Top 5 Mayan ruins in the Riviera Maya

You come on vacation to Mexico and you want to see Mayan ruins, but you are not sure that they are the best to visit. Here are the differences:

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is by far the most popular Mayan ruin in the Yucatan Peninsula and is known worldwide. It is so popular because the main pyramid is really well preserved and the site is very large.

The entry price is also the highest. It is the only Mayan ruin site on this part of the Yucatan which performs a light show at night. Most people go there by rented car or organized tours. When it’s in tours be sure to ask if the entrance fee is included. Some tours may seem cheap, but you have to pay more locally. If you are driving, you must also take into account the tolls for paid roads.


Tulum is 40 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. The site is not very big but the most spectacular thing is the view of the ocean from the cliffs. The ruins of Tulum are accessible by organized tour or by renting a car and doing it yourself. Since these ruins are closer to Playa and Cancun, you can easily do it in half a day and you can say that you went to some ruins.

The ruins are in direct sunlight most of the time, but the good thing about Tulum is that you can jump into the turquoise waters just behind the ruins. Tulum ruins are the easiest and on sunny days will provide you with wonderful photos.

Ek Balam

Ek Balam has become a ruin to visit and is more popular. Usually done with an organized tour or by car by yourself.

There is a cenote attached to this site and you can pay extra to swim there. It can do some good after a hike around the ruins in the sun. There is even a pyramid that you can climb and you get a great view. These ruins are the third largest of the first four.


Coba is one of the favorite sites to visit, as it is in the shade in the jungle and there is the possibility of cycling between the pyramids, which is cool. You can also climb the steep steps of the highest pyramid. Bike rental is extra. It is possible to do it yourself by car and have a little adventure with a stop at a cenote.


Chacchoben ruins are in the far south of the state of Quintana Roo. These ruins are far away so it’s a long day trip or an overnight trip with a stop at Bacalar or another destination in the area. These ruins were officially opened to the public in 2002, so they are less known and the distance means that there are fewer people.

You really start to see the change in vegetation the further south you go and you may see monkeys in the trees. You may find yourself alone as long as there are no cruise ships in Mahahual. The site is semi-shaded and with some legendary hills.

Most people go there from cruise ships, so if you want to visit it on your own, you will need to have your own car.

For more info you can contact me, it will be my pleasure to help you!