Located in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, El Rey Archaeological Zone (Zona Arqueológica El Rey) is an archaeological site containing 47 ancient Maya stone structures. Named for a mask and skull found on-site thought to honor the Maya sun god, these ruins are the remains of ceremonial buildings and market areas.
If you’re staying in Cancun, visiting El Rey Archaeological Zone—also known as El Rey Ruins—is a great way to see ancient Maya ruins without traveling to Chichen Itza or Tulum. At the ruins, you can explore Maya history, take pictures of the many iguanas that live there, and enjoy views of Nichupte Lagoon and the Hotel Zone from atop the structures. Visit on your own or as part of a full-day tour of the area. Some excursions visit El Rey Ruins along with a cenote (underground swimming hole), an interactive zoo, and a ziplining park.
Things to Know Before You Go
- These ancient ruins are a must-see for history buffs.
- Remember to bring sun protection, plenty of water, and shoes suitable for walking on rough terrain.
- The ruins are not accessible to wheelchairs or strollers.
How to Get There
The archaeological zone is located at the westernmost tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, in Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Adjacent to the Iberostar Golf Club, the ruins are roughly 15 minutes by road from Cancun International Airport. The easiest way to get there is by taxi or on a guided tour.
When to Get There
You can visit the archaeological site year-round, although the Cancun Hotel Zone is busiest from December through April, when the weather tends to be sunny and warm. There are fewer crowds during hurricane season (May through October), but be sure to check the weather for storms.
What to See near El Rey Ruins
Mexico’s Caribbean Quintana Roo region is full of attractions, both natural and man-made. Nearby Playa del Carmen is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and shopping. The Maya ruins at Coba are also a must-see, with a 138-foot-high (42-meter-high) stone pyramid. Further Maya ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza are also great spots to explore. For an island getaway, visit the shores of Isla Mujeres or Cozumel.