Best Mayan Ruins near Tulum

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5 Best Mayan Ruins near Tulum Mexico - 2023 Ultimate Guide

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Ready to explore some of the best Mayan ruins near Tulum Mexico?

Well… you’re in luck! There are over thirty public sites for you to marvel at within the Yucatan Peninsula, many conveniently located just a few hours from Tulum. And don’t forget about one very special piece of history right on world-famous Tulum Beach: an unforgettable experience awaits! 


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Are you seeking a firsthand experience of the ancient Mayan ruins? If so, I’m thrilled to share my insight on the Top 5 best Tulum archeological sites. From adventurers around the world, they are adding these spectacular pyramids to their Mexico bucket lists – and for good reason! So come along with me as we go through everything that makes each site special before your visit. It’s time explore one of history’s most captivating cultures together!

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Best Mayan Ruins near Tulum: Tulum Ruins
Best Mayan Ruins near Tulum: Tulum Ruins

1. Tulum Mayan Ruins

Located in Tulum, the ancient Mayan Ruins of Tulum lay perched atop sparkling turquoise waters and pristine white sand. These famous ruins are ideal for travelers looking to explore one of Yucatan’s smaller sites in just a couple hours or less. After soaking up all that this unique terrain has to offer, take the winding staircase down to Playita Tortugas where you can swim amongst some of nature’s greatest wonders. Exploring these magnificent ruins is undoubtedly one of the best things do while visiting Tulum!

Mayan Ruins Tulum
Mayan Ruins Tulum Mayan Ruins Tulum

When exploring Tulum’s Mayan Ruins, you’ll come across four iconic structures and buildings. These include The picturesque Templo del Viento (Wind Temple), the stunning Templo del Dios Descendente (Temple of the Descending God), El Castillo (The Castle) with its looming watchtower-like structure, and finally, a colorful marvel -the Frescoes Temple. Prepare to be awe-inspired by these breathtaking sights.

A roped path guides your way and each building has English-language signage that will tell you about its history. After taking in the ruins and basking on Playita Tortugas’ coastline below, head out to the renowned Tulum Beach Road for more!

Entrance Fee Tulum Ruins: $80 pesos ($4USD/€3)

Opening HoursTulum Ruins: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm

Fall Equinox at Chichen Itza Pyramid
Fall Equinox at Chichen Itza Pyramid

2. Chichen Itza

If you’re planning a bucket list vacation to Mexico, then visiting the majestic Chichen Itza should be at the top of your list! As one of only Seven Wonders of The Ancient World, this archeological site is visited by two million people annually who come from all around the world to witness its grandeur. Located in North America, it’s not only one of Mexico’s most popular ruins sites; it’s also second in popularity after Teotihuacan near Mexico City.

For those seeking to explore Yucatan Peninsula ruins, a trip to Chichen Itza is an absolute must while visiting Tulum. A mere 2.5 hours away by car or bus, it’s best if you start early and arrive at the site before 10:30 am when the crowds begin arriving in droves. By beginning your journey as soon as possible, not only will you avoid the hustle and bustle of larger groups but also gain access to this awe-inspiring historical marvel free from distraction for truly unparalleled experiences!

Chichen Itza Castilo
Chichen Itza Castilo

Chichen Itza, one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in Mexico, can be quite congested. To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the throngs of people and beat the scorching sun without any trees providing shade, make sure to visit early!

When you arrive at the ticket gate of Chichen Itza, it’s not only time to pay the admission fee, but also a chance to arrange for an experienced tour guide. Multiple certified guides are waiting by the entrance and can provide meaningful insight into this gargantuan archaeological site. Even though having a guide is optional, if you’re planning on visiting such a monumental place as Chichen Itza – possessing detailed knowledge that comes with getting one surely pays off!

Step inside the 740-acre site of Chichen Itza to explore a world of adventure! Start by admiring El Castillo, otherwise known as The Castle and Temple of Kukulcan in most photos. Then, meander your way towards the Temple of Warriors, Group of a Thousand Columns, Wall Of Skulls shaped like skulls from afar and Grand Ball Court — all before diving into Sacred Cenote for an unforgettable experience!

After a tiring day of exploring the ancient ruins at Chichen Itza, why not take advantage of some nearby cenotes like Cenote Ik-Kil? These swimmable sinkholes are within easy reach from Tulum and make for an ideal spot to cool off.

Entrance fee for Chichen Itza: $481 pesos ($25USD/€20)

Opening Hours Chichen Itza: Open daily, 8 am-4:30 pm

Coba Ruins pyramid
Coba Ruins Pyramid

Coba Ruins

Are you questioning if Coba is worth a visit? Absolutely it is! It’s the only ruin site on this list that allows guests to ascend its structures. Unlike Chichen Itza and Tulum Ruins, climbing upon the ruins at Coba Mayan Ruin site is possible. Located in the depths of jungle near Tulum (only 45-minutes drive or bus ride away), exploring all of what Coba has to offer could easily take four hours, which is why many people decide to rent bikes at the entrance for an even more enjoyable experience.

Pedaling your way around Coba, you’ll zoom past a plethora of structures, the crown jewel being Nohoch Mul -the largest pyramid in Yucatan. Be prepared for some unexpected encounters with tropical birds, monkeys and coatis (Yucatán’s raccoon-like creature) that frequent this area during your tour.

Greeting your arrival at Coba is the option of enlisting a tour guide, or for those wanting to traverse the grounds without walking; bike taxis are available. With Coba’s tropical jungle climate and its towering pyramids, who wouldn’t want an easier way around? From Nohoch Mul -the ruinous temple- to other smaller structures scattered throughout this ancient city, you can explore each area up close by climbing them with ease.

Coba Ruins Mexico

For those seeking an adventure, look no further than Nohoch Mul. This incline may seem straightforward at first glance; but take it from us, the 120 steps up are a bit steeper than anticipated! Despite this, the magnificent jungle views you’ll witness at the top will make every step of your climb worth it. Plus, there is a rope to help guide you all along your journey! And don’t forget to cool off in the Coba Cenotes.

Entrance fee Coba Ruins: $75 pesos ($4USD/€3)

Opening Hours Coba Ruins: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm

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Ek-Balam Ruins

Ek-Balam, which in the Mayan language translates to “black jaguar,” is located around two hours from Tulum. It’s probably one of the least traveled ancient Mayan sites on this Top 5 list; however, that just makes it all more exciting for those who make their way there – you may be one of only a handful exploring its wonders!

Unlike Coba, the primary pyramid in Ek-Balam is known as The Great Acropolis and can be scaled for extraordinary jungle vistas. With its thatched roofed areas, this Mayan structure stands out among other Yucatan pyramids; offering a unique opportunity to experience a rural landscape unlike any other!


Venture beneath the ancient structures to marvel at the intricate carved stone statues. Consider enlisting a guide for insight into their significant meaning, and make sure your phone is charged – you’ll want plenty of pictures! Ek Balam isn’t an expansive site; hence many opt to combine it with a visit to Valladolid, one of Mexico’s 130 renowned pueblos magicos (magic towns).

Tulum visitors should not miss the chance to explore Ek-Balam, a charming colonial town that serves as an ideal side trip destination. Combining these two destinations for a single day trip is highly recommended!

Entrance fee Ek-Balam: $413 pesos (20USD/€17)

Opening Hours Ek-Balam: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm

Uxmal Ruins

Situated in the Yucatan region, Uxmal is a remote yet awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site worthy of exploration. It ranks as the second most prominent Mayan archaeological site after Chichen Itza and can be reached by rental car or bus from Merida—which may merit an overnight stay. All together, venturing to this far off destination entails around four hours from Tulum; thus advanced planning is crucial!

Although Uxmal is not as celebrated as Chichen Itza, it offers the same impressive size and history with fewer tourists so you can explore to your heart’s content. Unlike El Adivino (The Pyramid of the Magician), which cannot be ascended, The Great Pyramid nearby allows visitors to climb its steps for a spectacular view.

Start your journey from the top of Uxmal to witness its exquisite buildings, including House of the Birds, House of the Turtles and Nunnery Quadrangle. If you are traveling by car, there’s an incredible opportunity for you – Ruta Puuc! It is a 19 miles/30km route which takes you through five magnificent Mayan sites; Kabah, Labna Sayil and X-Lapak as well as Uxmal — making it difficult to choose just one place.

In addition to the five sites along the Puuc Route, travelers can also explore two exciting attractions located near Uxmal – Choco-Story Chocolate Museum and Mayan Planetarium. For those with extra time on their Tulum excursion, these destinations are sure to provide a memorable experience!

Entrance fee Uxmal: $428 pesos ($22USD/€18)

Opening Hours Uxmal: Open daily, 8 am-5 pm

Bottom Line

Although Tulum is usually associated with its vibrant nightlife, there is a captivating historical side as well. Apart from the five archeological Mayan sites located near this bohemian beach town, many more can be found across the Yucatan Peninsula – just waiting to be discovered.

If you’re a traveler eager to discover the ancient Mayan sites in Yucatan, then head to El Rey and El Meco in Cancun, San Gervasio Ruins on Cozumel Island, Xel-Ha Ruins north of Tulum or even more remote yet equally magnificent Muyil located within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve just south of Tulum.

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