Do ancient civilizations fascinate you? Does walking through the remains of long-lost cities surrounded by nature sound like the perfect way to spend a day?
If you’re a history buff and are looking to travel to some of the Caribbean’s most awe-inspiring archeological sites, then exploring the Mayan ruins near Cozumel is a must.
Here are some of the best ruins you can visit while in Cozumel and what you can expect when traveling to each one.
Chichen Itza is one of the best places to see in the world for anyone interested in Mayan culture, history, and architecture. Spanning over six square miles, Chichen Itza is home to dozens of ancient buildings and structures and was recently declared one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
One of the most impressive structures in Chichen Itza is El Castillo, which is also referred to as the Temple of Kukulcan. The great pyramid is dedicated to the serpent god of Kukulcan and is almost 100 feet tall.
Come during fall and spring solstices, when the afternoon sunlight creates the illusion of a snake crawling down the side of the pyramid.
Tulum is the site of one of the top Mayan ruins near Cozumel. To visit Tulum, you can travel via ferry across the sea to Playa del Carmen. From there, the ruins are just a short drive away.
Built on top of coastal cliffs, Tulum was once a walled port city that served as a major trade center. Its most important structure, El Castillo, was once used as an ancient lighthouse and watchtower believed to have also been a place of worship.
Wander through the weathered Mayan ruins and admire the flawless white-sand beach and aquamarine ocean below.
Read: Best Beaches in Cozumel
El Cedral is a Mayan ruin located on the southern end of Cozumel and one of the easiest to visit during a day on the Mexican island.
El Cedral dates back to 800 A.D. and is the oldest Mayan site on the island. You can visit the remains of the temple, which once served as a revered ceremonial site and fertility temple.
Combine a visit to El Cedral with a trip to a Mayan culture center and learn more about their way of life and the role of astronomy in their culture. See examples of art and hieroglyphics, and taste traditional Mayan food.
To see other Mayan ruins in Cozumel but on a much larger scale than El Cedral, head to San Gervasio, the only archaeological site on Cozumel and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
San Gervasio was a significant site for Mayan women, who would travel there to pay homage to Ixchel, the goddess of birth and fertility. There are a total of nine temples in San Gervasio, all nestled within the backdrop of the lush jungle, where you’ll likely see iguanas scurrying around.
The San Gervasio Mayan Archaeological Site is located on the northern part of the island. Once you arrive, you’ll make your way down a small nature path to get to the ruins.
The ruins of Coba are one of the few unexcavated ancient Mayan locations in Mexico. As you walk around the rich vegetation surrounding the ruins, you’ll feel as if you’re an archaeologist exploring the jungle and taking in the fascinating remains of one of the oldest and largest Mayan cities. Discover overgrown ball courts, ancient palaces, and intriguing buildings.
Coba was built between 500 to 900 A.D. and is located in Yucatan, about two and a half hours from Cancun.
Coba is also home to Ixmoja, the Yucatan Peninsula’s tallest pyramid, coming in at 130 feet tall. It’s one of the few Mayan ruins where you can climb up to its peak for incredible views of the surrounding forest.
If you’re ready to travel to these incredible Mayan ruins, search our Cozumel cruise itineraries, then book online or call us at 1-800-852-8086 to book your cruise right over the phone with one of our helpful cruise experts.