There are plenty of ruins to visit in Tulum, but we really recommended heading to the Muyil Ruins for a totally different experience than other Mayan Ruins. This ancient Mayan site contains many different buildings, pyramids, and temples that date as far back as 350 BC.
However, the best part of the Muyil Ruins is that they are practically empty compared to the other attractions around Tulum. If you’re hoping to explore a part of Mayan history without standing shoulder to shoulder with thousands of other tourists, make sure to add the Muyil Ruins to your itinerary. This undiscovered gem is definitely worth a visit during your trip to Tulum.
The Yucatan Peninsula is a fascinating region known for having many different archeological sites. No matter where you go, it feels like you’re always uncovering a part of history.
Where are the Muyil Ruins
Situated on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Muyil Ruins are located not too far from Tulum. It’s one of the 23 archeological sites in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
From Tulum, you’ll head down the 307 Highway for about 10 miles. You should see a sign posted on the side of the road marking the entrance to the ruins.
History and Facts About the Muyil Ruins
Established in 300 BC, Muyil became an important city due to its central location along the Caribbean coast. As one of the main settlements along this busy trade route, Muyil was able to create strong relationships with other pre-Columbian cities, including the ancient settlement of Coba.
Despite its influence on society, Muyil’s reign took a dark turn in the 16th-century, when Spanish conquistadors invaded the Yucatan Peninsula. Some of Muyil’s residents died from diseases that were brought over by the Spanish, while others fled to other cities. As they left, the city was abandoned and left to crumble into the ruins that you see today.
Now, you can wander through 38 hectares of the jungle to see the different structures that were once occupied by the Mayas. It’s important to note that while there are two different sites in Muyil, only one of them is open to the public. The public site is commonly referred to as Muyil A, while the private site is called Muyil B.
How to Get to the Muyil Ruins
The easiest way to reach the Muyil Ruins is by car. It’s a bit off the beaten path and harder to reach compared to other tourist attractions in Tulum; renting a car allows you to explore the area at your leisure.
If you do not have a car, it’s still possible to visit the ruins from Tulum by hitching a ride on the local colectivo bus. Make sure to get on the bus that goes from Tulum to Felipe Carrillo. Although the bus ride takes an hour, it drops you right in front of the entrance. While it’s easy to catch a bus going to the ruins, finding one heading back to Tulum is more difficult. They run less often and don’t leave until they are filled up.
- Entrance fee: 50 pesos per person
- Hours: Daily from 9 am – 5 pm
Top Things to See at the Muyil Ruins
Despite its small size, the Muyil Ruins have several significant buildings to see. The largest structure in the complex is the Castillo, the tiered stone pyramid that dominates the archeological grounds. At 57 feet high, it’s one of the most iconic structures in the Muyil Ruins.
Behind the Castillo is a small, hidden pathway. For an extra fee of 50 pesos, you’ll be able to trek through the jungle on a wooden boardwalk to admire the native foliage and fauna. This trail is part of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which is home to an abundance of wildlife, including howler monkeys, deer, and grey foxes. Even if you don’t get a chance to spot these wild creatures, you’ll still probably see a few smaller birds and butterflies.
Besides admiring the ruins, climbing to the top of the on-site observation tower is recommended. Shooting high above the forest canopy, the observation deck boasts stunning views of the sparkling Kaan Luum Lagoon. It’s a relatively steep climb but worth the effort if you’re interested in a birds-eye view over the jungle.
You should plan to spend about an hour exploring the ruins. If you plan to hike the trail or visit the Kaan Luum Lagoon, you should give yourself an extra few hours.
Tours that Visit Muyil
The Muyil Ruins are small enough to tour on your own. However, you’ll learn more about the history and area if you hire a local guide to lead you through the complex. They can give you more insight into what you’re looking at and the significance of the different structures and ruins.
Most tours also include stopovers to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the Kaan Luum Lagoon. For more adventurous travelers, consider joining a tour that allows you to float along the lazy river of the reserve.
Sian Ka’An and Muyil Archaeological Site Tour from Tulum
Make the most of your trip to Muyil with this all-inclusive tour. You will get time to explore the Muyil Ruins, and your guide will also take you on an exclusive boat tour of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. You’ll end the tour with a float down the lazy river as it meanders through the dense mangrove forests of the reserve.
This tour includes hotel pick-up and drop-off at your Tulum accommodation, transportation with a guide, and a picnic lunch. Click here to check availability and book online.
Private Tour to Muyil Ruins, Tulum, and Coba from Tulum
Check off three different archeological sites on this full-day tour around the Yucatan Peninsula. Your first stop is at the Muyil Ruins, where you’ll learn more about this important trading post with the help of your private guide. From there, you’ll visit the historic Tulum ruins, which are situated atop the rocky coast overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Finally, you’ll visit Coba Ruins, where you’ll be able to climb up the massive Nohoch Mul pyramid for sweeping views of the jungle canopy.
This private tour includes hotel pick-up and drop-off at your Tulum accommodation, transportation with a guide, and lunch. Click here to check availability and book online.
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Photos of Muyil Mayan Ruins