The Mayan Riviera, also known as the Riviera Maya, is a stretch of Caribbean coast which runs from Cancun to the Mayan ruins of Tulum. Located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo on Mexico’s east coast, the Riviera is a thriving tourist hotspot. Whether visitors to the area are searching for ancient Mayan ruins or simply looking for beachfront Riviera Maya Villas, this stretch of coast has it all. History and luxury combines in this part of the Mexican Caribbean.
There are many Mayan ruins to be found scattered throughout the Riviera Maya, here are some of the best but often less visited sites for tourists to discover.
The Mayan ruins of Becan lie along the Quintana Roo-Campeche state line and six km west of Xphil. There are 20 major ruins for visitors to wander, spread over a relatively smalls site with a number of temple pyramids and lots of jungle to marvel too. The Mayan site is usually quiet, allowing visitors to roam unrestricted and away from other tourists. Becan was the political, religious and economic capital of the province known today as Rio Bec and is a three to four hour drive from Tulum.
Chacchoben is home to a series of excellent but seldom seen Mayan Ruins. Living around 180 km south of Tulum, the ruins are a series of restored temple pyramids which seem to take on a mystical quality surrounded by towering jungle.
In stark contrast to Chacchoben is the Chichen Itza site, the most popular and visited Mayan site along the Riviera Maya. With 18 structures restored to their former glories, of which Pyramid Kukulcan is the tallest and allows stunning views from the top over all of Chichen Itza. The spring and fall equinoxes, 21 March and 21 September, sees the sun creates shadows down the steps of the Kukulcan which are said to resemble a snake descending.
The Muyil ruins can be found 25km south of Tulum. This rarely visited site is superb, the ruins are only partially excavated and the jungle is still in command here. A path-boardwalk winds its way through the ruins and jungle to Laguna Muyil, the observation platform gives amazing views of the surrounding, lagoon tours are also available.
The Uxmal Mayan ruins were once home to 25, 000 Maya. The name Uxmal means ‘thrice-built’ in Mayan and refers to the Pyramid of the Magician’s construction. The Maya would build new temples over existing ones and in the Pyramid of the Magician’s case there have been five stages of construction discovered.
Tulum’s Mayan ruins are some of the most impressive in the area. Facing the sea, the ruins are impressive and powerful, known as the ‘Walled City’ Tulum was one of the most important cities of the ancient Mayan. A bathing beach can be accessed directly from the site by a stairway found next to the El Castillo pyramid.