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This Mayan Site Near Cancun That Combines History With Stunning Caribbean Beaches Is About To Skyrocket In Popularity

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The El Meco Archeological Site near Cancun’s hotel zone is set to soar in popularity this year thanks to its unique combination of history and pristine nature.

And with new government investments, the well-preserved site is projected to skyrocket in popularity, offering travelers the best of both worlds.

With cultural and historical tourism on the rise in the Mexican Caribbean, here’s why El Meco is one of the most exciting attractions you should include on your next Cancun itinerary.

Drone view of the El Meco site in Costa Mujeres

Mayan History Meets White-Sand Beaches

Each year, millions of travelers flock to Cancun in search of powdery white-sand beaches, vibrant nightlife, and world-class hospitality. In 2023, a growing number of travelers are also discovering the city’s vast repertoire of ancient Mayan ruins.

The El Meco Archeological Zone, situated just 8 kilometers north of Cancun’s bustling resort zone, is quickly becoming one of the most popular historical attractions in the region.

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El Meco ancient Mayan structure with blue skies

Perfect for a day trip, the ruins contain an array of historical artifacts, monuments, and structures. And what truly makes El Meco stand out are its beautiful tropical surroundings, just a stone’s throw away from Costa Mujeres’ white-sand beaches.

While the ruins have already been popular among history lovers for some time, El Meco is set to explode in popularity this year as the government carries out a massive investment program to improve accessibility and tourism infrastructure. 

El Meco is one of the 10 Mayan sites that receive funding from the Archeological Zone Improvement Program (Promeza). The program, which is currently being carried out ahead of the opening of the Maya Train, will address aging infrastructure and improve visitor amenities. 

@ricardoviajeroo Zona arqueologica El Meco #Elmeco #zonaarqueoligica #cancun #zonaarqueologicaelmeco #piramides #ruinas #rivieramaya #vacaciones #vacacionessemanasanta #puntasam #puertocancun #Maya #culturamaya ♬ Danza Maya – Ismael Corchado

According to Diego Hernánez, head of Mexico’s National Institute for Anthropology and History, what makes El Meco unique is its proximity to the ocean. Officials are currently working on creating direct access to the nearby beach, allowing travelers to combine history with a visit to one of the region’s best white-sand beaches.

Although the site is already open to visitors, it lacks comprehensive facilities to deal with mass tourism. Some of the new improvements in the making include an upgraded entrance area, new bathrooms, resting areas, and a massive new research center to help preserve the ruins.

Coba mexico tourists looking at pyramid

Authorities are currently working on a new Mayan history route for Cancun travelers, which will include the Mayan Museum of Cancun, as well as the El Rey, San Miguelito, and El Meco Archeological sites. 

El Meco was one of the most significant Mayan commercial and cultural hubs in the Mexican Caribbean, dating back to the third century. In the following decades, the settlement played an essential role in maritime navigation, establishing trading routes with other Mayan sites, and was considered one of the most prosperous towns in the region. 

palm tree and beach

Travelers can find several important structures dotted around El Meco, with a massive temple dominating the central part of the site. Measuring 17 meters in height, El Meco’s towering pyramid is among the largest in the area.

The archeological site is currently open from 8 A.M to 5 P.M, and admission costs just $3.50 per person. Although the ruins currently lack an on-site museum, travelers can book several guided tours that combine two of Cancun’s most prominent Mayan sites for a historically-rich experience. 

Maya Train Being Installed in the Yucatan Peninsula

With ongoing improvements, several Mexican Caribbean sites are set to become significantly more accessible with the upcoming launch of the Maya Train in December.

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