20 Jul 2019
Oh the joys of digging into the past and traveling off the grid. Mayan ruins in the Riviera Maya, Cancun, Yucatan and Campeche can keep you busy for a long, long, time. Deciding which ruins to go to can be a challenge when you have limited vacation time. Read on as we have a solution for you!
Mayan Ruin Overviews in One Place – Easy Trip Planning
Loco Gringo has one of the most comprehensive lists of travel information about the Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. Our love for the Mayan culture, the travels of Stephens and Catherwood, and our desire to see off the beaten path sites has been the drive behind this long list that is still to this day incomplete. We live here so we have the luxury of time to discover all of the ruins, something that not all travelers and vacationers have. Prioritizing your ruins visits is hard when you have never seen them, so we have decided to group Mayan Ruins into a travel list; easy access, favorites, remote, and what we consider must-see ruins. Our must-see ruins, if you have the time, is strictly our opinion. If you like what we do and how we explore, the must-see ruins may be your go-to list. If you just want an introduction to Mayan ruins then go to our easy access or favorite list. All of these ruins can be explored with a tour company, with a group of friends or DIY with a rental car.
Easy Access Mayan Ruins in the Riviera Maya
Chichen Itza – As one of the wonders of the world, Chichen Itza is the most popular Mayan ruin on anyone’s list. The full day tour is worth it and the site will provide a great overview of ancient Mayan communities. Read more about Chichen Itza.
Coba – A Loco Gringo favorite Mayan ruin that is easy to get to by tour, rental car, public transportation or with a group of friends. Read more about Coba and how to design your tour of the ruin.
Tulum – This seaside Mayan community is a popular site. If you are staying in Tulum, it is easy to access the ruins by walking, biking, or public transport. If you are staying at other cities in the Riviera Maya this Mayan ruin is also easy to access with public transportation or if you choose, a tour company. Read more about Tulum.
Xel Ha Ruins – Small site with a great cenote. Read more about Xel Ha.
Muyil Ruins – This Mayan ruin is connected to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. Small site that has lots to offer including few visitors. Read more about Muyil Ruins.
Playacar ruins – If you are visiting or staying in Playa del Carmen, these tiny little ruins are just a walk from your accommodations. The ruins are free, small and will give you a very small glimpse into the construction of Mayan structures. Read more about Playacar.
El Meco, El Rey and San Miguelito – All of these small Mayan ruin sites are located in Cancun and can be seen in a morning. Each site is unique and further explains the complexity of the Mayan culture and communities. Read more about El Meco, El Rey and San Miguelito
Easy Access Mayan Ruins from the Costa Maya
Chaccohoben – close to Mahahual and Bacalar. This is my (Kay Walten) personal favorite. Read more about Chaccohoben here.
Konhulich – This ruin is fabulous and can be combined with a visit to Dzibanche and Kinichna Ruins. Read more about these ruins.
Easy Access Mayan Ruins from Merida
Remote but Favored Mayan Ruins
Remote is a relative term but we are basing our selection on trips from the Riviera Maya and Costa Maya. This list is a bit long so we suggest that you click through to our ruin page and learn more about each site in detail.
Palenque, Calakmul, Yaxchilan Ruins, Bonampak, Edzná, Chicanná, Chac Mool, Becán Ruins, Balamku.
Loco Gringo Favored Ruins
This is our list of our favorite Mayan ruins. They are favored for many different reasons, We either a particular structure on the site, where the ruin is located or favored a site for the overall experience. These Mayan ruins are places we go back to again and again.
Calakmul, Balamku, Palenque, Yaxchilan Ruins, Bonampak, Ednza, Xel Ha, Muyil, Coba.
So there you have it. Our list and overview of Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. There are more ruins for us to see and explanations of our experiences to share. Check our Mayan Ruins page frequently to see new reviews and trip planning guides.