El Meco

El Meco archeological site

Check out the impressive sweeping views in El Meco, site of El Castillo, a pre-Hispanic castle on Quintana Roo’s northern shore

El meco
El Meco

El Meco archeological site is located on the northern coast of Quintana Roo, just north of Cancun. A pre-Hispanic city tied to Cobá, it was settled by fishermen from 600 to 800 A.D., during the late Classic period.

The importance of this pre-Hispanic settlement is reflected in its original name—Beel’man or Beel’maan—which means “trade channel.” It was a hub for trade between the regions of Muyil, Tulum, and Cobá.

What to see at El Meco archeological site

The site’s architecture features carefully crafted, strikingly detailed decorative elements such as altars. Spaces for offerings and ritual burials have been found on the Plaza, and there is a compound of structures for civil and religious uses, as well as housing for elites.

One of the most emblematic sites is El Castillo, as it is the region’s tallest structure, reaching 41 feet high. This site was used for surveillance and by pilgrimages heading to Cancún and Isla Mujeres. It offers spectacular panoramic views over the ocean and rainforest.

Did You Know…?

The name El Meco honors a local 19th-century lighthouse keeper who was given this nickname.

Opening hours

You can visit this archeological site daily from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The entrance fee is around 70 pesos.

El Meco is at kilometer 2.7 on the road between Puerto Juárez and Punta Sam, which is on the mainland.

There is parking, restrooms, and places to relax.

Now you know that during your next visit, you can see this long-lost trade hub. Today it is one of the favorite tourist attractions in the north of Quintana Roo.

Plan an outing and discover this site that bears witness to Mayan grandeur of the past, a source of strength and vitality for the Mayan people today.



Zona Arqueológica de El Meco, López Portillo, Cancún, Q.R., México

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