Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu November 26 2015

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  • Nick and Dariece | November 26, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    Wonders of Mesoamerica: 3 Must-Visit Sights in Mexico

    Wonders of Mesoamerica: 3 Must-Visit Sights in Mexico

    Photos by Goats on the Road

    Scattered throughout the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador, you'll find remnants of ancient Mayan ruins. Many of these structures are UNESCO listed sites, while one is even considered a Wonder Of The World! Chichen Itza may be the most popular site in Mexico due to its Wonder status, but there are three other incredible ruins that you must visit during your trip to Mexico.

    Monte Alban

    After a quick 20-minute bus ride from Oaxaca City, you'll arrive at the ancient Zapotec capital of Monte Alban. This is one of the earliest cities of Mesoamerica and was founded around 500 BC! These days, it's an interesting site for tourists and locals to wander around, pondering what life must have been like during that period.

    Monte Alban is especially unique in that it's built on a plateau rising 1,300 feet from the valley floor. The views of the surrounding valley are spectacular! Wander around the ball court and the many tombs before climbing the various platforms used for ceremonies. Don't miss the carved stone monuments (Dazantes), some with mutated genitals, which are said to represent the victims of sacrifice!

    This site can be very hot during the day and there is not much shade available. Bring lots of water (none for sale past the entrance), a hat, sunscreen and of course, your camera. The entrance fee for Monte Alban is 52 pesos ($3). Click here to see our video of Monte Alban.

    monte alban ruins mexico


    How this site is not a Wonder of the World is a wonder in itself! Teotihuacan is a Nahuatl-Aztec name meaning "birthplace of the Gods." 

    The Sun Pyramid at this ancient site is the third largest in the world. The base measures a little over 8,600 square feet and the height is 233 feet. You can climb the steps to the top of this pyramid, and there are some ropes to hold onto.

    Apart from visiting the enormous Pyramid of the Sun, you can stroll down the three-mile Avenue Of The Dead, or have a look at the smaller, but still impressive, Pyramid of the Moon, which was constructed between 250 and 400 AD. After reaching the top of these pyramids, you'll be thanking the Aztecs for creating such amazing feats of architecture!

    This is another site that can be very hot during the day, and there is very little shade here as well. Bring lots of water, a hat and some sunscreen. The ruins are located 30 miles from Mexico City and the cost of entering Teotihuacan is 51 pesos ($3).

    teotihuacan ruins mexico


    Located 40 miles south of Merida, this ancient Maya city is unique compared to the rest of the sites in the region. The architecture here is in Puuc style, with rounded edges (almost like a mud hut), smooth, low walls and many masks of the rain God, Chaac, carved out of stone.

    The structures here are very large, with the Governor's Palace covering 12,000 square feet! You'll be wandering around this site in awe of what you see. Check out the immaculate Pyramid of the Magician, The Great Pyramid and the Nunnery Quadrangle, to name a few.

    There are some shady spots here where you can take a break from the heat of the day. Still, bring water, a hat and sunscreen. The cost of entering Uxmal is 203 pesos ($12), and worth every penny. uxmal ruins mexico

    As you travel around Mexico, you'll have the opportunity to visit numerous sites and ruins from the Mesoamerican world. You may start to feel a bit overwhelmed, and feel that all of the ruins are the same, but in our opinion, these three listed above are all very different from one another. In fact, there are many more that we could have put on this list! All of the ruins in Mexico are unique and interesting in their own way, and with most having very inexpensive entrance fees, we recommend seeing as many sites as you can.

    Have you seen any ancient sites in Mexico? Which were your favorites?


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Nick and Dariece Notes from the Goats

Nick and Dariece Nick and Dariece are the couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to inspire others to live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad and turning their travels into a way of life, they've been on the road since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on earth, finding adventure wherever they go. They are also full time contributors at Credit Walk where they share their expertise of making money and travelling forever. Check them out at Goats On The and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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