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Best archeological sites in the Yucatan Peninsula

The Yucatan Peninsula is not only amazing for its nature and beaches. There are amazing archeological sites you can visit a learn about ancient Mayan culture. If you are planing a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula you have probably seen Chichén Itza and Tulum photographs. Yes, they’re the most famous and probably well preserved archeological sites in the zone, but there are also others that are worth visiting.

Chichén Itza: This is the biggest and the most well preserved archeological site in the region. It was recently catalogued as one of the 7 modern wonders. Here you can see the great Kukulkan Temple, where you can see in some times of the year a light serpent going down the stairs due to metrological reasons. The other main attraction is the Observatory where Mayan people studied astronomy (they where extraordinary astronomers and mathematicians). You can find a huge cenote in Chichén Itza complex that was used for human sacrifices. Indeed an amazing place.

Tulum: If Chichén Itza is the best preserved archeological site, Tulum is the most beautiful because of its surroundings. I could imagine that the people that lived in Tulum where the most relaxed hippies in pre-Hispanic America. The city was a very important market center, so these people where always in touch with other cultures. It has an impressive view of the Caribbean Sea, because it is located right in the coast. Imagine waking up everyday with the sound of the Caribbean waves! In Tulum iguanas are as relaxed as the surroundings. Don’t be surprised if you find hundreds of them sunbathing and chilling on the pyramids.

Uxmal: This is also one of the best conserved archeological sites. If you see it live, you can imagine why. It seems so solid and strong that you can ensure it will last a lot of time! In Uxmal one can appreciate cisterns and hydraulic constructions, which were very rare at the time and place when people lived there. Uxmal has a mysterious scent. A lot of legends and myths take place in this ancient city.

Dzibanche: This is the most distant archeological site according to the distances between the first three, in fact it is very close to the Mexican border with Belize. It is the biggest and most important, and certainly the most beautiful site in the south of the peninsula. Here you can find one of the most beautiful examples of Mayan architecture and decoration style. The complex is so big that it is even now still under investigation.

This list could go one forever, but I just mentioned this four sites for now. Every archeological site has its own particularity and beauty. Oh! I forgot to say that if you arrive to Cancun airport and catch a shuttle to Playa del Carmen or to your hotel you’ll see a ridiculously small pyramid five minutes after leaving the airport. That one is obviously fake!

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Here is a photo form Chichen Itza:

I visited Cancun in 2008 and have no desire to return, but my day at Chichen Itza truly salvaged that trip for me! I’ll eventually return to elsewhere in the Yucatan to visit more of these incredible archaeological sites. Also visited Cozumel and toured the San Gervasio site. Although not nearly as spectacular as the sites on the mainland there is some impressive architecture there and well worth a visit.

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Have you got a chance to go to Mayan Riviera? I know what you mean about Cancun and while beach is nice the rest is not so much. Playa del Carmen and Tulum are better in my opinion.

Yes, we spent a day at a sister resort near Playa del Carmen and found that much nicer. Did a bit of walking in town and although it’s busy, it was interesting and sure beat going for a walk down the main drag in Cancun. (Playa del Carmen had trees and grass which was a refreshing change, lol)

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