Health and Travel Alerts Learn More Left arrow

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

Ruins of Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico

Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico

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.

Read: Mexican Culture & Traditions: What to Know Before You Go

Beautiful structure of El Castillo in Chichen Itza

El Castillo, also known as Temple of Kukulcan, in Yucatan, Mexico

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.


Coastal view of Mayan ruins of Tulum

Tulum, Mexico

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 aquamarine ocean below and the flawless white sands of one of the best beaches in the Riviera Maya.

Read: Best Beaches in Cozumel

El Cedral

Historic ruins of El Cedral in Mexico

El Cedral, Mexico

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.

San Gervasio

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.

Archaeological site of San Gervasio ruins

San Gervasio in Cozumel, Mexico

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. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Cozumel.


Tourists sightseeing in Coba Mayan Ruins, Mexico

Coba Mayan Ruins in Yucatan, Mexico

The ruins of Coba are one of the few unexcavated ancient Mayan locations that Mexico is known for. 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.

Read: Where to Go Shopping in Cozumel

Massive pyramid of Ixmoja in Coba

Watch: Discover Cozumel With Celebrity Cruises

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.

Free Vacation Planning Services

Free Vacation Planning Services