Once Upon a Time We Rented a Car in Mexico
Years ago before we would have considered ourselves to be seasoned travelers, we rented a vehicle in Mexico along the Mayan Riviera, and we saw some ruins.
The vehicle rental itself went without a hitch and since it was a piece of shit car, there was little worry that any incremental damage would be noticed. Below is a photo of the vehicle as we first found it when we picked it up.
The fun part was exploring the ruins. Enroute we stopped at a cenote: a limestone cave where the roof has collapsed. The area is riddled with these natural geological features. They are interesting. Plants on the surface drop roots all the way down to the swimmable pool at the bottom.
The next stop was Chichen Itza which is a must see if you are in the area. Be warned that it is a full day trip from any of the Mayan Riviera resorts. There are daily tours available from every hotel.
Chichen Itza didn't quite satisfy our desire to explore the Mayan Ruins so we went on to visit the Coba and Chemax pyramid sites. They were definitely different. Whereas many of the ruins at Chichen Itza had been at least partially restored, the ruins at Coba and Chemax were much more 'raw'. These ruins were still largely covered by jungle and climbing them was downright scary. They did, however, provide more of an 'explorer' experience.
If lots of ruins aren't really your thing or if you don't want to commit a whole day, the ruins at Tulum are perfect sized to give you a good sense of what to expect and they are only a colectivo (minibus taxi) ride south.