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Explore the Mayan Side of Cancun

Updated: Nov 28, 2018

Cancun is famous for spring break & the wild fun that comes with it. Parties, tropical cocktails & beaches are all usually part of the daily itineraries for adult vacations in Mexico. However, amidst all of this hectic fun in the sun are the remains of a civilization long gone. The Mayan empire dominated the Yucatan Peninsula thousands of years ago, but reminders of their presence still dot the landscape today, inspiring many people from all of the world.

If you're on vacation in Cancun, take a break from all the blissful chaos near the resorts to take a journey back in time. There are many attractions around this popular vacation destination that are easy to get to & will provide an excellent temporary alternative to the standard activities travelers experience at Cancun.

The ruins of Cancun Right in the middle of all the hotels, restaurants & clubs lies a piece of ancient history. El Rey is a series of ruins located close enough to Cancun that tourists can walk there, according to Visit Mexico. Though there aren't any great pyramids here, there are a couple of temples & plazas that offer a view of the level lands of the region.

Another interesting feature that comes with visiting El Rey is the population of iguanas that inhabit it, reported Mayan Beach Garden. Hundreds of these lizards live in the rocks & crevices of the Mayan ruins, & tourists can get remarkably close to them before they flee. This is because many of the park workers feed them tortillas, adding a unique twist for the visit.

Another spectacular location to explore is located a short drive to the southeast of Cancun. Tulum is one of the only remaining Mayan cities, & it offers a picturesque destination for tourists, as it's located on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, according to Visit Mexico. It's also one of the few cities to have been walled off by the Mayans. This was probably because of its importance as a key port to the civilization, but today it is simply a beautiful sight for visitors to enjoy.

Tulum is far enough away from the bustling Cancun that travelers who want a little privacy & tranquility can get it here. The beaches below the cliffs of Tulum are some of the only ones in the area not to be spoiled by the modern development of hotels & other tourist attractions. Its white sands & turquoise waters offer the perfect spot to swim, sunbathe & relax. As a bonus, visitors need only look up to the structures perched on top of the cliff to see a reminder of the past, reported The Travel Channel.

The largest standing structure at the site is known as the Castillo & sits at the edge of the cliff, overlooking the beautiful landscape. There's a path going around the ruins that leads to a set of stairs down to the beach for anyone looking for a swim.

Cancun's Mayan Museum A museum dedicated to the history & culture of the Mayan people was recently completed in Cancun, providing an attraction of stark contrast compared to those typically found in the city. Cancun's Mayan Museum gives tourists another great opportunity to learn about the people who lived in the same area they are in thousands of years ago.

Combined with the nearby ruins, the museum makes for a complete educational package for vacationers looking to do more than party. With three exhibition halls, the museum boasts quite a selection to entertain visitors, such as a skeleton over 14,000 years old & more than 350 artifacts discovered on digs in the area, reported Cancun Travel.

The next time you go on luxury travel to Cancun, explore a little of the culture that preceded the popular vacation spot of today.

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