The Mayan Pyramids of Central America – the ruins, the jungle, the world famous Mayan calendar, the People of the Corn and People of the Stars! Ahh! The mysterious world of Maya! For curious traveler to a Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico this is one of the main reasons for a visit. Here we compiled a list of Great Mayan pyramid sites (and a one Aztec and one Toltec, too):
1. El Castillo Pyramid in Chichen Itza – Seen on most Chichen Itza tours, El Castillo Pyramid includes a glimpse of the famous Jaguar Throne, as well as many other historical wonders. This is one of the most popular out of all the Central American pyramids built by the Mayans, with a sacrificial well still present. It is now a UNESCO World heritage site ans also one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Whether you have chosen Cancun all inclusive hotels or a different type of lodging, you can arrange for a visit to the El Castillo Pyramid in Chichen Itza with very little effort.
2. Pyramid of The Magician in Uxmal – There are many interesting Mayan Pyramids to explore while vacationing in Mexico. Uxmal features Mayan ruins that are spectacular, and this includes the Pyramid of the Magician. Pyramid of the Magician in Uxmal is one of the most fascinating of the Mayan Pyramids to date. This pyramid base is an unusual shape, because it is oval, and it attracts many visitors every year. Uxmal is thought to be one of the greatest metropolitan and religious centers of this area. It is thought that the Uxmal flourished mostly between the seventh and tenth centuries. It is thought that the city was abandoned in the tenth century.
3. The Pyramid of Inscriptions in Palenque – This is one of the must-visit pyramids if Mayan civilization interests you. When planning a visit, guests should be sure to include the Pyramid of Inscriptions in Palenque on their itinerary. This beautiful pyramid is part of an entire ruined city and is thought to have been first discovered around 1773. Palenque is one of the most beautifully created of all the archaeological sites. In addition to the Pyramid of Inscriptions in Palenque there is a stream that runs right through the center of this ancient city. Visitors will enjoy the lovely views over the coastal plains. It is also thought that portions of the buildings of Palenque were used as residences of the Mayan high priests as well as the aristocracy.
4. The La Danta Pyramid in Guatemala – Out of of all the Mayan pyramids found so far, the Danta Pyramid in Guatemala is the largest and most impressive. If you want to see what the Mayans were capable of then a visit to this location is a great idea. La Danta Pyramid consisted of many platforms and is the largest structure of the world with a volume of 2,800,000 cubic meters. This beautiful pyramid is surrounded by the beautiful rainforest of Guatemala. It is thought that the La Danta Pyramid site flourished from about the sixth century BC. La Danta Pyramid was abandoned at around the end of the 9th century. La Danta Pyramid in Guatemala is not something to be missed while in vacationing in Yucatan.
5. The Pyramids of Calakmul – If you want to visit the Pyramids of Calakmul then be prepared to trek through the jungle, but the end result is well worth the effort. You can start with Yucatan lodging, and visit other attractions on the way to these pyramids for a well rounded vacation. These beautiful and ancient pyramids are located on the Southeast side of Campeche City. The Pyramids of Calakmul are thought to be one of the most expansive Mayan structures in Mesoamerica. When you walk through the Pyramids of Calakmul, it is like stepping back into Mayan history. Visitors will find the pyramids absolutely breathtaking. As you get closer to the Pyramids of Calakmul, you will hear the sounds that are native to the rainforest such as the exotic birds and monkeys.
6. The Temple of Tikal Pyramid – One of the top Mayan pyramids is the Temple Pyramid, in Tikal. This pyramid is close to two hundred and thirty feet tall, and is one of the famous pyramids featuring construction using six big steps. The Tikal Pyramids are situated among the beautiful rainforests of Northern Guatemala. The Tikal site is considered the “capital” of the Maya by archaeologists and is the most impressive of the archeological achievements to date. Visitors will find the five skyscraper-like pyramids that make up the Tikal Pyramids that exceed 200 feet in height. Visitors of the Tikal Pyramids will enjoy the breathtaking views of the pyramids and the surrounding rainforest.
7. Tulum Pyramids – Located in the Tulum Mayan ruins, the Tulum Pyramids are smaller in size than many other Mayan structures but are very popular pyramids to visit among Cancun and Playa del Carmen flocks of tourists as well as cruise shore excursions tour operators. These pyramids were found around 1518. There are many altars, temples and shrines on this pyramid site. These are thought to be the center for worship and religious rites and ceremonies. During many wars, the Tulum Pyramids were used by rebels because of the walls that surround them. They walls of the Tulum Pyramids offered a great deal of protection. These pyramids are the largest Mayan site that was built on a coastline. Numerous nearby Tulum vacation rentals provide convenient lodging close to the ruins, so your travel time is minimized.
8. The Coba Pyramids – One of the most natural of the pyramids is the Coba Pyramids. These have not been restored, only cleared of grass and other debris making them more visible. Although Mayan pyramids in the Coba ruins are not fully uncovered yet, but there are a number which have been excavated that show the extraordinary skill and engineering methods of the Mayan civilization. It is thought that the Coba Pyramids site housed the largest population of the Mayan cities. It is also thought that Coba Pyramids were home to people that made use of the river for fishing and trading. There are many buildings that sit on the shores of several lakes. It is thought that this was their main supply of food as well as being used to boat people where they needed to go for trading.
9. The Great Pyramid of Cholula – Not technically Mayan pyramid this is one of the best known of the early Aztec pyramids. Cholula was once thought to be the religious capital of Mexico. The building of the base of the Pyramid began around the second century B.C. and was dedicated to the Holy Quetzalcoatl. When observing the Great Pyramid of Cholula the structure looks to be part of the landscape and hills of Mexico. At one time this pyramid was believed to be the biggest ever built in the world, even larger than the pyramids in Egypt, but that is no longer true. The size of this structure is still awe inspiring, and well worth a visit. Archaeologists have dug about 5 miles of tunnels below the site for visitors to explore.
10. The Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli Pyramid in Tula – One of the pyramids that is less known, perhaps because it is actually a Toltec and not Mayan site and a fantastic place to visit, is the Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli Pyramid. There are five terraces to explore, and plenty of other wonders to marvel at as well. Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli translates to “Lord of the House of the Morning Star”. This is a beautiful name for a majestic piece of history. On top of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli Pyramid in Tula there are four statues that are dressed as warriors. These also once served as pillars to support the roof. Visitors of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli will also be able to see the magnificent carvings of Jaguars, eagles as well as human skulls that are still visible on the pyramid. Tula is a must-see destination for any Mexican trip.