Remnants of Maya Ruins at San Gervasio, Mexico

Remnants of Maya Ruins at San Gervasio, Mexico

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El Rey Ruins

When people visit Cancún, most head to the big ruins of the Yucatan such as Chichen Itza or Tulum. However, tucked away among the tourists spots, hotels, and beaches of Cancún are some equally interesting remnants of Maya civilization that provide a nice quiet retreat from all the tourists. There are also lots and lots of iguanas.

The El Rey ruins are located near the southern end of the Cancún island and thought to have been a royal retreat/playground. The site was originally used between 1250 to 1630. Its royal heritage and name are based on some remains found at the location that are thought to have been those of a king. The most prominent features are two small temples that were supposedly used as watchtowers and lighthouses.

Visitors to El Rey will also notice that there are a lot of iguanas. So many that the guard tells everyone who enters not to feed, pet, or bother them. You will see them everywhere, sunning themselves and acting as if the ruins belong to them.

Know Before You Go

El Rey is located near Boulevard Kukulkan Kilometer 19 (near the Playa Delfines and the Sheraton Cancun Resort. A cab from the Zona Hotelera will cost between $150 MXN and $200 MXN. Where shoes or sandals that you don't mind getting wet and bring plenty of water as there are no services on this part of the island. The entry fee for El Rey is $50 MXN. Give way to the iguanas too.

6 Incredible Mayan Ruins on the Riviera Maya

Chichen Itza is number one for good reason. It is one of the most visited places in Mexico, drawing over 2 million visitors every year and it was named as one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World” which has only made it a more popular place to visit.

This sprawling ruins complex has many well preserved structures, but the archeological zone is best known for the Temple of Kukulkan, a 30-meter tall step pyramid with 7 platforms that rise above all the other temples and structures in the complex.

It is one of the most incredible structures we’ve seen anywhere in Mexico. The symmetry of this step pyramid is amazing, casting perfect shadows onto itself when the sun is just right. It is one of the most recognizable archeological landmarks in the world and one of the main reasons why Chichen Itza is such an impressive place to visit.

While most people come to see the main temple, there is much more to Chichen Itza than just this one pyramid. This complex is home to many other really well-preserved temples and buildings, including the observatory, the great ball court and the temple of the warriors.

It is also one of the easiest to visit, as most local tour operators will be trying to sell you a tour here. Don’t miss your chance to see this incredible place. The ruins are located just outside of the city of Valladolid, a very picturesque colonial town with nearly 500 years of history.

For those who are a bit more adventurous, renting a car will allow yourself to stop at other attractions and destinations on the way. Driving in Mexico isn’t for everyone, but there are two toll-highways that travel from either Cancun and Playa del Carmen that make it a safe and easy trip. If you’re doing it on the cheap, and planing to spend a few days in Valladolid, it is possible to take a small public bus (collectivos) or the comfortable air conditioned ADO’s busses that travel this route.

A trip to Chichen Itza is definitely worth the trip, and if you’re only going to see one of the ruins on this list, this has to be the number one choice.

Health Information


The Centers for Disease Control recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine, varicella (chicken pox) vaccine, and your yearly flu shot before every trip.

There are no vaccinations required for entry into Mexico, unless you are traveling from an endemic yellow fever area within six weeks prior to entry.

Some physicians recommend that travelers get hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines before visiting Mexico.

Please consult your physician for additional information and recommendations based on your individual circumstances.


The CDC warns that travelers to Central America may be at risk for exposure to malaria. Malaria is caused by a parasite found in Anopheles mosquitos, which are active from dusk until dawn. Prevention is twofold: the use of anti-malarial drugs and the prevention of insect bites. If you choose to use an anti-malarial drug, as recommended by the CDC, see your physician for a prescription.

Zika Virus

Locally transmitted cases of Zika virus have been reported in Mexico. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with Zika and are spreading it to people. The CDC recommends that travelers to Mexico protect themselves from mosquito bites. As a precaution, the CDC advises women who are pregnant to consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.


The effects of the sun can be damaging to the eyes and skin. Spending time outdoors exposes you to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, even on cloudy days. To protect yourself from the sun, use a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15, protect skin with clothing, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and drink plenty of fluids.

When To Visit Cozumel

The tropical climate in Cozumel is quite predictable and easy to make plans around. Without much of a temperature difference throughout the year, (the average temperature lingers around 83 degrees F) it’s the rainy hurricane season that most travelers need to pay attention to.

January – April

Perfect weather-wise, but sees the highest influx of tourists. If you are not a people person, consider this.

May – October

The hottest and most rainy months of the year but still plenty of sunshine. Also, this is the hurricane season so keep an eye on the forecasts. Fewer tourists so you can typically expect lower rates at hotels, resorts and tour companies during this time.

November – December

The autumn-winter months are considered by many to be the best times to visit Cozumel. The hurricane season has passed by this time and the humidity is low. Can be a little “chilly” in the evenings.

Suggested Packing List


  • Short and mainly long sleeve shirts
  • Comfortable long pants
  • Thermal underwear (unnecessary for Baja or Yucatan)
  • Weather-appropriate coat or jacket
  • Sweater/fleece
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Comfortable, well-worn shoes with rubber soles: Shoes should be suitable for walking on cobblestone
  • streets, gravel paths and uneven, damp surfaces.
  • Water shoes
  • Sleepwear
  • Hat for shade or cold/windy weather
  • Warm pajamas
  • Warm fleece jacket and waterproof windbreaker
  • Bathing suit if desired


  • Waterproof sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera, charger/batteries, memory card
  • Binoculars if desired
  • Flashlight
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Personal water bottle

In addition to your toiletries, it is useful to pack a small medical kit. Helpful items include bandages, mosquito repellent, antihistamine, a pain-reliever, individually wrapped moist towlettes, anti-diarrhea medicine, anti-fungal cream, a small sewing kit, and an extra pair of disposable contact lenses or eyeglasses if you wear them.

What's included

Cost is based on a minimum of 10 participants in double occupancy.

A $200 per person deposit and enrollment form is due to hold your space on this trip. For travel through March 31, 2022, your deposit is fully refundable until 95 days prior to departure. Cancellations after this date will result in loss of full deposit.

Please note: Your participation as a traveler indicates acceptance of Holbrook Travel’s Covid-19 protocols in place at time of travel.

Holbrook Travel strongly recommends the purchase of travel insurance for medical emergencies while traveling and to protect your investment. Please note the purchase of Cancel for Any Reason Coverage or to exclude pre-existing conditions with Trip Cancellation coverage may require policy purchase within 10-14 days of your initial deposit, depending upon the provider.

Single room supplement $345

Final payment due date: October 17, 2021

Remnants of Maya Ruins at San Gervasio, Mexico - History

​​​​ ​welcome to the mayan ruins website .

​KAMINALJUYU-Guatemala City, Guatemala

Kaminaljuyu, “Hill of the Dead”, is a major Pre Classic site that sat at the crossroads of Maya trade routes connecting the Maya Northern Lowland sites to the Pacific Slope. This position enabled the site to grow and prosper from the Middle Pre Classic (800-300 B.C.) through the beginning of the Post Classic (900-1200 A.D). The site is located in a valley of the central highlands, part of the Sierra Madre Mountains which runs through most of Central America. It was centered around the rim of Lake Miraflores and which dried up centuries ago.

The site is currently buried under the sprawling metropolis of Guatemala City. Due to this situation, the true size and scope of the site may never be known. Of the 200-300 mounds that were reported at the beginning of the 20th century, fewer than 35 remain. Most of the remaining portion of the site is located in a small archaeological park within Zone 7, south of Parque Erick Barrondo. Another set of mounds is located within the Miraflores shopping center, next to the Kaminaljuyu Museum. Other isolated mounds are located throughout the capital , including the General Cemetery.

The construction materials consisted of adobe and pumice stone, and have not held up well against the elements through the ages. Much of the information gleaned from the sites’ history has been recovered from underground tunnel excavations.

There are large deposits of obsidian located near the site, and along with jade from the Montagua Valley and cacao from the coastal plains, formed the axis of trade between the regions with Kaminaljuyu at its center.

HOURS: 8 A.M-4 P.M. Monday-Saturday
ENTRANCE FEE: U.S $7/50 Quetzals
ON-SITE MUSEUM: Museums are located within the city
ACCOMMODATIONS: Ample food and lodging located in the city
GPS: 15d 19' 16" N, 90d 21' 09" W

Kaminaljuyu is a very early site. It was first settled in the Early Pre Classic (1000-800 B.C.). By the Middle Pre Classic (800-300 B.C.) the site had developed into a sophisticated city with religious and civic centers. Well executed ceramics were produced. The study of the different ceramic styles has been the subject of intensive investigations which have helped to explain the sites evolving history. Trade and political contacts extended throughout the Southern Lowlands to sites such as El Mirador, and down to the Pacific Slope to sites such as Tak’alik Abaj and El Baul. Some of the earliest known carved stelae in the Maya area were produced here at this time.

It is thought that during the Middle Pre Classic Kaminaljuyu achieved direct control over over the site of Echayal, 12 miles/20 kms to the NE and one of the most important sources of obsidian in all of Mesoamerica.

The city reached its apogee from the Middle to the Late Pre Classic. (800 B.C. – 200 A.D.). Teotihuacan influences appear towards the end of this period showing a strong relationship with that great Central Mexican city/state. Tomb goods, ceramics and architectural styles all show Teotihuacan traits.

At the start of the Early Classic (200-600 A.D.) the site experienced a decline that lasted until around 400 A.D. This same decline was experienced by other established Pre Classic Sites such as El Mirador, Takalik Abaj and Seibal.

Kaminaljuyu regained its population and political vitality beginning around 400 A.D. with an expansion in building activity which lasted through the Late Classic. (600-900 A.D). The city collapsed around 900 A.D. with only a small remnant population that lasted another hundred years or so.

The site was first visited by Alfred Maudslay in the late 1890’s with notes and a site plan produced. The first excavation was undertaken in 1925 by Manuel Gamio. A more ambitious project was undertaken in the 1930’s concentrating on ceramic descriptions and dating. The Guatemalan government has consolidated and protected two groups within the archaeological park.

The importance of Kaminaljuyu lies not in its structures, but in the vast amount of archaeological material recovered from the site. The site has two main groups Mound A and Mound B. There were also 12 ball courts identified throughout the site. Numerous stelae, carved altars, and other carved monuments have been excavated.

The site contains a complex water supply system known as the Snake Mound. This is a raised 3 mile/5km long channel that supplied water to the city. It is the largest known hydraulic project from the Maya era, and perhaps in all of Mesoamerica.

Mound A, also known as the Acropolis, is noted for its two richly adorned tombs that date to the Late Pre Classic. These tombs contained an extraordinary collection of jade, shell, obsidian and ceramic offerings. The structure itself is the result of several construction phases. The last phase dates to the Middle Classic (400-600 A.D.) and displays the talud-tablero style connected to Teotihuacan, and found throughout the site. Its surface retains traces of red paint.

The acropolis is situated around a central plaza. A u-shaped raised platform defines one side of the plaza. The terminus of each end of the platform supports a pyramidal temple structure. Directly across the plaza is a singular temple structure.

Cozumel Island

Located in the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, the sun, sand and surf make the island of Cozumel a vacationers paradise for all. Measuring about 30 miles in length and 10 miles wide, Isla Cozumel, meaning “Island of the Swallow” lies just off the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and is the most populated of Mexico's islands.

This unique paradise island is perfectly situated along the Mesoamerican Reef system, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, making the scuba diving and snorkeling some of the best in the world. This reef, houses a rich and diverse marine life and with the temperate climate the water is warm almost year round. Multiple companies offer scuba diving and snorkeling trips, fishing trips and catamaran sails including sunset cruises in Isla Cozumel.

Most of the island's tour operators and activities on the Cozumel island can be found in in the downtown city of San Miguel. The city is also home to a variety of fine dining restaurants, casual bistros and the island's nightlife. And because it is one of the premiere cruise ship ports, the shopping in Isla Cozumel is world-class. There are an abundant number of stores in San Miguel that offer great deals on jewelry and clothing, or take a few steps off the beaten path to find some original Mexican handcrafts to take home.

For those who are looking to venture outside the city, there are a wide variety of activities and interests and with only one major road, the path around the Isla Cozumel is easy to navigate. Join a tour group or rent a car or moped and head out to experience all that the island has to offer. There are Eco-adventure parks like Chankanaab that are a great destination for the whole family to spend the day swimming or snorkeling, or Punta Sur Ecological Park where you can see all kinds of wildlife, climb to the top of the Celarain Lighthouse and find out about turtle conservation on the island. For those looking to learn more about the island's Mayan history, a stop at the San Gervasio ruins is a must. Located in the central part of Isla Cozumel, the ruins were built as an homage to Ixchel, the ancient Mayan goddess of midwifery, love and fertility. At least once in their lifetime all Mayan women were required to visit San Gervasio to pay their respects. These days men and women are both welcome. Or you can take a tour of Cozumel's Museum and see artifacts and remnants of the islands past as well as learn about its ecological conservation efforts. And while out and about make sure to stop for refreshments at one of the few restaurants and eateries that dot the east coast “quiet side” of the Cozumel island.

Isla Cozumel is also home to a growing number of sporting events each year including golf tournaments, fishing tournaments and a popular Ironman triathlon. Easily reached via planes that arrive daily or by a short 40-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, Isla Cozumel is a world-class destination for those seeking culture, cuisine and activities both in and out of the water.

Remnants of Maya Ruins at San Gervasio, Mexico - History

​​​​ ​welcome to the mayan ruins website .

round structure/observatory steve mellard

hieroglyphic staircase 1 elelicht

courtyard of the ambassadors vladmir h miguel

temple of the moon ralf roletscheck

structure 512 steve mellard

temple of the masks steve mellard

temple of the 5 storeys CMF

south temple steve mellard .

temple of the mask paval vorobiev

courtyard of the ambassadors dge

EDZNA- Campeche, (Yucatan), Mexico

Edzna, stylistically and visually, is a very impressive site. Located in a valley, its highest pyramid can be seen well before one enters the archaeological zone. The site is a mixture of a number of architectural styles spanning over 1500 years from 300 B.C. to 1200 A.D. It was an influential political and economic regional capital.

The site features 4 main complexes with numerous individual palaces, platforms and residential structures. A number of sacbeob (white stone roads), man-made irrigation canals, and reservoirs are located within the zone. Over 32 stelae (carved stone markers) have been discovered so far, as well as a rare hieroglyphic stairway. Recent research has identified a partial royal lineage and an emblem glyph for the site. It covers an area of about 15 sq. miles/25 sq. kms, though the core area is easily visited.

The site is located about 37 miles/60 kilometers east of Campeche. From Campeche travel east on Highway 261, then south on Highway 188 to the turn off for Edzna and Nohyaxche.

HOURS: 8 A.M.-5 P.M.
ENTRANCE FEE: U. S. 3.60/65 Pesos
GUIDES: Inquire at visitor kisok
SERVICES: Bathrooms, Visitor kiosk, snacks and drinks
ON-SITE MUSEUM: Yes, a small building at the entrance displays some of the stelae and sculpture from the site
ACCOMMODATIONS: Campeche is about an hour’s drive away
GPS: 19d 36' 10" N, 90d 13' 53" W

Edzna, House of the Itzas, began as a simple settlement in the Middle Pre-Classic (700-300 B.C.). Masonry structures in the Peten style begin to appear in the Late Pre Classic (300 B.C.-200 A.D). Puuc and Chenes style architecture appears by the 6th century as Edzna exerts its greatest political and economic power becoming a regional capital. It had extensive contact with important sites such as Calakmul, Tikal and Piedras Negras. Construction and additions continued into the Post Classic (1100-1450 A.D.) though by this time its influence began to wane and it was abandoned by 1500 A.D.

Edzna was rediscovered in 1906, and was initially reported on in 1927 by Nazario Quintana Bello. The site was visited by Sylvanus Morley in the same year. Alberto Ruz Lhuillier and Raul Pavon Abreu of INAH conducted investigations in 1943. George Andrews compiled the first topographic map in 1967. Antonio Benavides Castillo has conducted a number of investigations since 1988. Excavation and restoration continue to date.

One enters the site through a plaza known as the Courtyard of the Ambassadors. This name was given to the plaza in recognition of the International effort to restore the site. The plaza consists of several structures, most of them on low-rise platforms with columned entryways to inner rooms. One of the structures has the remains of a nice corbeled vault that opens up on both sides and can be walked through.

Across from the plaza is an unusual two-tiered circular structure. There is a north facing stairway that leads up to a single entryway. Its purpose has not been determined, though it is thought to have had an astronomical function. A similar structure appears at the site of Oxtankah on the east coast of the Yucatan.

A short path leads into the Grand Plaza proper. A huge structure known as the Nohoch Na commands the entire west side of the plaza. It is an extremely long platform nearly 400 feet/140 meters in length, and about 15 feet/5 meters in height. Running across the top of the platform are two continuous hallways containing 24 or so entryways. All that remains of this upper floor are partial remnants of the masonry pilasters. This structure seems to have held a civic or administrative function and is nearly identical to the equally impressive Structure 44 seen at Dzibilchaltun.

Bordering the Great Plaza on the north is the Platform of the Knives and is so named for a group of flint knives that were discovered here. It is a long, low platform with stairways on all sides. At either end are the structural remains of vaulted rooms with columned entrances that lead into inner chambers. The middle section of the platform consists of foundations of other chambers. The west side of the platform faces the Courtyard of the Ambassadors.

The south side of the Great Plaza is bordered by a ball court and The South Temple. The South Temple is a five-tiered pyramidal structure with a Puuc style temple perched atop. A central stairway on both the north and south sides of the pyramid leads to the temple and dates from the Late Classic (600-900 A.D.). The ball court is oriented on a north/south axis. There are small stairways that lead to the top of the two parallel structures that once contained rooms.

Located behind the ball court to the south, and outside of the Grand Plaza, is The Temple of the Masks, and the Small Acropolis. The Temple of the Masks is named for the two stunning masks of the Sun God, Kinich Ahau, that flank a small set of steps that lead to a multi-tiered ruined structure. These masks are of a high quality and are very similar to ones seen at Cerros, Kohunlich and Acanceh. The masks are thought to represent the Sun at dawn and sunset and are bracketed by apparent astronomical elements.

The Small Acropolis is a complex consisting of a raised, square platform with four structures situated around an interior courtyard, with a stairway on the west facing the Temple of the Masks. This is the oldest complex at the site dating to 300 B.C. Many of the sites stelae (carved stone historical markers) were once located here dating to the 1st through 5th century, and since relocated for protection and preservation. The Temple of the Reliefs is located on the east side of the courtyard.

Two small sacbeob lead across the Grand Plaza from either end of the Nohoch Na and converge on a large structure that forms the east end of the Plaza. This huge structure has a broad, central stairway that leads up four tiers to the Great Plaza. At either end of the structure are the backsides of two pyramids that can only be accessed from the Great Plaza.

The Great Plaza itself is entered through a narrow passageway between two partially restored structures. The complex is built atop a massive 19 foot/6 meter high platform plaza that measures over 400 feet/140 meters square. The complex, like most Maya buildings, exhibits numerous construction phases.

The largest structure located at the Great Acropolis is on the east side of the plaza and is the imposing Temple of the 5 Storeys. This is an impressive five-tiered structure with numerous vaulted rooms and a towering roof comb. A broad, steep angled stairway leads up from the plaza to a small temple atop the west side of the structure. A smaller stairway on the southeast corner leads to the first level. A complex roof comb of 19 feet/6 meters crowns the temple.

There are 22 rooms that make up the Temple of the Five Storeys. An additional 5 rooms are incorporated into the temple that is situated on the summit of the structure. In two of the rooms painted inscriptions have been discovered on interior stuccoed vault capstones. An Early Classic (200-600 A.D.) pyramid has been revealed beneath the final construction phase which dates to the Terminal Classic (900-1100 A.D.). The total height reaches over 110 feet/37 meters.

At the base of the central stairway are four risers that contain glyph blocks forming a rare hieroglyphic stairway known as Hieroglyphic Stairway 1. There are 86 blocks in all. Most were found buried under rubble at the base of the pyramid and have been reconstructed by archaeologists with a recovered date of 652 A.D. Other stairways are located on the north, and east sides of the structure.

An interesting architectural design is found on the north and east sides of the structure. This is a series of large curved sections of stonework that flank the stairways and was added on in the Terminal Classic (900-1100 A.D.). This rather unique design pattern may also be evident at the site of Ake.

In the center of the courtyard is a low platform known as the Solar Platform and is thought to have been used for astronomical and other ritual purposes. The southside of the plaza contains two structures, The Temple of the Moon, and the Southwest Temple.

The Temple of the Moon is a six-tiered truncated pyramid with a broad, central stairway. A long structure sits atop the summit with four columns providing entryways to interior chambers. The Southwest Temple anchors that corner of the plaza. It is a rather odd looking pyramidal structure built atop a low platform similar in design to structures seen at Mixco Viejo. A central stairway leads to the summit which contains several rooms. Its platform base extends down to the Grand Plaza level.

Across the plaza to the north is The North Temple which incorporates a mixture of architectural styles. It is built atop a small platform with a central stairway leading to a temple with three standing pilasters that provide entrances to a single room. The central stairway is flanked by two smaller stairways that may have extended to a ruined second story. It has the remains of a corbeled arch side room.

On the northwest corner of the plaza is a five-tiered truncated pyramid known as the Northwest Temple. A central stairway leads to the summit containing a three chambered structure. A side stairway leads down to a small enclosed courtyard known as the Puuc Courtyard which contains some smaller, platform structures.

A sacbe leads out to the northwest from the Great Plaza .5 miles/.8 kms to a small plaza containing several structures known as the Old Sorceress Group. This group dates to the Pre-Classic. The main structure is a partially restored low platform with a central stairway known as the Temple of the Witch. A single room is accessed via a double entryway.

There are other small structural groups and individual structures located throughout the site, some in a partially excavated state, others yet to be excavated. ​