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Travelers Are Flocking To Mexican Caribbean Archaeological Sites – Here’s Why

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Archaeological sites across the Mexican Caribbean appear to be more popular than ever before, as visitor numbers have grown by over 80% compared to previous years. While places like Tulum and Isla Mujeres have attracted visitors for years due to their rich history, 2023 is expected to be a record-breaking year for most Quintana Roo sites. In this article, we’ll tell you why archaeological sites are exploding in popularity, and everything travelers need to know if they want to visit one.

Sunset at Tulum's beautiful archeological site

The Popularity Of Archeological Sites Is Growing Quickly

According to new statistics published by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), more than 277,000 travelers visited the 12 main archaeological sites dotted around the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintan Roo in January. The impressive number represents an increase of 80% compared to last year, a strong indication that travelers are more interested than ever before in discovering Mexico’s historical legacy.

Aerial view of the Tulum Archeological Site with greenery in background

International travelers, especially those hailing from the U.S. and Canada, are especially keen on some of the region’s most popular sites, including Tulum, which also houses a broad range of spectacular all-inclusives.

In addition to its sunny weather and white-sand beaches, the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo is also home to the greatest variety of Mayan ruins in all of Mexico. Aside from offering a glimpse of Mayan history, which dates back centuries, travelers can also learn more about local culture and traditions in the many archaeological sites found across the region.

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Tulum's popular archeological site with nearby water and beach

Although many sites, including Tulum, are easy to reach, several remain off the beaten path, at least until the completion of the new Maya Train, the Mexcian government’s flagship railway project. The massive undertaking will help travelers discover new destinations, such as Oxtankah, which have thus far been harder to reach.

These Are The Most Visited Archaeological Sites This Year

With over 131,000 visitors recorded in January alone, Tulum remains the most popular archaeological site in Quintana Roo. Aside from visiting the vast Tulum Archaeological Site (admission fee $4.50 per person), travelers can enjoy white-sand beaches and unique outdoor events, which the city has become known for.

Aerial view of the ancient Ichkabal Maya site and forest

Meanwhile, the Chacchoben ruins, situated in the southern portion of the state, are also experiencing a surge in popularity thanks to growing cruise ship traveler numbers. The ancient site features stunning pyramids and other valuable remnants of the Mayan civilization.

Three Carnival Cruise Ships in Cozumel, Mexico with Tourists Walking Around

Located in neighboring Yucatán, the Chichen Itzá archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is by far the most visited historical destination outside of Quintana Roo. It is a popular location for day trips from Cancun and gives visitors some impressive insight into Mayan culture. 

What Travelers Need To Know Before Visiting

Before exploring Quintana Roo’s ample collection of historical Mayan sites, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Travelers should first determine how to reach the main ruins. Destinations like Tulum or Chichen Itzá are reachable by bus – we recommend ADO – or private transfer from Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

Large Mayan ruins in Quintana Roo

We highly recommend booking a guided tour to make the most of your next archeological site visit. They usually include a professional guide who accompanies travelers throughout multiple sites and gives visitors in-depth knowledge about historical and cultural facts. 

couple at chichen itza admiring a large pyramid

Lastly, travelers should be mindful of safety when visiting Quintana Roo’s main archaeological sites. While most destinations are safe for visitors, pickpockets can quickly turn a great experience into a terrible one, especially when tourists are distracted by monumental historical ruins. The Mexican government is continuing to step up the safety of the country’s most important ruins by deploying more troops and enhancing security. 

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Fred Munguia

Wednesday 15th of February 2023

I enjoy going back to Cancun, the people I have met at the hotel/resorts are amazing, the tours, food, culture and archeological sites, just draw you back to the area. I feel Great every time I have been to Cancun, always something different to do and enjoy. I am 100% able to Relax and enjoy being on vacation. All my experiences in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, have been positive and I just can’t wait to go back and enjoy being in Cancun. I seriously planning on buying a home in the near future, so I can enjoy being in paradise for a much longer time. Kudos to all the people from Cancun and the Riviera Maya, for being very nice and welcoming, including Cancun Dental Cosmetics, Dr. German Arzate, and all his wonderful professional staff and Dr. David Estrada Plastic Surgeon and his wonderful professional staff for attending to my needs and treating me like a celebrity during my visits. Cancun and the Riviera Maya, are and will continue to be the Hottest Vacation Destinationon the Planet, as long as the Safety and Security of the tourists continue taking place. I will be back very soon, can’t wait!