Akumal Beach Villas


Just 15 miles south of Villa Zen del Mar, the ancient Mayan port of Tulum faces the rising sun and sits high on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean sea. One of the most historically rich sites in the Mayan world, the walled city of Tulum became important during the post-Classic period (1000-1500 A.D.). Its center is a plaza, or ceremonial center, which was used for rituals. The castle (El Castillo) is the site's most impressive building and offers a breathtaking view of the ocean and of the coastline. Don't miss the Villa of Columns, the Temple of the Descending God and the Temple of the Frescoes.


Deep in the jungle, Coba is surrounded by shallow lakes and is accessed by "sacbes," limestone roads built by the Mayans more than 1,000 years ago. Located about 25 miles west of Tulum, it served as a ceremonial center that flourished during the Classic period (300-1000 A.D.) with about 50,000 inhabitants. Its most important structure, Nohoch Mul, is the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan peninsula and stands 138 feet high. Cucmuc Mul and the Macanxoc Group, eight stelae and nine circular altars, are also important structures, exemplifying the architecture of the Maya of Petén (modern-day Guatemala) and the "east coast." The lake in the center of Coba is filled with crocodiles.

Chichen Itza

Marvel at the feats of ancient engineering at the most famous of Mexico's Mayan sites, Chichen Itza. Located between Cancun and Merida, it was the main ceremonial center of the Yucatan. The settlement was established sometime around A.D. 432 during the Mayan Classic Period. The arrival of the Toltecs during the 10th century heralded a new, blended style of construction, leading to the development of Maya-Yucatec architecture. Don't miss the Warriors' Temple, El Castillo and the circular observatory known as El Caracol.