Overshadowed by its bigger brother at the Zona Arqueológica de Tulum, the Muyil Ruins just 15 kilometers south of Tulum is a fantastic spot for any history or Mayan buff, not to be overlooked. Technically connected to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the site’s Mayan name is actually Chunyaxché and is surrounded by a wonderful lush jungle with not many tourists, creating a peaceful, mystical environment.
The ancient settlement is one of the earliest and longest-lasting Maya sites on the Yucatan peninsula, stretching over a stunning 38 hectares throughout the jungle. The earliest objects and artifacts found here have been dated to 350 BC and as recent as 1500 AD.
The Muyil ruins are considered Peten architecture: steep-walled pyramids and buildings commonly found in the southern Yucatan with other famous sites being Tikal in Guatemala. There are still many buildings and ruins yet to be excavated. The main pyramid or ‘Castillo” of the Muyil ruins is an impressive 57 feet high.
What to See at the Muyil Ruins
While the ancient Muyil Ruins are actually a large site, most of it is still buried within the dense jungle and has yet to be uncovered. The actual area you’re allowed to visit and what’s open to the public is quite small.
The main attraction at the Muyil Ruins is el Castillo, the large 57-foot steep pyramid in the middle of the complex, looming over the rest of the area. There is also a hidden pathway behind el Castillo that meanders through the jungle and eventually ends up at Laguna de Muyil. For an extra 50 pesos, you can enter this path and on the way, you’ll see wonderful fauna and flora such as monkeys, deer, foxes, and hundreds of species of birds. You are now essentially in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
There is also the El Mirador Sian Ka’an or observation tower in the jungle that you shouldn’t miss the chance to climb. It overlooks the entire area, providing fantastic views of the laguna and the Muyil ruins. It’s a difficult, steep climb but definitely worth it in our view. If you’re planning on seeing everything including the ruins, laguna, and biosphere reserve, you should plan on staying for a least 2-3 hours.
How to Get to the Muyil Ruins
The best way to get to the Muyil Ruins is by renting your own car, heading south down highway 307, and turning left off the highway when you see the sign for the entrance. We always feel like this is the best way to travel as you get to go at your own pace and stop at smaller sights you may find interesting along the way.
Like most other tourist attractions surrounding Tulum, it’s also possible to get here with public transportation or ‘colectivos’. You can find the minivans in the center of Tulum, and just take the one going to Felipe Carrillo and they will drop you off right in front of the entrance, but the ride can take up to an hour.
Of course, there are also tours that you can take, most of the tours to the Muyil ruins also include visiting the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the Kaan Luum Lagoon, so we’d recommend taking a tour if you’re planning on visiting these sites anyway.
Entrance Fee and Hours of the Muyil Ruins
The entrance fee to the Muyil Ruins is 65 pesos per person and is open from 9 am to 3 pm every day with a free toilet on site. If you want to visit El Mirador Sian Ka’an and the Laguna de Muyil that will be an extra 50 pesos per person, but worth it in our view.