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El Rey Ruins (Zona Arqueologica El Rey)

Visit the iguanas that now inhabit the spectacular ruins of this ancient Mayan city right in the heart of Cancun’s hotel district.

Cancun marks the entrance point to a historic region known as the Mundo Maya, or the Mayan World. Archeological research shows that the Mayan people have inhabited the area that covers parts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador since as early as 1800 bc. The area around Cancun was once an area of highly populated settlements. Today, evidence of these settlements can be experienced right in the heart of Cancun, at the El Rey Ruins.

The El Rey Ruins are all that remains of an ancient Mayan city, abandoned following the arrival of the Spanish settlers. As you explore the 47 stone structures and let your imagination fill in the details and color of ancient Mayan life. Climb to the top of the highest structure to find a Mayan temple and the burial site of an important Mayan figure. 

Some of the stone walls are still adorned with ancient paintings. While the murals have deteriorated with time, it is still possible to make out images resembling kings and other significant members of the community. While not as grand as other Mayan cities, El Rey is still highly atmospheric and offers an accessible introduction to the original inhabitants of Cancun.

The ruins have another, less expected attraction. Today, El Rey is inhabited by a huge colony of iguanas. The iguanas have become accustomed to human interaction, and are confident around people. Bring some fruit or bread to feed these fascinating creatures as they crawl between the ancient ruins.

El Rey Ruins are located in the center of Cancun’s hotel district, on the edge of the lagoon. They are best reached by bus or taxi, and paid parking is available in the hotel district. Entrance to the ruins is available daily for a very small fee, although this is waived on Sundays. The ruins offer little shade, so pack an umbrella, hat or sunblock.


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Best Lodging Options Near El Rey Ruins

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GR Solaris Cancun & Spa - All Inclusive CA $238
GR Solaris Cancun & Spa - All Inclusive

GR Solaris Cancun & Spa - All Inclusive

Blvd. Kukulkan Km. 19.5, Lt 59-2, Sección A, 2 da etapa Zona Hotelera, Cancun, QROO
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Zona Hotelera, this beachfront resort is in the city centre and within a 10-minute walk of El Rey Ruins and Delfines Beach. Aquaworld and Maya Cancun Museum are also within 3 miles (5 km).

    Iberostar Selection Cancun All Inclusive CA $564
    Iberostar Selection Cancun All Inclusive

    Iberostar Selection Cancun All Inclusive

    Boulevard Kukulcan, Km. 17, Cancun, QROO
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Nestled on the beach, this Zona Hotelera resort is within a 15-minute walk of Delfines Beach, El Rey Ruins and Maya Cancun Museum. Aquaworld is 1.2 mi (2 km) away.

      Royal Solaris Cancun Resort Marina & Spa - All Inclusive CA $262
      Royal Solaris Cancun Resort Marina & Spa - All Inclusive

      Royal Solaris Cancun Resort Marina & Spa - All Inclusive

      Boulevard Kukulcan Km 20.5, Lote 64, 2a etapa, Seccion A, Zona Hotelera, Cancun, QROO
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        This family-friendly Cancun resort is located on the Strip, within a 15-minute walk of El Rey Ruins and Delfines Beach. Aquaworld and Maya Cancun Museum are also within 3 miles (5 km).

        GR Caribe By Solaris Deluxe All Inclusive Resort CA $256
        GR Caribe By Solaris Deluxe All Inclusive Resort

        GR Caribe By Solaris Deluxe All Inclusive Resort

        Blvd. Kukulcan Km 20.5, Lote 64, Section A, 2nd entrance, Hotel Zone, Cancun, QROO
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Zona Hotelera, this beachfront resort is in the city centre and within 3 mi (5 km) of El Rey Ruins, Delfines Beach and Aquaworld. Maya Cancun Museum is 2 mi (3.2 km) away.

          Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun - All Inclusive CA $414
          Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun - All Inclusive

          Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun - All Inclusive

          Blvd. Kukulkan km 16.5, Zona Hotelera, Cancun, QROO
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Nestled on the beach, this Zona Hotelera hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Aquaworld and Maya Cancun Museum. Delfines Beach and El Rey Ruins are also within 2 miles (3 km).

            Crown Paradise Club Cancun All Inclusive CA $272
            Crown Paradise Club Cancun All Inclusive

            Crown Paradise Club Cancun All Inclusive

            Boulevard Kukulcan Km 18.5, Cancun, QROO
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Nestled on the beach, this Zona Hotelera resort is within a 10-minute walk of Delfines Beach and El Rey Ruins. Aquaworld and Maya Cancun Museum are also within 3 miles (5 km).

              The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun CA $167
              The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun

              The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun

              Boulevard Kukulcan Km 20, Cancun, QROO
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Nestled on the beach, this Zona Hotelera resort is within 2 mi (3 km) of El Rey Ruins and Delfines Beach. Aquaworld and Cancun Interactive Aquarium are also within 6 mi (10 km).

                Marriott Cancun Resort CA $239
                Marriott Cancun Resort

                Marriott Cancun Resort

                Boulevard Kukulcan, Retorno Chac L-41, Zona Hotelera, Cancun, QROO
                   
                  4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Zona Hotelera, this beachfront resort is connected to the convention centre and within a 10-minute walk of Ballenas Beach and Aquaworld. Cancun Interactive Aquarium and Delfines Beach are also within 2 miles (3 km).