Part of what makes the Riviera Maya a favorite tourist destination, are the many fascinating archaeological sites. On the peninsula are countless impressive Mayan cities and buildings, many of them still very well maintained. Let yourself be whisked away to the ancient Mayan world!
The most famous Mayan site on the peninsula is Chichen Itza. Once a bustling Mayan city, today one of the 7 Wonders of the World. It’s a popular day trip from Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The huge site has 18 restored structures, the tallest and most known of them is the pyramid Kukulcán. Besides of its impressive size, if you clap your hands in front of the pyramid it triggers a sound similar to that of the quetzal bird. Chichen Itza makes you travel back in time and gives you a glimpse of how the big Mayan civilization has lived.
A smaller but also very popular Mayan site are the ruins in Tulum, with a scenic location overlooking the Caribbean Sea and home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The glistening ocean in front of you and the majestic pyramid above. It’s an excellent half- day excursion that can be combined with a beach day in Tulum.
Close to Tulum, in the middle of the jungle, are the ruins of Cobá. With 120 steps to reach the top, pyramid Nohoch Mul is the tallest pyramidoin the Yucatan peninsula. From its top you have the most stunning views over the dense jungle. You can rent bikes at the entrance and explore the area and the beautiful lakes.
The well preserved structures are famous for their dazzling carvings, with statues and stone works that are unlike any others that have been discovered. The Jaguar city is more than a thousand years old and still being excavated. Its most famous temple is one with an entrance that resembles a huge monster mouth that for the Mayans was the entrance to the “other world”. This gem definitely belongs on any travelers bucket list.
Uxmal ranks among the top Mayan ruins on the peninsula. The beautiful pink limestone construction makes these pyramids very picturesque. Also, Uxmal has the only oval shaped pyramid, called the pyramid of the Magician.