Riviera Maya ruins

Mayan ruins at Uxmal, Yucatan. Mexico

Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Akumal, Puerto Morelos… All these destinations have something in common. They are all part of what is considered the Riviera Maya. It is one of the most popular areas in Mexico in terms of tourism. It gathers not just amazing beaches, but crystal clear cenotes and amazing Mayan Archaeological Sites as well. These archaeological sites also referred to as “ruins”, are the origin of today’s Riviera Maya society, where millenary cultural practices and knowledge is held by the few existent inhabitants from these places.

Mayan Ruins Riviera Maya

Ruins at San Miguelito Site, Cancun
San Miguelito site. Image via Flickr

There are many Mayan ruins all along Riviera Maya and Yucatan Peninsula. The most popular is, as you may expect, Chichen Itza, due to its recognition by UNESCO as one of the New World Wonders, but it’s far from being the only interesting one. In fact, some travelers agree that some other sites have maintained their authenticity even better than Chichen Itza despite the constant flow of tourists, such as Coba site, which is still in the deep Mayan jungle.

Riviera Maya To Chichen Itza

El Castillo at Chichen Itza, Mexico.
El Castillo, Chichen Itza. Image via Pixabay

Tourists staying at Riviera Maya resorts may wonder how to get to Chichen Itza and other nearby ruins from their hotels. It is common that tour operators include hotel pick-up within their tour packages. In case they don’t, you still have options to reach Chichen Itza and other Riviera Maya archaeological sites on your own. For instance, you could rent a car and drive directly to Chichen Itza from your resort. Depending on your location, it might be a long ride, so it could be a good idea to have a light breakfast before hitting the road.

Riviera Maya Pyramids

Nohoch Mul at Coba, Mexico
Nohoch Mul at Coba. Image via Pixabay

There are many Mayan pyramids all along Riviera Maya. From small ones to the second tallest of the whole Yucatan Peninsula. Some of the most popular are El Castillo at Chichen Itza, Nohoch Mul at Coba, and the Acropolis at Ek Balam.

Mayan Ruins Near Riviera Maya

Ruins at Xaman Ha site, Mexico
Xaman-Ha Site. Image via Wikimedia Commons

The most famous Mayan ruins in Riviera Maya are Tulum, Chichen Itza, Coba, Ek Balam, Yamil Lu’um, El Meco, Xaman-Há, Uxmal, Kohunlich, Xel-Há and San Miguelito.

Tulum Excursions

Sea view from Tulum Archaeological Site, Mexico
Sea view at Tulum site. Image via Pixabay

As the only beachfront Mayan ruins in the whole Riviera, Tulum offers amazing views of the Caribbean shore and a well-maintained archaeological site. Constructions are protected by small fences, so it is not possible to climb any of its buildings. As it became a touristy place and started receiving lots of visitors, it had to be maintained so travelers can still find ruins in good shape. Tulum, as an ex-commercial path for the exchange of goods, also served as a place to watch out for possible invaders. Some of its buildings allowed their inhabitants to guide incoming traders and keep the weather on watch.

Ruins near Akumal

Ruins at Xel Ha Archaeological Site, Mexico
Xel-Há Site

The closest Mayan ruins to Akumal is Xel-Ha archaeological site. Despite being not so popular, it is worth visiting it. It even has a cenote. It was the main port for Coba. A big part of what was the port city is now covered by Xel-Ha park.

Ruins at Ek Balam Archaeological Site, Mexico
Ruins at Ek Balam. Image via Pixabay

So, if you are looking for the best option in terms of Riviera Maya ruins, now you know there are plenty of archaeological sites to choose from. Check out our tours page for private and shared tour options.