In comparison with many other Caribbean destinations, Cancun offers so much more. In addition to a stunning coastline and turquoise sea the whole Yucatan area is home to cultural and historical gems. You simply cannot visit Cancun without exploring at least one of the ancient Mayan sites of interest.
The Maya were a formidable empire that spread its culture throughout southern Mexico and Central America. The whole area is dotted with sacred ruins and cities that were once key to the success of the Mayan Empire. Apart from the amazing architectural structures left for us to explore today, the legacy of the Maya went much further with major contributions to mathematics, astrology and the scientific method.
There are two main Mayan archeological sites in Cancun, both of which are relatively small and would make a perfect morning or afternoon tour. These are El Rey and El Meco, only a few minutes from any of Cancun’s hotels. El Rey is near the hotel zone and was built during 900 AD. It boasts around 45 different structures and was named after the Mayan sun god. El Meco is deemed by locals to be a major power site for sacred healing and meditation, and is very small but enigmatic, having been a port that traded with Isla Mujeres during the Post Classic Period.
A day trip that is well worth investing in is a trip to see the pyramid at Chichen Itza, just a couple of hours from Cancun. It really is one of the most beautiful and well preserved Mayan sites, covering just under 2 square miles. Here you will be able to climb the main pyramid of Kukulcan, explore the temples and observatory and consider how and for what purpose the ball court was used.
Taking a moment to engage with the ancient culture of the Maya is certainly a highlight of anyone’s visit to Cancun.