Trek the Yucatán

Dec 8, 2008
Outside Magazine
Ruins at Chichen Itza, Mexico

Ruins at Chichen Itza, Mexico

Mexico's Caribbean coast, the Riviera Maya, is great. But it doesn't have as much soul as the Yucatán interior, where Spanish plantations meet Maya civilization to form a landscape out of an Octavio Paz poem. Fly to Cancún, rent a car, and start ruin-hopping 75 miles inland, at Cobá, a 1,300-year-old Maya city. Rent a bike for $2.50 at the entrance, pedal through the ruins, and climb Nohoch Mul pyramid. Next, it's off to one of the least visited Maya sites, Oxkintok, 40 miles south of Mérida, home to more pyramids. But the best part of this trip may be the digs: The Starwood hotel group runs a series of renovated 16th-to-18th-century plantations along your driving route. These grand old facades are ideal launching pads for day trips to other ruins, like the iconic Chichén Itzá. And luckily, you don't have to choose where to sleep: Starwood offers a seven-night hacienda-stay option ($2,600, including breakfasts;

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