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Popular Mayan Site In Playa Del Carmen Closed To Tourists Indefinitely

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With interest in the Mexican Caribbean’s legendary Maya civilization reaching an all-time high, officials are busy carrying out extensive renovations on a number of historic sites across the region. 

the xelha ruins in playa del carmen with trees

One of the latest Mayan ruins to undergo renovation is Playa del Carmen’s Xelhá ruins, which authorities recently closed indefinitely as workers begin to improve infrastructure in the area.

The launching of the state-of-the-art Maya Train system is expected to lead to a boom in travel numbers across dozens of Mayan sites in the region, including in Playa del Carmen. 

@highfivetohappiness Did you know there are Mayan Ruins 5 in the middle of Playa Del Carmen and they are FREE to visit? This is Xaman-Há? This small archaeological site is little known in #PlayadelCarmen, so take the opportunity to enjoy your own private tour! The ruins are small but still amazing to behold and just a 5 minutes walk from #quintaavenida Have you ever visited the Mayan Ruins while travelling in Mexico? —- Follow us for more travel tips and destination ideas! #playacar #visitmexico #mexico🇲🇽 #travelmom #familytravel #travelfamily #budgettraveltips #budgettravel #destinationmexico #mayanruins #travelbucketlist #traveltips #traveltiktok #offtheresort #travelfulltime #cancun #tulum ♬ Sure Thing Sped up Version – Stoci

With that in mind, here’s a look at the latest Mayan site improvements in the Mexican Caribbean.

Mexican Anthropology Institute To Carry Out Huge Improvement In Main Playa del Carmen Mayan Site

As Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean gear up for the complete opening of the multi-billion Maya Train system this summer, a number of Mayan sites in the region are being closed for renovations. 

Dozens of ancient Mayan ruins in the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo are currently receiving funding from the Promeza(Program for the Improvement of Archeological Sites) initiative, which aims to bolster the appeal of the state’s ruins.

@cancunvacationsecrets Hard to find ruins in Playa del Carmen. I swear I didn’t turn that filter on at the end. #playadelcarmen #mexico #rivieramaya #traveltips #vacayvibes #maya #mayan ♬ original sound – Cancun Vacation Secrets

According to officials, the expected influx of travelers thanks to the Maya Train means that the region’s historical attractions will need to be able to accommodate more visitors. 

This week, authorities announced that Xelhá, one of Playa del Carmen’s most popular ruins, would close indefinitely as archaeologists and experts begin an arduous process to preserve the site’s noteworthy temples & artifacts. 

@withthenovaks In Playa Del Carmen and Tulum there were so many fun activities to do outside of enjoying the gorgeous beaches and delicious food. The Mayan Ruins are just an hour drive from Playa Del Carmen where you can experience history as well as swim with sea turtles. You also cannot go to Mexico without checking out a cenote! Cenote Azul is 30 minutes from the city with plenty of open pools to take a dip in. Lastly, make sure to get your shopping in along the famous 5th Avenue. — #playadelcarmen #Tulum #playadelcarmenmexico #tulummexico #Mexico #visitmexico #MayanRuins #tulummayanruins #seaturtles #turtles #paradise #cenoteazul #bluecenote #quintanaroo #5thavenue #fifthavenue ♬ original sound – With The Novaks

The decision was revealed in a Twitter post published by the INAH, Mexicno’s national anthropology and history agency. According to the authority, workers will create new facilities close to the ruins to improve accessibility and safety for travelers. 

Meanwhile, archeologists will continue efforts to preserve the location’s countless Mayan ruins and structures, some of which will be moved to nearby museums. 

@bricrental The ancient Maya used the beaches of Xaman Ha, Playa del Carmen’s Mayan name meaning “waters of the north” as a resting point to prepare their massive canoes for the 30 mile trek to the Island of Cozumel. For some, the journey was for business purposes – to barter local goods such as honey and salt for other commodities. #playadelcarmen #rivieramaya #caribbean #mexicotravel #rentals #vacation #bricrental #beautifuldestinations #mayanruins #history #ancientcivilization ♬ original sound – Bricrental

Xelhá is one of the most significant Mayan sites due to its historical value. Initially founded sometime in the third century BC, Xelhá saw its power grow thanks to the fertility of its soil, which bolstered growth and subsequent trade. 

The Xelhá ruins are located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum; although eclipsed in popularity by Tulum’s stunning Archeological Zone, Xelhá remains impressive due to its well-preserved history and quaint surroundings, with cenotes, rainforests, and beaches making this site more than just a remnant of the past. 


Playa del Carmen is a vibrant coastal city located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters and lively atmosphere. Aside from its beautiful beaches, Playa del Carmen is also known for its rich history and culture. The ancient Mayan' ruins of Tulum, Chichen Itza and Coba are all within a few hours' drive from the city, offering visitors a chance to explore the fascinating history of the region. With its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene, Playa del Carmen is a popular destination for travelers from around the world.

♬ original sound – Black Travel & Culture

These Mayan Sites Near Cancun To Reopen After Renovations 

Xelhá isn’t the only Mayan site to shut down for renovations this spring. In Cancun, the popular ruins of El Meco have temporarily been closed as massive renovations begin ahead of the launching of the Maya Train. 

Situated just north of the city’s resort district, the El Meco ruins offer a unique glimpse of the Mayan civilization. They also boast stunning ocean views, something that officials are aiming to take advantage of with the construction of a new observation deck. 

@_byzahraa Things to do in Playa Del Carmen #playadelcarmen #playadelcarmenmexico #mexicoholiday ♬ Paradise – Bazzi

In Tulum, by far the most important destination for Mayan history & culture in the Mexican Caribbean, officials are finalizing renovations to the city’s impressive Archeological Zone. This summer, two new temples will open to travelers, adding even more historical value to one of the region’s top attractions. 

This April, officials will open Jaguar Park to travelers. The massive urban park will contain a mix of smaller Mayan sites as well as a plethora of stunning scenery.

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