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“Chichen Itza and Ek Balam with Carlos”

Mormon Encounter LDS Tours
Ranked #69 of 330 Tours in Cancun
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Allow us to be the link between your spiritual and historical roots all while increasing your testimony. See, smell, touch and walk this beautiful region, making your reading of the scriptures tangible. At Mormon Encounter we design the most comprehensive guided tours to the Mayan ruins, recognizing at all times that the most important message and purpose of the Book of Mormon is to testify of Jesus Christ as the universal Messiah.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Chichen Itza and Ek Balam with Carlos”
Reviewed May 18, 2014

This review covers our daylong tour to Chichen Itza and Ek Balam with Carlos. We paid $400.00 US cash (plus tip) for a private full day tour that was just my wife, myself, and Carlos.

Carlos is young an energetic and is a never ending fountain of knowledge. He is a historical art consultant for the LDS Church and art work he has consulted for is in several LDS temples and church office buildings in mesoamerica. We thoroughly enjoyed our day with Carlos and would highly recommend him to anyone looking for an exceptional experience.

The day did start off a little rocky. Carlos was supposed to pick us up at 730am at our resort. He did not show up until 8am. Apparently he was there on time but the security gate of the resort would not let him in. In any case, we were getting nervous but he finally showed up and everything went well from there on out.

While driving out to Chichen Itza he took us to a special museum/store that has reproductions of Mayan artifacts. Of particular interest is the Resurrection Plate. We were not interested in buying anything but found it very interesting to see some examples of items that help show the Mayan beliefs. They did not have any such items on display at the actual sites we visited, so this was a bonus and helped set the stage for the day.

The drive took well over an hour. During the drive Carlos had us look up scriptures that helped us have context for what we would see. So be sure to bring scriptures with you - either on your phone or your printed version. It is amazing how much detail is in the Book of Mormon - details that I had not previously paid much attention to. Some of the best parts of our day were actually the scriptural and history discussions we had in the car while driving from place to place.

Chichen Itza itself is grand. Many great details explained to us by Carlos. I had done some research on my own before the trip, so I was a little disappointed that we did not visit many parts of the complex. We did not visit the military temple, the old market area, the sacred cenote, or the caracol. We did walk around the big castillo temple, the ball court, and a couple of the sacrificial alters. I understand that our time was limited due to our long day of tours but I did feel a little regret over not seeing the other areas. If I had not done research on my own, however, I would have never known I was missing out on anything.

After Chichen Itza we stopped for lunch at a buffet restaurant that had traditional Mexican dancers performing while we ate. The dancing was fine, although at our resort they had a Mexican Fiesta night that had better and more dances. The food was tasty and we left satisfied and fueled up for the rest of the day. The cost of our meal and one drink was included with the tour. More drinks we had to pay for ourselves. Before my wife and I finished eating Carlos excused himself to leave. He told us it was up to us if we wanted to leave a tip. The servers then came by and placed a basket on the table that said "tips". Then as my wife and I were exiting the restaurant one of the dancers was standing at the door with another basket that said, "tips for dancers only". I found this mildly annoying that we were paying $400.00 for an all-inclusive tour and yet we were left alone with the tip baskets for lunch.

Then we were off to Ek Balam. Ek Balam is not as grandiose as Chichen Itza but it is more intimate and you are allowed to actually climb on and through the ruins. We enjoyed this greatly. Carlos had great insight and commentary about this site as well. We felt that seeing both of these sites on the same day complemented each other well.

As we drove back to our resort Carlos showed us examples of some of the LDS artwork he has worked as historical consultant on. He told us the prints were for sale exclusively for his tour guests if we wanted them. Unfortunately, we only brought enough cash to pay for the tour and tips so we did not have extra money on hand. If you might be interested in buying prints then bring extra cash. We did not even ask the price as we had no money left.

In the end we were very satisfied with Carlos as a tour guide. The cost was steep considering our actual time at each of the sites was limited, but we did feel the tour was worth it and having the private tour was even more special.

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Logan, United States
2 reviews
“Great Tour with Carlos with LDS tours. A must do in Cancun.”
Reviewed April 28, 2014

My husband and I went on 2 personalized tours with Carlos. He has a degree in anthropology and is also LDS (Mormon). It was great to learn about Chichen Itza, Coba, and Tulum from his perspectives. Both days he took us to restaurants for lunch and to swim in a Cenota. The trip was comfortable. He picked us up at our hotel in his Ford Expedition and had plenty of bottled water for us to drink. Both days he made special stops for us to pick up a few items we needed that were overpriced at the hotel. This tour was money well spent! We highly recommend touring with Carlos. His tour is a must do when visiting Cancun!

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank Carolyn T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eden, Utah
2 reviews
“My family loved our two days with Carlos Aleman and Mormon Encounter LDS-Tours”
Reviewed April 6, 2014

My family of 5 children spent two awesome days with Carlos touring several areas around Cancun.

Our first day we went to Chichen Itza and Ek Balam. We felt we had a personalized tour of the areas with many insights from Carlos who clearly is well-educated with regards to Aztec and Mayan history and it is also obvious that he loves what he does. He was excited about the history and catered to our family very well. The lunch break at a local restaurant close to Chichen Itza was very tasty and we all loved it from 6 y/o to the adults. We particularly loved the historical facts that were tied to the Book of Mormon but even if your are not LDS you would love Carlos as a tour guide.

Our second day we went to Tulum and ate lunch at a private park where we swam in a Cenote, did some low-key zip-lining (my 9 y/o did it alone) and canoeing. Lunch was served by Mayan people who live there on the land. Later we went and snorkeled with the turtles in Akumal. My recommendation here is that it is not for small children or use life-jackets for anyone worried about swimming around without one. The snorkeling was awesome. We saw many turtles and a few rays.

Overall, we were very satisfied and I would highly recommend Carlos. We found the communication to be excellent (we also used his assistant) with the exception of clarifying the payment details. This was probably more my fault. We ended up using PayPal because we didn't have enough cash on hand. You can only pull so much out of the ATM's per day.

We were driven around in a nice Ford Expedition as opposed to a tour van because there were only 7 of us with 2 smaller children. I am sure a larger group is easily accommodated in a large van (he showed us one of the vans that his company uses).

All of the park fees, lunch, etc are paid already so you can just sit back and enjoy the tours.

Carlos took us to church on Sunday in his ward. Was a great experience for the kids.

When we go back to Cancun, we will call Carlos again without a doubt.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank wasatch_mtn_man
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beaver, Utah
Level 5 Contributor
30 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“What a Great Day with Carlos!”
Reviewed April 5, 2014 via mobile

Carlos spent the day with our family of 11 adults, teaching us and showing us the amazing ruins of Coba and Tulum. What a great day it was. Carlos is an amazing young man who is so smart and knowledgeable about the Mayan people and the Book of Mormon.
At Coba we biked into the further ruins and were able to climb to the top of one. We enjoyed all the information and the timelines that correlate to the BoM. We then had a great roadside lunch of delicious authentic Mexican food. We even tried rabbit tacos!! We then spent time at Tulum. What a beautiful place right on the ocean! We highly recommend Carlos as a guide to any of the ruins. We will continue to tell our friends and family about Mormon Encounter LDS Tours!!!

Visited March 2014
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Thank nic-tb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boston
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Great trip to Chichen Itza & Cenote (you don't have to be Mormon)”
Reviewed February 27, 2014

We originally booked our tour through Helaman Tours, for a party of four with 2 adults and 2 young children, ages 8 and 10. The total party size was eight, however the other foursome was a no-show, so Helaman booked us with LDS. Carlos picked us up at our hotel in an immaculate Ford Expedition. The car was very comfortable to transport us to Chichen Itza on the ~2.5 hour ride. Carlos educated us on Mayan history during our trip to Chichen Itza which really helped us prepare for what we were about to see. On the way we stopped for a bathroom break and looked at some fantastic replicas of ancient Mayan pottery. Chichen-Itza was a great tour. We spent about 2 hours at the site and learned a great deal. Carlos was excellent at tailoring his tour for the audience - important in keeping young children interested and entertained. The site is breathtaking. After the tour we stopped for a nice buffet lunch at the nearby Cenote Hotel & Cabanas, followed by a swim in the freshwater sinkhole. The cenote was about 5 stories down via carved stone steps, the water 150 feet deep, and the adventure not for the faint of heart. My kids and I took on the challenge and were excited that we took the refreshing swim. After drying off and changing, we stopped at Valladolid for a quick walking tour of the city center, a tour of the museum and to take pictures in front of the second oldest Catholic church in Latin America. We were very relaxed during our return ride and Carlos put on a movie about ancient Mayan history and the decoding of Mayan language which really captured our kid's attention. Carlos dropped us off at our hotel by 5pm in time to freshen up and have dinner. It was a fantastic day, and Carlos is a fantastic guide! Note: He also provides private snorkeling trips to Isla Mujeres which we took him up on 2 days later - awesome as well!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank mrmet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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