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Uxmal arch in Yucatan

Top 12 Archaeological sites you want to see for yourself in Mexico

November 13, 2018

Being the World of Its Own, Mexico has near to 29,000 archaeological sites from which more than 150 are open to the public. Many of these sites are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one of them is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. As We Know Latin America by Heart, we share with you our top archaeological must-see in wondrous Mexico.

  1. Teotihuacan: A MUST. If you haven’t been in Teotihuacan on your Mexico City stopover, you have to stop over again! Teotihuacan is known as the place where men become gods. This site was an important city in terms of religion and politics in the pre-Columbian era. Still, to be clarified, this site is attributed to the Teotihuacan culture, however, links to the Aztecs and tollans (From Tula) is visible. Plus, you will be truly amazed when you walk down the Calzada de los Muertos to the Great Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. 
  2. Monte Alban: The capital of the Zapotec people is a complex found on a high plateau next to Oaxaca City. They controlled the Valley of Etla by being guarded by the high grounds which also helped them to do extensive astronomical research.

    Monte Alban, Oaxaca Mexico

    Monte Alban, Oaxaca Mexico

  3. Chichen Itza: One of the New Seven Wonders of the world contains many temples and buildings where travellers will be able to see the astronomical importance and contribution that the Mayan civilisation inherits us.                                   
  4. Uxmal: This site is the best example of Puuc architecture, which is known for its perfect arches. The pyramids, the Magician and the Governors buildings are quite impressive and will let you enjoy the décor that has been well preserved.        
  5. Tulum: The City of the Dawn is on the Caribbean coast, considered the last city the Mayans built before the arrival of the Spaniards.

    Tulum ruins Riviera Maya

  6. Palenque: Palenque was one of the most powerful cities in the classical period. Apart from being and incredible site, it is home to impressive Pakal’s tomb, travellers can see the reconstruction of this burial at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. But you have to stop here to see this site, as it is a beautiful site on the very edge of the jungle!

    Palenque ruins

  7. Cholula: The great pyramid of Cholula was a major religious site and is the biggest base pyramid in the world. Cholula is contemporaneous to Teotihuacan, but it is also linked to the history of the Olmec-Xicallanca and the Toltec-Chichimeca cultures, as the Great Pyramid has always been (yes, until now) an important pilgrimage site, pre-Columbian and Catholic too! But that’s not all, you will find 10k of tunnels in the insides of this pyramid, but only 300 metres are open to the public.

    Cholula Pyramid with Church and Popocatepetl in the back

    Cholula Pyramid with Church and Popocatepetl in the back

  8. Cacaxtla: This archaeological site is on the way to Puebla from Mexico City, and its worth a visit for its palace containing vibrant murals in Mayan style, which is weird as Cacaxtla is out of the Mayan civilisation’s way.

    Cacaxtla Mural in Tlaxcala Mexico

    Cacaxtla Mural in Tlaxcala Mexico

  9. El Tajin: Another site that is normally overlooked by international tourist, El Tajin is one of the largest and most important cities of the Classic Era in Mesoamerica, the style of the pyramids is very different to the ones you find in the Yucatan Peninsula and in central Mexico.

    Pyramid in Tajin, Veracruz Mexico

    Pyramid in Tajin, Veracruz Mexico

  10. Bonampak: Considered one of the most beautiful sites in Mexico, the steles and monuments with their carvings and murals are incredibly well preserved. You can also visit Yaxchilan from here, which will take you to the profound environments of the Lacandon Jungle and its wildlife.

    Contours Travel Bonampak murals

    Contours Travel Bonampak murals

  11. Calakmul in Campeche is one of the most important Mayan cities, archaeologists have found most of the steles of the Mayan civilisation.

    Calakmul ruins

    Calakmul ruins in Campeche

  12. Tula: You are in for a treat. This site is located in Hidalgo and is one of the only ones in Mexico where you will see the rock giants of Tula, four-metre-high basalt columns carved as Toltec warriors. This Toltec city was famous for the buildings covered in Jade and feathers.

    Tula pyramids Mexico

    Tula pyramids Mexico

Prepare to be awed by Mexico’s rich archaeological diversity, talk to our Travel Advisors to tailor a trip just for your interests!