ruins cozumel

How to visit the beautiful Cozumel Ruins of San Gervasio

San Gervasio are the most famous Cozumel ruins on the island and in this post, we will tell you all about it.

Many people believe that it’s the only site on the Island of Cozumel, but it’s not. In fact, there are 34 other Mayan settlements scattered around the pretty island, but the ruins of San Gervasio have been the most important and largest ones in history.

San Gervasio is the only settlement in Cozumel that has a paid entrance and offers facilities for visitors. It is a must-visit on the island of Cozumel. In fact, every year 125 thousand visitors visit the ruins of San Gervasio.

ruins cozumel


The Mayan settlement of San Gervasion has first been occupied in 200 BC, as a small farming village, until it became one of the most important Mayan settlements on the coast until the arrival of the Spanish in 1518 AD.

Its location is strategic, as it is built on high ground over the most important freshwater reserve on the island of Cozumel. This way they developed the most significant population in the Caribbean Sea.

Here is a chronology of important facts of the Cozumel history

  • First indications of occupation during the Late Preclassic (300 BC to 300 AD)
  • As of 600 AD the settlement is growing. From the year 1000, due to its good commercial relations with Chichén Itzá, San Gervasio emerges as the strongest population in the area, and reinforces its commercial leadership on the Caribbean coast since 1200 AD.
  • Its heyday was in the late Postclassic (from 1220 to 1450)
  • Cozumel has been occupied until the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in 1521.
cronology of the Maya Civilization

San Gervasio was the strategic shopping center that controlled the entry and exit of commercial products. Its union with Chichén Itza in this commercial network made it stronger.

ruins cozumel

Did you know?

The name of Cozumel comes from the Mayan word Cutzmil or Cuzamil, which means “Place of the swallows”.

The Spanish chronicles indicate that the first arrival on the island of Cozumel was on May 3, 1518, with the landing of Juan de Grijalva.

Meaning of San Gervasio

The name of San Gervasio was given during the first half of the 20th century in honor of the owner of the cattle ranch where the vestige was located.

The Mayan place name is unknown, but the chronicles of Diego López de Cogolludo and Chilam Balam de Chumayel mention various settlements on the island of Cozumel.

The most outstanding of the vestiges are named Tantum or Tantun Cuzamil, which could be San Gervasio.

san gervasio ruins cozumel

The Mayan architectural style of Cozumel Ruins

San Gervasio is in the Costa Oriental architectural style. This style is characteristic of the region of the Caribbean coast, where the ruins of Tulum stand out.

It is a simple style compared to the Puuc or Río Bec style, to name two examples of more elaborate architecture in the Mayan world. Some older buildings in the enclosure are related to the Puuc style, which is widely present in the Yucatan area.

Here is an interesting fact about San Gervasio that not many know

The chronicles of the Spanish conquerors mention that San Gervasio was dedicated to the cult of the Mayan deity Ixchel, related to childbirth and fertility. The reality is that they have not found any archaeological evidence about it.

san gervasio ruins cozumel


The ruins of San Gervasio are located on the island of Cozumel, which is located 45 minutes by ferry from Playa del Carmen in the State of Quintana Roo. Once you arrive in Cozumel, San Gervasio is located 16 kilometers from where the ferry arrives.

You must take the highway that crosses the island from west to east for 7 kilometers, then you must follow the path for about 8 kilometers that lead you to the entrance of San Gervasio.

how to get ruins cozumel
Open map to get ruins Cozumel

How to get to San Gervasio by car

The ruins of San Gervasio are located 16 kilometers (10 miles) from San Miguel de Cozumel, the town where the ferry that makes the Playa del Carmen – Cozumel route arrives.

In the center, there are several car and motorcycle rental agencies.

However, remember, if you decide to get a car rental, make sure you include full insurance with 0 deductible so you will drive with no stress. 

When renting a car in Mexico we recommend Discover Cars because on their website you can compare different companies and their prices and you can choose between their car insurance or the ones offered by the car rental directly, or both.

How to get to San Gervasio by local bus

Getting to San Gervasio by public transport to the entrance is a bit complicated. The bus leaves you on the main road, and from this point, there is another 8 kilometers to the entrance to the ruins of San Gervasio.

How to get to San Gervasio ruins by taxi

You can agree on a price with a taxi driver to take you and wait for you. There are many taxis in Cozumel, they have their stipulated prices. They charge around 600 pesos.

how to get cozumel


Of course, you can visit San Gervasio as part of a tour of the island of Cozumel. We have selected the best options here below. Just click on the one that looks more interesting for you.


San Gervasio is an extensive area to visit, with very interesting buildings where we can appreciate different architectural aspects of the ancient Maya.

The buildings are not spectacular in themselves, but they have many details. There are a couple of points that are somewhat removed. We really like to walk the ruins along its paths. In the main area you can appreciate the most relevant buildings.

Do not miss the ruins of San Gervasio if your plan is to go to the island of Cozumel.

map ruins cozumel

The entire settlement occupies about 2 square kilometers. As you can see, points S, R, H, I and G are the furthest away. If you like to walk, don’t miss these trails that give us a nice walk through nature.

Point B, Manitas, is a very special building with painted hands. It is one of the jewels that remain with mural paintings that we can still appreciate.

The ruins of San Gervasio have 10 paths that connect different points, one of them leads to the ruins of Punta Molas, at the other end of the island. The more roads the ancient Mayan cities have, the more well-connected they were and the more important they were.

In Maya, these roads are known as sacbeo’ob (singular sacbé), which translates as white roads. At one end of the Plaza, you will see an arch where one of the paths began.

In fact, you go through San Gervasio through its old paths, it is something beautiful and exciting that gives it a plus for us.

ruins cozumel
ruins cozumel
ruins cozumel


We like to be practical and share updated information, as travelers we know how to appreciate these details 🌎🙏




✅facilities for wheelchair access

✅certified guide service

San Gervasio’s opening hours

Open every day from 8 am to 4 pm  Last access at 3.30 pm

San Gervasio entrance fee

There are 2 payments in San Gervasio. One is the INAH entrance fee, and the other additional payment is from the Fundación de Parques y Museos de Cozumel.

  • 75 MXN for the payment of INAH
  • 108 MXN for the Parks and Museums Foundation

Also note:

✔ On Sundays, the entrance is free for Mexicans and foreigners with permanent residence. 

✔ Access to the Mayan ruins is open every day for kids up to 12 years old, students, teachers, and seniors (must show ID).


Mexicans •Over 60 years old (with official ID) •Retired and pensioners (with official institution credential) •Teachers and students (with an official credential from the Mexican Educational System) •Children up to 12 years old •Researchers and interns (with INAH permission)

Mexicans and foreigners • People with Disabilities

ruins cozumel

Tips for visiting San Gervasio

✅ Use comfortable light clothing and a hat to protect you from the Sun. Don’t wear flip-flops, use closed shoes instead, to protect yourself from insects.

✅ During the wet season or any time after it rained, the site is literally infested by mosquitos, so make sure you use long sleeves and long pants, besides mosquito spray. We are not joking, it can get pretty wild.

The last time we visited the site we had to rush the visit because the clouds of famish mosquitos were unbearable.

✅ Bring a bottle of water but keep in mind that you cannot walk in with food or alcoholic drinks.

How much time do you need to visit San Gervasio?

Depending on the area you travel to, it will vary within 40 minutes or 2 hours of the visit. For us 2 hours as we enjoy these sites and their details.

Permits to take photos in the archaeological zones in Mexico

In all archaeological areas of Mexico, for the use of professional cameras and trips, a prior special permit is required. An additional fee is paid for the use of video cameras, in accordance with article 288 of the Federal Law.

Authorization to take professional photos

The use of the drone is not possible, and if you come with a tripod you will call attention. The use of video is not permitted at all, but it is something complicated to supervise. Yes, you can record videos with the cell phone, only it is not allowed with professional cameras.

Cozumel Ruins Insider Tips

We want to share our best recommendations for improving your visit in these precious underrated site: contract an official guide. They will make you see what you don’t see and will greatly improve the experience of the site. In a place as big as Chichén Itzá, Ek Balam, or Uxmal, you can just admire the magnitude of the buildings and be happy with it, though a guide always brings more, of course. But in such smaller places, a guide will indeed make the difference.

ruins cozumel


► Despite the shade along the trails of San Gervasio, during the wet season, when the heat is unbearable, you must make sure you protect yourself from the sun and drink enough water.

► Too many mosquitos when it rains.


All trails are very well marked, and it is a safe and clean place for visitors to enjoy it. It is very entertaining to walk around San Gervasio and sit along the paths. Even though it’s not an impressive place, such as the big sites, it is a very enjoyable place to visit.


👉 The Manitas building, with the preservation of its murals, is a gem. There are not so many occasions where we can appreciate such old paintings.

👉 We also want to highlight the trails to explore the site, as they make a very good walk.

ruins cozumel


➡️ Visit Palancar and El Cielo to snorkel and dive in Cozumel, they are precious in these places. ►BOOK YOUR TOUR HERE

➡️ Go up to the lighthouse of Punta Celerain, in Punta Sur, and enjoy the beautiful views of the Caribbean

➡️ Check out one of the local Beach Clubs, Such as San Pancho. ► BOOK IT HERE

➡️ Join a food tour in Cozumel and enjoy delicious local flavors in the best-hidden eateries. ►BOOK IT HERE

Where to stay in Cozumel

In Cozumel, you can find all sorts of accommodations, from all-inclusive luxury resorts to small boutique hotels or cute homes for rent. Here we will share our top choice of where to stay in Cozumel.

🏨 Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort (All-inclusive Luxury Hotel)

presidente intercontinental cozumel
Photo © Expedia

The Presidente Intercontinental is one of the premier all-inclusive resorts in Cozumel with a private beach exclusive to guests. It is part of the IHG chain of hotels and resorts, renowned for its luxurious accommodations, exquisite dining options, and unparalleled service.

Check rates and Availability on | Expedia |

🏨 Hotel B Cozumel (Boutique Hotel Average Price)

Photo © Expedia

Boutique hotel lovers will find Hotel B Cozumel their perfect accommodation for its unique stylish rooms and stunning views.

The property boasts a remarkable natural bay, perfect for swimming and snorkeling, located right in the center of the hotel between the jacuzzi and the pier.

The hotel provides various water sports options in addition to diving and snorkeling, such as paddle tennis, kite surfing, sailing, and kayaking

Check rates and Availability on | Expedia |

🏨 Hotel Kinta Kan (Budget hotel)

Kinta Kan Hotel pool
Photo © Expedia

Cute budget property is perfect for those who want to save some bucks but stay in a comfortable place with a cozy atmosphere.

The cute rooms are simple but clean and nicely decorated, they all face a pool in a tranquil garden. A simple breakfast is included in the rate.

Check rates and Availability on | Expedia |

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