A 20-minute drive to the south of Tulum lies Muyil, also known as Chunyaxche, an archaeological site on the shores of a lagoon that shares the same name. The largest Mayan site found to date in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Muyil was an ancient trade enclave with links to cities in the Yucatán and Central America. Over 1,000 years ago, Mayan traders were shipping goods to and from the coast by means of a natural canal in the mangroves that they dredged and widened.
Known as El Castillo, the principal temple at Muyil has been restored, but many of the other buildings are still covered by jungle creepers, adding to the site’s appeal.
Muyil is an excellent spot for bird watching. Yucatán jays, hummingbirds, parrots and the trogon, a close relative of the quetzal, sacred bird of the Maya and Central America’s bird of paradise, can be sighted in the forest and jacanas and herons patrol the shores of the lagoon. Visitors can also follow a nature trail through the trees to the mangroves at the water’s edge and climb a wooden observation tower for spectacular views of the forest canopy and the wetlands.
Getting to Muyil
Take Highway 307 to the south, the entrance to Muyil is clearly marked. Local fishermen from the Muyil cooperative also offer boat trips through the lagoons and mangroves of Sian Ka’an to the coast. This is an incredible day out for visitors interested in nature.