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El Rey Ruins (Zona Arqueologica El Rey)

Visit the iguanas that now inhabit the spectacular ruins of this ancient Mayan city right in the heart of Cancun’s hotel district.

Cancun marks the entrance point to a historic region known as the Mundo Maya, or the Mayan World. Archeological research shows that the Mayan people have inhabited the area that covers parts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador since as early as 1800 bc. The area around Cancun was once an area of highly populated settlements. Today, evidence of these settlements can be experienced right in the heart of Cancun, at the El Rey Ruins.

The El Rey Ruins are all that remains of an ancient Mayan city, abandoned following the arrival of the Spanish settlers. As you explore the 47 stone structures and let your imagination fill in the details and color of ancient Mayan life. Climb to the top of the highest structure to find a Mayan temple and the burial site of an important Mayan figure. 

Some of the stone walls are still adorned with ancient paintings. While the murals have deteriorated with time, it is still possible to make out images resembling kings and other significant members of the community. While not as grand as other Mayan cities, El Rey is still highly atmospheric and offers an accessible introduction to the original inhabitants of Cancun.

The ruins have another, less expected attraction. Today, El Rey is inhabited by a huge colony of iguanas. The iguanas have become accustomed to human interaction, and are confident around people. Bring some fruit or bread to feed these fascinating creatures as they crawl between the ancient ruins.

El Rey Ruins are located in the center of Cancun’s hotel district, on the edge of the lagoon. They are best reached by bus or taxi, and paid parking is available in the hotel district. Entrance to the ruins is available daily for a very small fee, although this is waived on Sundays. The ruins offer little shade, so pack an umbrella, hat or sunblock.

Popular Activities at El Rey Ruins

Give yourself lots of time at El Rey Ruins. Here are some of the best things to do:

Trying out a Teotihuacan Pyramids & Guadalupe Shrine Full-Day Tour will help make visiting this famed attraction a memorable event!

Examine our Cancun things to do page to find more activities while you're here.


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Lodging Near El Rey Ruins

See all 1,082 Properties near El Rey Ruins
Iberostar Cancun Star Prestige All Inclusive, Adults Only $515
Iberostar Cancun Star Prestige All Inclusive, Adults Only

Iberostar Cancun Star Prestige All Inclusive, Adults Only

Boulevard Kukulkán KM 17 B, Cancun, QROO
     
    4.5
    of 5, from 121 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    This Cancun property is by the ocean, set on a private beach within minutes of Delfines Beach, El Rey Ruins, and Maya Cancun Museum. Also nearby are Aquaworld and Ballenas Beach.

    Iberostar Cancun All Inclusive $355
    Iberostar Cancun All Inclusive

    Iberostar Cancun All Inclusive

    Boulevard Kukulcan, Km. 17, Cancun, QROO
       
      4.3
      of 5, from 1,657 reviews
      5.0 out of 5.0

      Located in Cancún's hotel zone, Iberostar Cancun All Inclusive boasts its own private beach. Guests can walk 10 minutes to Playa Delfines and drive 20 minutes to the airport. History buffs can stroll 15 minutes to the Mayan ruins at El Rey, and shoppers can drive 5 minutes to the Luxury Avenue mall.

      The Royal Caribbean - An All Suites Resort $156
      The Royal Caribbean - An All Suites Resort

      The Royal Caribbean - An All Suites Resort

      Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 17, Lote 50, Zona Hotelera, Cancun, QROO
         
        4.1
        of 5, from 1,531 reviews
        3.5 out of 5.0

        This family-friendly resort is located in Cancun (Zona Hotelera), close to Maya Cancun Museum, Aquaworld, and Delfines Beach. Also nearby are El Rey Ruins and Ballenas Beach.

        Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive $270
        Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive

        Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun All Inclusive

        Blvd. Kukulkan km 16.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancun, QROO
           
          4.4
          of 5, from 6,541 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          This all-inclusive resort is on the beach overlooking the Caribbean, 8km (5 mi) from Cancun's restaurant and entertainment district, across the street from AquaWorld Marina.

          Seadust Cancun Family Resort - All Inclusive $289
          Seadust Cancun Family Resort - All Inclusive

          Seadust Cancun Family Resort - All Inclusive

          Blvd. Kukulcan km.16.9, Lote 52-04, Zona Hotelera, Cancun, QROO
             
            3.8
            of 5, from 536 reviews
            3.5 out of 5.0

            This family-friendly property is located in Cancun (Zona Hotelera), close to Maya Cancun Museum, Delfines Beach, and El Rey Ruins. Also nearby are Aquaworld and Ballenas Beach.

            Crown Paradise Club Cancun All Inclusive $281
            Crown Paradise Club Cancun All Inclusive

            Crown Paradise Club Cancun All Inclusive

            Boulevard Kukulcan Km 18.5, Cancun, QROO
               
              3.8
              of 5, from 1,885 reviews
              3.5 out of 5.0

              Situated along the less crowded southern Cancún Hotel Zone and overlooking the sparkling Caribbean Sea, the beachfront Crown Paradise Club Cancun is 15 minutes from the Cancún International Airport.

              GR Solaris Cancun & Spa - All Inclusive $253
              GR Solaris Cancun & Spa - All Inclusive

              GR Solaris Cancun & Spa - All Inclusive

              Blvd. Kukulkan Km. 19.5, Lt 59-2, Sección A, 2 da etapa Zona Hotelera, Cancun, QROO
                 
                4.1
                of 5, from 8,226 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Located in Zona Hotelera, this beachfront property is in the city center, 0.4 mi (0.7 km) from El Rey Ruins, and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Maya Cancun Museum. Ballenas Beach is 2.3 mi (3.7 km) away.

                Grand Oasis Sens - Adults Only - All Inclusive $189
                Grand Oasis Sens - Adults Only - All Inclusive

                Grand Oasis Sens - Adults Only - All Inclusive

                Ave Kukulcan Km 19.5 Hotel Zone, Cancun, QROO
                   
                  3.2
                  of 5, from 2,323 reviews
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Grand Oasis Sens - Adults Only - All Inclusive resort sits on a white-sand beach in the Cancún Hotel Zone; the international airport is 14.5 km (9 miles) away.