Some of the major attractions in Mexico are its stunning archeological sites. You can reach a number of well-known Mayan ruins in the country from Playa del Carmen. Some of the more popular sites near Playa del Carmen include Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Coba.

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza was founded by the early settlers Maya-Itzas led by Itzamna after splitting from Acalon. The Maya-Itzas reached the Yucatan Peninsula around 435 A.D. to 455 A.D. The ancient city was occupied twice – from 495 A.D. to 692 A.D. and from 948 A.D. to 1204 A.D.

The first period’s architecture is considered to be authentically Maya, while the architecture in the second period is considered to have a large influence from Toltec. The architecture in the latter period has some elements similar to those found in Tula (ancient capital of the Toltec-Hueytlapalanecas).

Chichen Itza houses the largest concentration of Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. In this site, you can climb the central temple of El Castillo, very popular among local and international tourists because of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. The sunlight bathing the western side of the pyramid’s main stairway is truly a sight to behold. It gives the illusion of a snake’s body that moves nimbly down the pyramid until it joins with the snake head stone carving at the bottom of the structure.


Tulum is also one of the more places tourists visit in Playa del Carmen. While not as majestic as Chichen Itza, this Mayan ruin is still an imposing site. In fact, it is the smallest archeological attraction, but it is the most scenic Mayan site in the peninsula.

Considered by many tourists as the most beautiful Mayan site, Tulum is exquisitely poised on the 15-meter-high cliff overlooking the shimmering Caribbean. When the Spanish conquistadors first set foot on Tulum in early 1500s, they considered it as beautiful and divine as Sevilla in Spain.

Perhaps the Spanish colonizers were misled by their dreams of El Dorado – maybe because of the glory of Tulum’s position and the brightly painted facades of its architecture. Many thanks to its setting, this Mayan ruin sticks in your memory like no other.


Coba is a unique archeological site – it was constructed in between two lakes. Its main pyramid is world-renowned because it is the tallest in all of the whole Yucatan Peninsula. It towers 140 feet and overlooks the rainforest area. You can climb the amazing temple steps and will be treated by a magnificent view of the surrounding jungle and lakes. Coba is over 80 square kilometers of remains and buildings.