There are many Mayan ruins within an hour or two of Cancun and many tour
operators to take you there.
Two of the most popular locations are Tulum and Chichen Itza. Tulum is a
small ruin, only 80 miles south of Cancun and the third most popular
archeological site in all of Mexico. The site is very compact compared to most
Mayan sites and its beautiful location on the sea provide some amazing
pictures. The main building on the site is called the "Temple of the Frescos"
and tour guides can be hired on site for $20-$30. After the visit feel free to
relax on with a quick swim in the ocean.
Chitzen Itza is the second most popular archeological site in Mexico. It has
many large buildings and structures, many have not yet been uncovered by
archeologists. The main building at Chitzen Itza is called "El Castillo",
meaning "The Castle". Visitors are allowed to climb up the steep staircase at
El Castillo as long as they have paid the park entrance fee of 188 pesos per
person or about $15. The ride from Cancun is about 2.5 hours so a visit from
Cancun to Chitzen Itza and back can take up at least 8 hours. Hotels can be
had close to the ruins if desired. It is best to decide what you are going to do
early so you can book your rooms at a cheaper rate then walk in.