White-sand beaches, luxe hotels, stellar seafood, late-night parties, and rich heritage—this is Cancun. With so much on offer for any traveler, the city makes an excellent base for exploring another of the region’s top attractions: the Maya ruins. If you have limited time in Cancun, make like a jetsetter and travel by air to the area's ruins. Here are the ones you can see in less time with plane transport.
The Mexican Maya ruins at Chichen Itza are by far the most iconic in the country. Touch down after a quick 40-minute flight over the Yucatan jungle and spend the next several hours exploring these UNESCO-listed ruins, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and one of the most spectacularly beautiful ancient Maya sites.
Palenque Archaeological Site
The enormous Palenque archaeological site is the stuff of Indiana Jones’ dreams, with the Palacio being the most visually stunning (and most visited) site. Catching an early-morning flight means you’ll spend less time on the road and have more time to explore these jungle-swathed temples and the cosmological mysteries that lie within.
Experience two countries in one day by hopping on a flight to Guatemala to experience the UNESCO-listed ruins of Tikal. Deep within the jungles of Tikal National Park lie the remains of one of the Maya civilization’s most powerful kingdoms, including spectacular steep-sided pyramid temples rising nearly 150 feet (45 meters) into the jungle canopy. You’ll be back in Cancun in time for dinner.