Most travelers have heard of the ancient Maya ruins at Chichen Itza,but Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is also home to a variety of other lesser known archaeological sites. Much more than just a vacationer’s dream of sandy white beaches and stunning ocean vistas,the Riviera Maya was once home to a powerful civilization that left behind countless cities that are hidden like jewels in the tropical jungle.
In addition to Chichen Itza,Riviera Maya real estate is home to Mexico’s only seaside Mayan pyramid in the ancient town of Tulum,which lies about an hour and a half south of Cancun. As the country’s third most-visited ruins,Tulum is also an up and coming modern Mecca,attracting many of the world’s fashionistas and other travelers with its unique blend of history and modern,eco-chic vibe.
Just 40 miles from Tulum,the ruins of Coba are even older than Chichen Itza and an estimated 95 percent of the ruins here have yet to be uncovered from the jungle’s undergrowth. Still,there is plenty here for travelers to see,including a largely intact network of limestone pathways that linked Coba with other Mayan cities located throughout the peninsula.
Situated close to Chichen Itza,the ruins of Uxmal house a large Mayan ceremonial complex that visitors often find to be even more beautiful than the area’s other sites. Its distinctive artwork is beautifully displayed in a wide variety of intricately carved stone facades that provide the most striking example of Maya Puuc architecture to be uncovered anywhere in the world. The ruins are characterized by low,elongated palaces featuring elaborate cornices,corbelled arches,columns and walls that are covered with breathtaking stone mosaics and friezes.
Of course,Chichen Itza is still worth visiting as well and is largely regarded as one of the worlds most amazing ancient cities. The ruins are home to a wide variety of temples,monuments and Mayan ball courts that were at one time covered in brightly painted stucco. The ruins are expansive,presenting the ancient Mayan culture on a grand scale with a strong Toltec influence that is unique among archaeological sites throughout the Riviera Maya