The ancient Mayan city of El Meco began its existence as a fishing village around the year ad 300. When the fishermen abandoned the city in ad 600, El Meco lay dormant for almost 500 years, before it was repopulated as a thriving trade center prized for its proximity to the Caribbean coast. As is the story with many former Mayan settlements, the city was again abandoned during the 16th century with the arrival of the Spanish. Today, the El Meco Archaeological site is a popular tourist destination and remains a site of significance to the Mayan people.
El Meco’s remnants consist of 14 structures, located between the coast and an expansive lagoon. The centerpiece of the archaeological site is the 41-foot-high (12.5 meters) Mayan pyramid. Mayan pyramids can be found throughout parts of Central America; however, this is the only one in the Cancun area. Known as El Castillo, or The Castle, the pyramid features a temple at its top. Climb the pyramid’s steps to reach the summit and take in the stunning views of the nearby lagoon.
While the El Meco site is only small, it has been well looked after since excavations began in 1997. Today, its employees continue to keep the structures well kept and are happy to show you around the ancient temples and administrative buildings of the city. Shade yourself from Cancun’s relentless sun under the branches of the old fig tree that grows within a small temple on the site.
An adjoining archeological site shows signs that the city was once an extensive port and commercial district, and may have been the former gateway to Isla Mujeres. Much of this area has not yet been formally explored by archaeologists. The Mayans have since long gone, but the site is now alive with native birds and iguanas that add to the atmosphere.
El Meco is located approximately four miles (six kilometers) north of Cancun, along the coastal road. The site can be reached by bus, taxi or chartered tour from Cancun. The site is open daily for a small fee, and parking is free.
This beachfront resort is a 30-minute drive from the airport. This luxury beachfront resort is located on a quiet beach, next to Playa Mujeres Golf Club and the Mayan ruins at the El Meco archaeological site. A quick 5 minutes from the ferry dock, enjoy day trips to Isla Mujeres' North Beach, which features swiming with whale sharks and dolphins. Only 15 minutes from malls and tourist attractions such as the aquarium, Museo Maya, as well as bars and restaurants.
Located in Playa Mujeres, this beachfront resort is next to a golf course, 1.6 mi (2.7 km) from Playa Mujeres Golf Club, and 2.4 mi (3.8 km) from El Meco Archaeological Site. Norte Beach and Las Perlas Beach are also within 9 mi (15 km).
Nestled on the beach, this Puerto Juarez resort is within 3 mi (5 km) of El Meco Archaeological Site, Norte Beach, and Gran Puerto Pier. Puerto Cancun Golf Course and Séptimo Día Adventist Church are also within 3 mi (5 km).
This beachfront condo building is located in Cancun (Puerto Juarez), close to El Meco Archaeological Site, Gran Puerto Pier, and Punta Sam Ferry Terminal. Local attractions also include Séptimo Día Adventist Church and Puerto Cancun Golf Course.
Nestled on the beach, this Puerto Juarez condo building is within 3 mi (5 km) of El Meco Archaeological Site, Norte Beach, and Gran Puerto Pier. Puerto Cancun Golf Course and Séptimo Día Adventist Church are also within 3 mi (5 km).
Located in Puerto Juarez, this beachfront bed & breakfast is in the city center, 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from El Meco Archaeological Site, and 2.6 mi (4.2 km) from Gran Puerto Pier. Norte Beach and Playa Mujeres Golf Club are also within 6 mi (10 km).
This beachfront condo building is located in Cancun (Puerto Juarez), close to El Meco Archaeological Site, Punta Sam Ferry Terminal, and Gran Puerto Pier. Local attractions also include Playa Mujeres Golf Club.
Nestled on the beach, this Playa Mujeres resort is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) from El Meco Archaeological Site and 2.2 mi (3.6 km) from Playa Mujeres Golf Club. Norte Beach and Gran Puerto Pier are also within 6 mi (10 km).