March 20, the spring equinox, marks the first major date of 2012 for the Maya Long Count calendar. The hype has already caused a bump in tourism at many already-popular sites throughout the Mundo Maya, but with a little advance planning, you can carve out some solitude (and preserve your sanity) while contemplating the enduring mysteries of the Maya civilization at their remarkable ruins.
While visiting the sites of Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum in the Riviera Maya, I was fortunate enough to have access to Dr. Julia Miller, an archeologist specializing in Maya culture and architecture and tour guide for the Merida-based operator Catherwood Travels. Below, a rundown of some of Miller’s input from my incessant questions, as well as some practical tips on how to maximize your visit to the Mundo Maya.
Ask about group size before you book. Go with as small a group as possible, especially at larger sites like Chichen Itza. Ask before booking about maximum numbers, as well as the guide-to-guest ratio. Otherwise, you may find yourself straining to hear anything at the back of a screeching horde of clueless tourists wearing fanny packs and even bathing suits.