Not so long ago, the main reason why so many people flocked to the Mexican Caribbean was for one thing: its unmatched beach locations that look like something out of a picture-perfect postcard.
While the Mexican Caribbean remains in no short supply of fabulous beaches for tourists to enjoy, its cultural offerings seem to be putting it on the map like never before and are exploding in popularity this year.
The region is littered with cultural, environmental, and historical sites, with some of them considered part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The cultural tourism sector is bringing in record amounts of money, generating 19,489 million pesos for the economy in 2022, and is quickly becoming one of the most appreciated sectors by international visitors.
New Maya Train Is Perfect For Your Next Cultural Adventure
Soon to become inaugurated in the coming days, the new Maya Train, a billion-dollar infrastructure project that has been years in the making, is going to unlock the Yucatan Peninsula for all tourists and locals, making cultural tourism even more accessible than ever before.
Local authorities have been investing money to fund the Archeological Zone Improvement Program (Promeza), which aims to uncover, expand, and open more historical sites and take advantage of this sudden boom in the sector’s popularity.
@ecolibriumgloballiving Get ready to ride the rails of history on the #MayaTrain, exploring ancient ruins and vibrant cultures along the way! 🚈✨ #RivieraMaya #TrenMaya #ExploreMexico #EcolibriumGlobalLiving #Tulum #Yucatan #Cancun ♬ sonido original – Ecolibrium Global Living
Now, thanks to the Maya Train and New Tulum International Airport, tourists will be able to reach some incredible archeological zones that would have once been more difficult to reach, such as El Meco, El Rey, San Miguelito, Paamul II, Tulum, Coba, the Nohuch Mul pyramid, Muyil, Chacchoben, Ichkabal, Oxtankah, and Kinichna.
With affordable tickets which are linked here, there is now no reason for you to spend your entire vacation sitting on the beach, and instead can enjoy some of the breathtaking cultural attractions that the region has to offer.
@roamfreerebecca Cap'n Jack Sparrow walk required, yes 🏴☠️ #mexicotravel #tulummexico #tulumruins #travelideas #femalesolotravel #gapyeartravel ♬ Pirates of the Caribbean – Syaiful Alam
Where To Begin
Newer to the growing trend that is cultural tourism? We’ve got you covered.
Here are some places to check out that exist on the new Maya Train route and are perfect for a first-time visit, though some will not be accessible until the full launch in February 2024, such as Tulum.
Tulum Archeological Zone
The third most visited archeological site in all of Mexico, the Tulum Ruins are iconic for their ruined ancient temples that sit above the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico atop the cliffside and have become a standout image synonymous with the region.
Built by the Ancient Mayans, these incredible structures still stand today and are rich in history, dating back as early as 564.
Below the ruins lie some beautiful beaches that tourists have access to, making it a full-day trip kind of place if you so wish.
Lesser known than the Tulum Ruins and a little more rugged in its execution, Coba is another archeological site that will capture your interest.
Complete with a 138-foot-tall pyramid and ball court that would have been used by the ancient Mayan civilisation over 1000 years ago, this site is a must-see and perfect for any wildlife lovers, who can witness monkeys who inhabit the area, as well as (on rare occasions) jaguars and panthers in the surrounding jungles.
Cobá was once a major hub of Mayan civilization, and will capture your imagination once you visit, transporting you to a seminal time period in history.
Surrounded by lush jungles and a little more tucked away from the more popular archeological sites in the region, Muyil will make you feel at one with nature, away from the busyness of hotel zones and shopping malls.
The 55-foot pyramid known as El Castillo is a stand-out structure, different from any other historical site in the Mexican Caribbean, alongside other ancient pyramids and ruins which are covered by the luscious jungle mangroves as its backdrop.
Among them lies a path from El Castillo which leads to the biggest attraction at the site; the Muyil Lagoon.
Once you have explored the ancient ruins, you can escape the hot Mexican sun and find some peace and tranquillity here, with guided boat tours on offer if you so wish.
Saving the best for last, Chichén Itzá is the undisputed, most popular archeological site in the Mexican Caribbean.
Now considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, this breathtaking location will give you an insight into the technologically advanced architecture that was built by ancient Mayan civilizations to create jaw-dropping pyramids, temples, and structures that have stood the test of time.
The Pyramid of Kulkulkan is the site’s main attraction which towers over the jungle, and is a must-see during the spring and autumn equinoxes when the setting sun creates the image of a snake slithering through the pyramid’s steps!
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