Travel and Cities

8 Incredible Pyramids in Mexico to Explore

Pyramids in Mexico

Hundreds of pyramids in Mexico are accessible to the public, but most tourists don’t have time to visit them all. For the majority, no journey to Mexico is complete without viewing El Castillo, the Chichen Itza pyramid.

This is the most well-known of all the Mexico Mayan pyramids, and it is also one of the wonders of the world as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Although the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico can be difficult to distinguish, they did have some things in common.

Ball courts can be found at the majority of their archaeological sites, maize was seen as a necessary crop, and they all constructed pyramids. 

Pyramids in Mexico – The Mayan Pyramids

There are many famous pyramids in Mexico like the Aztec pyramids in the ancient city, the Nohoch Mul pyramid, ancient Mayan ruins, Sister pyramid, Mesoamerican pyramids, the Teotihuacan pyramid, and others come in the Mexico City pyramids.

Not only are the ruins of Coba, one of the most important Mayan monuments, but they also contain one of Mexico’s tallest pyramids—the tallest Mayan pyramid in Mexico City.

Together with camping areas, dining establishments, and little shops, Coba has three hotels. In addition, Playa del Carmen or Tulum offers quick access to the Coba Mayan ruins and is one of the most famous pyramids in Mexico. The Pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico City come in second.

Let’s get to the list of Mexico’s top pyramids and everything you should know before visiting these historic buildings.

The Optimal Time to Visit and the Hours of Operation

Every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, the website is accessible. Between 10 am & 2 pm is the busiest period to see the Coba ruins. If you want to visit the pyramid when it’s cooler and less busy, do yourself a favor and get there early.

There are numerous ways to travel to Coba from Playa del Carmen, Tulum, & Valladolid since it is one of the finest pyramids in Mexico you’re able to climb.

No matter where you are coming from, using the bus is the cheapest and most practical choice.

Francisco Kemeny/ Unsplash

ADO, which is situated in Tulum Centro, operates a first-class bus from Tulum to Coba that departs at 10:11.

One-way tickets cost 98 pesos, or around $5. A second-class bus also departs from ADO station at 7:20 am; it costs 50 pesos (about 2.5 USD) less.

1. El Castillo: Chichen Itza

There are many Mayan pyramids & interesting adventures to see at Chichen Itza. 

El Castillo, as you’ve probably seen in pictures, is the first thing you’ll notice when you enter the site.

No matter where you stay in the Yucatan Peninsula — Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Merida, and Riviera Maya — numerous tours go to Chichen Itza.

As Chichen Itza is such a significant Mayan site, it is worth paying for a tour to properly explain why it is significant and to show you everything there is to see there; otherwise, you are effectively just looking at rocks.

1.1. Castillo de Kukulcán

The Castillo de Kukulcán, a Maya metropolis that thrived from roughly 700 AD, is the focal point of Chichén Itzá, with its nine-stepped platforms.

The pyramid served as a giant calendar and was constructed in such a way that, at the equinoxes, the interaction of sunlight & shadow would give the appearance that a snake was making its way toward Earth.

Visitors can still tour the other ball courts, temples, & palaces in Chichén Itzá, but they are no longer permitted to ascend the steps or enter the Temple at Kukulcán at the top of the pyramid.

The roads leading to Chichén Itzá are secure and well-kept, although tours make the trip there the simplest.

About two to three hours from either Cancun or Mérida, this UNESCO World Heritage site is frequently congested with visitors and hawkers and the added advantage is that you may see Chichén Itzá as a lively metropolis at its height; certainly one of the most famous pyramids in Mexico.

1.2. More about El Castillo

The Mayan Empire’s former capital was Chichen Itza. It is the location of the temple of Kukulkan, one of Mexico’s most well-known pyramids. 

Comes in the famous pyramids in Mexico, this Mesoamerican step pyramid, often known as the Castillo pyramid or just Kukulkan, has seven terraces & four staircases that lead to the temple at the top.

You might observe the triangular shadows that give the appearance of a feathered snake moving down the northwest railing of the pyramid if you go in the weeks leading up to the spring or autumn equinox.

The Temple of the Warriors Pyramid is another pyramid that may be found at Chichen Itza. 

With its proximity to both Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Chichen Itza is simple to include into any schedule besides visiting Mayan pyramids and Mexican beaches are top objectives.

There are inexpensive lodging options close by, & tour packages to the Cancun pyramids frequently include attractive extras like excursions to local cenotes.

2. Pyramids of Palenque

Palenque, which is in the Chiapas rainforest, offers a peek at some of Mexico’s most complex pyramids. Palenque has several pyramids.

The largest seems to be the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the second-longest surviving Mayan glyphic writing and serves as a memorial to Hanab-Pakal, and is one of the most famous pyramids in Mexico.

The Temple of the Cross Complex is made up of three smaller pyramids. They include the Sun Temple, the Cross Temple, additionally the Foliated Cross Temple. When you visit this location, you can explore several additional tombs, palaces, and temples.

It is better to stay in Palenque & spend the whole day exploring as this is a large site that contains several of the most fascinating pyramids in Mexico.

2.1. Opening Time and the Ideal Period to Visit

At about 11 am, when the tour groups and tourists start to arrive, the number of visitors usually increases.

One of Mexico’s most popular pyramids is Palenque, we suggest spending the night at one of the hotels to avoid the throng and oppressive heat. Bus transportation is the fastest and most affordable option to reach the location.

Several buses run from the majority of the communities near Palenque. The trip lasts roughly 13 hours, & tickets range from 35 to 60 pesos.

3. Teotihuacan Pyramids

These Mayan pyramids are some of the most easily accessible in Mexico and also some of the most amazing in North America, and they are only 25 miles from Mexico City.

The historic city was a melting pot of several ethnic groups, the Totonacs and Aztecs were probably involved in its development. Be careful to look closely while you explore since there are fascinating things everywhere you turn!

If you feel like visiting surrounding museums and associated archaeological sites, you may easily spend an afternoon or even a day or two exploring the ancient pyramids of Mexico City and is among the most popular pyramids in Mexico.

Excellent lodging options may be found in Mexico City, in addition to all-inclusive holiday packages that come with a variety of activities to enhance your visit to one of the country’s most well-known destinations.

The most cost-effective and simple choice for travelers is to board a bus.

Once inside, go to gate 8 by turning left. The office of the bus operator, Autobuses Teotihuacan is located nearby.

Purchase a one-way ticket for 50 pesos ($3) or a roundtrip ticket for 100 pesos ($6). You can find your departure time on the card, and buses depart every 20 minutes.

4. The Great Pyramid of La Venta

The Pre-Columbian Olmec people built La Venta’s Great Pyramid, one of the earliest pyramids in Mexico. The location was formerly a stepped, five or six pyramids made of compacted clay as opposed to stone.

Archaeologists credit its current shape, which resembles a cone virtually, to 2,500 years of erosion. Compared to other Mayan pyramid sites, the Great Pyramid site is very unusual. This historic site, which also includes basalt altars and giant heads, is something Mexico is proud of and is one of the most famous pyramids in Mexico.

It’s advisable to stay close by in Villahermosa if you want to see one of the ancient pyramids in North America. 

The Pyramid of La Venta is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. La Venta is one of the more difficult pyramids to reach in Mexico, thus it is not surprising that it is rarely frequented.

It can be challenging to find a bus that goes directly to the site because so few people visit it every day.

That said, hiring a car from a local company will likely be your best choice. Fortunately, renting a car in Villahermosa is quite affordable and may just run you 380 pesos.

5. Calakmul Pyramids

At Calakmul, you may find two of the biggest Mayan pyramids the world has to offer.

One of the famous pyramids in Mexico, the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve gets less than 100 visitors each day on average because it’s off the usual route.

The closest accommodations are at Xpujil, and it has barely been repaired. The final location to get tickets is the Natural History & Archaeology Museum of the site, which is 40 kilometers from Calakmul.

This journey is sure to please you if you want to view Mexico’s pyramids without the crowds.

5.1. How to Reach the Pyramids of Calakmul

It can be challenging to reach the pyramids of the vanished city of Calakmul, mostly because there are no direct transports.

Since Xpujil is the nearest town to this location, it seems sensible that most visitors set up tents there before traveling the following morning to the Calakmul pyramids.

When you get to Xpujil, you have two ways to travel to Calakmul. To get there, you can first rent a car and drive. It takes about an hour to complete the trip, and the road quality varies greatly as you get closer to Calakmul.

Keep in mind to bring plenty of water and a packed lunch, as there are no shops or eateries within walking distance of the ruins.

Employing a private driver is the second choice. This is strongly advised if you don’t want to take a chance by operating a rental car in an unfamiliar environment.

6. Uxmal’s Pyramids

Together with numerous plazas, terraces, and facades, Uxmal also houses La Gran Piramide.

It is relatively simple to go to Uxmal by bus because it is one of the top tourist destinations in Mexico. Merida, which is only approximately 50 miles away, is where most people stay.

If you have time, think about taking a side excursion to the adjacent Labna and Kaba Mayan ruins.

Among the famous pyramids in Mexico and due to its proximity to Uxmal, most travelers choose to visit Merida first. The cheapest alternative from Merida is to take a bus. At least five buses every day travel the route between Merida and Uxmal.

Second-class travelers can book at ADO’s TAME booking office, which is located directly across from CAME.

Tickets can be purchased at the office, and these buses run regularly. 

If you want the most flexibility, renting a car can be the best choice. Several agencies can be found on Calle 60 and in the vicinity of the Merida International Airport.

Plan to spend between 52 and 131 dollars (or 1000 to 2500 pesos) each day (including tax & insurance). At Uxmal, parking costs 30 pesos.

7. El Tajin’s Pyramid of the Niches

One of the earliest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the area around El Tajin has been inhabited since roughly 5,600 BCE.

There are 17 ball courts here, four prehistoric pyramids, the Blue Temple, & the amazing, still-remarkably-preserved Pyramid of the Niches.

The Pyramid of the Niches is without a doubt one of the most well-known pyramids in Mexico because of its exceptional engineering and intricately carved reliefs

Apart from the weekends, this location is rather unpopulated and does not experience as much crowding as Chichen Itza & Palenque.

7.1. El Tajin Ruins

El Tajn is an interesting site that is mostly off of the beaten path and is situated in the Mexican state of Veracruz. 

It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mexico because, up to its abandonment in the early 1200s, it was one of the biggest and most significant cities in Mesoamerica during the Classic Age.

The El Tajin Mayan ruins will astonish everyone who enjoys discovering Mexico’s hidden gems because of their enormous scale and distinctively sculpted stone pyramids. Visit this page to find the best El Tajin trips.

If you’re thinking about going, you should also look into the Veracruz town of Papantla, which is close by and famous for the Voladores de Papantla ceremony.

8. Ruins of Ek Balam

The Ek Balam Mayan ruins are only a short drive of around 30 minutes from Valladolid, Mexico, and are situated about two hours from Cancun and Tulum.

It’s not unusual to have the spot to oneself because it’s one of Mexico’s less visited Mayan ruins. Many of the pyramids have thatched roofs, which creates a stunning visual contrast with the stone pyramids and is listed among the most famous pyramids in Mexico.

Don’t overlook the intricate stone statues that are hidden beneath the thatched overhangs near the inside of the structures.

For breathtaking views of the surrounding jungle, ascend the biggest pyramids in Mexico at Ek Balam, El Torre (The Tower), which is situated atop the Great Acropolis.

Overall, it’s a stunning location for Mayan ruins, so be sure your phone is charged before you arrive since you’ll want to take lots of pictures.

Final Note

Now, these creations can be seen all around Mexico, providing a glimpse into the nation’s historical past. Visit these pyramids and learn more about Mexico’s well-known pyramids, including the most stunning and significant from a cultural standpoint.

Although several are situated close to the peninsula, such as the El Tajin and Palenque Mayan Ruins, the Yucatan Peninsula is home to many of the outstanding pyramids in Mexico.

Read more from us here.


Pooja Thakur

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