Mexico Archaeology Travel
…one of the many reasons this area is famous…
I was reading about the oldest buildings in America on Wikipedia, and boy was I embarrassed.
We don’t have any history!
We don’t have anything that’s older than 400 years.
All the oldest listed buildings in America are in New Mexico and Puerto Rico.
So while they claim to be on American soil, who are they trying to kid?
They’re only classed as ‘American’ because we stole their land in the mid 19th century (not that Mexicans would have done anything with the land anyways).
Then you compare it to Mexican history.
They’ve got buildings and ruins that date back over a thousand years.
It got me thinking about Mexico archaeology travel.
If you’re an American, and you’re interested in archaeology, then you have to travel.
Even if we did have ruins in America, they’ve probably been buried underneath a Walmart today.
Different Mexican Archaeology Sites Around Playa Del Carmen
All within 3 hours of Playa Del Carmen, there are some stunning Mayan ruins which demand exploration.
The most famous is Chichen Itza, which has been awarded as one of the new seven wonders of the world.
I’m not sure how it won this title because it’s not even new.
It’s 1400 years old.
The closest archaeology site to Playa Del Carmen is Tulum, a Mayan fort on a cliff above the ocean.
Many people visit Tulum, but for those who really like their archeology travel, then the Coba ruins should be on your list.
They’re quieter, mostly undiscovered, and grow out of the jungle.
Another popular site is the Ek Balam ruins near Chichen Itza.
You can climb the pyramids here and stand on where the Mayans practiced real human sacrifices to the gods.
Other Mexico Archaeology Travel Sites
The above sites are easily visited on day trips from Playa Del Carmen.
However there are some others for the really determined archeology travelers.
Uxmal is about 4-5 hours from Playa Del Carmen and was once home to 25,000 people.
It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and takes a full day to explore.
They have different towns that connect with each other and center on huge pyramid shaped temples.
The island of Cozumel also has some interesting Mayan ruins.
Mayan women would visit temples on the island if they wanted to get pregnant.
It was their version of a fertility clinic.
If you’re on a longer trip in Mexico then some other archeology ruins worth investigating are Teotihuacan near Mexico City and Palenque on the south western side of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Tours To Chichen Itza Archaeology Site
Chichen Itza are the most famous ruins and the most visited.
They receive over 1 million visitors a year.
They deserve their popularity.
They’ve been carefully restored and the sheer size and detail of the site is breathtaking.
I think some of the ruins are a little too polished and they’ve been restored to look like something from a theme park.
A tour to Chichen Itza from Playa Del Carmen will take 12-13 hours.
As they’re the most popular, there is a lot of competition between tour operators.
It’s a 3 hour drive and the tours usually include transport, lunch, entrance fees, and a guided tour.
Expect to pay about $60-70 USD per person.
Tours To Tulum Archaeology Site
For people who aren’t that interested in Mexico archeology travel then Tulum will be your best tour.
It’s less than 1 hour from Playa Del Carmen, and a tour is as cheap as $40 USD per person.
Plus, the ruins are situated on a cliff above what National Geographic say is the 4th best beach in the world.
So even if you don’t enjoy the temples and neat ruins, then you can always boast about how good a beach you’ve visited.
The Tulum archeology site is best visited early in the morning, and most tours leave early.
They normally take 4 hours, and you’re back in Playa Del Carmen by midday.
Tours To Ek Balam Archaeology Site
Ek Balam is the least visited of the Mayan sites around Playa Del Carmen.
I’m not sure why because I think they’re just as impressive as the others.
They definitely look the best in photos, as you don’t have a crowd of other tourists in the background.
But Ek Balam is far away.
It’s a 3-hour drive from Playa Del Carmen and a tour will cost about $115 USD per person.
My recommendation is to combine a trip to Ek Balam with Chichen Itza.
They’re about 1 hour apart and are very different from each other.
While Chichen Itza is about being wowed by size and beauty, Ek Balam is about exploring and discovering random temples and carvings.
Tours To Coba Archaeology Site
The ruins at Coba are still being discovered.
Walk through the jungle and they start appearing dramatically from nowhere.
If you wanted to play a mass game of hide and seek, Coba is a good place to come.
Coba is very natural and rugged.
They haven’t rebuilt or preserved anything, and this gives it an eerie feel.
Coba is about 1.5 hours from Playa Del Carmen and a 6-hour tour will cost around $50-60 USD per person.
Coba is after Tulum so for real Mexico archeology travel you can combine Tulum and Coba into one long day.
What To Take With You When Visiting Ruins?
You don’t need to be some geeky archeologist and dress in full khaki with a monoglass dangling from your shirt pocket.
Or wear the dreaded socks and sandals combo.
In fact if you dress like that I’m going to ignore you.
Archeology should be for everyone and these weirdos make it seem like some exclusive “old boys club.”
Just wear comfortable shoes, comfortable clothes, and a sunhat (or a fedora if you’d like to go Indiana Jones style).
And bring a good camera so you can do your best Indiana Jones impersonations.
Anything Else About Mexico Archeology Travel
Archeology travel isn’t just for dorks and the nerds.
These Mayan sites in Playa Del Carmen will take your breath away.
If you’re a real enthusiast then you’ve got a load of different ruins to explore.
And if you’re not as interested in them as I am, then at least pick one to broaden your mind.
You’ll be visiting places that are 4 times older than the oldest place in the States!
I hope to see you at one of the archeological dig sites soon…
Lots of love,
It’s your turn! You have experience traveling to and partying in Cancun? Tell us about it in the comments section below!