Ancient Mexico’s Top Ten Ruins

Here is my top ten, now that I have visited ten major sites that were once inhabited by the ancient peoples of Mexico. I’m sure I’ve visited more, and I have excluded Templo Mayor from this list (important as it is, I’ve only ever peered in from the outside. I’ve also created a map with iMapFlickr, which sadly can’t be embedded in the blog post. The image below will have to do. You can visit it by clicking here.

  1. Palenque – surrounded by real green jungle, not the dusty, dry and near dead ‘jungle’ of Chichen Itza, Palenque is vast and as picturesque as they come.
  2. Monte Alban – the guardians of Monte Alban take care of their ancient city, and even though it does turn into a dust bowl at certain times of year, the surrounding landscapes are awesome, the museum is great and the history behind the ruins told very well.
  3. Xochicalco – surrounded by rolling green hills as far as the eye can see, this place is a gem. Quiet, well maintained and with some fantastic stonework.
  4. Teotihuacan – it’s so very touristy, and the vendors thoroughly annoying, but as far as scale is concerned the two pyramids here take some beating.
  5. Uxmal – lots of green, well maintained, with some really impressive structures. It’s wonderfully maintained and a great day out for the family.
  6. Chichen Izta – it’s dirty, dusty, surrounded by unremarkable woodland, poorly managed and is so packed with tourists. But it is a large and important site.
  7. Mitla – the tiny set of ruins that barely anyone visits because it’s so close to Monte Alban, but not close enough for a lot of people to bother with. But it’s got some great stonework and the church next door is worth visiting too.
  8. Dzibilchaltun – like Mitla, this site is too close to too many other bigger and more important sites, but aside from the fact there are some great walks to be had in the park it sits in, there’s a very nice cenote for swimming too.
  9. Cuicuilco – in the heart of the southern part of Mexico City, Cuicuilco is a tiny site but with some serious history behind it and a quaint little museum. It’s a great respite from the smoke and bustle of the city.
  10. Tula – my most recently visited site and the biggest disappointment of them all, more even than Chichen Izta.

2 thoughts on “Ancient Mexico’s Top Ten Ruins

  1. steve says:

    I once heard a joke from a Mexican friend about somewhere– where a cave drawing or mural
    depicted an Aztec official (ruling person) demanding a highway mordida from a commoner.
    Is that true?



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