08/10/2008Discover the Archeological Mysteries Hidden in Cancun

- Find the wonders of Mayan civilization in Cancun’s Hotel Zone

Cancun is an open door to a perfect getaway. Aside from offering the most luxurious hotels, exquisite restaurants, modern night clubs and unlimited eco-tourism and adventure possibilities, Cancun offers travelers the advantage of visiting archeological sites built more than 2,000 years ago, without traveling too far away.

El Rey (The King) Ruins, located only about 6 miles from the Cancun Center on Bulevar Kukulcan, km 17.5 was named after the discovery of an ornamented head-shaped sculpture found today at the Chetumal Archeological Museum. The site seems to have originated in 300BC; however, the structures found today date back to the year 1300AC and have a complex style resembling Tulum in Riviera Maya. Because of its privileged location between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupte lagoon, it is believed that it was the center of a city devoted to maritime commerce and fishing. The site’s facade still shows remains of mural painting, and today serves as home to a considerable amount of birds and reptiles.

North of the city on the way to Punta Sam lays another archeological site called El Meco, named after the nickname of a local resident while its real name remains unknown. It has the tallest and most important building of the co-urban area of Cancun and the largest number of buildings devoted to civil and religious affairs. According to investigations, this place was inhabited and deserted in several occasions. In the year 1200AC thanks to its maritime activity, El Meco took an important role in the political and economic arena of the peninsula.

Also, several other ancient relics can be found in Cancun such as Yamil Luum, located at the center of the Westin Lagunamar Hotel as well as the isolated temple that can be seen at the Pok ta Pok Cancun Golf Club.
Only 2 hours away from Cancun, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza, recently declared Human Heritage and home to the impressive Kukulcan pyramid, a large calendar made of stone that is adjacent to the largest Mesoamerican ball game field. In addition, there is a Mayan astronomic observatory and The Temple of Nuns.
Twice a year, an amazing astronomic phenomenon takes place: the Spring Equinox in March 21st and the Autumn Equinox on September 22nd where the sunlight effect creates the illusion of the Kukulcan serpent descending from the top of the pyramid to fertilize the earth. This event attracts tourists from all over the world amazed to see the clarity of this event.
Another highly unknown archeological jewel near Cancun is Ek Balam, a site that started revealing its secrets during its recent discovery. Its buildings, temples and palaces are located inside a walled area indicating that it was a sacred center and political headquarter home to governors and priests. This site is located at 90 miles from Cancun and requires at least one hour to tour around the main structures.
The longest remnant of the Mayan world, Coba, is found about an hour and a half away from Cancun and was built by several communities of more than 50,000 inhabitants in a territory of 43 miles. Coba exerted economic control of the region trough a complex network of roads, and it is home to the tallest pyramid in the north of the peninsula with 42 meters high where a view of the jungle extends to the infinite.
We cannot help but mention Tulum, the walled city sitting at the edge of a cliff facing the sea. The vestiges of the city’s castle and temple are decorated with symbols of the god of bees and Venus, guardian of the coast and commerce. This is one of the most visited ruins in Mexico since it’s located at only 82 miles from Cancun.
Cancun is proud to be home to this Mayan heritage that dates back to the year 1500BC and whose influence in the city and culture can be appreciated in the architecture of hotels, local gastronomy and spa treatments offering tourists a unique experience full of traditions and history.


About Cancun

Cancun is located in the northern part of the southeastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The island of Cancun is in the shape of a “7” and is bordered to the north by the Bahia de Mujeres; to the east by the Caribbean Sea; and to the west by the Nichupte Lagoon. Cancun is Mexico’s largest tourist destination and boasts 146 hotels with a total of 28,808 rooms. Opportunities for new experiences abound in Cancun, which offers visitors an ideal setting for interacting with nature and discovering Mayan culture.

Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau

Gina Salazar