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Visit the Top 10 Archaeological Sites in Mexico

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July 27, 2012
Mexico is home to more than 182 archaeological sites, each of which are unique and fascinating in their own right. Consider our top 10, which offer plenty of intrigue and excitement.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Travelers who are interested in learning about ancient cultures and civilizations will be delighted to learn that Mexico boasts some 182 archaeological sites. Many of these sites are designated UNESCO World Patrimony sites, meaning that they are recognized as sites that bear clues to mankind’s origins and evolution.

There are a wealth of archaeological sites to pick from when traveling to Mexico. Consider our top 10, which offer plenty of intrigue and excitement.

Teotihuacán: Located in Southern Mexico in the State of Mexico, Teotihuacán is popularly known as the place where men become gods. In pre-Columbian times, this metropolitan city boasted more than 100,000 inhabitants. It was one of the most influential cities in terms of religion, culture and politics in the pre-Columbian era.

Templo Mayor: Known in pre-Columbian times as teocalli, Templo Mayor is located in Mexico City. This temple was integral to the political, religious and social life of the Aztec people. The temple was in use from 1325 BC until 1521 AD. Today visitor’s can explore the temple’s original grounds and visit a museum containing artifacts related to Aztec society and religious practice.

Tlatelolco: Located in present-day Mexico City, Tlatelolco is a temple complex used by the people of México Tenochtitlán. It is believed that the Tenochca and Tlatelolca peoples built the temple together and shared it to honor their gods. The temple was in service from 1337 BC until 1521 AD.

Monte Albán: An ancient city complex, Monte Albán served as the capital for the Zapotec peoples. Located in the State of Oaxaca, this ancient city is an exemplar of Zapotec city life, containing social areas and a temple area.

Chichén Itzá: Located on Southern Mexico’s beautiful Yucatán Peninsula, Chichén Itzá is a focal point of Maya civilization. The city contains traditional Mayan temples and buildings. Visitors can also see the results of migration and the marks of individuals from other Latin cultures in the city of Chichén Itzá.

Uxmal: Located in the Yucatán, Uxmal is an ancient Mayan city known for its large, ornate buildings and temple. Built in the Puuc style, the city includes the Pyramid of the Magician and a Governor’s Palace. Uxmal was one of the most powerful cities in the Mayan empire during pre-Columbian times.

Tulum: Formerly known as Zama, or The City of The Dawn, Tulum is located on the Caribbean Coast in the State of Quintana Roo. It is widely considered the last city built and inhabited by the Mayans prior to the arrival of the Spanish. Visitors can roam the ancient site while taking in breathtaking ocean views.

Xcaret: Also located in Quintana Roo, Xcaret was an important Mayan trading center. Visitors can explore many building from the Late Post-Classical period. Travelers can also visit nature preserves and learn more about the day-to-day life of the Mayan while visiting Xcaret.

Cobá: Located near Chichén Itzá and Tulum, Cobá is an extensive complex of Maya ruins settled between 100 B.C. and 100 A.D. The city is rivaled in size only by Chichén Itzá, which was an enemy city for many centuries. Today’s visitors enjoy stunning pyramids and temples.

Palenque: A Mayan city-state located in the present-day state of Chiapas, Palenque was one of the most powerful cities in the Classical period. Palenque is regarded to contain some of the best bas-relief carvings and sculptures produced by the Maya.

Mexico provides a wealth of opportunity and learning about ancient cultures and early civilizations. While the country is home to more than 182 archaeological sites, each of which are unique and fascinating in their own right, these 10 are by no means more significant than the others, but provide an exciting start if you’re considering an archaeological trip to Mexico.

Based in Puerto Vallarta, Journey Mexico is a full-service luxury travel company that provides authentic and unforgettable travel experiences throughout the Mexican republic. For more information, visit