See ancient Mayan artifacts in the heart of the Hotel Zone — Photo courtesy of Museo Maya Cancun
After 6 years of construction and preparation, Mexican President Felipe Calderon led the inauguration of the Museo Maya de Cancun on November 1. Calderon said of the ancient Mayan civilization, "The Mayans are majestic because they dazzled the world with their knowledge. Everyone is impacted by the accuracy of their astronomical observations, calendar, mathematics and the conceptualization of zero, their art, architecture, cosmogony, traditions, history and much more."
The Museo Maya de Cancun includes around 350 objects, some recently excavated and some that were previously displayed in other museums. The collection comes from different archaeological sites in Quintana Roo, such as El Meco, El Rey, Xelhá, Xcaret and Tulum. A highlight is the 14,000-year-old skeletal remains of La Mujer de las Palmas (The Woman of the Palms). Her remains were found in a cenote in Tulum in 2002. She is located in the first exhibition room.
The second exhibition room or Sala Maya (Maya Room) displays architecture, art and other artifacts that ancient Mayans used on a daily basis. Items from Chichen Itza and ancient engraved bricks from the city of Comalcalco in Tabasco are also displayed. The third room is reserved for national and international exhibits.
What may be the most amazing aspect of the Museo Maya Cancun is the 800-year-old adjoining San Miguelito archaeological site, sitting in the heart of Cancun's Hotel Zone. This site is considered one of the most important pre-Hispanic settlements and trade route stops in the region. San Miguelito was inhabited until the arrival of Spanish conquistadors.
The museum is located at km. 16.5 in the Hotel Zone. The cost is 57 pesos per person. Children under 13 and adults over 60 are free. It is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm and Thursdays from 10 am to 10 pm. On Sundays, admission is free for locals with official identification.