Exploring All Mayan Ruins in Cozumel

Step on the path of time and explore the mystical Mayan ruins of San Gervasio, El Cedral, and Castillo Real, where traces of the island’s long cultural heritage can be found.

Tag along with us on a journey of discovery where gods were worshipped, rituals were performed, and history was inscribed on stone.

Key Takeaway Points:

Mayan Ruins Sites in Cozumel

  • San Gervasio
    • Largest archaeological site on the island, dating back to 600 AD.
    • Dedicated to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of fertility and medicine.
    • Features over 60 structures including La Iglesia, Las Manitas, and El Caracol.
    • Accessible by car or tour bus, offering insights into Mayan culture and spirituality.
  • El Cedral
    • Ancient Mayan site dating back to the Preclassic period (2500 BC – 250 AD).
    • Features collapsed structures and intricately carved stelae.
    • Accessible by 4×4 vehicle or scenic boat trip.
    • Offers a more intimate and secluded experience amidst the jungle.
  • Castillo Real (Royal Castle)
    • Hidden gem located along the northeastern coast of Cozumel.
    • Built between the 13th and 15th centuries AD.
    • Features remnants of temple structures, residential complexes, and intricately carved stones.
    • Accessible by rugged 4×4 drive through dense vegetation or scenic boat journey along the coast.

Details about Mayan Ruins in Cozumel

1. San Gervasio

San Gervasio Mayan Ruins Cozumel


San Gervasio, the largest archaeological site on the northern part of Cozumel, has a history dating several centuries back (600 AD).


Acting as a holy place, San Gervasio was dedicated to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of fertility and medicine.

The fact that it was sacred to the ancient Mayans made it a pilgrimage site of great significance.


  • San Gervasio is a really cool place to visit in Cozumel because there are over sixty buildings to see. They are all hidden in the jungle and show how awesome the Mayans were at building stuff.
  • The buildings are all made by the Mayans a long time ago, and they are still standing today. It’s amazing to see how they built them without modern tools or machines.
  • The jungle around the buildings is really green and lush, which makes it feel like an adventure to explore. You might even see some cool animals while you’re there.
  • The Mayans were really good at designing their buildings, and you can see that in all the different structures at San Gervasio. They had a unique style that you won’t see anywhere else.
  • When you visit San Gervasio, you can learn a lot about the Mayan civilization and how they lived. It’s like stepping back in time and seeing history come to life.
  • The tour of San Gervasio is a great way to spend the day in Cozumel. You can take your time walking around and taking in all the amazing sights.
  • It’s a good idea to bring a camera with you when you visit San Gervasio because there are so many cool things to take pictures of. You’ll want to remember your trip forever.
  • The Mayan ruins at San Gervasio are a must-see for anyone visiting Cozumel. It’s a chance to experience something really special and unique.
  • The tour guides at San Gervasio are really knowledgeable and can tell you all about the history and significance of the ruins. They make the experience even more interesting.
  • Visiting San Gervasio is a great way to appreciate the incredible achievements of the Mayan civilization. It’s a chance to see something truly awe-inspiring.

Notable structures include:

  • La Iglesia (The Temple): This imposing temple, dedicated to Ixchel, dominates the landscape with its grandeur and significance in Mayan religious practices.
  • Las Manitas (The Little Hands): An intriguing complex adorned with hand-shaped imprints, believed to symbolize offerings or prayers made by pilgrims seeking blessings from Ixchel.
  • El Caracol (The Snail): A remarkable circular structure exhibiting astronomical alignments, suggesting its use in tracking celestial events and Mayan calendrical rituals.


San Gervasio is easily reachable by car or tour bus, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the enchanting history and spirituality of the Mayan world.


San Gervasio, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit location for anyone interested in history and culture because it provides priceless insights into Cozumel’s important role in Mayan spirituality and culture.

Also Read: 10 Best Things to Do in Cozumel for Wildlife Encounters

2. El Cedral

El Cedral - Mayan Ruins Cozumel


El Cedral is an ancient Mayan site located in the south part of Cozumel that dates back to the Preclassic Period (2500 BC–250 AD), which is longer than San Gervasio.


El Cedral, while smaller than San Gervasio, is nevertheless an invaluable historical site, revealing the Mayans’ early occupation and cultural development on the island.


  • El Cedral in Cozumel is a place where you can explore ancient Mayan ruins.
  • When you visit El Cedral, you can see many old buildings that have fallen down over time.
  • The ruins at El Cedral show how important this place was to the Mayan people.
  • You can also find beautifully carved stelae at El Cedral, which are like stone monuments with intricate designs.
  • Walking through El Cedral, you can imagine what life was like for the Mayans who lived there long ago.
  • The ruins at El Cedral are a reminder of the grandeur and significance of the Mayan civilization.
  • Exploring El Cedral is like taking a step back in time to learn about the history of the Mayan people.
  • The collapsed structures at El Cedral tell a story of the passage of time and the resilience of the Mayan culture.
  • Visiting El Cedral is a unique opportunity to connect with the ancient past and appreciate the achievements of the Mayan society.
  • The ruins at El Cedral are a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of the Mayan civilization.


While less accessible than San Gervasio, reaching El Cedral requires a 4×4 vehicle or a scenic boat trip, adding an adventurous touch to the journey.


A deeper connection to Cozumel’s ancient past and the enduring legacy of the Mayan civilization is made possible by El Cedral, which provides visitors with a more private and secluded experience within the peaceful embrace of the jungle.

3. Castillo Real (Royal Castle)

Castillo Real (Royal Castle) mayan ruins cozumel


Sitting right on the north-eastern coast of Cozumel, Castillo Real comes to light as one of the hidden gems with astounding scenery of Mayan history, which also provides the guests with a relatively calm and low-key environment.


Considered to have been constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries AD, Castillo Real was a small ceremonial center and a lookout point from which a magnificent panoramic view of the sea could be enjoyed.


  • The Castillo Real, also known as the Royal Castle, is a very important place in Cozumel because of its cultural significance.
  • Even though it is not very big, the Castillo Real has a lot of tiny temples and complexes to explore.
  • The ruins are filled with sculptures that have ancient magical symbols on them, showing us what daily life was like back then.
  • People used to come here to perform rituals and practice their religion, so it’s like a window into the past.
  • The Castillo Real is a great place to learn about the history and traditions of the Mayan people who lived in Cozumel.
  • You can see how they built their structures and what kind of art they created.
  • Exploring the Castillo Real can help us understand more about the Mayan culture and their way of life.
  • It’s amazing to think about how long ago these ruins were built and what they meant to the people who lived there.
  • The Castillo Real is a must-visit if you want to learn more about the ancient Mayan civilization in Cozumel.
  • Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and soak in the history while you’re there.


Accessing Castillo Real presents a greater challenge, requiring either a rugged 4×4 drive through dense vegetation or a scenic boat journey along the coast.


Because of Castillo Real’s isolated location, visitors have a rare chance to appreciate the architectural creativity of the Mayan civilization while also immersing themselves in the peace and quiet of nature.

Against the stunning backdrop of the ocean, this hidden gem offers a novel viewpoint on Mayan history and culture.

Tips for Visiting Mayan Ruins, Cozumel

  • Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear suitable for exploring archaeological sites and jungle terrain.
  • Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat to stay hydrated and protected from the elements.
  • Consider hiring a knowledgeable guide to gain deeper insights into the history and significance of each site.
  • Respect the sanctity of the archaeological sites by refraining from touching or climbing on the ancient structures.
  • Capture memories of your visit with a camera or smartphone but be mindful of local regulations regarding photography.


At the end of the day, the sun sets and radiates the mayan ruins of Cozumel with a golden light. In this way, we leave this land that is so beautiful and peaceful and that also holds a remarkable history.

Imprint these moments from our trip to San Gervasio, El Cedral, and Castillo Real in your heart, as my wish for you will be to always feel awe and respect for the Mayan civilization that is still breathing today.

Till next time, the Cozumel Island you will never forget will be filled with the riches of enchantment, new discoveries, and the spirit of visualization.

FAQs about Mayan Ruins in Cozumel

  • Can I visit Chichen Itza from Cozumel?

    Yes, but Chichen Itza is not located on Cozumel. It’s a renowned Mayan ruin on the Yucatan mainland, requiring a ferry ride and further transportation (around 273 miles away). Consider the travel time, cost, and physical demands before deciding.

  • Are the Mayan ruins in Cozumel suitable for children?

    Yes, children can visit the ruins, but supervision is advised, especially in areas with uneven terrain.

  • Can I climb the structures at San Gervasio and El Cedral?

    Climbing on the structures is prohibited to preserve their integrity and ensure visitor safety.

  • Are there guided tours available for exploring the Mayan ruins?

    Yes, guided tours with knowledgeable experts are available, providing in-depth insights into the history and significance of each site.

  • What should I bring when visiting the Mayan ruins?

    It’s recommended to bring water, sunscreen, insect repellent, comfortable clothing, and sturdy walking shoes.

  • How long does it take to explore San Gervasio, El Cedral, and Castillo Real?

    The duration of exploration depends on individual pace and interest, but plan for at least a few hours to fully experience each site

  • Are there facilities such as restrooms and refreshments available at the ruins?

    Facilities may be limited, so it’s advisable to use restrooms and purchase refreshments before entering the sites.

  • Are the Mayan ruins wheelchair accessible?

    Accessibility varies, with San Gervasio being more accommodating than El Cedral and Castillo Real, which may have rugged terrain.

  • Can I take photographs at the ruins?

    Yes, photography is permitted for personal use, but drone photography and commercial filming may require special permits.

  • Are there any cultural events or performances held at the ruins?

    Occasionally, cultural events or reenactments may take place at San Gervasio, offering visitors a unique glimpse into Mayan traditions.

  • Are there entrance fees to visit the Mayan ruins?

    Yes, there may be nominal entrance fees for some sites, with discounts often available for students, seniors, and local residents.

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