Ruins of Cozumel
Perhaps during your stay or visit to Cozumel you can take a half-day trip to Cozumel's main Maya archeological site, San Gervasio. The site is located approximately in the center of the island just off of the Transversal, the road that takes you to the east side of the island. Though this ruin site is nowhere near the size or as impressive as the sites located on the mainland, it was once a very important site where Mayan woman paid tribute to the goddess of love & fertility. The site has bilingual guides, a snack bar as well as a gift shop. The entrance fee to San Gervasio is about $7usd.
Ruins of the Mainland
There are many unique Mayan ruin adventures to take while visiting Mexico and the Mayan Riviera. Checkout some of the following sites!
Chicen Itza, "At the mouth of the well of Itza", is located n the northern center of the Yucatecan Peninsula. It was a major focal point of the northern Maya for political, sociocultural, economic and idealogical life. The site exhibits a multitude of architecture styles. Chichen Itza has two large natural sink holes called cenotes that provided water to the Mayans, making it an attractive settlement. It is believed that the Mayans also sacrificed objects and humans in these holes. Chichen Itza is also famous for the "Great Ball Court". This is impressive 180 yards x 74 yards sized court is the largest in Mesoamerica. There are a variety of nicely restored buildings including a unique style observatory temple "El Caracol". At night the site offers a light show. This site is one of the most famous, but because of this you cannot climb the ruins.
Tulum (a.k.a. Zama, “City of Dawn”) is a unique site as it sits on the cliff along the east coast of the Yucatan. Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayans and managed to survive 70 years after the Spanish arrived. Tulum was a major point of trade both for land and sea as are depicted by murals and other works around the site. There is a small cenote which provided fresh water. Tulum has three major structures of interest; El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God. Tulum can be done in a day from Cozumel as it is about 45 min south of Playa del Carmen. Though, we recommend spending a night in a “eco-hotel” and dine out as the town is beginning to grow and become quite the tourist attraction. Also, the beaches of Tulum are quite fantastic.
Ek’Balam, “Black Jaguar”, is a fantastic site because you can still climb the ruins. I call it an “adult play ground”. The site is located 30km outside of the beautiful town of Valladolid. The most famous structure at the site is The Acropolis which has a 5m tall jaguar’s mouth featuring winged warriors. The site also has some fantastic cenotes you can rope swing in.
Coba is the largest set of Mayan ruins in the Yucatan and still has many un-excavated ruins which have been swallowed by jungle. Coba is located around two lagoons. The site contains several large temples, including the second tallest in the Yucatan, with Chichen Itza having the tallest. This site is believed to be a major agricultural city. You can easily do this trip in a day paired with Tulum if you like. This site is !still open to the public to climb, unlike Chichen Itza.
Chacchoben “the place of red corn” is south of Tulum and located near Lake Bacalar (a freshwater lake that is the color of the ocean). This site is not as popular as the others, but its great because you might be the only tourists there and you can play on the ruins. The site has many interesting structures and some that are still being excavated. We recommend staying at Lake Bacalar if you visit this site as it is a really long day trip.