A day through history and archaeology in Cancun


There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of them, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost for you. Please read my disclosure and privacy policies to be fully informed.

Share this Post

Archaeology, CANCUN-  I have too much going on and getting overwhelmed is not really helpful. So I decided that every week-end I would focus on one specific task and I would dive in, literally. However, you never think about the unexpected. As it happened this past Saturday when  I was determined to  dedicate my 3 days off  from work to photography: studying, learning, practicing, editing and publishing.

On Sunday I woke up at 5 am and after my so much needed coffe and a shower, some cuddling to the kittens and fixing their meal, off I went with my camera, swim suite and a towel, just in case I decided to jump in the water.

Destination: sunrise at Playa Delfines, one of the most popular spot in Cancun. Here is where every traveller comes and takes their picture on the CANCUN sign at the ”mirador”, a slightly elevated point overlooking the beach where they have located a huge and coloured Cancun Sign.  It is beautiful indeed, no question.  However never would I have thought that at 6.30 am, the time I arrived, it was as crowded as if it was noon. I was glad to see Mexicans  enjoying  their own treasures, and a few tourists too, as I very well know how little we tend to appreciate our own home.


Sunrise from Playa Delfines

There was even a competition among the local beach lifeguards, which probably attracted more visitors, even though the majority were couples, families with their little ones and groups of friends hanging out and just enjoying the early morning breeze, the sound of the waves crushing on the shore and the sun coming out from the horizon; the little sandpipers running on the shore and seagulls playing in the wind.  It was a spectacular show indeed, peaceful and soothing. 

I shot for about 2 hours. Beautiful! After pondering how the hard work was yet to come when I would have edited all the 300 photos I took, I had a better idea.  I remembered that just a few steps from that beach there was an archeological site ”El Rey” to which I never give credit as I thought it was “just a bunch of rocks” compared to the grandeur of Chichen itza’ or the fascinating Tulum. Therefore I decided to finally pay a visit and with no regrets at all.

I realised then, that my original plan was about to be totally screwed… true is I would have taken a lot of shots, but that was not what I was meant to be doing all day. To make it worse, or not,  I also  ended up visiting  the Museo Maya as well, which I had never seen before. (SHAME!!)

… AND to add more to it, I totally sticked to the travel mood all day and the in the next days I kept visiting other stuff exercising what I knew about photography but not leaving time for more learning.

But, that’s what life is all about, right? make plans, turn them around, take the opportunities as they come and go with the flow. And so I did and it was amazing, enriching, energising…. stick around if you want to know more about my next adventures. 

Keep reading here below if you wish to know more about the cultural visits you can enjoy in Cancun.



El Rey – Cancun

It is a tiny site but with a lot of charm in it. The grounds are flat and immaculate, as if a green carpet has been rolled down for you. The temples and dwellings (or what remains of them), in total 47, are almost perfectly aligned on the sides of a 520 mt aisle, or what it looks like it, only interrupted by a ceremonial centre formed by two plazas. The whole settlement is surrounded by any sort of palm trees and other tropical plants which were  offering a sort of natural decoration and isolates you from the main road and civilisation. Everything looks so tidy and perfect that I had to ask the guardian whether that was the original site or it have been brought from somewhere else.  Silly me.

Of course it is real. I am just baffled  that despite the massive and fast edification of the hotel zone and all the financial interest involved,  this little piece of history has been speared and well preserved, a little corner of history in the hip Cancun for you to enjoy.

Located right in front of Playa Delfines around KM 18.5 – Opening hours 8 am – 5 pm Cost 40 pesos (2,5 usd)

But surprises didn’t finish… if you follow me this is typical of me, when I start discovering something… it works like a domino. Remind me I need to research  about that. When you want something and you make your own steps, the universe will conspire to help you… Not sure if you believe it or not, but it certainly does for me.

On my way out of El Rey, I was so satisfied and fulfilled, that I thought I would  stop by the Mayan Museum which was on my way home and for resident is free on Sunday (just like all the other sites). I mean it’s just a few bucks, but the fact that I had the same privileges as a Mexican citizen made me feel some sort of pride. Besides  I had some time before my kittens could  accuse me of abandoning them.



Archaeological Site San Miguelito

So here I am, presenting my credentials to the ticket office and walking freely and proudly (how silly!) across the gate.  The hall was  huge and empty. Good. The museum is all for me. After pleasantly watching a few kids focusing on their art works in a class, I kept walking along the bizarre walkway on the ground floor, which caught my attention; labyrinth shaped, making its way through  immaculate gardens, only interrupted by original coloured cartoon statues representing characters of mayan mythology. Beautiful and immaculate. Following the little maze, only later did I realise that  I missed the main entrance of the Museum Exposition, but that was not a bad thing as I have found out about another archaeological site of which I never new the existence, nor would I have ever known, hadn’t I decided to visit the museum.


Walking around the site San Miguelito – in the Museo Maya

The site was tiny but significant with a couple of Pyramids, but what I loved about that was the immaculate jungle garden, with huge secular trees elevating from their enormous emerging roots, palms and the sac be’ like trails that lead me to  the temples through the thick vegetation.  It was just beside the main road and yet so peaceful that you don’t even realise where you actually are. An oasis of tranquillity in the crazy hotel zone party arena. The site is called San Miguelito and it was a very important mayan settlement during the late post classical period of Mayan Prehispanic History (1250-1550 BC). Along with El Rey, San Miguelito was part of a large complex of Temples, houses and other constructions protected from the sea by sand dunes which is where the hotels have been built.  What a refreshing discovery! that actually put my imagination at work thinking about the whole area back in the days when the mayan civilisation was in charge.  So fascinating! I became even more eager to know all the information that the museum would provide. And in fact it was indeed very informing, without being too long and tedious.


Representation of mythological characters of the Mayan Culture. The panel has been brought from the settlement of Chichen itza’.

It is actually only 3 rooms, one of which it’s dedicated sometimes to a temporary exhibition whereas the remaining others offer a good summary.  Situated on the top floor of the building where after the visit you can enjoy a stunning view of the lagoon, the museum offer a nice summary of the history of the mayan civilisation and its evolution; and it shows a good number of archaeological finds, very well organised throughout the two rooms. Explanation boards are translated into English, as well as the TV screens, where you can also watch interesting videos, are also either in English or Spanish.

Located on the Av. Kukulcan km 16.5 – Opening hours: 9 am – 18 pm – Cost 65mxn (4 usd)

I left very satisfied about my half a day cultural experience. But there is one more thing I want to suggest.

MECO In Cancun we have another mayan settlement called MECO situated right in the city,  passed Puerto Juarez on the way to Isla Blanca. So you could actually organise the 2 visits in the same day.


An old phone pic during one of my Sunday morning walks around the MECO

As you can imagine, also this site is situated closed to the water which would have facilitated the commercial relationships with  the other sites mentioned above. What remains or has been re-emerged of the MECO settlement is very little, but it still offers an interesting walk in the mysterious tropical jungle. During the solstice of spring this site becomes the home of   some mayan ceremony to salute the new season and ask to the gods and goddesses for another blessed summer.

Open every day from 8 am to 5pm – Entrance fees around 3 usd.

Well, my fellow travellers, I believe I told you all the essential. Thanks for reading all the way to the end. And if you enjoyed the article I would really really appreciate it if you could share it on your favourite social media and click on the small heart above the title. Till next time. 🙂

If you wish to check out rates and availability in Cancun you can follow this affiliation link.

If you loved it, you can share it

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.