The entire Yucatan Peninsula is home to some of the most amazing Mayan ruins, most of which are within driving distance of the Mayan Riviera. Some of the ruins around the area are ideal for exploring during a vacation, while others are best reserved for true enthusiasts who can spend as much time as they like exploring. Here are some of the most well-known and fascinating sites to check out while you’re staying in the Mayan Riviera.
The Coba site sits deep in the jungle about 45 minutes off Highway 307, just before you reach Tulum. While the Tulum Ruins are popular, Coba has much more to see, including some very large temples. The best way to reach Coba is by renting a car yourself and driving there, or taking the Coba Pac-Chen Tour, which leaves the Mayan Riviera daily. Right near the entrance to the ruins is the small Pac-Chen Mayan village, home to around 100 indigenous people, where you can learn more about the culture and repel in the canyon or swim in the crystal blue waters nearby. The Nohoch Mul pyramid here is also the tallest in the entire Yucatan peninsula, standing over 13 stories tall.
This is a pretty small site but it has a beautiful beach for swimming and it’s a great destination for a half-day trip. The most interesting thing about Tulum is it’s the only Mayan ruin site with the surrounding walls of the main village left perfectly intact and it sits right on the coast. Many people consider Tulum’s beach to be the most stunning in all of the Caribbean so it’s definitely worth the short trip.
This site is one of the grandest in all of the Mayan world and it’s been magnificently restored. You’ll find a museum and a number of stores selling unique items to take home as well as a restaurant that caters to tourists. This is one of the most popular ruins near the Mayan Riviera and climbing the massive Kukulcan pyramid is an experience you’ll never forget. You can also explore the pyramid’s inner chamber, which is reached by descending a very long stairway. If you stand right in front of the pyramid, it’s rumored that clapping your hands will summon the sacred Quetzal bird. You may also want to try a well-known phenomenon in the Ballcourt by having a friend stand at the opposing wall — you may just be able to hear them whispering from the great distance!
Chyunyaxche, also Known as the Muyil Ruins
This site sits 14 kilometers past Tulum on Highway 307. It’s believed it was inhabited from around 300 BC until the Spanish conquered the Yucatan Peninsula in the 16th century. Researchers also think there are still around 75 temples in the main complex alone that have not yet been uncovered. While the Muyil Ruins have been mostly reclaimed by vegetation, there are three really interesting temples to explore.