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One of the main lures of the Riviera Maya is its wealth of archaeological treasures which date back to the distinct eras of the Mayan culture. Here you can learn about the rituals, customs, traditions, architecture, astronomy and even the boating practices of this pre-Hispanic civilization.

When visiting the ruins, you’ll see astonishing buildings surrounded by lush jungles that overlook the Caribbean Sea.

Coba. Located 105 km (65 mi) southwest of Playa del Carmen and 42 km (26 mi) northwest of Tulum on Highway 307. In this Mayan city you will find several monumental buildings, an extensive network of roads, several important steles and five lakes which form the heart of this ancient metropolis: Coba, Macanxoc, Sacalpuc, Yaxlaguna and Xcanh.

Tulum. Located 128 km (80 mi) south of Cancun on Highway 307. This was one of the main cities that the Mayans built near the ocean. Currently it is a national park with an expanse of 644 hectares (1,590 acres). The ruins stretch 6 km (3.5 mi) along the coast, and the grounds include lodging facilities, a modern mall with Mayan-like architecture and designs, and several restaurants where you can enjoy the region’s traditional cuisine. Among the must-see Mayan structures are: el Castillo (The Castle), el Templo del Dios Descendente (The Temple of the Descending God), el Templo de los Frescos (The Temple of the Frescos) and El Templo del Viento (The Temple of the Wind).

Muyil. Located 15 minutes south of Tulum. It is one of the oldest Mayan cities and the ruins are surrounded by dense vegetation. El templo de El Castillo (the temple of the Castle) stands out as one of the highest structures on the coast. Muyil borders the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve.

Xaman-Ha. Located in Playa del Carmen, 68 km (42 mi) south of Cancun on Highway 307. Here you’ll find several structures and a temple as the main archaeological attractions.

Xcaret. Located 8 km (5 mi) south of Playa del Carmen off the Cancun-Tulum Highway 307. This ecological park offers attractions you won’t find elsewhere, such as the archaeological ruins of one of the most important ceremonial centers of the Mayan culture. Its natural beauty is one of a kind and benefits from ponds, caves, underground rivers full of colorful fish, and a reef aquarium. This park’s archaeological design allows visitors to admire the platforms and buildings of a ceremonial center, like such structures as the Caracol, the Main Temple, the miniature temples and the residential areas.