El Ray, Cancún
The El Rey Ruins are located just south of the Cancun Hotel Zone, indeed right below the Hilton. They were part of a Mayan city prominent on Cancun Island before the Spanish Conquest. The El Rey ruins are not the most visited part of Cancun - indeed, I was the first one to visit on the day I came, and it was completely empty save for a couple of workers.
You walk into the ruins and are greeted by iguanas and lizards, almost as if they're standing guard over the ruins. Relax, they're harmless. I think, anyway. From there, just spend some time walking around the ruins. It's kind of surreal, really. Unlike Chichen Itza, it's eerily quiet at El Rey. Just you, the ruins and the ghosts. These structures, probably over a thousand years old, stand amidst the modern towering hotel towers of Cancun. Quite a contrast.
El Rey isn't nearly as preserved as Chichen Itza, but it isn't a daytrip from Cancun either. If you want to stay in Cancun and visit some historic ruins, spend some time at El Rey. Admission is 34 pesos.
The ruins of El Rey were built around 300 AD. This is the largest archaeological site on Cancun Island. Not even close to the experience of Chichen Itza, but worth a visit if you don't want to travel to travel so far.
We only spent a few days in Cancun and didn't have time to head out to Chichen Itza or Tulum. Lucky for us, I saw a bunch of ruins right off the road in Cancun.
Ruinas el Rey is at the southern end of the hotel zone. It's a small set of ruins but still plenty to look at. Depending on where you stand, you'll see modern hotels and golf courses all aroud the site. The place is crawling with foot long lizards that don't show much fear.
I would say it took us 30 to 45 minutes to see it all.
Most of the Ruins are estimated to be about a thousand years old. That is astounding when you think of how many storms they weathered.
There was an additional charge to video tape the ruins but the cost was minimal.
If you want to see ruins but can't make the larger trips, stop by and see these.
When you are in Cancun and have not yet visited all the great Mayasites, go to the Ruinas del Rey.
The buildings are not as spectacular as the great sites, but it is very easy to reach and very nice when you are staying in Cancun and have one or two hours to spare. I assure you that you won't be disappointed. It is a very exotic location. Imagine: Old structures, (some palm)trees and the lagoon and sea in the distance. Moreover, when we were there, we were almost alone. A very weird experience on the Cancun hotelzone.
BONUS: The place is full of iguanas sunbathing. I have pictures with more iguanas on them then we saw during the rest of the holiday altogether.
The site is located on the hotelstrip (at about 3/4 when coming from the downtown direction, approximately a mile or so after you passed the Marriot hotels and just after you passed the Ceasar Park golf course, on the lagoonside of the road. Remember it can hardly be seen from the road.
Meaning 'The King', this is the largest archaeological site in Cancun. Pay a small entrance fee and wonder around at your own leisure whilst reading about the ruins. Other visitors you're likely to run into are little Iguanas. That's if you can find them - they camoflauge well into the surroundings.
The site is open everyday from 8am till 5pm.
The El Rey ruins are less advertized than many of the other ruins. But they beautiful and worth visiting. While there we saw not only wonderful ruins but also iquanas and a magnificent wild peacock.