is an all day (12+ hours), we arrived on the ferry at 7 am and I think we ended up taking the 8pm ferry back to Cozumel. We don't do cruises, but I'm assuming it is too long to do from a cruise ship, but it is a great way to spend the day if you are staying on the mainland or staying on Cozumel.

Water, lunch in Valladolid, and snacks during the drive were included.

One of the other people on the tour had trouble with her knees, and Diago came and helped out on some of the ruins in case she needed a hand.

It is a long drive, and they were very good about checking whether we needed to hit a rest room along the way. There are rest rooms at the entries to both of the ruins sites and at the cenote.

What we brought for the Mayan Experience tour:

- camera for the ruins (a camera with a wider angle for the ruins, and longer zoom for birds if you are into that). I also brought an external flash, this helped get some better shots of the stucco work at Ek Balam. Luis knew that I was into birding, and he tried to see if we could find a MotMot at a spot where he has seen them before, we did see one flying there, but I didn't get a shot of it...). I also used the flash to get some shots of the bats in the underground cenote :-)

- Good walking shoes, there is a good amount of walking, and optionally climbing at Ek Balam if you choose to. The stuccos are definately worth climbing up to see there.

- A bathing suit and towel for the cenote.

- sunblock is a good idea

- We didn't have any issues with mosquitos. March is the dry season there, and during the day we didn't see any.

- Note that there are some bee/wasp nests in the ruins, I got pretty close to get some shots of them and they didn't seem aggressive, but you will want to be aware when walking in the ruins if you are allergic to bee stings (non of us were stung).

The "Cool Tour" went to the ruins at Tulum, snorkeling in Akumal bay (sea turtles), and went to Tankah (swimming in a cenote, zip-lines over water, canoeing). William was our tour guide, and Diago drove again for this tour. William was very knowledgeable and also was engaged during the entire tour. On this tour, we were with one couple with no kids, and another couple with 2 kids (guessing they were between 5-7 yrs old). Diago came along on the tours to help with the children (they had them on a boogie board when snorkeling).

This tour is most of the day and is a little shorter than the Mayan Experience tour (less time driving). We arrived just before 8 am on the 7am ferry from Cozumel, and I think we were back in Playa del Carmen in time for the 6 PM ferry.

The snorkeling in Akumal bay was really nice. The bay itself is pretty well protected and it wasn't rough there. Your mileage will likely vary on what kinds of critters you will see when snorkeling, but we saw 3 sea turtles, a sting-ray, and loads of various fish there.
The reefs there were really nice. There is a locker, changing area, and rest rooms there.
When snorkeling we all stayed together as a group for the entire time.

The ruins at Tulum and the shoreline are definately worth seeing. They gave us about an hour or so free time and you can go swimming if you want at the shore there. We mainly walked around and enjoyed the views.

Tankah was nice, we did some zip lines over water, did some canoeing

What we brought:

- regular camera for the ruins at Tulum, a good zoom for zip-line shots and birds, etc...

- underwater camera, the water is very clear there and I was able to get some nice shots.

- good walking shoes are a good idea, there is some walking at Tulum.

- sunblock. We picked up some biodegradable sunblock in Cozumel before we went to Chankanaab park there so we used that.

- swim-suit and towels.

- We didn't need bug repellent this time of year, but I suspect that it wouldn't be a bad idea to have some other times of the year when at Tankah.

- They provide all the snorkeling gear if you don't have any, we brought our own equipment. For a vest, I think the shop there gave folks a life preserver style vest, so if you want to dive underwater, you probably should bring your own inflatable vest (so you can deflate it when you want to go under to check something out).

I haven't had time to identify the birds I got shots of yet, but basically we saw: Lots of orioles (Chichen Itza), motmot flying (saw one at Chichen Itza, and one at Tulum), lots of turkey and black vultures all over, a few woodpeckers, lots of grackles, some humming birds, some cormorants, and other waterfowl. In Tulum, there was a lineated woodpecker eating ants in the roof of the entry building, so when you get to the model of the ruins in the building look up, he may still be around there :-)

We definately recommend Mayans Explorers, we had a great time on the tours.

4  Thank Birder513
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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640 - 644 of 807 reviews

Reviewed 23 March 2012

My wife and I used Mayans Explorers for 2 separate tours in Feb 2011 and we enjoyed both trips tremendously. So this year we wanted to do return and do something a little more. We also wanted to include our 4 & 12 year old daughters this time too. We booked Mayans Explorers for a 3 day, 2 night family tour of inland Yucatan. The price was extremely fair and affordable. We were lucky to get Gudelio as our guide again since we had such great experiences with him last year. Gudelio is really awesome. A friendly, knowledgeable, honest and professional family man through and through.
Day 1 Gudelio met us early at the ferry docks in Playa and we traveled inland in his clean, comfy, and big van. Stopping whenever we wanted or needed to. We went to the incredible Lol Tun Caves (we love caves), and the church, ruins and town of Izamal.
We stayed in Merida both nights in a beautiful boutique hotel near the town square. The nightlife was really incredible. Merida's vibrant downtown area has interesting comedians, great food, music, dancing, an impressive mixture of architectural styles, good shopping, and did I mention the great food?
Day 2 we did the Puuc Route ruins of Labna, Sayil, and Kabah. We were lucky to be the only people at every one of the sites that day. Each site was amazing in it's own right too. I consider myself an armchair Mayanist and can definitely attest that Gudelio's knowledge is deep and interesting at each place we visited AND everywhere in between. He easily kept my interest as well as my wife and 2 young girls (Not an easy task!). Whenever I got tired, Gudelio helped carry my 4 year old up some staircases too. And when my fear of heights prevented me from one tall temple peak, he guided my 12 yr old the rest of the way up and took fantastic lifetime memory pictures for us all to savor.
Day 3 we did the spectacular Uxmal ruins then a snorkel/swim at San Ignacio cenote. Uxmal, in my humble opinion, is even more impressive than Chichen Itza. It's truly amazing. The Puuc style is so beautiful. The architectural detail and graphics of the facade carvings are really intense. Worthy of at least half a day. I could've stayed a week dragging my jaw around that large city. It's almost totally free of the atmosphere draining vendors too. Which is nice. We didn't hear one jaguar whistle here!
I'd also like to say that NEVER did we feel uncomfortable or unsafe in our travels through many very poor towns and villages. Whenever we stopped anyone for directions we were greeted kindly everywhere. We even took some funny family pictures with friendly policia in downtown Merida! Also my wife forgot her purse with credit cards and $500 in both dollars & pesos at the cenote in middle of nowhere, Mexico. After no phone contact with them we nervously drove back 3 hours later that night to find the owner waiting for us at the front door with the intact purse and a big smile. The people of Yucatan are very friendly and honest indeed! It was a dumb move on our part but the sheer kindness of some locals prevented a vacation disaster. We tipped and thanked him profusely.
From mid jungle restaurants to handmade ice cream cart vendors downtown, we all ate fantastic food everywhere without a single issue. Gudelio seriously knows where ALL the good places to eat and shop are. All you have to do is tell him what you feel like. Then follow him and enjoy the ride!
We also used Mayans Explorers again later in the week for a great family horseback ride on the beach at Punta Venado just south of Tulum. Affordable, safe, easy, & a wonderful family portrait opportunity!
Overall we made some incredible family memories while experiencing places we would never dream of going to on our own. Thank you Gudelio and Mayans Explorers, you've made us feel like we were lifelong friends sharing a family vacation together. You now have friends for life in New Jersey!
So if you haven't figured it out already, Mayans Explorers is the perfect private tour ambassador to anywhere in Yucatan Mexico period.
You're still reading this? Book your tour with these guys NOW. You will never regret this move. You're welcome!

1  Thank Joeshu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2012

We used Mayan Explorers based on the trip advisor reviews and we were not disappointed. We used them for the airport transfers, a tour to Tulum, and the Mayan Adventure.

Their reviews on trip advisor were excellent. I'm not sure why they're not the top rated company in Playa.

We chose the private tours because we generally don't do bus tours, cruise ships or all inclusives. But they will make every effort to find others to share the tour if you'd like which will reduce the cost.

They were at the airport and hotel at exactly the appointed times with clean vans and cold water (and great A/C). The guides, William and Juan, were great and very entertaining. The drives were both very safe and friendly.

I've read about another higher rated company that states it cannot send its guides into the sites. They must not use federally liscenced guides. Our guides were with us throughout the trips and pointed out some wonderful parts I know the bus tours didn't see.

I paid for everything before hand using paypal and my credit card. I was a little concerned about paying for the whole thing in advance. But there was no need for concern. Keep in mind private trips aren't cheap.

Gudelio Alanis is the owner and he drove us to the airport this morning. I think, given he heard I found him through trip advisor plus the cost of our trips, he wanted to make sure we were happy (he's also a licensed guide). (He also emailed me after we arrived at the hotel to make sure everything was up to our expectations). He's a great person and I would have no problem recommending him or his company.

Stop looking. You've found the right company.

1  Thank bumper1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2012

We booked Gudelio based on TripAdvisor reviews for the half day to Tulum and our airport transfers. He is extremely organised, knowledgable and friendly!

Highly recommended -

Thank deepika_ganeshan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2012

This was a great experience for my husband and me. They provide a driver and a guide who stays with you all day and provides such detailed information that you wouldn't get in a larger tour. Our guide was Juan and he knew so much about the ruins as he actually is an archeologist and works on digs at the various sites. The pick-up time was prompt and they provide water and a breakfast snack. We visited Chichen Itza, Vallolodid, a cenote, and Ek Balam. We left our resort at 7am and arrived back at 6:30 pm. It was a long day but we were very pleased with the entire experience.

There is limited time for shopping or deviating from the prescribed tour so if you want to do your own thing or shop at the vendors, this tour isn't for you.

We feel the cost of the tour was worth the experience and information that we received. After seeing the large crowds from the bigger tour busses, we were very thankful we chose Mayans' Explorers.

1  Thank MamaToTwoBoys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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