Landmarks in Cancun

Mayan ruins and towering cathedrals are just a small sampling of Cancun's impressive landmarks

Photo credit: © Igor Bystrov

From ancient Mayan ruins to breath-taking cathedrals, the landmarks of Cancun provide an excellent and educational sightseeing opportunity for any vacationer.

Religious Landmarks

Both religious and non-religious travelers are often intrigued by the strong historical presence and architectural wonder of religious buildings. The most influential churches in the Cancun area are the Iglesia de Cristo Rey, the Puerta del Cielo and the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora del Carmen.

Absorb the Local Culture

For a more modern approach to the Yucatan's landmarks, many visitors will enjoy spending a day at El Centro. This often overlooked downtown area is home to many of Cancun’s top markets, eateries and shopping areas, making it a great choice for anyone seeking insight to Cancun’s urban scene. Travelers won’t be able to miss El Centro’s biggest landmark, an enormous sculpture made of seashells and starfish. Located on the main street of Avenida Tulum, this structure is even more impressive when it is illuminated at night.

Alternatively, those seeking a thrill may consider heading to the Plaza de Toros to watch an authentic bullfight. This is an exhibition of Mexican tradition, and the event begins with a show of folk dancing, as well as a performance by Mexican cowboys. It is highly advised to remember that bullfighting is not for everyone, especially families traveling with younger children.

From historical Maya architecture to bustling bullfighting rings, the landmarks of the Yucatan boast an eclectic mix of cultural influences. Whether you’re a history buff or religiously inclined, the various attractions featured in Cancun are sure to leave you yearning for more. With so many different sites to be explored, you’ll find yourself wishing you could extend your vacation to make time for more adventure.


Assuming you like to become more aware of other places and cultures, you might enjoy visiting a museum while on vacation in Cancun. You can click on the museum names to see complete information.

Museo Arqueológico de Cancún: The Archaeological Museum will give any visitor a greater understanding of the region's rich history and that of the mighty Maya Civilization. The exhibits are a great primer for anyone wanting to learn more of the ruins and temples before heading out to tour them.

Museums In Cancun
Name Phone Location
Museo Arqueológico de Cancún (998) 883-0305 2.9 mi. Northeast of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico

Historical Sites

Yamil Lu'um Mayan Ruin

In case you like to immerse yourself in the historical roots of foreign countries, you should consider visiting one or two of these historical sites during your stay.

One popular destination is Yamil Lu'um Mayan Ruin. It is Cancun Beach Hotel Zone, in southeastern Cancun. The Yamil Lu'um Maya Ruins, set between Park Royal Piramides and Westin Lagunamar, consists of two small temples built between 1200 and 1550 A.D. The location of these temples, Temple of the Scorpion and Temple of the Handprint suggests they were used as watch towers and even lighthouses.

Another popular destination is El Meco Mayan Ruins. It is northeastern Cancun. The gates to El Meco open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m.

Ruinas del Rey: The park is open from 8:00am until 5:00pm.

Review the chart below for more information about historical sites in and around Cancun.

Historic Sites In and Around Cancun
Name Phone Location
Ekab Maya Ruin -- 4.6 mi. Southeast of Central Downtown Isla Mujeres Isla Mujeres
El Meco Mayan Ruins -- 4.8 mi. Northeast of Central Cancun Mexico
Iglesia de Cristo Rey (998) 881-2745 Downtown Cancun Mexico
Isla Mujeres Cemetery -- 0.2 mi. West-Southwest of Central Downtown Isla Mujeres Isla Mujeres
Ruinas del Rey (998) 883-2080 2.5 mi. South-Southwest of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico
Yamil Lu'um Mayan Ruin -- 1.3 mi. North-Northeast of Central Cancun Beach Hotel Zone Mexico

Miscellaneous Landmarks

Punta Sur Lighthouse

Guests can discover some other interesting local attractions in and near the area.

If the more functional aspects of living by the sea intrigue you, you might enjoy seeing Punta Sur Lighthouse. Located in Parque Punta Sur is the Punta Sur Lighthouse, it is part of a nautical museum and demonstrates the important of lighting the night for sailors.

The chart directly below provides more details regarding other kinds of attractions of interest to visitors.

Miscellaneous Landmarks In and Around Cancun
Name Type Location
El Farito Lighthouse 0.9 mi. South of Central Downtown Isla Mujeres
Fisherman's Statue Monument 0.2 mi. South West of Central Downtown Isla Mujeres
Ixchel Goddess Statue Monument 0.1 mi. South-Southeast of Central Downtown Isla Mujeres
Lighthouse Lighthouse 0.2 mi. South West of Central Downtown Isla Mujeres
Observation Tower Observation Tower 2.1 mi. South-Southeast of Central Isla Mujeres
Plaza Isla Mujeres Attraction 1.9 mi. North-Northwest of Central Isla Mujeres
Punta Sur Lighthouse Lighthouse 4.5 mi. Southeast of Central Downtown Isla Mujeres

Keep in mind that there are other attraction types available too. For a more thorough discussion of other attractions, click here.


Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.