Do you want to see the most hidden places in Mexico? Let’s discover our ancestors’ history via Mexico’s archaeological sites. Are you ready? See various pyramids, temples, ceremonial centers, and ancient cities within the jungle or even in front of the ocean.
An archaeological site is a place full of history where evidence of past activities has been preserved, whether prehistoric, historical, or contemporary.
Get to know the most important archaeological sites!
If you are a lover of the Mayan culture and our ancestors, you probably know more than 5 places in the Archaeological Sites of Mexico.
First, we’ll explore Bonampak, a Mayan archaeological site. The name means “painted walls” because this enclosure has 3 completely painted rooms where the Mayans symbolized the trade of war and their sacrifices.
Getting there is not easy; you have to cross an 8 km dirt road and then take transportation from the Lacandon community that will drop you off at the exact location. But it will be worth it!
If you love nature, this will be one of your favorite archaeological sites in Mexico. It is located in the heart of the largest Biosphere Reserve in the country. It houses incredible flora and fauna typical of Campeche, such as jaguars and spider monkeys.
It is a tall structure that dominates the jungle. If you arrive very early, you can witness the blanket of fog that covers it at night dissipating from atop its summit.
Chichen Itza, Yucatan
Apart from being one of the 7 wonders of the world, Chichen Itza is, without a doubt, one of the most important Mayan archaeological sites in Mexico. Some of the most notable structures are the Pyramid of Kukulcan, El Castillo, El Caracol (or observatory), the Ball Court, the Temple of the thousand columns, and the Sacred Cenote.
If you are already in Puebla, just 7 km from the capital, you will find the Cholula archaeological site. This area is famous for having ruins, but the most fascinating thing is the view of the church on top of a mound and Popocatepetl in the background.
The Spanish tried to replace the indigenous gods, which is why they destroyed temples and built churches over them. The church is built above the pyramid, which has a base of 450 meters long on each side. The Toltecs expelled from Tula were the ones who built this archaeological site.
This Mayan city was used for commercial purposes. The buildings and objects found belonged to ethnic groups from other latitudes, both from the country’s north and south.
For example, the Chontals who inhabited this area were born merchants, even reaching Cacaxtla in Tlaxcala. Here, cocoa cultivation was and is, to this day, one of the most vital economic activities.
Ek Balam, Yucatan
This is another of the archaeological sites of Yucatan you must visit. This striking palace was built as a tomb for one of the kings.
This highly-valued archaeological site is magnificent as vast jungle surrounds it. And its Acropolis is one of the largest in Mesoamerica, with more than 40 structures and majestic views of the Yucatecan jungle landscape.
This city of Zapotec and Mixtec origin is within the archaeological sites of Oaxaca that you must visit.
After the fall of Monte Alban, it was the most important site in Oaxaca. It contains 5 sets of monumental architecture. Also, in Mitla, the evangelists built a church on one of its main palaces. This is how we see the church of San Pablo atop that structure today.
Monte Alban, Oaxaca
The Monte Alban archaeological site is known worldwide, just 10 km from the city of Oaxaca, for its structures such as the Ball Court, the Danzantes Building, and the South Platform. However, on the esplanade called the Great Plaza, merchants were located to set up the market.
This city was founded on the top of a hill in the central valleys of Oaxaca and had up to 35 thousand inhabitants who specialized in architecture, pottery, and mural painting.
This archaeological site is designated as a Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad of Mexico. Its magnificent sculptures and buildings tell the story of a man trying to understand and explain the universe. One of the most important finds was, without a doubt, the tomb of Pakal II because the structure is beautiful and majestic.
El Tajin, Veracruz
In addition to being the state with the most important port in the country, it is also home to one of Mexico’s most beautiful archaeological sites. It has one of the most beautiful pre-Hispanic buildings, which is undoubtedly the Pyramid of the Niches. A great proponent of the Totonaca culture.
It was known as the “City of Smoking Temples” since copal was constantly burned in its buildings.
Tamtoc, San Luis Potosi
You will also be fascinated by this place since it was a political and religious center for the Huasteca culture. From its buildings with circular bases or rounded corners, we know that the inhabitants of Tamtoc were unlike any other.
Certainly, they were mainly dedicated to astronomy and hydraulic engineering, but they had other economic activities such as agriculture, fishing, and mining. This culture gave a remarkable value to women, as they were considered living symbols of fertility.
Teotihuacan, Estado de Mexico
The City of the Gods could not be missing from this list. The Teotihuacan archaeological zone is one of our ancestors’ most important and symbolic sites. It had up to 100,000 inhabitants, and its location in a valley rich in resources made it a city, in addition to being important for its architecture, an economic, political, religious, and cultural center at the time.
Since the time of the Aztecs, Teotihuacan has been a sacred site since it contains 264 hectares of history. Also, we find the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, the Citadel, the Road of the Dead, and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent.
Tulum, Quintana Roo
Talking about sacred places, the Tulum archaeological zone is the most important for the Mayan culture. Despite being so close to the ocean, it has murals and structures in an excellent state of preservation. In Mayan, it received the name of Zama, which means dawn.
It takes an hour and a half to visit the entire site, but we recommend walking down to the beach and taking a dip or at least soaking your feet in the warm water of the Caribbean.
Another archaeological zone of Yucatan that you cannot miss is Uxmal. Among its ruins were astonishing masks of Chaac (God of the rain) and stelae with hieroglyphics.
Enjoy a light and sound show because experiencing an archaeological site at night gives you a different perspective than during the day. Also, see the beauty of its main buildings such as the Pyramid of the Magician, the Quadrangle of the Nuns and the Casa de las Palomas.
Finally, one of the archaeological sites near CDMX is one of the most important cities in Mesoamerica after the fall of Tenochtitlan. It has civic, housing, and religious buildings. In addition, it has moats and walls.
You can also visit the Great Pyramid in the central square, the South Ball Court, the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpents, and the observatory inside a cave where sunlight can show you an X-ray of your body.
Tips for going to the Archaeological Sites of Mexico
Finally, to visit the precincts of our ancestors, we recommend following some tips and taking them into account before, during, and after your visit.
- Clothing: We recommend wearing comfortable or sports apparel because you will generally have to walk a lot. Hats and tennis shoes are a must. Also, don’t forget your sunscreen!
- Food: In many sections, they do not allow you to bring food, but we recommend taking a bottle of water with you. Also, eat something light before starting the journey.
- Tours: Different tours take you to the archaeological sites of Mexico and even give you a brief explanation, so you know the history in depth. Find out which tour fits best.
- Hours: Archaeological sites are not open 24 hours a day. Check the hours.
Also, from time to time, there are night shows you cannot miss.
- Seasons: The busiest season is when the spring equinox occurs since many people visit these sites to fill themselves with energy. Make sure to research the area’s climate you’re visiting so you’re not surprised by rain or bad weather.
- Environmental awareness: Although most areas are outdoors, they require maintenance and care. Follow all rules to preserve these majestic sites. For example, do not use flash photography in certain areas and do not cross lines where people are forbidden.
Get to know Mexico!
This country is rich in history and places called wonders of the world. We must understand the culture and preserve it! Get to know the archaeological zones of Mexico with cheap flights designed just for you.