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5 Must-Visit Mayan Ruins In The Riviera Maya

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Mexico is home to over 20 Ancient Mayan Ruin sites, all very rich in history. The Maya civilization dates back to BC/AD times and as time has progressed to this day, their sacred teachings and knowledge is still being practiced and still making an impact.

Take your time while exploring these ancient ruins and enjoy gaining a deeper understanding of Mexican history. We know you can’t necessarily visit them all in one vacation, so here are 5 must-visit ruins in the Riviera Maya region to start with.

Chichen Itza

Pronounced “chee-chehn eet-sah”, translating to “mouth of the well of the Itza” is located in the Yucatan and is considered one of the wonders of the world. Chichen Itza is an easy day trip to make from coastal cities in the Riviera Maya and is well worth taking a walk around. The sacred cenote that is on this land was a main provider of water for nearby farmers and it continues to be a focal point for visitors from near and far.
*UNESCO World Heritage site

Cobá Ruins

Open to the public as an archeological site finally in 1973, the Cobá ruins is still very much a mystery and thankfully a lot of it hasn’t been excavated. Wander over 16 beautiful white roads (sacbéob) from the village to the main pyramid and all around. You’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and so much good energy, you will easily burn a couple of hours here.
*Cobá translates to ‘waters stirred by the wind’

Tulum Ruins

The perfect mix of adventure, history and chilling seaside in the Mexican Caribbean. The Tulum ruins are known to be a very special place, one built on a bluff facing the rising sun. Once upon a time in history, these ruins (aka this walled city) was once a seaport for traders of precious stones like turquoise and jade.
*Fun fact: Tulum still to this day honors the “descending god” and “the god of the bee” – just like ancient times.

Playacar Ruins

The Playacar Ruins were a huge focal point for Maya women to honor Goddess Ixchel on Cozumel Island. Xaman Ha (meaning waters to the north) is the Mayan name for this sacred site.
This is the only entrance fee free ruins in all of Mexico, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable than the rest. The architecture here is a mix of stone, wood, and palm leaves.

El Meco Ruins

These small but very historically impactful archeological site is located in Cancun. This well preserved and only recently open to the public ancient site is a quick and easy trip to make before hopping on a ferry to Isla Mujeres. Home to the highest Mayan pyramid in the Cancun area, El Merco Ruins also has plenty of shade and it just might be a side of Cancun you haven’t seen before.

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