These are the most beautiful Mayan ruins and Mayan temples in Mexico

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Most people know that Mexico is a destination where you can immerse yourself in the ancient Mayan culture. This civilization was far ahead of its time with astronomy, mathematics, recycling and art. They had their own writing and for this they used hieroglyphic images. These images were painted on walls or put on stones. With their knowledge of astronomy, they developed their own calendar. You can find the most beautiful Mayan temples in Mexico and during a trip you can encounter many different Mayan temples. In this article we have listed our favorite Mayan ruins, Mayan temples and sustainable places to stay around these temples. 

1. Uxmal

Our favorite Mayan temple in Mexico can be found in Uxmal. Uxmal was built between 700 and 1000 AD. Thanks to the use of better materials and stones, Uxmal has remained one of the best-preserved Mayan temples in Mexico. This gives you the bes idea of what the Mayan cities looked like at the time.

The most famous building “Pyramid of the Magician“ is 40 meters high. Striking is its oval shape; normally the pyramids are square or rectangular. But there are even more impressive ruins to be seen in Uxmal. The big difference with Uxmal and for example the famous Chichén Itzá is that you can climb the many ruins and temples. This gives a fantastic views of the entire complex. It is also much less touristy which gives the location a more magical feel.

An eco-friendly place to stay near Uxmal

About a 15 minutes drive from Uxmal you find the Eco-Hotel Nueva Altia. The hotel is set in a beautiful setting in nature. The warm welcome, the tranquility, the cleanliness of the rooms is what makes this place very special.

2. Mayan city of Chichén Itzá

Near the colonial town Valladolid in Yucatan you'll find Mexico's most famous Mayan ruin: Chitzen Itza. The highlight of this centuries-old Mayan city is the great pyramid of Kukulcán. Around this pyramid you will find numerous smaller ruins and together these temples form the entire Mayan city.

The Mayan city of Chitzen Itza is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and has been named one of the seven modern wonders of the world. Go there early! After twelve o'clock in the afternoon the temple is flooded with buses full of tourists from surrounding towns.

An eco-friendly place to stay near Chichén Itzá

We recommend to go to Genesis Eco-Oasis. A one-acre Oasis of lush tropical gardens teeming with life, a pool of crystalline subterranean waters, fresh vegetarian, mostly organic home grown, home-cooked food.
Unique lodgings that compliment, rather than dominate, their natural surroundings. 

3.  Mayan ruin on the coast of Tulum

Located on the beach and a bright blue sea you will find the Mayan city of Tulum. This Maya temple was built on the edge of a cliff, since there was once a port. The site might have been called Zama, meaning City of Dawn, because it faces the sunrise. 

Tulum stands on a cliff facing east toward the Caribbean Sea. The walls surrounding the site allowed the Tulum fort to be defended against invasions. The location and appearance makes this ruin very special. Also with this Maya temple, it is advisable to visit the temple early. In the afternoon it is too hot and in the morning you can take a nice refreshing dip at the beach next to the temple.

An eco-friendly place to stay near Tulum

Designed for the environmentally conscious traveler seeking a luxurious getaway, Ahau Tulum offers eco-conscious cabanas and huts on the oceanfront. Enjoy daily yoga lessons and sunrise meditation or venture out to explore the ancient Mayan ruins located minutes away. This is a great eco friendly hotel. On they get an average rating of 8.9. 

4. Palenque

Maya city Palenque is perhaps the most impressive Maya city that we have visited due to its location in the jungle in a mountainous setting. You can hear the monkeys in the trees and you can climb most of the temples. At some you can actually go inside and see the tombs.

In addition, we found it fascinating to hear that only 10% of the total Mayan ruins are exposed at Palenque and that another 1,400 other temples are overgrown by trees and hidden in the Mexican jungle. These have all recently been discovered thanks to infrared cameras.

An eco friendly place to stay at Palenque

Hotel Casa Lakyum is eco-friendly and the location is very strategic, just a short drive from the entrance of the archaeological site. Above all, the hotel's location allows you to have fantastic views of the "chiapanecas" mountains directly from the pool, which is an ultimate experience.
The pool is made completely out of stone. This is an ideal hotel if you are travelling with children. Despite being completely immersed in nature (and therefore spectacular stars, animals, insects, wild noises of all kinds) the cleanliness was truly impeccable even in the common areas.

5. Coba

During the period 600 to 800 AD, around 50,000 people lived in Coba and the total area of the city was huge with 80 km2. It was considered an important trade center because of its extensive road network. It connected various Mayan settlements, including Chichén Itzá and the Caribbean. Only a part of the Mayan temples can be admired because the largest part is hidden in the jungle.

The special thing about Coba is that you can climb the 42 meter high Nohoch-Mul pyramid. Especially during sunset you will get a breathtaking view of the jungle. This needs to be on your bucket list.

The best place to stay at Coba

Inspired by the nearby Mayan ruins, Coqui Coqui Coba arises out of the jungle, displaying some of the most unique architecture in the region while also perfectly blending into the seemingly preserved natural surroundings.
Linked with a wooden bridge that hangs above, the unique design of Coqui Coqui Coba is comprised of two symmetrical limestone towers that feature outdoor dipping pools, lounge areas, and two suites.

Best time to visit Mexico for a temple tour

The best time to visit Mexico is from October to May. However December and the beginning of January can be very expensive to travel to the Mexican coast due to high season. Mexico is the most popular destination for Americans to escape winter. If you want to travel to Yucatan then the best months are February, March and April which are the driest months. Click here for the average weather in Merida, Yucatan. 

This article was last updated on June 19, 2023.