The Gorgeous Museo Maya de Cancun: Who Said Cancun Ain’t Got No Culture:
Opened in December 2012 for the end of the world as allegedly predicted by the Mayans (obviously the backers of this project weren’t believers), this modern gorgeous museum stands right in the midst of the Cancun’s jam packed hotel zone.
And is jam packed with awesome Mayan art work, jewelry and sculpture. I mean seriously amazing stuff.
Look at this jade mask made of conch, coral and jade. When I went to the special exhibit in Feb 2012 at the Museum of Belize to see the Jade Head of Altun Ha, I saw some similarly impressive items. Fantastic!
But let me back up. I’m still a bit obsessed with these lacy pillars out front.
It’s on a strip of surprisingly lush, jungly land that also holds one of two of Cancun’s Mayan sites. Sandwiched right between the road and a few hotels. This site is called San Miguelito after the owners of the coconut plantation/fishing village that Cancun was before the government moved in in the late 60s and helped turn Cancun into what it is today.
The site is perfectly groomed and small but well worth a walk around. First pay the entrace fee of $57 pesos…they don’t take USD (probably one of the only places in Cancun).
They spent some serious money building this place. Less than $5USD fee seems like a bargain. Walk around the path for about 10 minutes and you will see the palace…
I arrived when the place opened (9am) and it was just me, lots of workers and another couple. Perhaps it was a big night at Coco Bongo’s and everyone was sleeping in.
This place is groomed within an inch of its life. This guy is cleaning up fallen leaves. Talk about a thankless job!
A short walk away is the pyramid. Though only a few stories tall, it’s pretty nice.
There are lots of interesting signs all over the complex (in English and Spanish) about the Maritime trade of the Maya around the Yucatan, Belize, Rio Dulce in Guatemala and even Honduras. Ambergris Caye and St. George’s Caye (or Cayo San Jorge) are listed as important Mayan ports. Traded items included salt, jade, cacao, feathers, honey…
Very interesting to me at least.
Next head up stairs to the air conditioned museum. It’s packed with impressive items. Many from Chichen Itza but others from all over the area.
Very New York Guggenheim.
The ceremonial jewelry.
And the pottery? Think how many of these did not make it through the years…
My favorite. It looks like the guy on the bottom is wearing classic RayBans. Just things that I felt very lucky to see.
This museum is SO worth going to when you are in Cancun. And the ruins right in the middle of the Hotel Zone are pretty great too. Very quick, very easy and aside from the Mayan structures, you get a great sense of the real indigenous plants, trees and wildlife of the area from mangroves to the only iguanas that I saw in Cancun.
The museum is open from daily. 9am to 5pm (though the ruins close at 4pm). It is located right by the Royal Sands (I stayed there last year) and Royal Mayan at km 16.5 on Blvd Kukulcan (the main drag).
I loved it and (get ready: nerd alert) actually went to the museum twice.