One of the things I was very interested in seeing in Cancun were Mayan ruins. Since we were being hosted on a press trip, I was confident we wouldn’t have the time to get to Tulum or Chichen Itza, which have the most renowned and impressive ruins in Mexico.
I had read about El Ray, which though not as significant or intact, might be a possible option since it’s located in Cancun’s hotel zone. Reportedly boatloads of iguanas call it home.
But, the day of our excursion, as our group pulled into the parking lot of a different hotel, I began to wonder where exactly we were going and what ruins we were about to see. I knew it wasn’t El Ray.
We snaked through the hotel’s lush grounds, passed the bar and pool, around the fitness center and then up a steep, winding, primitive (read dangerous if you’ve been drinking) stone staircase to the highest point in Cancun, Yamil Lu’um.
At the summit, which overlooks the ocean we saw The Scorpion Temple.
The Scorpion Temple is believed to have been erected between 1200 AD – 1500 AD and is named for a scorpion’s remains imprinted in one of the walls, which is no longer visible.
Our guide explained that these structures, dotted up and down the coastline, were used as both lighthouses and navigational aids. He went on to say that it’s believed the Mayans also designed these structures to warn locals of impending storms and hurricanes.
Wind would blow through one small hole in the wall placed on the ocean side, and flow through a larger rectangular notch on the opposite side. The result was a loud whistle. I’m often amazed at the sheer cleverness and ingenuity of ancient cultures, and Mayans proved to be no exception.
We were only there for a short time, but it was certainly long enough for us to appreciate the beautiful view of the Cancun coastline.
Disclosure : I visited Cancun as part of a press trip hosted by the Cancun Grand Caribe Park Royal Grand, which is a short taxi ride from the ruins. The temple is actually on the property of their sister resort Park Royal Cancun.