Mayapan is a lesser known ancient Mayan ruin that is a nice visit. If you have visited other Maya sites, especially Chichen Itza, one of the things you will appreciate most is the lack of visitors and zero vendors. There is nothing in the way of infrastructure other than restrooms. The ground is mostly flat but there is no paving – you’ll be walking on grass or dirt. The site is very compact and easy to move about. There are steps to various platforms and the pyramids can be climbed here. Please take care not to fall while doing so.
There are a few vendors offering guided tours to Mayapan now from the nearby city of Merida. Most tours include other stops as well. I doubt there is anyone offering trips from Cancun or Playa del Carmen – it is a good three hour drive each way. I recommend seeing it as part of an overnight in Merida or part of a longer multi-day trip. There are many neat sites in the area including cenotes that are great fun to visit.
The so-called Puuc loop would include Mayapan along with other Mayan sites like Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labna. The cave Grutas de Loltun is also on the loop. Doing all of this in one day is likely not possible, but all of these are worthy stops and you’ll need at least two days to do it all. Uxmal would be my priority of all of these.
There are public busses from Merida that will get you close, but renting a car seems better to me. It is 48 km from Merida. If driving yourself, please don’t confuse the Mayapan ruin with the small town of Mayapan. The ruin is located off of highway 184 a few miles south of the town of Telchaquillo. To find it in google maps, look for ‘Zona Arqueologica Mayapan’. When we went, hwy 184 was being worked on and we drove by it twice before we saw the pathetically small home-made sign to the site in a tree. Hopefully they now have better signage.
The nice colonial town of Campeche is an overnight option that would allow you to also see the Edzna ruin en route and can be a springboard for going further south to the wonderful Mayan ruin of Palenque.
It is always hot in the Yucatan, so please take some water and cover your head. The sun will burn unprotected skin quickly as well. It costs 35 pesos per person to visit Mayapan at the time of this writing.
To read details from our visit to Mayapan, go here.
To see high-res pictures from our trip, go here.
Want to see where Mayapan ranks in all the Mesoamerican sites I’ve been to? Go here.