Muyil, also known as Chunyaxché is one of the earliest and longest inhabited ancient Maya sites on the eastern coast of the Mayan Riviera. It is located approximately 15 kilometeres south of Tulum, and 44 kilometers from the Coba ruins, another Mayan ruin located on the coastal trading route in the Riviera Maya.
Muyil is located in the lagoons of the Sian Kaan, the biosphere located south of Tulum that is over 1.3 hectares of protected land. It can be accessed through the canals of the biosphere with a tour company or by the 307 highway that runs through Tulum and to Felipe Carrillo Puerto.
The site is small but was a significant trading post in the area. Tulum was the main trading post for local Mayan villages, like Coba, and other Yucatan mayan villages, but Muyil is special as it as access to the ocean but is not located on the ocean. Among the most commonly traded goods were Jade, obsidian, chocolate, honey, feathers, chewing gum, and salt. The mangrove routes provided access to the ocean and shelter for the tradesman. It is one of the oldest Mayan sites with artifacts dating back to 350 BC to as late as 1200-1500 AC.
The ruins of Muyil are an example of Peten architecture, like those found in southern Mayan sites like Tikal located in Guatemala. This architecture has steep walled pyramids which set them apart from Chichen Itza, Ek Balam , Coba and other Yucatan sites.
This is great Ruin to put on your list and even better if you combine it with a tour of the Sian Kaan. This area documents a local mayan population of 190, which is more than other ruin sites in the area. Though Tulum has a larger Mayan population, unlike Muyil, this Mayan population has come from surrounding pueblos in the Yucatan. The Muyil population is indigenous to the area, making it special and oral history a large part of the visitors experience.
Why is Muyil not talked about that much?
The ruin is located in a different municipality than the other ruins that have been publicized so well internationally. This area is just now being investigated by tourists, both national and international and the municipal government is recognizing the wealth of history the Mayans hold not only as an interest to local visitors but international visitors as well. Secondly, there is little known about this ruin site. Though there is a lot of oral history attached to this ruin site, archeologists have spent less time investigating the history of this site then Coba, Chichen Itza, Tulum and Tikal.
Is it worth the trip to Muyil?
This is a short and extremely fun trip. The guides are full of information, the ruins are small so you are not overwhelmed with a lots or walking and information. If you have visited other ruins, it is a great comparison to the other Yucatan sites. Heading south to Felipe Carrillo Puerto to view the churches and part the Church route, rounds out your day. If this is too much for your vacation, head back to the beach and chill.
Read about the Mayan route for Church chasers and additional Mayan historical sites that can be combined with the Muyil Ruin tour if you are up for an adventure.