Apart from being one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations, Cancun also has many Mayan archaeological sites to visit all within a short distance from your hotel. Cancun is proud to be home to this Mayan heritage that dates back to the year 1500BC.
El Rey (The King) Ruins are located only about 6 miles from the Cancun Center on the Kukulcan Boulevard, km 17.5. El Rey was named after the discovery of an ornamented head-shaped sculpture which can be found today at the Chetumal Archeological Museum. The site seems to have originated in 300BC; however, the structures found today date back to the year 1300AC and have a complex style resembling Tulum in Riviera Maya. Because of its privileged location between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupte lagoon, it is believed that it was the center of a city devoted to maritime commerce and fishing. The site’s facade still shows remains of mural painting, and today serves as home to a considerable amount of birds and reptiles.
North of the city on the way to Punta Sam lays another archeological site called El Meco, named after the nickname of a local resident. In the year 1200AC thanks to its maritime activity, El Meco took an important role in the political and economic arena of the peninsula.
Also, several other ancient relics can be found in Cancun such as Yamil Luum, located at the center of the Westin Lagunamar Hotel as well as the isolated temple that can be seen at the Pok ta Pok Cancun Golf Club.
Another highly unknown archeological jewel near Cancun is Ek Balam, a site that started revealing its secrets during its recent discovery. Its buildings, temples and palaces are located inside a walled area indicating that it was a sacred center and political headquarter home to governors and priests. This site is located at 90 miles from Cancun and requires at least one hour to tour around the main structures.
Within 2 hours of Cancun you will find more of the well-known Mayan archaelogical sites such as Tulum, Chichen Itza and Coba.
Chichen Itza is home to the impressive Kukulcan Pyramid and was recently named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Twice a year, an amazing astronomic phenomenon takes place: the Spring Equinox in March 21st and the Autumn Equinox on September 22nd where the rays of the sun create the illusion of the Kukulcan serpent descending from the top of the pyramid to fertilize the earth. Each year this event attracts tourists from all over the world.
Coba is the most ancient remnant of the Mayan world and can be found about an hour and a half away from Cancun. Coba exerted economic control of the region through a complex network of roads. It is home to the tallest pyramid in the north of the peninsula measuring 42 meters high where you have an endless view of the jungle.
Tulum is a walled city sitting at the edge of a cliff facing the sea. The vestiges of the city’s castle and temple are decorated with symbols of the god of bees and Venus, guardian of the coast and commerce. This is one of the most visited ruins in Mexico since it’s located at only 82 miles from Cancun.
For more in-depth information about these places please visit our website http://cancun.travel/en/things-to-do/mayan-culture/.