While you’re planning your Cancun getaway, you’ll see many recommendations for day trip excursions to ancient Maya cities like Chichen Itza or Tulum. While these sites are gorgeous and fascinating, many travelers would rather skip the hours-long bus rides and higher tour prices.
If you just want a taste of Maya culture without the hassle of an all-day tour, you can find it in the Cancun Hotel Zone.
At Kilometer 16.5 of Boulevard Kukulcan, right in the center of the Hotel Zone, sits a lush jungle area that’s home to the Maya ruins known today as San Miguelito, alongside a beautiful garden-lined building that houses the Maya Museum of Cancun.
After passing through the entrance, head upstairs to enter the sleek and contemporary Maya Museum. (This space is air-conditioned, perfect when exploring on a hot day.)
Here you’ll find several rooms filled with centuries-old artifacts from sites throughout ancient Maya civilizations, mostly from the local Yucatan Peninsula region. From vases and jewelry to huge stelae, each piece has a plaque detailing its history, date of origin, and place of origin, making the museum a true paradise for history-lovers. There is also a room exclusively for special temporary exhibits that rotate monthly.
A tropical garden path takes you from the museum’s main entrance to the ruins. Then gravel walkways lead you through the jungle areas lined with tropical trees and plants, taking you from one ruin to the next.
San Miguelito was inhabited from 1200 AD to 1550 AD (ending with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors to the Yucatan Peninsula). The site formed part of a trade network dedicated mostly to fishing and agriculture. As you explore the jungle paths, you’ll come across the remains of ancient dwellings, a columned palace, and at the very end a well-preserved pyramid-style temple.
The entrance fee for the entire site (museum and ruins) is only $70 pesos per person, making it an affordable morning outing for Cancun visitors.
The Maya Museum and adjoining archaeological site are open from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm (closed Mondays).
The entrance is set right on Boulevard Kukulcan (the main avenue running through the Cancun Hotel Zone), so any of the many Hotel Zone city buses (like R-1 and R-2) can drop you off right in front.
Unfortunately, the ruins are off limits for climbing. On the positive side, the site doesn’t have the crowds you’d find at larger ruins. You might have the place all to yourself, or you’ll just have to share it with a few others.
Looking for a great place to eat after a few hours at the Maya Museum? Try our list of the best Cancun restaurants by the lagoon.