Archeological sites to visit near Cancun in 2023

When we think of a fantasy vacation, without a doubt Cancun is a destination that comes to mind, thanks to its popular white sand beaches, turquoise waters and tropical climate, which invite travelers from all over the world to enjoy.

archeological sites to visit near cancun

Over time, Cancun has become not only a wonderful destination to relax, it is also the perfect place to party and enjoy the atmosphere at nightfall.

The ancient Mayan civilization is recognized worldwide for its achievements in art, architecture, and science. Cancun has a privileged location close to some of the most impressive archaeological zones in the Mexican Caribbean (Tulum, Cobá and Chichen Itza), it has interesting museums and archaeological zones where we can learn more about its history and that of the great Mayan culture, becoming in places forced to visit.

Archaeological Zone "El Rey"

Archaeological Zone El Rey

A few meters from the majestic "Playa Delfines" or "El Mirador" is one of the most important archaeological zone of Cancun, which consists of 47 structures that preserve remains of mural painting with representations of Mayan deities and symbols, these are buildings which served as temples and residences of high-status people.

There are two main temples which are believed to be remains of religious ceremonial buildings and market areas. According to the investigations, it is believed that El Rey, together with the archaeological zone of San Miguelito, formed the nuclear area of a town dedicated to maritime trade and fishing activities.

Archaeological Zone El Rey

While the ruins of numerous pre-Hispanic buildings are an attraction in themselves, the large population of iguanas that now occupies the site also stands out, the same ones that seem to model for the photo with the hundreds of tourists that visit El Rey every year.

Located south of the Cancun Hotel Zone, the El Rey archaeological site charges a fee of around $55 Mexican pesos.

General recommendations:

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday from 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. (last access at 04:30 p.m.).
  • Services: Ticket office, toilets and rest area.
  • Tips: Wear comfortable shoes, water, repellent and biodegradable sunscreen.

Archaeological Zone “El Meco”

El Meco is located on the north coast of Quintana Roo, right in the bay of Isla Mujeres, so it is very likely that it played an important role in the Mayan navigation route along the entire coast. In its early stages, in the Late Classic (600-800 AD), the settlement was linked to Cobá, as a relatively important fishing village.

Archaeological Zone El Meco

The building known as "El Castillo" is the tallest in the region and from its top you can have a privileged view of the island of Cancun and its surrounding areas, which must have given it strategic importance in pre-Hispanic times. Its port was the center of important commercial activity and access to neighboring Isla Mujeres was surely controlled from there, which functioned as one of the most important sanctuaries of the Late Postclassic (1200-1500 AD).

Archaeological Zone El Meco
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday from 08:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m. (last access at 04:30 p.m.).
  • Services: Parking, toilets and rest area.
  • Cost: $55 Mexican pesos.
  • Tips: Wear comfortable shoes, water, repellent and biodegradable sunscreen.

Archaeological Zone “San Miguelito”

A few kilometers from the archaeological zone of "El Rey" is San Miguelito, which in addition to having archaeological remains is located in the Mayan Museum of Cancun. It is a small museum that offers a fairly clear perspective of the development of the Mayans in the city of Cancun.

Archaeological Zone San Miguelito

The museum has one of the most significant archaeological collections of the Mayan culture in Mexico, since it not only includes pieces of the greatest relevance from the State of Quintana Roo, but also a selection of emblematic pieces from the Mayan sites of Palenque, Chichén Itzá, and Comalcalco, among other archaeological sites represented.

This area is home to various structures, one of the most popular and important being the Chaak Palace; which is believed to be a building for public functions. According to the orientation of some pyramids, there are those who think that San Miguelito could be related to the El Rey archaeological site.

Archaeological Zone San Miguelito
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Services: Parking, toilets and rest area.
  • Cost: $65 Mexican pesos.
  • Tips:The museum is covered, and the area of ruins is covered with large vegetation that covers you from the sun's rays; however, we recommend you bring sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and water.

Rent a car in Cancun and enjoy the Mayan vestiges that Cancun has to offer, but above all respect the cordoned off areas, avoid bringing food and alcoholic beverages in and don't use flash on buildings with mural painting.