Ek' Balam in the Yucatan. Photo © Jose Ignacio Soto/123rf.

Maya Ruins Near Cancún and Cozumel

Besides its incredible beaches and world-class resorts, Mexico’s Caribbean coast is also home to numerous ancient Maya ruins, including some of the most important archaeological sites in the country and the continent. A visit to one or more is well worth a day off the sand, even for committed beach hounds.

Mayan glyphs. Photo © Al Argueta.

Lost and Found: The Mystery of Guatemala’s Site Q

For much of the 20th century, looters worked Petén’s remote sites undisturbed, raiding tombs and extracting precious artifacts before archaeologists had a chance to study and document them. At the height of the looting, in the 1960s, archaeologists marveled at a series of magnificent glyphs making their way into a number of private collections and museums from an unknown site. Archaeologists dubbed the pieces’ origin “Site Q” and the search to find the mysterious producer of the wonderful glyphs was on.

One of the carvings at the ruins of Quirigua. Photo © Stefan Ember/123rf.com.

The Mayan Ruins of Quiriguá, Guatemala

Set amid banana plantations, the Mayan site of Quiriguá in Guatemala is smaller but somewhat similar to Copán, particularly in regard to its inhabitants’ skill and propensity in the carving of stelae.

Re-created Taíno bohio dwellings at Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

The Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes, Puerto Rico

In 1975, the remains of two native civilizations were discovered a couple of miles north of Ponce on what is now called the Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes. Excavation of the site is still under way, but several ball fields and plazas have been unearthed, along with artifacts, tools, and remains.

Cordillera Central. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Planning Your Time in Puerto Rico’s Cordillera Central

It’s hard for some visitors to wrap their heads around the idea of spending their time in Puerto Rico not in the water but in the mountains. That’s what makes the Cordillera Central, Puerto Rico’s central mountain region, one of the island’s greatest hidden gems. One of the great things about the Cordillera Central is that it’s possible to get a taste of its charms on a day trip from just about anywhere on the island.

Stela 5 at Takalik Abaj. Photo © Simon Burchell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Ruins of Takalik Abaj, Guatemala

The archeological site of Takalik Abaj, meaning “standing stones,” is particularly interesting because it reveals elements of Olmec influence in early Mayan culture. Learn about the ruins and how to get there in preparation for your visit, along with recommendations for where to stay to explore the surrounding landscape.

San Gervasio. Photo © Juris Didrihsons/123rf.

Maya Archeaological Sites on Isla Cozumel

Isla Cozumel played a deeply significant role in the Maya world. The island’s primary site—known as San Gervasio today—was dedicated to Ixchel, the Maya goddess of fertility, the moon, childbirth, medicine, and weaving. Read on to discover more about archaeological sites on the island.

Puerto Ferro Berdiales Lighthouse Ruins Archeological Site. Photo © Michael Hopkins/123rf.

Sights on Vieques, Puerto Rico

From the overgrown ruins of a sugar mill to a restored 19th century Spanish fort to an incredible bioluminescent bay, there’s plenty to see on Vieques–and most you can do for free. Here are the most interesting sights to see, along with the island’s best beaches for a break between all the activity.

Four-eyed butterfly fish along the Belize Barrier Reef. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Plan a Visit to Bacalar Chico National Park Marine Reserve

Located on and around the northern tip of Ambergris Caye, Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve hosts an incredibly diverse array of wildlife, offers excellent snorkeling and diving, and is rich with history. Here’s your guide to planning a visit, from all about the reserve’s sights to where to stay, what to eat, and how to get there.

At sunset on the coast, the silhouetted statue of a fisherman hauling in his net.

Day Trip from Belize to Chetumal, Mexico

An exciting dose of culture shock is an easy 15 miles from Corozal. Chetumal, capital of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, is a relatively modern, midsized city of about 200,000. If you don’t come for the culture, then you must be here to shop in the new American-style mall, or see a first-run film in Chet’s brand new air-conditioned Cineplex, located in the Plaza de las Americas mall.