Cozumel Mayan Ruins Guide, Tips, and Tours
Although Cozumel isn’t especially known for Mayan ruins, there are some archaeological sites on the island and nearby. If you want to see the bigger, more famous ruins you will have to travel over to the mainland, but there are a few options right on the island.
We will cover a few ways to see ruins and get the Mayan cultural experience on the island, as well as some tips for seeing the ruin sites on the mainland. If you need help getting over to the mainland from Cozumel, be sure to check out our Cozumel ferry guide.
Ruins on the Island
The most well-known and impressive Mayan ruins on Cozumel can be found at San Gervasio. Located toward the northern end of the island, San Gervasio is believed to have been founded around 100 BCE. It is one of the pre-Columbian Mayan settlements, and was created to honor the goddess Ix Chel.
You can get to San Gervasio via any taxi on the island, or take a guided tour of the ruins. If you are looking for the best ruin experience on the actual island, we recommend visiting this site.
There are also many other smaller sites on the island that you may go right pass without realizing. For a great map of all of the ruin sites on the island of Cozumel, you can check out this Cozumel Mayan Ruins Map from Everything Cozumel. The site is a bit old and may not work well on mobile devices, but the map here is a great offering to check out!
In addition to the true ruin sites on the island, there are several parks offering a Mayan cultural experience. These “theme parks” seek to offer some insight into the Mayan culture through education, entertainment, and recreations. There are a few of these parks on the island that are worth checking out, especially if you have kids! It’s a fun thing to do in Cozumel if you have some free time.
At Kun Che Park, they offer a few standalone activities or an all-inclusive package. You can watch a recreation of the Mayan ball game, eat local food, dance, and learn a bit about the culture.
There’s also Chankanaab, a beach club that has a lot of different activities. In addition to dolphin swims and zip-lining, there is a recreated “replicas path.” This is a fun way to learn a little bit about Mayan culture through a recreated set of ruins with a guided tour.
Ruins on the Mainland
If you’re looking for the more popular and generally impressive ruins, you’ll have to head over to the mainland of the Riviera Maya. The ferry will take you right over to Playa del Carmen, where you can catch taxis, colectivos, or guided tours to many destinations. Check out our post Visiting Mayan Ruins near Playa del Carmen for our favorite places to visit in the area.
One of the most well-known Mayan archaeological sites is Chichen Itza. Located a few hours from Playa del Carmen, Chichen Itza is often the image people have in mind when they think of ruins in Mexico.
Another one of our favorite sites is Muyil. Muyil is much closer to Playa del Carmen and Cancun, and significantly quieter than other spots in the area. It’s right on the edge of Sian Ka’an Biosphere, and is a beautiful place to visit. You can take a taxi or colectivo right down to Muyil directly.