structures 2 & 3                                    steve mellard


north causeway                                      steve mellard

structure 4 main plaza                                       jok2000.

EL REY- Quintana Roo (Yucatan), Mexico

El Rey is a Post Classic site (1200-1450 A.D) located on Cancun Island at km marker 17.5, on the lagoon side of Av. Kukulcan. This is a mostly linear site, and though small requires a bit of a walk to the far end under a hot sun. No shade here as is found at El Meco which is located just north of downtown Cancun. Visit El Rey in the morning. There are numerous platforms, two plazas, a pyramid/temple complex, and other civic/ceremonial structures. 

The site is on the low side of the high sand barrier that runs along Cancun Island, built most likely as a calm water commercial port. It is named after a recovered sculptured mask of a presumed ruler of the site, now in the Museo Maya, Cancun.

The Museo Maya is close by, and is part of the Maya site of San Miguelito which opened in 2012. This site was most likely part of El Rey but was separated by modern construction. A map below shows a straight line between the two sites causeways which covers a distance of just over 1mile/1.6kms.

Of interest here are the numerous, and very large iguanas that roam freely throughout the site. Pick up a small batch of tortillas at the visitor kiosk and watch them come running, often on two legs! 

HOURS: 8 A.M-5 P.M
ENTRANCE FEE: U.S. $3.00/50 Pesos, video cameras an additional $2.50.
GUIDES: Yes, inquire at visitor kiosk
SERVICES: Bathrooms
ACCOMMODATIONS: Unlimited hotels on the beach.
GPS: 21d 03' 35" N, 86d 46' 53" W

El Rey came into prominence during the Late Postclassic (1200-1450 A.D). After the Spanish Conquest, and with the Maya trade routes dissolved, El Rey along with other coastal sites lost their importance and rapidly declined.

The first modern accounts were made in the 1800’s by Stephens and Catherwood, Capt. Richard Smith, Alice and Augustus Le Plongeon, among others. From the 1950’s forward there have been serious excavations and the consolidation of structures. 

The first structures seen after entering the site are a series of low platforms that line a long causeway on a north/south axis. These are mostly low walled and in a ruinous condition. The most complete is Structure 22-l, Temple of the Columns, which has two columns that lead into an interior chamber. The causeway ends at the east side of a complex with three structures fronting a medium size plaza. 

 The southern most structure is a raised platform, Structure 4, with 18 still standing columns.Very impressive! In the center of the plaza is a small platform, Structure 5, with a central set of stairs. The structure on the east side, Structure 3, features a well preserved 2 chamber temple that still contains traces of a colorful mural. There are remains of a painted blue and red stucco-finished exterior with the buildup more than an inch thick. 

A very nice pyramid occupies the north end of the plaza, Structure 2. It rises to about 30 feet/10 meters, and offers an expanded view of the site. Behind and attached to the pyramid platform is Structure 1, built upon a raised platform. 

Structure 7 is located on the west side of the north causeway and has some standing architecture and small portions of an original stucco floor. The foundation platform stones are huge, about 4 feet high by 1 foot thick!

Further north the causeway leads into the surrounding mangroves and is fronted by 12 plain, low residential platforms and a small temple platform.​ This causeway probably once extended all the way into the nearby site of San Miguelito.

structure 22-I south causeway                    steve mellard.

el rey-san miguelito                                            google earth

overview central group                                         google earth

south causeway                                 steve mellard.

structure 7 north causeway                        steve mellard

​​​​​welcome to the mayan ruins website .