Mexico has thousands of sites of ancient MesoAmerican civilizations: the Maya, Aztec, Olmec, Toltec and Teotihuacan. While most of these sites still remain unexcavated, hundreds are at least partially done and open to visitation by travelers. Many allow a remarkable level of access, with the ability to climb many of the pyramids and to go inside the restored structures and touch the very stones that the ancient peoples built their cities with.
The Mayan civilization an be traced back to thousands of years and reached its apex beginning around 250 AD and lasting until about 900. Cities still existed until their final conquest by the Spanish in 1697. The range of the Maya encompassed all of the Yucatan peninsula as well as Guatemala, Belize and parts of Honduras and El Salvador.
I find these sites to be enchanting. Despite architectural similarities, these sites vary one from another in enticing ways. Its hard to describe how cool it feels to climb the steep steps up a pyramid and stand where ancient peoples did. It is easy to see why they revered these sites and viewed them with religious fervor. The art is surprisingly well preserved in places, and you can imagine the beauty of the city as it must have once looked.
I hope to visit a lot more of these, but I’m presenting you with a list of my favorites so far in the order I prefer them most. Click each picture below to read about my experience at each site which includes lots of good pictures and usable advice on seeing it for yourself. All serious travelers need to see some of these. A Careful Adventurer will come away with some great memories.