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6 Mayan Ruins in Cozumel (& Near Cozumel) To Visit in 2024

Wondering if there are any Mayan ruins in Cozumel? Well, of course! The two sites on this blissful island are small, but some of the most famous sites are only a day trip away. Let’s check them out!

You have chosen to make Cozumel your base for your next vacation? Smart choice! This mostly untamed island is paradise for nature lovers, avid divers or snorkelers, and those looking for some peace and quiet. 

And the great thing is that it’s only across the pond from Playa del Carmen, easily accessible by ferry, and with great connections to other main spots on the coast, such as Cancun and Tulum, so it’s a fantastic option to escape the resort crowds without going too far.

There are tons of things to see and do in Cozumel: cenotes, coral reefs, pristine beaches, a subaquatic museum, and marine life for epic diving and snorkeling. However, a trip to Yucatan can’t be complete without visiting Mayan ruins. Luckily for you, there are two archeological sites on Cozumel island, and some of the most famous sites on the mainland are easy to reach on a Mayan ruins excursion from Cozumel!

Here you’ll find information on the best Mayan ruins in Cozumel and around. Let’s get started, shall we?

COZUMEL MAYAN RUINS MAP

BEST MAYAN RUINS NEAR COZUMEL

San Gervasio

Distance from Cancun: 70.8 miles (114 km)

The San Gervasio Mayan ruins, located in the northern part of Cozumel, date back to as far as 100 B.C. and used to be a holy site for the Mayas. This settlement—the most significant of the Cozumel ruins— was dedicated to Ixchel, the goddess of fertility. Women would pilgrimage here from all over the Mayan territories to pray at these temples, which still stand today. 

Even if not comparable in size to the mighty ancient cities of the Riviera Maya, it’s worth checking out when on the island. Hiring a guide is a good idea to learn about the Mayan ruins and Cozumel’s history as a whole, but if not, there are informative signs within the site. The surroundings are gorgeous too!

➤  In this awesome Private Jeep Excursion in Cozumel you’ll get your own Jeep to drive around Cozumel, following your guide. It’s fully personalized, so you choose what you’d like to do: visiting the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio, snorkeling, horseback riding, jet skiing… you name it and they will deliver! ➥ BOOK IT HERE

San Gervasio Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 4 PM Cost of Entry Ticket: 193 pesos (9.50 dollars)

El Cedral

Distance from Cancun: 71.4 miles (115 km)

Visiting the Mayan ruins on Cozumel is good to get an idea of just how widespread the Mayan empire was. The ruins at El Cedral, on Cozumel, are the oldest site on the island, dating back to 800 A.D. All that remains now is the ancient fertility temple, which used to be a ceremonial site to honor the goddess Ixchel. 

It’s a very small site now, but it once was the capital of Cozumel, and the largest community on the island. The Spaniards tore most of the temples down, but there’s nothing to lose if you’re on this side of the island. There is a cenote nearby and El Cedral town is a cute little village.

➤ Here you can get Skip the Line Admission Tickets to the Mayan Temple at El Cedral, including free parking in case you happen to be in one of those cool jeep adventures! ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ Again, with this Private Jeep Excursion in Cozumel, you can tailor your trip to go from end to end of the island on a DIY Cozumel Mayan ruins tour in a single day, exploring everything in between according to your own wishes!  ➥ BOOK IT HERE

El Cedral Opening Hours: 24 hours Cost of Entry Ticket: Free

Tulum 

Distance from Cancun: 80.7 miles (130 km)

Arguably one of the most picturesque Mayan ruins in Mexico, the Tulum ruins site is perched at the edge of a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. This ancient settlement was once a fortress surrounded on three sides by thick limestone walls to protect it from invasions (the fourth side is the ocean). The main pyramid, called El Castillo, is very well preserved and used to serve as a lighthouse.

A must-visit when in Tulum, it can also be accessed from Cozumel, since the island is almost literally across the pond. Given its privileged position over a cliff, the Tulum archeological site boasts breathtaking views of the sea and the Tulum beaches, and there’s even a secluded beach directly under the site that you can access to cool off after your tour.

And if you still have time after visiting the ruins, go and swim at some cenotes in Tulum – they are the best!

➤ This Express Tour to Tulum Mayan Ruins from Cozumel takes you on a scenic 45-minute ferry ride to Playa del Carmen followed by a bus ride along the Riviera Maya to the Tulum Archeological Site. A knowledgeable guide will tell you all the secrets of this walled city and its civilization. Water, guide, snacks, and round-trip transportation are included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Tulum Opening Hours: Daily from 9 AM to 5 PM Cost of Entry Ticket: 80 pesos (4 dollars)

Coba

Distance from Cancun: 83.2 miles (134 km)

Usually overlooked in favor of nearby Chichen Itza, Coba was a very important city in Mayan times, and rather than a single town, it comprised a collection of settlements connected to a main pyramid. The site is huge, spanning around 30 square miles, and structures are very well preserved.

The best way to visit the Coba ruins is to walk around from site to site or to cycle under the green canopy of the Yucatan jungle and feel the breeze on your face! The main pyramid at Coba is the tallest in Yucatan (42 meters/137 feet/120 steps), and the good news is that you can still climb it, which is forbidden in most of the other sites. 

Located in the jungle between Tulum and Valladolid, Coba is not nearly as crowded as the others, so you’ll feel more at leisure here. Very much worth the visit!

Coba Opening Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 5 PM Cost of Entry Ticket: 80 pesos (4 dollars)

Chichen Itza

Distance from Cancun: 122.4 miles (197 km)

No introduction needed, right? Chichen Itza was a major political, religious and cultural center for the Mayans and it remains one of the greatest archeological sites throughout the Americas. It’s also the biggest tourist attraction in Mexico and has been named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Its famous step-pyramid is as imposing (or more) as in the photos you’ve seen, surrounded by tons of impressive monuments, temples, and very well preserved structures. With a rich and compelling story full of mysteries, it’s surely worth your time.

Visiting Chichen Itza from Cozumel is fairly easy although it will take some good time to get there. It’ll require a ferry to Playa del Carmen and then a road trip to Chichen Itza. You can also hire one of the many tours available on the island.

Chichen Itza Opening Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 4 PM Cost of Entry Ticket: 533 pesos (26 dollars)

El Meco

Distance from Cancun: 5.6 miles (9 km)

El Meco is an ancient Mayan settlement opened to the public only very recently. A stone’s throw from Cancun, green, and quiet, it makes for a pleasant visit if you’re in the area!

The site is small and very well preserved. On top of the serene atmosphere and the shade provided by the trees, the highlight here is the pyramid, which you can climb to get stunning views of the sea (all the way to Isla Mujeres), the jungle, and the Cancun lagoons.

It’s super easy to get there from Cancun, a local bus will drop you off, and it’s a great site to visit with kids. Say hi to the many iguanas that live there for me!

El Meco Opening Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 5 PM Cost of Entry Ticket: 55 pesos (3 dollars)

MAYAN RUINS NEAR COZUMEL FAQ

Can you visit Chichen Itza from Cozumel?

Yes, you can! This will require a day trip (about 132 miles/ 213 km), but it’s certainly possible. You’ll need to take the ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen, and travel by bus or car from there. You can always join a tour and forget about logistics, since they’ll take care of everything.

How far are the Mayan ruins from Cozumel?

There are only two Mayan ruins in Cozumel. Mexico, however, is full of them, and many of the nicest ones are reachable from the island on day trips. The main ruins near Cozumel are between 56 and 136 miles (90-220 km) from Cozumel. The two sites on the island itself are almost on opposite ends of the island, some 21 miles (35 km) apart.

Where are the Cozumel pyramids?

There are no pyramids in Cozumel, but there are temples in the two sites on the island: San Gervasio and El Cedral. The San Gervasio ruins are on Cozumel’s northern half, while El Cedral is located on the southern end of the island.

Rochelle Kirchner

Sunday 21st of May 2023

We are traveling to Cozumel in February