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How to Visit the Muyil Mayan Ruins in 2022 – The Complete Guide

Wondering how to Visit the Muyil Mayan Ruins? You are in the right place as in this post we will share everything you must know about this beautiful site.


We will also offer practical tips on how to make the best of your time there and share information that you won’t find anywhere else!

The Muyil ruins are a special place and very different from other archeological sites because here you have the chance to enjoy not only the historical site but the thriving nature surrounding it.

In fact from Muyl ruins, you can have access to the lagoon of Chunyaxché, which is part of the popular Sian Ka’an reserve and biosphere.

Its strategic location allowed Muyil to have a constant connection with the Caribbean sea through the numerous lagoons and canals inside the Sian Kaan Biosphere.

And since Sian Ka’an is one of the most popular places to visit on the Riviera Maya, you can check out the Muyil ruins too while you are there.

But let’s find out more about this little gem so that you can enjoy your visit as much as we do!

muyil-castillo

SOME HISTORY OF THE MUYIL MAYAN RUINS

Muyil has been an important commercial harbor for a long while and it had the same type of development as its neighbor Coba.

Both cities have been part of a commercial network throughout all the stages of the ancient Mayan civilization.

First, they were affiliated with the Peten cities (south of Mexico and Guatemala) and then with cities such as Mayapan and Chichen in the north of the Peninsula.

For all the great civilizations, the proximity to the sea has been an important factor in their expansion and Muyil was a vital part of the Mayan civilization for that very reason.

The material evidence that has been found about Muyil is dated from the 300 BC to 1450 AD

The way this city influenced the Mayan civilization can be broken down into 3 big stages.

Muyil ruins
El Castillo, 12 meters high

From the Late preclasic (300 – 50 B.C) to the Early Clasic (250 – 600 A.D.)

During this time Muyil had commercial relationship with the north of Belize and south of Quintana Roo.

The dominant arquitectonic style of Muyil is the Peten style as it’s clearly shows in buildings such as El Castillo and the three basements at the entrance.

You will see how you will be able to distinguish the different arquitectonical styles of the old Mayans as you learn. It’s a fascinating and exciting world to discover! 💛


Early postclassic (1000 – 1200 d.C.)

In this time Muyil ends its relationship with the south and it strengthens commercial ties with the interior of the Yucatan Peninsula.

We just want to remind you about the big crisis of the greatest Mayan cities such as Palenque, Calakuml and many others which caused a huge mass migration and the growth of other cities such as Chichen Itza or Mayapan, which created new commercial partnerships with Muyil.


Late postclassic (CHRONOLOGY 50 d.C.),

Most of the buildings that we know now were built in the late postclassic which is also when the city gained great importance as it was included within the coastal commercial networks of the Peninsula.

  • CHRONOLOGY: 300 BC – 1450 AD Middle Preclassic to Late Postclassic
  • APOGEE: Late Preclassic to Late Postclassic 1200 – 1450
phases of the history of the Maya Civilization

Did you know?

✔ The Muyil “Castillo” is it’s tallest building and it’s 12 mt tall (36ft)

✔ There is a 500 mt interpretative trail (Canan Ha) that takes you to the Chunyaxché lagoon, which is inside the Sian Ka’an Reserve and Biosphere (declared in 1986). It’s a great place to learn about the flora and fauna.

✔ Muyil is the most important among the 20 Mayan vestiges within the Sian Ka’an biosphere.

✔ The canals connecting the Sian Ka’an lagoon have been built from the modificados by the Mayan to get to the sea.

muyil ruins

The Mayan architectural style of Tulum Ruins

During the Early Classic, (250-600 d.C) the most important structures, El Castillo and the three basements of Group 3 where built. All these structures are built in Peten style because at that time they had a intense commercial interaction with the Peten region in the south.


Meaning of Muyil

The original name of this site is unknown. Muyil is the name given from the Colonial times and comes from the name of one of the nearby lagoon. It’s also known as Chunyaxché, which is the other nearby lagoon.

muyil lagoon

HOW TO GET TO MUYIL

From Cancún you need to get on the Federal Highway 307 that runs along the caribean coast all the way to chetumal in the South of Mexico. Muyil is located 25 km south of Tulum.

The site is located right on the highway. You cannot miss it.

STATE: Quintana Roo, Mexico


How to get Muyil by car

Getting to Muyil by car is very easy. Coming from Tulum on the way to Chetumal on Federal HIghway 307 you will find Muyil, 25 km from Tulum.

Signs are all over the highway and you cannot miss it.

There is a parking lot right in front of the entrance.

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 Muyil by local bus

Local minivans ( also called combis or colectivos) leave from the center of Muyil. You need to catch those that go in the direction of Felipe Carrillo Puerto.

Keep in mind that these minivans don’t allow to take a lot of bags with you. Ask them to let you out a the Muyil entrance. Cost is 20 MXN.

To get back to Tulum, you just need to wait on the highway for a van to pass by. Just hail and if they have an available seat they will stop for you.


How to get Muyil by bicycle

In Tulum they rent bicycles at around 150 MXN per day or scooters. If you are used to good exercising you can go by bike, but if you are not used to it we wouldn’t recommend it.

Always bring water with you in any case, because it’s going to be hot, not matter what time of the day or the year you are going.

From May through October it’s even hotter and more humid. 😉


How to get Muyil by taxi

From Tulum you can grab a taxi as well. Just keep in mind that all taxi drivers need to show you the official rates.

If you want them to wait for you or to come back to pick you up you need to negotiate a rate.

For waiting time there are no fixed fares, so that depends on how much the taxi driver wants to charge.

muyil ruins mexico

MUYIL MAP & THE CANAN-HÁ PATH TO THE BIOSPHERE RESERVE OF SIAN KA’AN

Muyil ruins are very small and a well marked path will lead you to all the structures.

The most iconic site is the 12 mt tall El Castillo.

Then you have a small group of basements scattered around a thick jungle further down the path (the buildings with numbers 8 and 9 on the map). Don’t miss them.

map muyil ruins
Muyil ruins map

Once you pass the Castillo you will see the path that will take you to the lagoon. You will need to pay an extra fee to get to the Lagoon since it belongs to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere.

muyil map
Canan-Ha pathway Muyil ruins

On this map you will see the Canan-Ha pathway that connects the Muyil site to the Muyil lagoon in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere.

It’s an interpretative trail with different descriptive signs about the local flora and fauna and a lookout tower where you can enjoy incredible views of Sian Ka’an.

Once you are on the lagoon you will see the boats they use for the tours in Sian Ka’an. 

muyil ruins mexico
Observation tower on the Canan-Ha pathway
muyil ruins mexico
Canan-Ha pathway
sian kaan canal
Muyil river float, such a beatiful place 👌

TOURS ON THE LAGOON

You have two types of tours, the long one that lasts 5 hours and the shorter one of 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The majority of the people choose the first one that takes you through the canals up to the floating rivers where you swim with the current.

The long one will take you all the way to Boca Paila, where the lagoon meets the sea.

Sian-kaan canal - boat

Things you should know about these tours:

✔ The boats are not allowed to have overheads because it would damage the mangroves as the canals are very narrow.

✔ It’s recommendable to use rash guards to protect you from the sun instead of the sunscreen even if your sunscreen is eco-friendly.

✔ make sure you use a hat that is securely fastened or the wind will easily blow it off.

✔ the boats can take a maximum of 6 people.

Check out the below suggested tours to Muyil and Sian ka’an Biosphere

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

As usual here some practical information to make your trip easier 🛺🌎

Facilities

✔ parking lot

✔ sanitarios 

✔ sitting area


Muyil opening hours

From 9 am to 3 pm every day. Last access at 3 pm


Muyil entrance fee

65 MXN per person.

70 MXN if you pay the entrance at the Sian Kaan reserve and walk the trail.

Also note:

✔ On Sundays, the entrance is free for Mexican 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).

✔ Parking is free. 


Tips for visiting Muyil

✅ Use comfortable light clothing and shoes. 

✅ Being close to the Riviera Maya it can be crowded, but not at the level of Tulum or Cobá. If you go early you will be alone.

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

✅ Big backpacks are not permitted. There are no lockers

✅ You can hire a certified guide at the entrance


How much time do you need to visit Muyil?

One hour is more than enough. If you walk along the trail add another half and hour.

INSIDER TIPS Walk the 500 mt Canan-Há path all the way to the Muyil lagoon. There you can buy a boat tour t the canals in the lagoons of the Sian Ka’an biosphere.

muyil ruins sian kaan

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE ABOUT MUYIL RUINS

From May to November mosquitos can be really annoying, sometimes unbearable, so make sure you are well protected against them.


WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT MUYIL RUINS

Without a doubt we love the perfect combination of natural and cultural experience that Muyil offers thanks to the interpretative path that takes you to the Muyil lagoon. Also we appreciate the opportunity to do tours to the Sian Ka’an biosphere.


THE HIGHLIGHTS OF MUYIL RUINS

We canot stress enough how amazing is the opportunity to combine the visit of the Muyil archeological site with Sian Ka’an biosphere. We love it!

muyil ruins sian kaan

WHAT YOU CAN VISIT NEARBY

➡️ Cenote Cristal y cenote Escondido 19 km/ 12 miles

➡️ Laguna Kaan luum 13 km/ 8 miles

➡️ Cenote Corazón 16 km/ 10 miles

➡️ Tulum ruins 28 km/ 17 miles

➡️ Playa Paraiso Tulum 28 km/ 17 miles

➡️Tankah Bay 30 km/ 18.6 miles


MUYIL RUINS FAQ

Can you climb Muyil?

It is not allowed to climb the Castillo. However, you can climb other smaller structures.


How to visit Muyil?

You can visit Muyil either on your own or on a tour.


How far are Muyil ruins from Tulum?

The Tulum ruins are located only 28 kilometers from the Muyil ruins. 30 minutes by car.