We visited the ruins many years ago in 1990, and just returned. They have made improvements to the area which is a good thing to see. Open pits and overly-dangerous edges are now roped off or sealed; however, if you have rambunctious children, then this is not the place to bring them in my opinion. The historical value in undeniable, with helpful informational signage placed at strategic points to give one a good perspective of the immediate area. The entry cost for non-nationals is 15,000 Lebanese liras, or approximately $10 CAD per person. Beware....the hawkers trying to sell you trinkets can be overwhelming, especially if you actually do purchase something from one of them which we did. They were extremely persistent, all the way up to the door of our taxi!
The ruins themselves are a marvel, of course - like stepping back through a time machine. The area containing the ruins is very large. One could very well spend a number of hours there. As we turned to exit down a cool, dark tunnel, we noticed on the left that there was another tunnel which had individual displays of various carvings along with detailed descriptions. A mini-museum of sorts, explaining in depth the history of the entire region as well as specifics on Baalbek itself. A young fellow who worked as a guide in this museum explained to us that the tunnels themselves were used as barns for the Roman horses. When the temperature would soar into the 40 + degree Celsius range outside, the animals would be kept cool in the tunnels which averaged a temperature of 15 degree Celsius. The daughter of Marcus Aurelius has a carving on display in this tunnel dedicated to her. Her real name was Sabina, and not Lucilla as in the "Gladiator" movie!
The political situation in Lebanon is relatively stable at the moment, considering that there is war going on next door in Syria. The closer one gets to the Lebanese-Syrian border, the more chances one would have in running into a problem. Going up to Baalbek is still ok. One could rent a private taxi from Beirut if you choose to go without a guide. As long as the taxi drivers and tour companies are going there, it should be good. They would know firsthand if there were any serious issues brewing and would advise you accordingly. I'm not sure of the cost of tours, but a private taxi rented for 6 hours or so would be around $100 CAD. One can always haggle : ) and look for a newer vehicle to take you. We had a driver take 6 of us in his Renault minivan and it worked out fine.
We were there May 2, and heard some sporadic gunfire in the area outside of the ruins. Didn't see anything though, and we came and left without incident.
An experience you don't want to miss.
If you own or manage Temples of Baalbek, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.