Sunday, May 26, 2024

Muyil: The Overlooked Jewel of the Ancient Maya City near Tulum

Muyil is a hidden gem that offers visitors a unique experience of Mayan history, culture, and natural beauty. The city's significance as a trading hub and pilgrimage site, combined with its unique architecture, make it a must-visit place for history and culture enthusiasts.

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Tulum is a popular destination in Mexico that attracts many tourists every year. Its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and ancient Mayan ruins make it a must-visit place for travelers. However, just a few kilometers away lies another ancient Mayan city that is often overlooked by tourists – Muyil. Muyil is a hidden gem that is worth exploring for its rich history, culture, and natural beauty. In this article, we will delve into the history, significance, and attractions of Muyil, and why it should be on every traveler’s list.

The History and Significance of Muyil

Muyil is an ancient Mayan city that dates back to the pre-classic period of the Mayan civilization, around 300 BCE. The city was an important trading hub due to its strategic location on the Muyil lagoon, which connected it to the Caribbean Sea. The city flourished during the Classic period (250-900 CE) and was a major center for religious ceremonies and trade. It is believed that Muyil was a prominent pilgrimage site due to the presence of several important temples and structures.

Muyil’s Unique Architecture:

Muyil’s architecture is unique in comparison to other Mayan cities in the region. The city’s buildings were constructed using a combination of limestone and stucco, which gave them a smooth finish. The buildings were decorated with intricate carvings and murals, some of which have survived to this day. The most notable structures in Muyil are the Castillo (castle) and the Templo 8 (temple 8), both of which offer stunning views of the surrounding jungle and lagoon.

Natural Beauty of Muyil

Muyil is not only significant for its historical and cultural significance but also for its natural beauty. The city is surrounded by lush jungles and mangroves that are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The Muyil lagoon is a stunning feature that adds to the beauty of the city. Visitors can take a boat ride through the lagoon and admire the crystal-clear waters and the diverse wildlife that call it home.

Activities to do in Muyil

Muyil offers visitors a range of activities to indulge in. Visitors can take a guided tour of the city and learn about its history and significance. They can also climb the Castillo and Templo 8 for stunning views of the surrounding area. A boat ride through the lagoon is a must-do activity, where visitors can also explore the nearby biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an. There are also several hiking trails in the surrounding jungle that offer visitors an opportunity to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the region.

How to get to Muyil

Muyil is located approximately 20 km south of Tulum and is easily accessible by car or public transportation. Visitors can take a colectivo (shared van) from Tulum to Muyil or hire a taxi. Alternatively, visitors can also take a guided tour from Tulum, which includes transportation and a guided tour of the city.

Tips for Visiting Muyil

Visitors should wear comfortable shoes and clothing as they will be walking on uneven terrain. The sun can be intense, so it is recommended to wear a hat and sunscreen. Visitors should also bring insect repellent as the jungle can have mosquitoes and other insects. It is important to respect the site and not touch or climb on any of the structures. Visitors should also bring water and snacks as there are limited food and drink options in the area.


Muyil is a hidden gem that offers visitors a unique experience of Mayan history, culture, and natural beauty. The city’s significance as a trading hub and pilgrimage site, combined with its unique architecture, make it a must-visit place for history and culture enthusiasts. The natural beauty of the surrounding jungle and lagoon offers visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the diverse flora and fauna of the region. Muyil may be overlooked by many tourists, but it is a place that should not be missed by those seeking an authentic Mayan experience.

Ahmed Minto
Ahmed Minto, a former geography graduate from the University of Dhaka, combines his passion for travel with his expertise in international issues to create captivating literary works. His writings intricately weave together his firsthand travel experiences, deep understanding of global affairs, and profound love for literature, offering readers a unique and thought-provoking perspective on the world. With Minto's evocative storytelling, readers are transported to new horizons, where they gain a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of our diverse planet.


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