Looking for the best Mayan ruins near Valladolid Mexico? Check out these 5 incredible Mayan sites that you can easily visit from Valladolid.

5 BEST Mayan Ruins Near Valladolid Mexico (2024)

Last Updated on February 5, 2024 by Soumya

Looking for the best Mayan ruins near Valladolid, Mexico? You’re at the right place.

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is full of ancient ruins, and some of the best Mayan sites are near the magical town of Valladolid.

World Wonder, Chichen Itza, is an easy day trip. In contrast, Ek Balam Mayan ruins near Valladolid only take 30 mins to get to.

Even the offbeat Muyil and picturesque Tulum ruins are not very far away.

Here are the five most incredible Mayan ruins near Valladolid to add to your travel itinerary.

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5 Best Mayan Ruins near Valladolid, Mexico

One of my favorite things to do in Valladolid, Mexico, is to visit these incredible Mayan ruins nearby.

Some of them can be done easily by public transport, whereas others require guided tours from Valladolid.

Whatever the means to get to them, these ancient Mayan sites near Valladolid provide rich insights into Mayan history and culture.

Let’s check them out and find out how to add them to your Valladolid itinerary.

Ek Balam – Closest Mayan Ruin to Valladolid

Ek Balam pyramid or Acropolis - one of the closest Mayan ruins near Valladolid
Archeological site of Ek Balam is the easiest Mayan ruin to get to from Valladolid.

The closest Mayan ruins to Valladolid, Mexico, is the Archeological Site of Ek Balam. It is special because of its unique blend of natural beauty and historical significance.

Dating over 1500 years, the historic city of Ek Balam was once the stronghold of Mayan King Ukit Kan Le’t Tok. 

Today, it is home to a 100-foot-tall pyramid with original stucco sculptures made by the Mayans. 

Intricate details on these sculptures tell us exciting stories of winged Mayan warriors and life after death.

The Ek Balam pyramid is open to climbing and rewards you with breathtaking views of the Yucatan’s dense jungle canopy.

Other highlights at the Ek Balam ruins near Valladolid include a set of twin pyramids, an oval palace, and an entrance arch that was part of an ancient road that connected several Mayan cities in the Yucatan Peninsula.

There is also a cenote near the Ek Balam ruins that offers a tranquil swimming experience. It is called Cenote Xcanche or the Ek Balam Cenote. 

Compared to other busy archaeological sites, Ek Balam offers a more intimate experience due to fewer crowds. 

Practical Information for visiting Ek Balam Mayan ruins from Valladolid

  • Distance from Valladolid: 20 miles (30 km)

  • Journey time: 30 – 45 mins

Pro Tip: Ek Balam and Chichen Itza can be easily visited from Valladolid in one day. Click here to find out how.

Chichen Itza – Most Famous Mayan Ruins near Valladolid

Kukulkan Pyramid at Chichen Itza - most famous Mayan ruin near Valladolid
Chichen Itza is one of the most unmissable Mayan ruins near Valladolid.

There is no doubt that Chichen Itza, a World Heritage Site and a World Wonder, is one of the best Mayan ruins to visit near Valladolid. 

Chichen Itza is home to the colossal Kukulkan Pyramid, or El Castillo, which symbolizes Mexico. 

This ancient Mexican pyramid is a testament to the Mayans’ architectural genius and understanding of astronomical phenomena. 

Mayans built El Castillo to predict seasons and behave like one extensive calendar. It has 365 steps in total.

Further, the play of light and shadow on the pyramid during the equinoxes creates an interesting phenomenon – the descent of the Mayan Serpent God, Kukulkan. 

Besides El Castillo, the archeological site of Chichen Itza also hosts other captivating structures, such as the Great Ballcourt, the Temple of the Warriors, a market plaza, a round observatory, and a platform of skulls. 

Practical Information for visiting Chichen Itza ruins from Valladolid

  • Distance from Valladolid: 28 miles (45 km)

  • Journey time: 45 mins – 1 hour

Pro Tip: Be sure to read our guide on How to Visit Chichen Itza from Valladolid before planning your trip.

Coba Mayan Ruins near Valladolid

Coba pyramid in Mexico - Valladolid Mayan ruins
Intriguing stone inscriptions make Coba a must-visit Mayan ruin near Valladolid.
Image courtesy: DC_Colombia from Getty Images via Canva Pro

Coba is another beautiful Mayan ruin to visit near Valladolid, Mexico. 

Nestled deep within the lush jungles of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the Mayan ruins of Coba are absolutely worth a visit. That’s because of the intriguing hieroglyphic inscriptions on Coba’s stone slabs.

Coba is home to numerous stone stelae that depict major Mayan events, providing us with more profound insights into Mayan culture and traditions.

Coba was a key Mayan city in the olden days. Evidence of this is that an extensive network of stone causeways, known as sacbeob, connects Coba with several other Mayan towns.

The principal attraction at the Coba archeological site is a pyramid called Nohoch Mul, which towers above the jungle.

Unlike other Mayan ruins in Yucatan, you can still climb the pyramid at Coba (though it is a little too slippery, in my opinion).

Once you climb its 120 steps, you’ll be greeted with panoramic views of the Yucatan jungles. 

A stela from Coba on display at the Mayan Museum
A stone stela from Coba on display at the Mayan Museum of Cancun.

Practical Information for visiting Coba ruins from Valladolid

  • Distance from Valladolid: 37 miles (60 km)

  • Journey time: 50 mins – 1 hour

  • Best way to get to Coba Mayan ruins from Valladolid: Drive or book a guided tour. If you want to use public transport, take a bus from Valladolid to Chemax (45 mins) and then a taxi from Chemax to Coba ruins (30 mins).

📖 Related Read: Love ancient ruins? Check out our guide for the 20 Best Ancient Pyramids in Mexico.

Tulum – Most Picturesque Mayan Ruins near Valladolid

Ruins of Tulum against the Caribbean Sea
The beautiful Mayan ruins of Tulum overlooking the sea.

The Mayan ruins of Tulumperched on a bluff overlooking the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean, are one of Mexico’s most beautiful places to visit

Their spectacular setting and the relatively compact size of the archeological site make Tulum one of the best day trips from Valladolid

El Castillo, or Tulum’s main pyramid, is the site’s highest monument. 

Even though El Castillo is smaller than most Mexican pyramids, it is one of the most strategically located. Tulum was once a significant port town, and the pyramid often served as a lighthouse and watchtower.

Do not miss Tulum’s Temple of the Descending God, which features an upside-down image of the main deity, and the Temple of Frescoes for its intact mural paintings.

You can also swim on the beach adjacent to the ruins.

Practical Information for visiting Tulum Mayan ruins from Valladolid

  • Distance from Valladolid: 64 miles (102 km)

  • Journey time: 1.5 hours

  • Best way to get to Tulum Mayan ruins from Valladolid: Drive to the ruins from Valladolid.

Pro Tip: Be sure to read our Tulum Ruins Travel Guide before planning your trip.

Muyil Mayan Ruins near Valladolid

Muyil Mayan Ruins
Muyil ruins near Valladolid is a true hidden gem in Mexico.
Image courtesy: Leonid Andronov via Canva Pro

If you want to visit a true hidden gem, head to the Muyil Mayan ruins near Valladolid, Mexico. 

Nestled within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Muyil offers rich insights into Mayan history right in the middle of lush, green jungles teeming with unique flora and fauna. 

One of the oldest Mayan ruins in the region, Muyil was a coastal town and an important trading center. It sports a unique architectural style called the Peten style.

The Muyil archeological complex includes El Castillo, the tallest structure in Muyil.

The highlight of Muyil is an ancient trade route that connects the ruins to the Muyil lagoon. It is called the Canan-Ha pathway and is an interpretative trail to learn about local plants and animals today.

Muyil is also known as Chunyaxche – the name of a lagoon nearby. You’ll see Muyil being referred to as Chunyaxche on Google Maps.

Practical Information for visiting Muyil ruins from Valladolid

  • Distance from Valladolid: 78 miles (125 km)

  • Journey time: 2 hours

  • Best way to get to Muyil Mayan ruins from Valladolid: Drive or book a guided tour. Request pick up in Valladolid for an extra 40 USD.

Experience more of Valladolid, Mexico

Read our posts on
Valladolid | From praying in a fortress convent to watching a traditional Jarana performance, there are many wonderful things to do in Valladolid, Mexico. See how you can see all of them in just two days in Valladolid.
Chichen Itza | Grab this ultimate guide to visiting Chichen Itza. Or read some surprising facts about Chichen Itza before your trip.
Day Trips and Tours | Plan easy day trips from Valladolid with these exciting Valladolid tours.

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Looking for the best Mayan ruins near Valladolid Mexico? Check out these 5 incredible Mayan sites that you can easily visit from Valladolid.

Soumya is an acclaimed travel writer who has traveled to 30+ countries and lived in 8 while pursuing her passion for history and culture. Her writings have been published in BBC Travel, Architectural Digest, National Herald, and many more. She loves exploring world heritage sites and has a deep affinity for everything ancient, especially the lost civilizations of Mesoamerica!

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