San Gervacio’s archaeological site
At the biggest archaeological site on the island you can be part of the Mayan culture and its mysteries. San Gervasio was a strategic point for the commercial and political development of its era and also a sacred Mayan center.
Inhabited from 200 A.D. until the Spanish conquest, San Gervasio was a sanctuary of the Goddess Ixchel, the fertility goddess, drawing pilgrims from the entire Mayan world to worship her.
It is divided into four historical districts:
- MANITAS, the first visible area of the archaeological site;
- CENTRAL PLAZA, featuring civic buildings and temples;
- MURCIELAGOS,an observatory building;
- RAMONAL, the oldest district.
San Gervacio served as a strategic point for the commercial and political development of its era, and its centuries-old structures were used as altar and shrines,as well as for a gathering of government officials.
Services: bilingual guides, snack bar, bookstore, handcrafts & souvenir stores, restrooms and parking.
Estimated Entrance fee: $5.50 per adult
Free for children under 8 years old.
Open daily from 7 am to 4pm.
Carretera Transversal Km. 7.5
El Cedral, Cozumel oldest structure
At one time this tiny village and ruins comprised the largest Maya site of Cozumel. Although El Cedral’stemple is small and not enormously impressive, major ceremonies were probably held at this site. El Cedral is the oldest Maya structure and still bears a few traces of paint and stucco applied by the original Maya artist.
These days, there is little archaeological evidence of El Cedral’s past glory because the conquistadors tore down much of the temple. By the turn of the last century, the site was uninhabited. Numerous small ruins can be found in the surrounding heavy growth with the help of a tour guide.
After exploring the ruins, make sure to see the rustic, modern-era stucco church painted vivid green. Inside, a number of crosses are shrouded in embroidered lace. Every May the town comes alive with a festival which includes a fair, dancing, bullfights and stock show. Take the main highway south to Km 17.5, there is a large arched entry, take a left, then drive 3 Km (2 miles) inland to the site
Cozumel’s Castillo Real
Location : A Maya site on the eastern coast, near the northern tip of the island.
The castillo (castle) comprises a lookout tower, the base of a pyramid, and a temple with two chambers capped by a false arch. The waters here harbor several shipwrecks and it’s a fine spot for snorkeling because there are few visitors to disturb the fish.
La Palma and Castillo Real ruins – Beautiful coastal scenery leading to La Palma, an 800 year old Maya ruin and Castillo Real, an awe inspiring ruin overlooking the Caribbean sea that is 1200 years old.
El Caracol is a well-preserve ancient structure built between 1200 and 1400 A.D. used by the Mayans to signal the approach of hurricane.
In essence El Caracol is a whistle propelled by winds funneled through a seashell to warn navigator to take refuge from impending bad weather
The ruins are now part of the Parque Punta Sur nature reserve.