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Xcaret, Tulum, or Chankanaab


kimlovesfl
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We just booked a little 4 day cruise on the Celebrity Millenium, with Cozumel being the only port. We are in port from 7 am - 6 pm. This will be our 4th visit to Cozumel. Our first 2 times, we took the ferry to Playa Del Carmen, because my husband found a chocolate store he liked on our 1st visit. The last time we went to Punta Sur Ecopark, which I loved. He wants to go back to that chocolate store, and I want to do something else. Among the excursions available are:

 

Tulum, with a stop on 5th Ave in PDC for shopping. We can combine something I want, with something he wants. The tour is 8 hours, and that is a long day.

Xcaret. I believe this excursion is close to 8 hours. It sounds really interesting, with a lot to do, even for a non-swimmer like me.

Chankanaab. Sounds relaxing with some fun things to see and do. 

 

Note that I cannot swim, so no snorkeling or anything like that. My question is, for Tulum and Xcaret, since they are on the mainland, is it worth doing those excursions? 

 

There are a few others that look enticing, or we may explore on our own. I just don't want to taxi down to the ferry, ferry to PDC, ferry back to Cozumel, taxi back to port, just to buy some chocolate. Tulum seems like a perfect option, just concerned about the distance. 

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I believe the traffic between Coz and the mainland is limited or was limited. I have heard that Celebrity will only let you do ship sponsored excursions.  Both these pieces of information may be wrong or out of date.

If you can do DIY  I would suggest Chank with all its options but know that Chank is basically a beach day type of resort. 

 

I'm assuming your husband went to Ah Cacao in Playa.  Great spot.  But there are 2 really good chocolate shops in San Miguel if you wind up exploring the town versus taking the ferry to Playa.  Chocolateria Isla Bella on Calle 4 Nord near the Plaza (which will be similar to Ah Cacao) and KaoKao Factory in the back of town with the whole show of how chocolate is made, but you may need to reserve a tour.  So you could spare some time by heading to either one versus taking the ferry back and forth.  Great restaurants near both too.

 

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Tulúm would be my choice. It’s unique and worth the long day.  I consider Xcaret and Chankanaab to be tourist traps. They are the proverbial places designed for tourists, not travelers. 

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I suppose the fundamental question is when are you sailing and are Celebrity allowing independent excursions?

 

I personally would only visit mainland places, while staying on the mainland, as we have too many favorite locations on Cozumel to bother with the ferry when only in town for the day. That said, at the moment especially since the pandemic I would only take the ferry via a  ship excursion as I wouldn’t want to rely on independent travel arrangements on the ferry. There has been a reduced schedule and problems with timing.
 

Is your husband aware there are two  Chocolate factories actually on Cozumel, Kaokao and Mayan  Cacao? There is also a chocolate shop in town and plus there were several other chocolate workshops at various locations related to the factories but I haven’t been to them.


Tulum via the ship should be fine if you are OK with the travel aspect. Xcaret is excellent but I personally don’t think the short ship excursion would do it justice, although I know some have enjoyed it. We had a two day pass and were able to explore in a leisurely fashion, IMO you would need to be extremely organized and know where  you were going and at what time to get the most out of your day.
 

Chankanaab is a location we put off for a long time while visiting the island and were pleasantly surprised. I think there are things to do to easily occupy a few hours off the ship and I believe the ships may have negotiated a good rate presently at the Cabana Beach area , if not it certainly was on sale independently, last time I checked.

ETA: Sorry I was writing while Crew posted and see I duplicated a lot of his ideas!

 

Edited by c-leg5
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  • 3 weeks later...

We are sailing in January, the 6th to the 10th. Not sure if independent travel is allowed.

 

We did NOT know there were 2 chocolate places right in Cozumel. Thank you to those who suggested it, I will let him know. That may be an option.

 

My biggest concern with Tulum is, it's an 8 hour day (we are in port from 7AM-6PM), and it says only light snacks provided. Will there be time somewhere for lunch? I'm looking for answers from those who have been on this excursion with Celebrity. I would love to see Mayan ruins again, which we saw in Costa Maya whilst on Princess several years ago, and then hubby could get his chocolate if we do this. Wonder how much time we have in PDC?

 

I hate the thought of doing our 4th!!! visit to Cozumel, and having 3 of those taking the ferry to the mainland because hubby wants chocolate. We went to Punta Sur Ecopark last time and loved it, and we aren't beach people, and don't snorkel or dive. Heck, I can't even swim.

 

Thank you all for your suggestions. If we can go independent, perhaps we will just take a cab into town and find those chocolate stores. Celebrity also has a chocolate tour where you see how it's made.

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1 hour ago, kimlovesfl said:

 

 

Thank you all for your suggestions. If we can go independent, perhaps we will just take a cab into town and find those chocolate stores. Celebrity also has a chocolate tour where you see how it's made.

I'm pretty sure that the Celebrity chocolate tour is at KaoKao.  

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12 minutes ago, crewsweeper said:

I'm pretty sure that the Celebrity chocolate tour is at KaoKao.  


Not sure if their website is up to date or if they have another tour but the honey and bee tour says

Mayan Cacao Company is wheelchair-accessible. Nevertheless, guests must be able to stand up in order to participate in the tour.” which is next to Playa Maya. The bee sanctuary is on the transversal.

Edited by c-leg5
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2 hours ago, kimlovesfl said:

We are sailing in January, the 6th to the 10th. Not sure if independent travel is allowed.

 

We did NOT know there were 2 chocolate places right in Cozumel. Thank you to those who suggested it, I will let him know. That may be an option.

 

My biggest concern with Tulum is, it's an 8 hour day (we are in port from 7AM-6PM), and it says only light snacks provided. Will there be time somewhere for lunch? I'm looking for answers from those who have been on this excursion with Celebrity. I would love to see Mayan ruins again, which we saw in Costa Maya whilst on Princess several years ago, and then hubby could get his chocolate if we do this. Wonder how much time we have in PDC?

 

I hate the thought of doing our 4th!!! visit to Cozumel, and having 3 of those taking the ferry to the mainland because hubby wants chocolate. We went to Punta Sur Ecopark last time and loved it, and we aren't beach people, and don't snorkel or dive. Heck, I can't even swim.

 

Thank you all for your suggestions. If we can go independent, perhaps we will just take a cab into town and find those chocolate stores. Celebrity also has a chocolate tour where you see how it's made.

Kaokao was the original chocolate factory. Mayan cacao company came later and although I haven’t been to that one I suspect it is more commercial. If you want to go to Kaokao i suggest you take a taxi - it is at the back of town and not easy to find. Also if you want to do the tour I suggest booking as they are at set times and limited people.

 

The chocolate shops are in town ( I think there may be two now) but a search on TA will easily tell you.

 

There are also chocolate workshops at various places - maybe Discover Mexico, Chankanaab, Mayan village on transversal, which may be worth investigating. 

Edited by c-leg5
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I've been to a lot of Mayan ruins, including Xunantunich in Belize and Kohunlich in Mexico.  We went to see the ruins at Tulum only because we were staying right there.    I thought these were the least impressive, nothing with any majesty at all.  The only thing unique about Tulum is that they are the only Mayan ruins site actually on the ocean.  Not sure I would waste a day on this, unless you've done everything else.

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On 10/3/2021 at 10:37 AM, Tapi said:

Tulúm would be my choice. It’s unique and worth the long day.  I consider Xcaret and Chankanaab to be tourist traps. They are the proverbial places designed for tourists, not travelers. 

 

I guess I see it differently.  Tulum to me isn't worth a day trip and not all that impressive in terms of ruins compared to other parts of Mexico.  The setting is of course beautiful, but the ruins themselves are small and not all that impressive in my opinion.  The entrance is full of standard tourist fare including Starbucks.

 

Believe it or not, my vote is for Xcaret.  It is a theme park, but I think it provides excellent value and I have personally never met anyone that wasn't impressed.  To me a "tourist trap" is a location that doesn't deliver real value.  My own view is that the Xcaret is good value as it provides - albeit somewhat staged - insight into Mexico.  Note that Mayan ruins are also present at Xcaret.

 

@kimlovesfl The only sad part of visiting on a cruise day is that you probably wouldn't get to see the night show which covers the history of Mexico.

Edited by SelectSys
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I'm getting ready to make final payment, and taking a look at shore excursions again. ALL of the shore excursions I was thinking of are gone. There are only 20 offered now; some are new, some were there previously, and the selection has been greatly reduced. Guess I can blame covid?

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18 hours ago, kimlovesfl said:

I'm getting ready to make final payment, and taking a look at shore excursions again. ALL of the shore excursions I was thinking of are gone. There are only 20 offered now; some are new, some were there previously, and the selection has been greatly reduced. Guess I can blame covid?

just a heads up.  I sail next Friday on a b2b on Adventure of the Seas with 2 stops in Cozumel.  All excursions to the mainland were dropped.  You may want to go for that chocolate tour in Cozumel.

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7 hours ago, jean87510 said:

just a heads up.  I sail next Friday on a b2b on Adventure of the Seas with 2 stops in Cozumel.  All excursions to the mainland were dropped.  You may want to go for that chocolate tour in Cozumel.

The chocolate tours aren't there anymore either. There is one called "Best of Cozumel", which stops at a chocolate factory, tequila distillery (I don't like tequila and DH doesn't drink at all), an apiary, with time for shopping in Cozumel. It is very similar to one I saw earlier. And you are right, ALL the excursions to the mainland are gone. We will be staying in Cozumel for sure.

 

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1 hour ago, kimlovesfl said:

The chocolate tours aren't there anymore either. There is one called "Best of Cozumel", which stops at a chocolate factory, tequila distillery (I don't like tequila and DH doesn't drink at all), an apiary, with time for shopping in Cozumel. It is very similar to one I saw earlier. And you are right, ALL the excursions to the mainland are gone. We will be staying in Cozumel for sure.

 


Unless your cruise line requires it, no need for a ship excursion in Cozumel. Just get a taxi or private driver for a negotiated number of hours and visit the places you want to visit for as long as you want to stay.

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agree with c legs.  I've been there multiple times both cruise and land vacation and wouldn’t bother with a ship excursion unless you are required to.  May I suggest taking a taxi tour or rent a car that would bring you around to the wild east side of island (chen rio) and another different option is the Mayan Bee Sanctuary.  Take a look at it.  A lot of people think Cozumel is just Mr. Sanchos or Nachi but its so much more.  I see you made it to one of my favorite places Punta Sur!  

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16 hours ago, Ellaleah said:

I will be in a group of 6 and I like the idea of hiring a cab/car.  Do I need to reserve one before I go?  Any suggestions?


We have used ToursPlaza for over 10 years and yes, you would have to reserve a private driver in advance. Eduardo does the advance bookings and is quick to reply and will make suggestions for your group if necessary. 
 

It is also possible to get a taxi for a certain number of hours from the taxi dispatch. 

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On 11/9/2021 at 9:39 PM, SelectSys said:

Nope - Mexico really never closed completely due to economic necessity.  My guess is it is something else.

My guess is "yes" to blame much of the reduction of overall excursion offers by the cruise lines on covid.  The cruise industry and other international travel was shut down so there were no tourists to speak of and still less than normal.  People who worked in the tourist industry prior to covid are not all immediately available and some companies have gone out of business.

 

Also, with fewer passengers on cruise ships, the cruise lines may be consolidating excursions because the number of guests aren't high enough for all of them.  I had an excursion canceled because of "not enough participants" in Belize on my Carnival cruise.

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On 11/14/2021 at 4:48 PM, day-day said:

Also, with fewer passengers on cruise ships, the cruise lines may be consolidating excursions because the number of guests aren't high enough for all of them.

This makes sense to me.  Not enough passengers to fill up the tours as before. 

 

On 11/15/2021 at 10:38 PM, LadyBerard said:

We took a taxi to Mr. Sanchos for the day.

Easy.   A simple beach day in Cozumel makes sense to me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got an email today saying Costa Maya is being substituted for Cozumel. We've been to Cozumel 3 times, and Costa Maya once. We didn't really like Costa Maya, and we may just stay onboard. No excursions have been listed yet. When we were in Costa Maya, we did an excursion with a private company to the Mayan ruins in Chacchoben. Loved it.

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On 12/7/2021 at 1:18 PM, kimlovesfl said:

Got an email today saying Costa Maya is being substituted for Cozumel. We've been to Cozumel 3 times, and Costa Maya once. We didn't really like Costa Maya, and we may just stay onboard. No excursions have been listed yet. When we were in Costa Maya, we did an excursion with a private company to the Mayan ruins in Chacchoben. Loved it.

 

I would try and make a trip to Bacalar to see the lagoon and get some good food.  I would think is a practical option for a day tour as it isn't too far the port.  Look up Bacalar on the Internet if you aren't familiar with the destination.

 

BTW - Costa Maya isn't my favorite either.

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