Carr. Tulum-Chetumal Km. 15, Tulum, México - Muyil Ruins Map
The Maya ruins of Muyil are an easy 15 minute drive southwest of Tulum on Hwy 307. Muyil is located on the northwestern edge of Sian Ka an bio-reserve. It offers you and the family the ability to relax and enjoy a parklike atmosphere without crowds of tourists. A well built wooden nature path takes you through the mangrove to Lake Chunyaxche, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim. The path includes an observation tower which allows you to see miles of untouched jungle and lakes, just as it was 1000 years ago.
In ancient days Muyil was a city with more than a hundred buildings. It was connected to Maya trading routes via the tranquil waters. They traded salt, honey, cotton, dyes, cocoa, fish, jade, copper and gold. Tours by boat are available which exhibit the Maya made canals cut into the bedrock connecting Muyil to the sea. Many of the ancient Maya who visited Muyil did so while on their once in a lifetime pilgramage to the island of Ixchel (now known as Cozumel). Ixchel is the Maya goddess of fertility, related to the moon and Venus.
As you enter Muyil from Hwy 307, open fields of grass with large ceiba trees offer plenty of shade. Follow the open pathway to the left and you will find the priest´s temple, known as Building 8. Shaped like a topless pyramid, be careful as you climb the ancient steps to the open altar above. Behind the altar (which at one time included a sundial) you can enter the small room and imagine yourself meditating as the priest/shamans once did.
Continue following the path towards Muyil´s unique towerlike pyramid known as Castillo (Castle). It´s vertical inclination make it closed for climbing, but it is a wonderful example of post classic period (900 AD to 1500 AD) construction. The Castillo is 17 meters tall and unique for it´s circular tower built at the top. This was used as a form of lighthouse, with it´s large fire ignited, easily seen by Maya hunters in canoes across Laguna Muyil, Chunyaxche and Campechen. Make sure to look for the wonderful refresco (carving) of two herons standing back to back, keeping watch over the jungle.
From the Castle you can follow the path to the observation tower and on to the freshwater lake. Be sure to stop and read the nature signs. Watch for the cenote water holes which resemble freshwater springs, brimming with little fish. Exotic trees abound such as Copal (for incense), Breadnut, Spanish Cedar, Palma, Chit, Guano (for thatch roofs), Gumbo Limbo, Ear Fruit and Strangler Fig (also called "branch killer").
Entrance fee is $40 pesos while guides are randomly available. Boat tours cost around $250 pesos