Muyil Travel Guide – Visiting the Mayan Ruins
Muyil is one of the lesser known Mayan sites. In general, places like Tulum and Chichen Itza will have hundreds or thousands of visitors on a given day. On the other hand, you may find yourself only running into a few others while visiting the Muyil ruins. In addition, you are directly next to the beautiful biosphere Sian Ka’an.
To read about hotels and places to stay in Tulum, check out Our Favorite Hotels in Tulum.
The Muyil ruins are located about 20 km south of Tulum. Unlike some of the more popular ruins in the Riviera Maya, Muyil is pretty undeveloped. You won’t find hoardes of people, gift shops, or even much signage. It’s a smaller site, but there are incredible pyramids and castillos to climb and visit. It’s small enough that you can certainly go by yourself, or you can take a Muyil tour to get some guidance and expertise.
Information and Visiting
There is no Muyil ruins entrance fee to our knowledge. As of mid-2018, you can visit Muyil and look at the ruins for free. However, if you wish to enter the Sian Ka’an biosphere end of the park, there is a fee of 50 pesos per person. Private tours and tour guides for Muyil will cost extra, but you can also go it alone.
Muyil is a pretty small site, covering much less area than Tulum or Chichen Itza. Although it may not have as many buildings or as tall of buildings as some other sites, it really is an incredible place to visit. This is one of the older sites in the area, believed to be one of the first settlements on the coast here. Believed to be established over 2300 years ago, Muyil has a rich history.
There are many tours you can take in the area to get some guidance. Most tours and guides will say Muyil Ruins AND Sian Ka’an Biosphere, and this is just beacause they rest right up against one another. We like this tour that offers small group tours, transportation from hotels, lunch, a river float, and an expert guide to see the ruins.
If you’re planning on doing a Muyil ruins tour, spend an hour or two extra to see the lagoons and biosphere. Muyil is beautiful, but the trip really is incomplete without seeing the surrounding area. There are beautiful lookout spots, clear lagoons, incredible wildlife, mangroves, and much more to see!
Getting to the Muyil Ruins
As Muyil is less of a tourist destination and south of Tulum, it’s not quite as easy to get to as many other sites of Mayan ruins. The first way to go is a colectivo. You can take a colectivo south from Tulum and they will stop at Muyil no problem. If you’re up in Playa del Carmen or Cancun, you’ll have to get to Tulum first to take a colectivo. You can read our post on getting to Tulum from Cancun at https://therivieramaya.org/cancun-to-tulum/ for information. If you’re staying in Playa del Carmen, you can find instructions on getting to Tulum at https://therivieramaya.org/playa-del-carmen-to-tulum/.
You can also of course rent a car or take a taxi. These options are generally more expensive, but can offer you more privacy and control. If you do a private tour, check to see if they include transportation from town or hotels. Many of the tours and excursions will pick you up and drop you off right back at where you’re staying. This makes visit Muyil super easy, and without the added step of worrying how to get there.
There are a lot of great ways to learn about the Maya people. Check out our list of the Best Mayan History Books if you’re interested in learning more!
Other Activities around Muyil
One of the reasons that Muyil is worth checking out is the handful of activities around the area. As Muyil is located just next to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, there is a ton of natural and preserved space nearby. You can explore the lagoon, visit cenotes, and float down canals and rivers. Here are a few excursions and activities near Muyil that we recommend checking out.
There are several large connected lagoons just east of the Muyil ruins. People ask us about the Muyil lagoon or Muyil laguna, but the lagoon is actually called Laguna Chunyaxche. Lagoon tours can run upward of 50 USD a person, but TripAdvisor reviewers seem to be more than happy with the experience provided. In our opinion, it’s totally worth doing, as this is one of the most beautiful areas we’ve been to in Mexico.
If you walk down to the lagoon from the ruins, you will find a small dock. Most of the tours are pre-booked, but you can sometimes catch a tour by just asking the captains.
There are multiple cenotes near Muyil, including Xulo, Caterpillar, and others. However, these are mostly cave-diving cenotes. If you don’t have experience cave diving, this may not be for you. Instead, head up northwest to the Coba area or to the cenotes on the highway north of Akumal (like Cenote Azul). If you have experience cave diving, these cenotes will be awesome for you. See ancient formations, stalagmites, stalactites, and quiet underground cave systems!
Muyil River Float
We’ve been asked a few times about the Muyil river float, so this is a late addition to this post. There isn’t really a Muyil river. Instead, they are small canals between lagoons in the area. You can float down the canals, as the water flows with the tides from one lagoon to the next. We recommend finding a tour for this, as you’ll need a life vest to really relax. This tour offers a trip to the ruins, through the mangroves of the biosphere, and ends with a float down the canals of the lagoon.