Explore Mayan Ruins in Mexico on a Western Caribbean Cruise
If you are intrigued with the history of the Mayans and exploring these ancient ruins are on your bucket list, a Western Caribbean cruise with stops in Mexico is the way to do it! Not only does a Caribbean cruise to Mexico give you a chance to discover several ruins spread across various destinations, but it is much cheaper, more fun, and way more relaxing then trying to plane hop from destination to destination. The best part, these Caribbean cruises to Mexico start at only $159.
The Maya civilization is well known for being extremely advanced in their developments of a complex calendar system, written language, and scientific inventions. Despite all of these advancements this ancient civilization decided to flee their locations. The reason for abandoning their cities and the demise of the Mayan civilization still remains a mystery. To this day archaeologists, scientists, and historians still scour these ruins in hope of getting a glimpse into the history of this amazing civilization and the reason behind this cultures downfall.
One of Mexico’s major attractions is the Mayan Wonders along the Yucatan Peninsula. Here cruisers have the opportunity to explore cities packed with temples, pyramids, castles, and citadels almost 3,000 years old. There are three major port stops in the Yucatan Peninsula; Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Belize that are available on itineraries cruising out of Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.
THE ISLAND OF COZUMEL: Cozumel’s Mayan Ruins is a must see! Mayan myth claims that Cozumel was once home to the gods. Here you will find Mayan temples and castles right off the coast, ready for exploration. There are several Mayan excursions available in this port city for you to choose from, trust me, the hard part is deciding which ruins to explore!
San Gervasio Ruins: This site was once a place of worship to the goddess Ix Chel for the Mayan people. Ix Chel was said to be a deity of childbirth, fertility, and medicine. It is said that Mayan women would travel to this location at least once in their lives to visit this shrine. Throughout this area you will find several artifacts featuring the goddess Ix Chel. The San Gervasio site is said to date back to 300-400 AD and is a quick trip from the Cozumel port.
Coba Ruins: Further inland you will find the lost city of Coba where the tallest Yucatan pyramid, over 120 feet, is located. Dating between 100 BC and 100 AD this site has only had a few of its over six thousand structures uncovered. Here there are approximately 16 sacbes (white roads) and three temples open to the public to explore. . In its prime this was said to be one of the most populated Mayan cities. Some believe that at one point Coba and Chichen Itza had a bit of a struggle against each other for power and Chichen Itza ended up coming out on top.
Chichen Itza Ruins: Explore the Chichen Itza ruins where the famous El Castillo pyramid is located. In fact, Chichen Itza is such an amazing ruin it was added to the list of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2006. However, to have the opportunity to see all that is offered of the Chichen Itza ruins you will want to find a cruise ship that stays in port at least 12 hours. Several cruise lines offer a shore excursion to Chichen Itza.
COSTA MAYA: In Costa Maya you will find two famous Mayan Ruin excursions. Chacchoben ruins, which is an approximately 50 minute car ride from the port and the Kohunlich Mayan Ruins which is around 1.5 hours away.
Kohunlich Ruins: Although furthest away it’s totally worth the drive to see the fabulous Kohunlich ruins. These ruins were built around 4th century AD and feature magnificent temples and there ceremonial grounds. The Temple of Masks is Kohunlichs most famous architectural feature. The lower sides of this temple are made up of several sculpted masks that range from 6 to 8 feet tall. These 3 dimensional masks still show some of their original color and have many symbolic messages. Another fun feature in this area is the wildlife. Keep an eye out for spider monkeys, deer, armadillos, and many other fabulous creatures.
Chacchoben Ruins: The Chacchoben ruins are one of the most popular ruins tour in Costa Maya. Once you have been you will understand why, these Mayan grounds are amazing. These particular sites temples were most likely built around 300-500 AD. but the area was said to be inhabited by Mayan people as early as 200 AD. Many of the temples in Chacchoben are in their original condition and have yet to have all of their secrets unveiled. This site features beautiful pyramids; at the base of one of the pyramids on display visitors have a chance to view Mayan hieroglyphic inscriptions carved into stone.
BELIZE: Last but not least on the list are the amazing ruins surrounding the city of Belize. Not only does this city contain the world’s second largest barrier reef and amazing wildlife, it has several ruin sites that will have you in awe for hours. The three more popular ruin sites in Belize are the Xunantunich, Lamanai, Altun Ha Ruins. All three offer excursions specifically for cruises too!
Altun Ha Ruins: This Mayan site is known for having the largest jade carving ever discovered. The carving is said to depict Kinich Ahau, the Sun God, and contains 9 pounds of solid jade. It is believed that Altun Ha, which translates to Rockstone Pond in Mayan, was a popular place for trade for the Mayan but overall it was a fairly small Mayan community. These ruins are only an hour drive from the port.
Lamanai Ruins: Also an hour away are the Lamanai Ruins, although this ride is usually done by boat or ferry not vehicle! This ruin site is the second largest Mayan site in Belize. It is also said to have been occupied from around 1500BC to the 19th century, making this ruin the longest known habited location of the Mayan era. The Lamanai Ruins feature a Ball Court, Jaguar Temple, and the Lag Temple, where you will have a chance to climb 125ft, which is well above the jungle canopy. The views here are said to be so magnificent that it’s indescribable.
Xunantunich Ruins: Only accessible by river this ruin is in a very remote location but a relatively short ride from the cruise port. The Xunantunich Ruins are considered the most important archeological ruins in Belize, containing some of the most detailed sculptures found in the country. Xunantunich, or stone woman in Mayan, has over 25 temples and palaces in its one square mile and its rich history is bound to leave you fascinated.
If this experience sounds like the perfect way to explore the Mayan Ruins in Mexico on a Western Caribbean cruise, call the CruiseExperts.com at 1-888- 804-CRUISE (2784). Our travel advisors can assist in helping you pick the perfect Mayan Ruin excursion that is bound to fit all of your needs! Like us on Facebook and join our Inner Circle for exclusive offers on your next cruise.
Kimberly Wheeler joined the team at CruiseExperts.com in September 2014. Her role as a Social Media Marketer is to pass on the expertise of the agency to help travelers understand the world of cruising through blogging. Kimberly has an extensive background in Public Relations and Marketing and a passion for engaging the public. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism with an option in Public Relations from Fresno State University in May 2014.