In today’s blog we will introduce you to one of the best-kept secrets of Cancun: the El Meco ruins, which recently opened to the public. Located 1 hour and xxx minutes from Gate48, this is a day trip that you and your family won’t soon forget. It is also near the hotel zone of Cancun, so you will have easy access to the best of the city’s entertainment and gastronomy when you are done visiting.
El Meco was likely first inhabited in 200 AD, abandoned around 600 AD and then repopulated around the 11th Century. It likely served a part of the Maya sea trade network. People assume that the settlement was abandoned upon the arrival of the Spanish, but there are no records that indicate it so it remains unanswered. The site is 650 metres long in north-south and 200 metres east-west.
The architecture of the site has thematic similarities to that of Chichen Itza, which is much more well known and situated further inland. At the foot of the eastern facing steps of the Castillo you will find two serpent heads, similar to that found at Chichen Itza, well preserved and in good condition. This is in keeping with the story of Quetzalcoatl, who was the feathered serpent revered by the Aztecs and other Mexican tribes.
El Meco has the distinction of being the highest Maya ruins in the north of the state, thanks to a structure known as El Castillo, which stands 15-meters high. From the top of the Castillo you will be amazed by the impressive view that you have of the surrounding area; the Caribbean Sea, Cancun’s lagoons, and Isla Mujeres. This made it the perfect observation point to view any approaching ships. It is also one of the reasons El Meco is thought to be the lighthouse of the region and was used for maritime navigation.
Things to Be Aware Of
There are no big signs to this site, so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled as the entrance is discreet, located on your left hand side. The place is quite modest, so don’t expect to find restaurants or any gift shops. Only a few people take care of the entire place, so if you require any information make sure to ask at the entrance.
The entrance cost is 50 pesos and they are open daily from 8am-4pm. El Meco has no guides, it’s a self-paced experience of walking around and exploring. Fortunately there are plenty of trees around to provide shade from the hot sun, making your walking easier. Do your shopping beforehand and bring plenty of water and mosquito repellant. When you do get hungry you will find many fine restaurants near El Meco overlooking the water in Cancun’s Hotel Zone.
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