3 Incredible Mayan Ruins You Must Visit

Ruins of Palenque, Maya city in Chiapas, MexicoMexico is nation renowned for its breathtaking beaches, vibrant traditions, world-class sportfishing and palate-pleasing cuisine. But few tourists know that Mexico is home to nearly 200 sites created and inhabited by Mesoamerica’s most advanced civilization – the Maya. Celebrated for their impressive developments in mathematics, hieroglyph writing, astrology and architecture, the Maya civilization dominated southern Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula as well as parts of Central America between 250 and 900 AD.

It goes without saying that no Mexico vacation is complete without visiting at least one Mayan ruin. For a chance to explore awesome pyramids, towering fortresses and ceremonial temples – surrounded by dramatic jungle and ocean vistas — add these three ancient Mayan sites to your bucket list!

Palenque – Chiapas, Mexico

The stunning archaeological site of Palenque is situated in Chiapas, Mexico, which was once part of the vast Mayan empire. Though diminutive in size compared to other touristed ruins, Palenque is noted for its exceptional sculptures, beautiful bas-relief carvings and awe-inspiring construction. Palenque overlooks the Usumacinta River flood plain, and is flanked by dense primordial forest. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987, Palenque features the area’s largest Mesoamerican step pyramid, the 75-foot Temple of the Inscriptions, and is widely considered one of the Maya’s most significant artistic and architectural feats.

Chichen Itza – Yucatan Peninsula

The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza lure more than 1.5 million travelers every year for good reason. This sprawling complex was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and is located on the Yucatan Peninsula, about two hours from Cancun.  Mexico’s best-preserved and most-visited Mayan site, Chichen Itza’s tremendous pyramids and temples are sure to impress. The ruins cover nearly two square miles and boast amazing examples of post-classic Mayan architecture, including El Castillo (Temple of Kukulkan), which climbs 98-feet into the sky and features one step for each day of the calendar year. Other noteworthy sites include the Sacred Cenote, the Ball Court and the Temple of the Warriors.

Tulum – Riviera Maya

The Mayan city of Tulum was once a busy trading seaport, thanks to its strategic location next to the Caribbean Sea. With its gorgeous backdrop of jade-green waters, Tulum is undoubtedly one of Mexico’s most scenic ruins, roughly 45 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. The city’s principle structure, El Castillo, is perched on a towering cliff with 360-degree views of aquamarine waters and pristine beaches. Be sure to explore the Temple of the Frescoes – used by the Maya to observe the sun. The area also features numerous cenotes (natural swimming holes) as well as stellar cave diving.

Mexico Reservations

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply