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Muyil Archaeological Site in Southeast Mexico

By Enrique Alcalá |

The Muyil archaeological site is a mind-blowing destination in Southeast Mexico. Learn the secrets of  its ancient Mayan structures. 

Quintana Roo is one of the most popular states in Southeast Mexico, as it was one of the main Mayan settlements. Some others are Tulum, Coba, San Gervasio and El Rey. Particularly, Muyil houses several of the most important ancient Mayan structures in the region. Its location in the Caribbean makes it one of the favorite destinations of the Mayan Riviera. In addition, its incredible nature makes it a perfect place to practice ecotouristic activities such as swimming in cenotes.

The Ancient Mayan structures of Muyil in Quintana Roo

DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, invites you to a destination that combines all the different attractions found in Quintana Roo.  We refer to the Muyil archeological site. Where? At the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It was established near the Mayan Riviera, only 21 kilometers south of Tulum. Its natural surroundings are the jungle and the lakes of Muyil and Chunyaxche. And their inhabitants are numerous animal species of birds, monkeys, insects, turtles, and crocodiles. These beauties make these ancient Mayan structures a very spectacular place to visit. We guarantee that you’ll want to be there and make a photo shoot.

History of the Muyil Archaeological Site

Archaeological findings in Muyil show that the city was inhabited for three very important and long periods. Evidence shows that these ancient Mayan structures existed during the Early Classical Era (300-500 AD), the Late Classical era (600-900 AD) and the Postclassical Era (1000-1500 AD). In case you’re not familiar with these historical Pre-Hispanic eras… The Postclassical period was the time of the Mixteca culture in Mitla (Oaxaca). It was also when the Mexica inhabited Tenochtitlan (nowadays, Mexico City). In addition, it was the same era of the Maya of Chichen Itza and Tulum. For this reason, the Muyil archaeological site shares similarities with other ancient Mayan structures. Actually, this is not just a coincidence. According to their location, the sites were interconnected by the Muyil Lake and the Caribbean. Therefore, archaeologists believe that the different cities shared cultural characteristics through commercial activity in the Caribbean Sea.

Interesting Facts About the Muyil Archaeological Site

  • The Muyil archaeological site covers an extension of 2 x 600 kilometers. It’s made up by a series of 48 structures.
  • El Castillo (The Castle) is the most famous among these ancient Mayan structures. It can be easily recognized by its height of 17 meters.
  • The first archaeological works in Muyil took place in 1997.
  • Since 2012 archaeologists have organized yearly fieldwork trips to the site as part of the Muyil Archaeological Project. Its purpose is to work on the Research and Conservation of these ancient Mayan structures.

Similarities Between Muyil, Tulum, Xel-ha and Xcaret

Mayan archaeological sites share similarities. For this reason, DINKtravelers recommends planning a route in which you visit and compare all of them. At the Muyil archaeological site, the tallest structures correspond to earlier eras (Preclassical and Classical). On the other hand, shorter structures belong to the Postclassical Era. These ones share more similarities with structures from other Mayan cities such as Tulum, Xel-ha and Xcaret. [Agregar carrusel slide smart que muestre estos tres sitios arqueológicos]

3 Archaeological Secrets of Muyil

Now you know the history and the importance of the Muyil archaeological site for the Mayan world. Therefore, it’s time to share with you some of the secrets researchers have discovered at these ancient Mayan structures. Are you ready?

Secret #1: The Numbering of Ancient Mayan Structures

The buildings that are found in archaeological sites are usually numerated. That is why sometimes you will hear the tour guides referring to these structures by numbers. Such is the case of the 7H3 structure. There, you can see fragments of colorful coating in the walls, as well as stucco.

Secret #2: Offerings at the Muyil Archaeological Site

Archaeologists found two offerings in Muyil. One was found on the stairway of the Castle. It included small masks elaborated in jade stone of different colors as well as seashells.

Secret #3: The Unexplored Areas of the Muyil Archaeological Site

North of the these ancient Mayan structures you’ll spot another building known as the Pink Temple. It has similar characteristics to a structure known as the Temple of Paintings. Around it, there’s a series of architectural complexes that have not yet been explored. For this reason, if you plan another visit to the Muyil archaeological site in the future, you’ll have new things to discover. According to archaeologists, these buildings had a political-administrative use.

5 Tips for Your Visit to The Muyil Archaeological Site

The time has come for us to share with you 5 tips. They’ll be very useful when planning your visit to these ancient Mayan structures.

Tip #1: Visit The Muyil Archaeological Site for Free

The cost of entry to the Muyil Archaeological Site is $50 (MXN). However, on Sundays it is free for Mexicans, so do not forget your ID! You’ll be asked to present it at the main entrance. This way, you can visit Muyil for free!

Tip #2: Climb up to Muyil’s Viewpoint

Behind the Castle you will find diverging roads. The first one takes you to the dock at the lagoon while the second one leads to the viewpoint. Go first to the viewpoint and enjoy the view of Muyil’s lagoon and jungle from up above. It is a perfect place for photography lovers. Bring money with you, because the tickets for the viewpoint cost $50 (MXN).

Tip #3 Boat Tour Across The Lagoons of Muyil and Chunyaxche

The Muyil archaeological site can be visited in a few hours. Hence, you will have time for an ecotouristic adventure across its lagoons. We recommend taking the ecological boat tour across the lakes of Muyil and Chunyaxche. Buy your tickets at the dock near the Muyil Lagoon. The cost is approximately of $600 (MXN) for 2 hours. Throughout the boat tour you’ll learn about the flora and fauna in Muyil. At the same time, the local guides will tell you which are the safest places to take a swim.

Tip #4 Bird Watching in Muyil

The Muyil archaeological site is an excellent place for fans of bird watching. It houses a total of 326 species, ranging from toucans and hummingbirds to wood storks. In addition, you’ll see endangered species such as the albo garzon, the jabiru, the American Stork, the white ibis and the dark ibis.

Tip #5 Close up to The Archaeological Works in Muyil

The Muyil archaeological site is open to the public. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the opportunity to see archaeologists at work. Take into account that fieldwork season at Muyil only lasts six weeks, so call the INAH and ask them when is the best to travel so you can meet the experts.

Now that you know everything about the Muyil archaeological site, prepare your trip to Southeast Mexico. Pack you swimsuit and don’t forget to take a biodegradable repellent. A great adventure is waiting for you at these ancient Mayan structures in Quintana Roo. Upon your return, share your travel experience with us.