The traditions, legends and rites that surround the ancient Mayan culture remain largely a mystery. However, they left us countless artistic, ceremonial and architectural records, such as the Mayan ruins.
AquaWorld shows you a list of 5 of these magnificent archaeological sites, which you cannot miss when traveling to Cancun!
Join us, and enjoy the superb beauty and fantastic history that these archaeological sites hide.
Pre-Hispanic city of Chichen Itzá
Our trip begins with one of the most impressive and iconic Mayan ruins! Chichen Itzá Considered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1988! It’s a set of ancient edifications and monuments, which formed a city and ceremonial center for the ancient Mayan culture. Where you’ll find the Temple of Kukulcán! Which was recognized in 2007 as one of the new 7 wonders of the modern world!
Now, you might be wondering, how can I visit this magnificent archaeological site if I’m in Cancun? Well, there are several options you can take to travel to Chichen Itza.
- Travel by plane: From the Cancun airport you can buy a flight to Chichen Itza. The flight lasts about an hour. With an option to include in your trip the direct transfer to the ruins.
- Get on a bus: a Cheaper alternative. Buses leave from downtown Cancun terminal in the morning, around 9:00 am. The route is 188 km long and takes an estimated 2 to 3 hours. The trip has a stop in Pisté. A beautiful town located 15 kilometers from the ruins of Chichen Itza where you can buy souvenirs and stretch your legs before continuing with the trip.
- Go on your own: You can rent a car and take the road to Chichen Itza. The trip from Cancun to Chichen Itza won’t have major complications; therefore take the 180 highway known also as the Mérida-Puerto Juarez highway.
Mayan pre-Columbian ruins of Cobá
Located about 90km east of Chichen Itza, and about 40km northeast of Tulum, this fascinating pre-Columbian site of Mayan culture awaits. Similar to Chichen Itza in appearance, howerver this one has the advantage of subterfuge! Since it’s ‘the great unknown’, for which, it’s not usually as visited as other archaeological zones. This will allow you to explore the magnificent location as you please!
Cobá was the largest commercial area that the Mayans built in the Yucatan territory! So start preparing for a great adventure. Besides appreciating these magnificent structures, you can also bathe in one of the 5 cenotes that surround this impressive archaeological zone.
Climbing to the pinnacle of the great pyramid is a must when visiting Cobá. Take your precautions as you climb! To the top of the pyramid, going up its 110 steps, at a height of 42 meters. Is no easy task but it repays because when you reach the top you will admire the jungle that hangs under your feet.
Important: Bring water, sunglasses, a hat and comfortable clothes. The tour of this archaeological zone is long. Due to buildings are far in distance from each other.
Calakmul mixed world heritage site
Wise up and go to, Calakmul one of the most impressive Mayan ruins that exist in the Yucatan Peninsula. The only mixed world heritage site in Mexico! (Which means, Calakmul, besides being a cultural heritage site, is also a natural one). Title granted by UNESCO in 2013. It’s located southeast in the state of Campeche within a protected natural area. Which makes it one of the most interesting places to visit if you are in the area of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Its name, Calakmul means in Mayan ‘Two mounds’, name that makes reference to the two great structures that stand out within this beautiful natural reserve! Which is also rich in flora and fauna. With an impressive biodiversity. If you’re a nature lover this is definitely a destination you have to visit.
How to get there? You can travel by plane, bus or car to arrive in Calakmul. However, the trip is long. So here in AquaWorld we recommend you to get to Campeche first. And from there go to this natural reserve / archaeological site by bus.
Mayan ruins of Tulum
The Mayan ruins of Tulum, are located in the Mayan Riviera. Only 60 km from Playa del Carmen and 180 km from Cancun. The imposing ruins of Zamá (sunrise, in Mayan), are located within the Tulum National Park. So you can appreciate the beach from the cliff where the walled structure is located.
The castle, which is believed to function as a beacon, to signal the coast to the merchant ships, stands imposingly on the cliff. Great for photographing the beautiful scenery! And boasting having visited one of the Mayan ruins with the most amazing location!
Simply stunning, and that’s why Tulum is the most visited archaeological zone in all of Mexico followed by Chichen Itzá and Teotihuacán.
Open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Which is why it’s a good idea to visit Tulum early. So that you may take your time visiting this gorgeous site and still make it to your next adventure like scuba diving in Cenote Dos Ojos.
Archaeological area of Kohunlich
The archaeological zone of Kohunlich is an immense area of mysteries yet to be discovered. 21 acres of extension plagued by mounds still to be excavated. This makes it a “must visit”, as teams of archaeologists work constantly to unearth their secrets.
This is the archaeological area of Kohunlich, it contains a considerable variety of various buildings, with sculpted and painted walls. this historical record makes us think that Kohunlich was a great urban concentration. Probably a citadel in which the mayan people lived for an extended period of time.
The iconography of this archaeological zone is quite astonishing with lots of detail. Rich in artistic expression of this ancient culture. If you want to enjoy magical and striking landscapes, Kohunlich awaits you.
Located 65 km from Chetumal, capital of Quintana Roo. It is reached by the federal road from Chetumal to Escárcega. This archaeological site remains within the tropical jungle, which makes it a unique destination to appreciate the flora and fauna of the area and, of course, Mayan ruins that rewrite history with each passing day, as the discoveries are continuous.