There are many opportunities to get close to the Mayan world in Quintana Roo, as their legacy in this part of Mexico is huge it is impossible not to visit some of the many archaeological sites left behind by this civilization.
And although several have already achieved great popularity, fortunately for many explorers, some archaeological sites can still be explored.
If you want to discover which are the most striking ones, then read on.
Archaeological sites in Quintana Roo
Located in the town of the same name, the archaeological site of Tulum is perhaps one of the most emblematic sites in the state. In addition to having its murals and buildings in excellent condition, it is the only one located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. Fact by which its name is attributed to it.
In ancient times it was known as “zama”, which in Mayan means morning or dawn, and from its incredible monuments it is possible to contemplate this spectacular view of nature.
Although the ruins of Tulum are made up of five access areas and two large watchtowers, the most famous part is the castle; the highest and oldest of all its structures, where you will find a platform of dances and other buildings on the sides, the most important being the temple of the initial series.
How to get to Tulum?
The entrance to Tulum is located at km. 230 of the Chetumal – Cancun federal highway. Approximately 2 hours drive from Cancun and easily accessible by federal highway 307, just as shown in the following map.
After you have finished your tour of Tulum, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit the archaeological site of Coba, located just 40 minutes away and one of the most iconic Mayan capitals of the Yucatán Peninsula.
In fact, it has become so popular among tourists because it is just as fascinating as Chichen Itza. Believe it or not, it has been compared to this wonder of the world both for its size and its importance in the Mayan world.
Not only is it home to the tallest pyramid in the entire peninsula, but it also has a network of 45 Sac bé sacred roads in its thick jungle, which connect with other archaeological sites in the state.
Moreover, the experience you will find here is like no other, since it allows you to closely explore its impressive monuments on board a bicycle, being this the only place where you can do this activity, making it ideal to visit with the whole family!
How to get to Cobá?
3. San Gervasio
For those who want to connect with the Mayan culture and the past of this great civilization in a quiet environment and away from the rest of the world, San Gervasio is one of the ideal archaeological sites to visit.
Located on the island of Cozumel, this place is one of the largest and most important historical sites of this Caribbean destination, but above all, it stands out for being considered the sanctuary of the goddess Ixchel, better known as the mother of fertility.
Although this site is not as large as other archeological sites in the state, its 6 architectural complexes and Sac bé sacred paths are excellent to enjoy a wilderness charm and much more tranquility, so if you are close to the destination, do not miss a stop in San Gervasio!
How to get to San Gervasio?
The ruins of San Gervasio are located at Km. 7 in the town of San Miguel in Cozumel and to get there you will have to take the Tulum – Cancun highway, and then continue along the transversal road of the island. As shown here.
4. El Rey
The archaeological site of El Rey is located in the beautiful landscape of Cancun and is actually one of the few cultural sites you can visit within the city. So it is a great option to explore if you want to learn about the Mayan legacy, but without having to deviate completely from your route.
Being located in Cancun’s hotel zone, it has a privileged location with access to the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupte Lagoon, as well as other tourist destinations such as white sand beaches. Which many tourists enjoy before or after their visit.
Similar to San Gervasio, this archaeological site is small but with a lot of history within its walls, if you visit the interior you will find traces of paintings representing certain deities and other iconographic elements that make this visit memorable. For this reason, this is an obligatory stop when you travel to Cancun.
How to get to El Rey?
Very close to Bacalar is the site of Chacchoben, one of the most recognized historical sites in the region, which despite not being as famous as other archaeological sites such as Cobá or Tulum, is one of the tourist jewels that many adventurers and lovers of the unknown enjoy exploring.
In its 70 hectares you will find several buildings, that with their beauty and history will transport you to the past, although its most outstanding structures are the complexes of the Vias, the Great Basement and Group II, where the highest temple is located.
On the other hand, if you continue exploring a little more you will be able to appreciate two stelae with hieroglyphic inscriptions, discover altars and come into contact with the vegetation.
How to get to Chacchoben?
If you wish to visit Chacchoben, the best route to follow from Cancun is to take federal highway 307 Chetumal – Cancun. It is located 9 kilometers from the turnoff and to the left of highway 297. To get to the entrance you must drive 5 kilometers to the town of Lázaro Cárdenas. You can view the map here.
6. Dzibanché - Kinichná
If we talk about hidden cultural treasures, then we cannot fail to mention the archaeological sites of Dzibanché and Kinichná, located near Chetumal. Both are close to each other and are characterized by their location between the Yucatán jungle and the Peten jungle.
The great Mayan city of Dzibanché owes its name to a lintel carved in wood and is made up of 4 groups of monuments; the Main Group, the Lamay Group, Tutil and Kinichná (the house of the sun).
During your visit you will find everything from temples and vaults, to narrow galleries and hieroglyphs engraved on certain monuments. But if you decide to explore, be sure to visit the main buildings such as the Temple of the Owl, the Temple of the Cormorants, and the Buildings of the Captives and the Toucans, all of which will amaze you!
How to get to Dzibanché - Kinichná?
To begin your adventure in these Maya settlements you must take federal highway 186 Chetumal – Campeche and pass through the towns of Morocoy and San Pedro Peralta, until you reach the place known as “La Pista”, where you will take a detour that leads to the archaeological site. Just as shown in this map.
Another archaeological site not to be missed during your visit to Quintana Roo is Kohunlich, located in the municipality of Othón P. Blanco and only 40 minutes away from the ruins of Dzibanché – Kinichná.
Besides being one of the most visited Mayan ruins in the area and one of the most popular in the south of the state, it stands out for being a place where a great natural landscape coexists with exuberant vegetation and wildlife, almost as impressive as its monuments!
Among the most important buildings are the Conjunto de la Vía, the Plaza de las Estelas, the Conjunto de los 27 escalones and the Templo de los Mascarones, which houses some colorful figures that you can still see.
How to get to Kohunlich?
You can reach the archaeological site of Kohunlich through federal highway 186 Chetumal – Campeche, continuing through the town of Francisco Villa and taking the detour located after 9 kilometers. As shown in this route.
As you can see Quintana Roo is not only full of incredible natural jewels, but also has infinite cultural experiences. Which you can enjoy from every corner of the state and best of all is that each of these archaeological sites have their own secrets and stories.
However, if you are looking for the perfect place to start an escape full of mysticism and tranquility Aldea Coba, helps you to live an experience much closer to the Mayan culture, but with all the luxury and comfort you are looking for your ideal rest.