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The "Hidden Gem" Ruins of Tulum
The Muyil Ruins can be found a short drive (~15 miles) south of the town of Tulum and are on the left-hand side of the highway. There is plenty of signage to guide you to the spot. They can be reached by car or taxi, but bus options may be more limited than those available at the Zona Arqueologica de Tulum. Also, unlike Zona Arqueologica de Tulum, parking is free. We did not hike with a guide for this site, but they are available at the park entrance.
Fees (as of 2020)
The entrance fee is 50 pesos per person. Guided tours and access to the Laguna de Muyil are extra (we did not opt for either).
No challenges here; follow the paths. The route consists of a large loop with a few spur trails going off to different points of interest. One such trail is an access trail to the Laguna, where there are boat tours. The farthest outset of ruins was not accessible while we were there. The trail was blocked off, and despite our attempts at some bushwhacking, we were unable to find the last sites indicated on the site map; the jungle may have reclaimed them.
We explored Tulum at the end of December, arguably the coldest part of the year, and it was still quite hot and humid. This area is well shaded by the jungle but is extremely humid. The shady nature makes it more suitable for the afternoon than the Tulum ruins, but it will still be very warm. We did this one the same day as Tulum after lunch.
The paths around the site are clear and smooth. Sensitive areas are roped off. This site is on the edge of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere and is covered with jungle foliage and botanicals. There were 4 separate locations with major structures still accessible at the time of our visit.
General Comments and Musings
This site is, in many ways, the polar opposite of the Zona Arqueologica de Tulum. It was almost empty when we arrived and stayed that way for the duration of our visit. There was no fighting the crowds, lines, or locals trying their best to extract money from visitors. The site is also much more spread out than Tulum and features more pyramid-type structures instead of the smaller stone residential-type buildings found in Tulum. The ruins aren't the largest and most spectacular in the greater region but probably the easiest to access. The natural environment at this site is also spectacular. The Tulum ruins have a section with native plants, but most of the site is turf grass or beach. Muyil is a proper jungle, with some of the trees being so large that they were left growing on some elements of the ruins to avoid damaging them. It is a much more calm and pleasant place to explore. It is well worth the short drive it takes to get there. We liked it much better than the Tulum site.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.