The Best Mayan Ruins In Mexico. What Are You Waiting For?

Mexico is the North American nation with lots of Mayan Ruins and the most UNESCO World Heritage sites. Many of these ruins date back as far as 2600 BC. Thus, there is a rich Maya history. While the ancient Maya cities no longer exist, the Mayan culture still exists today. The Yucatan, for instance, still has the largest indigenous population of Maya in Mexico. This blog post describes the best Mayan Ruins in Mexico. Included are spectacular ruins for both the casual tourist and students of history. Or for families looking for an interesting break from the powder white sand beaches.

Contents

Ancient Mayan Ruins in Mexico and Covid19

Mayan History

The Best Mayan Ruins in Mexico

  • El Meco Mayan Ruins in Cancun
  • El Rey Mayan Ruins in Cancun
  • Museo De Maya & San Miguelito Mayan Ruins in Cancun
  • Ek Balam Mayan Ruins
  • Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza
  • Mayan Ruins at Coba
  • San Gervasio Mayan Ruins in Cozumel
  • Xelhá Mayan Ruins near Akumal
  • The Mayan Ruins at Tulum
  • Mayan Ruins at Mujil

Summary of the Best Mayan Ruins in Mexico

Ancient Mayan Ruins in Mexico and Covid19

While there are many Mayan Ruins in Mexico the majority of the best Mayan ruins are in the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo. Many of these archeological sites putting safety first, shut-down in March 2020. Yet, due to the successful implementation of sanitary measures both States have managed to contain the coronavirus. As a result, tourist-based businesses are opening up. The opening up process is step by step and depends upon the type of business and the location. So you should check with each of the Mayan ruins to find out the latest details. Many attractions have restricted numbers of visitors and special health and safety procedures.

Mayan History

Until the 16th century, the Maya were a significant civilization in Mexico and Central America. They were located in the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula, and also in Guatemala, Belize and parts of El Salvador, and Honduras. Since the population was concentrated they were largely secure from invasion by other indigenous people at the time.

Mayan history began with agricultural settlements from 1800 BC to 250 AD. The Maya first cultivated chocolate, chilli peppers, vanilla, papayas and pineapples. Ninety percent of the Maya were involved in food production. This included hunting deer, turkey, quail, ducks, monkeys, tapir and armadillo. But, meat was often a rare treat and not regularly eaten.

Tamales were a common Maya recipe that is still popular today. Formed from corn dough they contain a mix of meat and vegetables. One of the reasons they were so popular was because they can be easily transported. Using corn husks the cooked Tamales were wrapped and then could be kept until later. When unwrapped they were often topped with salsa and eaten on the go. Modern-day Tamales in Mexico are quite authentic to the original recipes made by the Maya thousands of years ago. A traditional Vegan Tamale recipe from Chiapas is included in our 7 Classic Traditional Mexican Recipes.

As well as agriculture the Maya had many advanced skills. These included pyramid building, stucco facades, and other construction. The ancient Yucatan city of Mayapan, the last capital of the Mayan Kingdom is where the name Maya comes from.

Above: Chicken Tamales - Tamales are a traditional Mayan food that are still common in Mexico today.

DOWNLOAD 7 Classic Traditional Mexican Recipes

The golden age of the Maya civilization was from 250 to 900 AD. The civilization grew to 40 cities with a peak population of 2 million. Discoveries at Mayan ruins include plazas, palaces, temples, pyramids and ball game courts. While the Maya cities were often surrounded by large populations of farmed lands. At many Mayan Ruins in Mexico, the farmed areas are now overgrown with jungle.

Also, a very religious society, the Maya worshiped various gods related to nature. Including the sun, moon, rain, and corn. This led to elaborate ceremonies and rituals that included human sacrifices. Guided by their religious ritual however, the Maya made astronomy and mathematical advances. For instance, they developed a complex calendar based on 365 days and hieroglyphic writing. The Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza include an excellent example of an ancient observatory.

Unfortunately, from the end of the 8th century onward the Maya began a steady decline. The cause of it is still debated. One theory is that they exhausted the natural resources and couldn't sustain the population. Others believe that constant warfare among competing city-states was responsible. A third theory is that natural factors such as an intense period of drought caused the decline.

Yet, in the highlands of the Yucatan a few cities, such as Chichen Itza, continued to thrive even to 1500 AD. But, by the time the Spanish invaders arrived, most Maya lived in agricultural villages. While their great cities lay buried under the rain forest. The Spanish colonized last Mayan city, Nojpeten in 1697.

Currently, 7 million Maya live in the area, with 5 million still speaking Mayan languages. The Maya still maintain a distinctive set of traditions and beliefs that are evident today.

The Best Mayan Ruins in Mexico

There are so many Mayan ruins in Mexico that you could spend a lifetime of vacations trying to explore them all. So, we have selected the best Mayan ruins in Mexico, located close to the Riviera Maya. These include Mayan ruins in Cancun, Tulum, and near Akumal, as well as a few inland that are easy to get to. 

El Meco Mayan Ruins in Cancun

El Meco, are Mayan ruins in Cancun, which opened to the public in 2001. The ruin is well preserved and has the tallest Mayan structure around Cancun. The Castillo is 12 m (40 ft) high and was likely the lighthouse for the region. As well it has a small temple and fabulous sea views. The earliest ruins here date back to 200 AD.

The original name of these Mayan ruins is unknown. El Meco comes from the nickname of a local resident from the 19th century. He was the caretaker of a small ranch on the beach located near the ruins. The ancient port at El Meco was an important commercial center, used to control access to Isla Mujeres.

As this is a recently discovered Mayan ruin, excavation is still underway. And several of the 15 structures can be closed at any one time. Yet, these off the beaten track ruins, set in shaded and enjoyable grounds, have few tourists present and are very pleasant.

During normal operating times, these Mayan ruins are open Monday to Sunday from 8 AM to 5 PM (last admission is 4:30 PM). General admission is ~ 55 pesos (~$2.50 - $3 USD). Parking and toilet facilities are available.

El Meco Mayan Ruins contact info:

INAH Quintana Roo Center. Insurgentes 974, Colonia Forjadores, Chetumal, Quintana Roo. CP 77025

Tels. 01 (983) 837 24 11 and 837 0796, ext. 318002 and 318003

Email: direccion.qroo@inah.gob.mx

El Rey Mayan Ruins in Cancun

The El Rey Mayan Ruins are in the Cancun Hotel Zone. The site dates back to 1200 AD and was once a centre for marine trade, as well as a royal burial ground. The name ‘El Rey’ (or ‘King’ in English), comes from the name of one of the sculptures. This site has a small temple and several other remnants of structures. The El Rey sculpture now resides at the Museo Maya in Cancun.

Several structures are lined up along a main road and 2 small squares. These include the base of a pyramid and temple. What this Mayan ruin lacks in the structures, it gains in the accessibility if you are staying in Cancun. As well, it has hundreds of resident iguanas. Another plus is that the fee is a modest 55 pesos.

During normal operating times, these Mayan ruins are open Monday to Sunday from 8 AM to 5 PM (last admission is 4:30 PM). General admission is about 55 pesos (~$2.50 - $3 USD). Parking and toilet facilities are available. While these aren’t the best Mayan ruins in Mexico they are interesting and close by for many tourists to access.

El Rey Mayan Ruins contact info:

INAH Quintana Roo Center. Insurgentes 974, Colonia Forjadores, Chetumal, Quintana Roo. CP 77025.

Tels. 01 (983) 837 24 11 and 837 0796, ext. 318002 and 318003.

Email: direccion.qroo@inah.gob.mx

Museo De Maya & San Miguelito Mayan Ruins in Cancun

The Museo De Maya Cancun and the San Miguelito Mayan ruins are at the same site, within walking distance of El Rey. The entrance fee to the Museum includes entrance to the San Miguelito Ruins. The Museum has well-preserved artifacts and relics from the area as well as exhibits on the Maya civilization.

San Miguelito was named after the coconut farm the Mayan settlement was on when it was discovered. This site was only opened to the public in 2012. It contains four sections, each connected by pretty and shady trails containing indigenous plants. San Miguelito was a center of a widespread trade network reaching other parts of Mexico and Central America. The main economic activities were fishing, agriculture, the production of salt, honey, copal and cotton. These were marketed in a complex network that fell apart in the middle of the 16th century with the arrival of the Spanish.

Various structures have been excavated in these Mayan ruins. These are split into 4 groups: the North group, the Chaak Palace, the Dragon group and the South group. The main Mayan ruin, the Chaak Palace, is a large building with wide interior spaces. And a lobby with columns that supported a flat roof. It was a public building, equipped with sidewalks, arranged in front of a shrine.

The remains of more than 50 human burials were found along with many artifacts. These artifacts include basalt, flint, obsidian, quartz, ceramic and copper axes. As well as tools and ornaments of local raw material like coral, snail, and limestone.

During normal operating times, these Mayan ruins are open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. General admission is about 80 pesos (~ $4 USD). The entrance to the San Miguelito site is accessed from the museum. Several services and facilities are available including parking, toilets, lockers, and a rest area.

Museo De Maya Cancun & San Miguelito Mayan Ruins contact info:

INAH Quintana Roo Center. Insurgentes 974, Colonia Forjadores, Chetumal, Quintana Roo. CP 77025.

Tels. 01 (983) 837 24 11 and 837 0796, ext. 318002 and 318003.

Email: direccion.qroo@inah.gob.mx

Ek Balam Mayan Ruins

Near the Yucatan town of Valladolid, restoration of the Ek Balam, meaning ‘black jaguar’, Mayan ruins began in 1997. Dating from 600 BC it was populated until 1600 AD. While this site is 12 km2 in size and includes a walled city and 45 structures, only the central 1 km2 is currently excavated. Thus, it is manageable to easily view the restored part.

The most impressive of the many structures is the almost 100 ft high, El Torre, pyramid. Its size, 500 feet long and 200 feet wide makes it one of the largest structures in the Yucatan. Climbing to the top affords you a spectacular view over the jungle. On a clear day looking southeast you can see the top of a temple at Coba 65 km away. Similarly looking west-southwest, you can see Chichen Itza 55km away. Also, at the side of the pyramid is a tomb for King Ukit Kan Lek Tok. The doorway to the throne is in the shape of the mouth of a monster, possibly a jaguar.

Typical of larger Mayan ruins as well as temples and pyramids, there is also a ball court. While unlike some of the other Mayan Ruins the building facades are not carved from stone. Instead, they are made from plaster and stucco and are decorative, detailed, and very intricate.

Ek Balam is outstanding and is without doubt one of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico. Our advice is to pay the extra cost for a guide. It’s well worth it.

During normal operating times, these Mayan ruins are open Monday to Sunday from 8 AM to 5 PM (last admission is 4 PM). General admission is 75 pesos (~ $4 USD) plus a $338 peso (~$17 USD) charge to the State Government, for non-Mexicans. Mexican nationals pay the general admission, 75 pesos and 78 pesos to the State Government. If you take a camera there is also a 45 peso fee.

Should you choose a guided tour the cost of a guide is 650 pesos (~$33 USD). But this can be split between several people up to a group size of 15. Several services and facilities are available including parking, toilets, lockers, a small snack store, and a rest area. As well there are nearby cenotes so make sure you bring a towel.

Ek Balam Mayan Ruins contact info:

Tels. 01 (999) 9 13 40 34, ext. 398003 and 398080, and 01 (999) 9 44 40 68.

Email: direccion.yuc@inah.gob.mx

Mayan Ruins At Chichen Itza

Two hours from the Riviera Maya destinations of Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal, and Tulum, is Chichen Itza. The most popular and best Mayan Ruins in Mexico. The history of these ruins date from AD 600 to 1500. During that time a multitude of architectural styles was used and it developed into one of the largest Mayan cities. 

The only source of water in this arid area is from cenotes (underground caverns containing freshwater). Fortunately, two large cenotes give this, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the best Mayan ruins in Mexico, its name. In Mayan, Chichen Itza means ‘at the mouth of the Itza’ with Itza the name of a prominent ethnic group of the time.

Clustered around the central site it covers 5 km2, but with nearly 3 million visitors a year, it is still very busy. The site contains many fine stone buildings under restoration. Also, a dense network of over 80 paved pathways extends in all directions. One of the interesting aspects of Chichen Itza is how both the Maya and Toltec cultures are merged together. The Toltecs came from central Mexico. The influence of the Toltec culture is evident in the architecture and other aspects of life at Chichen Itza.

One of the buildings, the Temple of Kukulkan, a Mayan feathered serpent, dominates the north platform of the site at nearly 100 ft tall. This step pyramid has a series of nine square terraces, with 365 steps to the top. Giving the temple its name, a carving of the feathered serpent sits at the top of the pyramid. 

As well thirteen ball courts exist in Chichen Itza alone. The most impressive is the Great Ball Court near the Temple of Kukulkan. It measures 170 m by 70 m (550 ft by 230 ft) and is the largest in the Americas. As well as the walled ball court, it contains the temples of the jaguar. One of which overlooks the court, and one which opens behind the court.

Another interesting structure at these ancient Mayan ruins is El Caracol. It consists of a round building and gets its name (‘the snail in English’) from the stone spiral staircase inside. The structure is unlike most other buildings due to its circular construction. It is said to have been an observatory. The doors and windows align with astronomical events, such as the path of Venus at it traverses the sky.

Due to its popularity, it is best to start your visit early in the morning when the Mayan ruins open at 8 am. Alternatively, if you go at 3 pm it is also quieter as people are starting to head home. If you are planning on visiting Chichen Itza, or if you want more information, then read Chichen Itza - The Ultimate Visitors Guide.

During normal operating times, these Mayan ruins are open Monday to Sunday from 8 AM to 4 PM. General admission is 80 pesos (~ $4 USD) plus a 417 peso (~$20 USD) charge to the State Government, for non-Mexicans. Mexican nationals pay the general admission, 80 pesos and 130 pesos to the State Government. If you take a camera there is a 45 peso fee.

Due to the size and complexity of the site, which can take 3 hours to explore, you should consider hiring a licensed guide. You can hire them at the entrance for an extra fee. Should you choose a guided tour the cost of a guide is 1,000 pesos (~$50 USD). The cost can be split between several people up to a group size of 15.

Services here include restrooms, parking, snack shops, and some limited eating options. As well, there are also a large number of vendors selling crafts, and souvenirs.

Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins contact info:

Tels. 01 (985) 8 51 01 37, 01 (999) 9 13 40 34, ext. 398003 and 398080, and 01 (999) 9 44 40 68.

Email: direccion.yuc@inah.gob.mx

Mayan Ruins At Coba

Coba located 50 km from Tulum and is one of the Mayan ruins near Akumal. Coba is highly regarded and one of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico. While you can find sites that have more restored buildings, Coba is excellent in its own right. Firstly, while it is a large site, 80 km2 mostly unexcavated, it has a large number of interesting structures. This includes the largest number of stone causeways (called Sacbes) of any ancient Mayan ruins. 

Secondly, although a large site it has plenty of shady spots to hide from the sun, due to the jungle that covers the surrounding area. Thirdly, although it is popular, it isn’t overcrowded because of the size of the site. And lastly, you can also hike up the pyramid for a great view.

These Mayan ruins dating from 100 AD, were established in part because of its access to water from the nearby lakes. Hieroglyphic inscriptions found on stelae and panels on the site confirm that Cobá was the original name of the city. Its name in Mayan means ‘waters stirred by the wind’.

Coba was a hub connecting Mayan towns through its network of roads for commerce. By 700-800 AD the population of the city was 50,000. But, after being defeated in a war with Chichen Itza its gradual demise began. And in 1550 Coba was abandoned after the Spanish conquered the peninsula.

One of the most interesting Mayan ruins is the Nohoch Mul Pyramid which is 140 ft tall (42 m). It is the tallest temple structure in the Yucatan Peninsula. Unlike Chichen Itza, you can climb the pyramid. But be careful, especially when descending, as it is steep. The view, however, is worth the effort.

Coba is different from many other Mayan ruins in Mexico as it is not a single site. It consists of a large number of settlements connected to the central pyramid. Over 50 stone causeways (sacbes) have been discovered. These all lead from the main pyramid and stretch out east, west, north and south. The sacbes, or roads, range from 10 to 30 ft wide with one reaching 100 km. The work to build these wide paths actually exceeded that of the stone buildings and temples. This underlines the importance of trade and transportation to the Maya. Goods were moved along the sacbes by people carrying parcels at night as it was cooler. The moonlight lighting the white limestone of the road as they walked.

During normal operating times, these Mayan ruins are open Monday to Sunday from 8 AM to 5 PM (last admission is 4 PM). General admission is 80 pesos (~ $4 USD). If you don’t want to pay the higher fees charged at Chichen Itza or Ek Balam, Coba is the best choice. Especially for those interested in visiting Mayan Ruins with lots of history. These ancient Mayan ruins are one of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico and a bargain at 80 pesos.

As it is a large archeological site, consider renting a bicycle for a small fee (~55 pesos) to enable you to get around a little quicker. You may also want to consider visiting one of the three nearby cenotes after your visit to cool off. The entrance fees to these are about 60 pesos each.

Coba Mayan Ruins contact info:

INAH Quintana Roo Center. Insurgentes 974, Colonia Forjadores, Chetumal, Quintana Roo. CP 77025.

Tels. 01 (984) 206 7166 and 01 (983) 837 24 11 and 837 0796, ext. 318002 and 318003.

Email: direccion.qroo@inah.gob.mx

San Gervasio Mayan Ruins in Cozumel

This pre-Hispanic settlement, located on an old cattle ranch, was baptized in the 20th century with the name of its owner's saint. The original Mayan place name is unknown.

San Gervasio is a modest archaeological site with ancient Mayan Ruins on the island of Cozumel. Cozumel was linked to worship by pilgrims of the goddess Ixchel. Ixchel was a deity of childbirth, fertility and medicine. In fact, the bishop of Yucatán, Diego de Landa, wrote in 1549 that the Maya "held Cozumel in the same veneration as we have for pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Rome”.

While the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio cover four different areas, only one site is open to the public. Mayan relics and artifacts as early as 600 AD and as late as 1650 AD have been discovered. Although the site dates back to 300 AD. These Mayan ruins haven't undergone a lot of restoration but there are several structures set in a beautiful natural setting. The various architectural structures are connected in a network of sacbes or white paths. Its main groups of structures are Manitas, Chichán Nah (“Small House”), El Álamo, Nohoch Nah (“Great House”), Murciélagos, Ka'na Nah (“High House”) and El Ramonal. The latter still in the exploration process and is not open to the public. Perhaps the most interesting building is the Temple of Hands. Inside are several small red handprints on the wall.

During normal operating times, these Mayan ruins are open Monday to Sunday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM. General admission is 80 pesos (~ $4 USD).

Tips for Visiting Mayan Ruins

1. Avoid going on Sundays as Mexican nationals receive free entrance to all national sites so they can get very busy!

2. Take pesos with you as $’s and other currencies often are not accepted.

3. Bring comfortable walking shoes.

4. Pack water, a hat, and biodegradable sunscreen, in case you go to a cenote (or ocean if you go to Tulum). And don’t forget the bug spray! Many of the sites are in the middle of the jungle.

5. Several sites don’t have any food at all and those that do charge tourist prices for it. So, remember the snacks and food for lunch.

Unless you are a true Mayan history buff, it likely isn’t worth a visit to Cozumel solely to visit the ruins. Yet, if you’re staying in Cozumel this is a nice excursion. And it might whet your appetite for some of the more expansive Mayan Ruins on the mainland.

Services available here include parking, restrooms, craft stores, and a soda fountain.

San Gervaiso Mayan Ruins contact info:

INAH Quintana Roo Center. Insurgentes 974, Colonia Forjadores, Chetumal, Quintana Roo. CP 77025.

Tels. 01 (984) 206 7166 and 01 (983) 837 24 11 and 837 0796, ext. 318002 and 318003.

Email: direccion.qroo@inah.gob.mx

Xelhá Mayan Ruins Near Akumal

The Xelhá Mayan ruins near Akumal are next to the Xel-Ha water theme park. In Mayan xel means piece or entry, and ha means water. Xelhá – Waters inlet. The water in question being the lagoon and inlet that are now part of the water park.

It is believed that this site was occupied by the Maya in the 1st century. But it lost its relevance from 600 AD, at which time temples and palaces were no longer built. However, the city was rejuvenated after 1200, when new port cities became more important. Temples and palaces were built again, including a wall that may have defended the city from sea attacks.

Like Tulum, Xelhá was one of several ports of the Maya city of Coba. The site has an interesting history which includes what was to be the first Spanish settlement on the peninsula. Yet, the expedition, led by conquistador Franciso de Montejo, failed after 18 months and was abandoned.

Even so shortly after the arrival of the Spanish, Xelhá was mostly abandoned. Many of its inhabitants having died from new diseases brought by Europeans. By 1550, the site was one of many Mayan ruins.

Although located on the coast the settlement did not overlook the Caribbean as do the Tulum Mayan ruins. The Maya used the lagoon as a port and built their settlement in the jungle. The ruins here include several small stone temples and two cenotes.

Also, the site has several important murals not found elsewhere. Magnificent examples of mural painting include the so-called "Building of the Birds", made between the years 200 and 600 AD. In the Jaguar Group, you can also see a feline that gives its name to the set. This was created between the Middle and Late Postclassic (1200 - 1550 AD). The murals in the buildings contain both red and blue paint. Blue paint was a spiritual colour for the Maya and is found here more than in other ruins. This is likely due to the close proximity to San Gervasio. Xelha providing direct access to Cozumel for pilgrims worshiping the goddess Ixchel.

While there isn’t a large pyramid, many of the buildings have several interesting features. These include the base of a residential complex and remains of El Palacio, a somewhat overgrown sacbe road, and several buildings at the pier. The murals are, however, a unique highlight. And being the closest Mayan Ruins near Akumal they are worth a visit.

During normal operating times, these Mayan ruins are open Monday to Sunday from 8 AM to 5 PM (last admission at 4:30 PM). General admission is 75 pesos (~ $3.50 USD). No services are available here other than parking and a ticket booth. And it’s worth remembering to bring insect repellent as there can be quite a few bugs around.

Xelhá Mayan Ruins contact info:

INAH Quintana Roo Center. Insurgentes 974, Colonia Forjadores, Chetumal, Quintana Roo. CP 77025.

Tels. 01 (984) 206 7166 and 01 (983) 837 24 11 and 837 0796, ext. 318002 and 318003.

Email: direccion.qroo@inah.gob.mx

The Mayan Ruins at Tulum

The Mayan ruins of Tulum are set in a spectacular setting makes them one of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico. They have become a must-visit for millions of people each year. Located on a 12 m high cliff overlooking the Caribbean ocean and the rising sun. It is the only Mayan community on the beaches of the Caribbean. The site dates from before 564 AD, although it was at its height between 1200-1541 AD. The location on the coastline made it a hub for extensive international trade.

Sixteenth-century references refer to these Mayan ruins as "Zamá".  Which in Mayan means "morning" or "dawn". The name Tulum is recent, and it translates as "wall" or "palisade".

Unfortunately, many of the Mayan population of Tulum were killed by the Spanish when they introduced various diseases. Yet, Tulum remained inhabited 70 years after that until it was finally abandoned.

One of the unique features of Tulum is that it is a walled city on 3 sides, with the eastern side protected by the cliffs over the ocean. Another is El Castillo, the tallest building and the most famous due to its outlook over the sea. Preserved here is a temple with three entrances decorated with serpentine columns and two masks at the corners. In front of the Castle, there is a platform for dances. And to the southwest is the Temple, where the earliest documented date in Tulum was found: 564 AD.

To the north is the Temple of the Descending God, with a small base on which a building decorated with the image of that deity was built. In front of this is the main road, with several buildings. The most important of these ancient Mayan ruins is the Temple of the Frescoes. The mural paintings portray a series of supernatural beings residing in the underworld. Continuing further on the road, you can see the palaces known as the House of Columns and the House of Halach Uinik.

In the northeast access, the Casa del Cenote shows the importance the Mayans gave to the cenotes. And near here is the Temple of the Wind God, named for its circular base, related to Kukulcán.

Heading back to El Castillo, below is the beach which was an important part of the city. This was where the ships docked for loading and unloading. Today you can join the many tourists that sunbathe on the beach and swim in the ocean after a tour of the ruins.

During normal operating times Tulum, one of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico, is open Monday to Sunday from 8 AM to 5 PM (last admission at 4:30 PM). General admission is 80 pesos (~ $4 USD). Services available include parking at the shopping area which has many shops, souvenir stalls and restaurants. After parking, it is a 1 km walk to the Mayan ruins, although you can take a small train instead of walking. Don’t forget to bring your towel if you are going to head down to the beach.

Tulum Mayan Ruins contact info:

INAH Quintana Roo Center. Insurgentes 974, Colonia Forjadores, Chetumal, Quintana Roo. CP 77025.

Tels. 01 (984) 802 5405, 01 (984) 206 7166 and 01 (983) 837 24 11 and 837 0796, ext. 318002 and 318003.

Email: direccion.qroo@inah.gob.mx

Mayan Ruins At Muyil

Muyil was one of the earliest and longest inhabited ancient Maya settlements on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The artifacts date from 350 BC to 1500 AD. The Mayan ruins are an example of Peten architecture, like those found in Tikal in Guatemala. Situated on the Sian Kaan lagoon, Muyil was along a trade route via canals to the Caribbean sea. Like Tulum, Muyil had strong ties to Coba 44 km to the north. These are one of the best Mayan ruins if you are looking for an off-the-beaten ancient site.

This is a small archaeological site as only a few of the sites have been excavated. But it is much, much less crowded than many others. Set in a well-landscaped 38-hectare jungle environment, there are walking paths that lead to each of the structures. The largest intact structure being a 17 m high castle.

As well as the Castillo, there is a trail that leads to a boardwalk into the jungle. The trail leads into the Sian Kaan Biosphere, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The boardwalk trail is a pleasant walk that leads through the jungle. Partway, there is an observation tower that you can climb. After climbing up the steep ladders, your reward is a beautiful view over the treetops of the magnificent lagoon. Continuing on the trail you come out on the fabulous lagoon, where small boats are lined up on a dock. You can enjoy the turquoise blue lagoon with its white sand bottom. Or you can pay for a 2-hour boat ride through several lagoons.

This is one of the best Mayan ruins to visit but for different reasons than many of the other sites. It doesn’t have the number of archaeological sites excavated at many of the other sites. However, it is a beautiful, off the beaten path, location. If you are looking for an off the beaten path adventure, and to explore a little of the Sian Kaan Biosphere this is an excellent day trip.

During normal operating times, these Mayan ruins are open Monday to Sunday from 8 AM to 5 PM (last admission at 4:30 PM). General admission is 45 pesos (~ $2.50 USD). Services available here only include parking and toilets. If you want to walk the boardwalk to the Sian Kaan Lagoon that is an extra 50 pesos. Taking the 2-hour boat ride across several lagoons is 700 pesos ($35 USD).

Muyil Mayan Ruins contact info:

INAH Quintana Roo Center. Insurgentes 974, Colonia Forjadores, Chetumal, Quintana Roo. CP 77025.

Tels. 01 (984) 206 7166 and 01 (983) 837 24 11 and 837 0796, ext. 318002 and 318003.

Email: direccion.qroo@inah.gob.mx

Summary - The Best Mayan Ruins in Mexico

The Riviera Maya, Mexico is a great place to explore Mayan Ruins as part of your vacation. Located mostly within 2-hours of many sites you have lots to choose from. For instance, if you want a little history with the kids safely in tow, consider Tulum, or El Rey. Or if you want to delve into the historical details then go to Chichen-Itza. But if you don’t like lots of tourists then Coba is the place for you. Or, if you are looking for an off the beaten path Mayan Ruins then consider Mujil, Ek Balam, El Meco, or the Xelha Mayan Ruins near Akumal.

Now you can select the Mayan Ruins in Mexico best suited for you to explore and have a vacation experience of a lifetime. What are you waiting for? 

This overview of the sites allows you to select the Mexican Mayan Ruin(s) best suited for you to explore and have a vacation experience of a lifetime. The handy chart above will give you a quick reference guide to help you decide which Mayan Ruins in Mexico to visit. In addition a map of the locations is provided to help with your planning.

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Weather in the Riviera Maya

Traditional Mexican Food

Future BLOG articles will expand on parts of this article, but in the meantime if you have questions or want information on a specific activity don’t hesitate to contact us at info@oceanbreezeakumal.com, @oceanbreezeakumal, or call us at +1 250 538 8159.

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