Tuesday, 8 October 2013

San Gervasio Mayan Ruins: the perfect activity for your holidays on Cozumel Island

If you are on holiday on Cozumel Island, then San Gervasio ruins are a mandatory cultural activity. They are a Mayan archaeological site, located at the approximate center of the island, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Compared to Tulum and Chichén ItzáSan Gervasio is a small ruin site. However this 742 acres territory has an unusually long history. Here below, you can see the temple of the Mayan god Ixchel.

Most buildings are made of these stones at San Gervasio ruins
San Gervasio is not the site's original name. It was named in the 1800s after rancher Gervasio Novelo and his ranch San Gervasio. While the original name is not known for sure, there is some reference at another ruin site, indicating the name might have been "Tan Tun", which means "over the rock".

Occupied from 100 B.C. throughout the Spaniards´ arrival in the 16th century, San Gervasio was the island's ancient Maya capital and ceremonial center dedicated to the Mayan god, Ixchel, She of the Rainbow. She was the mother of all Gods, along with being the Goddess of fertility, childbirth, moon and rainbows. Women from all over mainland Mesoamerica were expected, sometime during their lifetime, to make the dangerous 12-mile pilgrimage by sea in a dug-out canoe from mainland Mexico to Cozumel to honor her.

The Arch
San Gervasio was not only a religious center, but also one of trade with salt and honey being its main exports- at the time, each worth more than gold.

Because San Gervasio is largely unrestored, its original architecture and lush surroundings are still intact, which makes the visit worthwhile. In this area, there exist the most important aquifers of the Caribbean island and an abundance of cenotes. 

The structures are mainly the excavated limestone plazas, small temples, shrines and stele, built on stepped platforms. A graceful arch protects an altar on a sacbe (ancient road), leading into the ceremonial center. A cluster of nine important buildings forms an enclosed patio in the central plaza.

Typical Building at San Gervasio ruins
One of the most interesting buildings is Las Manitas or The Temple of the Little Hands, with small red handprints all over the altar.

About Cozumel Island:

The area north of San Miguel is referred to as the Costera Norte (North Coast). Here you'll find a number of hotels taking up most of the beachfront. At the top of the island, you can enjoy the pristine Laguna Ciega and the uninhabited Isla de la Pasión, or Passion Island.

The area south of San Miguel is known as the Costera Sur (South Coast), which extends from Playa Corona to Playa Palancar. The beautiful coral reef running parallel to this part of the coast is a protected zone called Parque Marino de Cozumel (Cozumel´s Marine Park). The beaches you'll find along the Costera Sur include Chankanaab Park, Playa San Francisco and Playa Mia.

The bottom of the island is known as Punta Sur. Here you'll find the Punta Sur park, the Celarain Lighthouse, the ancient Mayan lighthouse of El Caracol, a national wildlife refuge and a small beach.

The eastern, or windward, side of the island is known as the "wild side" of Cozumel. There are relatively few beaches. The paved road continues north up to the village of Mezcalito, where it turns to make the cross-island path back to San Miguel. A dirt road continues north from Mezcalito to the Mola Point Lighthouse, the island's most northern point.

The beach in Cozumel
In terms of Mayan culture, Cozumel's San Gervasio Ruins are more significant than Tulum.

How to get to San Gervasio 

You can reach them by ferry from Playa del Carmen. Upon arrival, you will need to take a taxi which is the best bet to get around town or if you are going to a beach club. You won't have a problem finding a taxi in Cozumel, but remember to negotiate the price before getting in. You can pay the taxi fare in US dollars or in Mexican Pesos, but always confirm the currency.


Open daily 8:00am- 5:00 pm

Where to stay in Cozumel? 

There are many All-Inclusive resorts, small hotels, villas and condos for rent.

All-Inclusive hotels, Villas and Condos:

- Cozumel Palace (Travelers Choice Award 2012).

- Blue Angel Resort (Travelers Choice Award 2012).

- Villas Las Anclas (Travelers Choice Award 2012).

- Casita de Maya (Travelers Choice Award 2012).

- Presidente Inter-Continental Cozumel Resort & Spa ( Travelers Choice Award 2012).

- Casa Viento (Travelers Choice Award 2012).

Trip Advisor Best Hotels in Cozumel

- Playa Azul Golf, Scuba and Spa 

- Casa Mexicana Cozumel
- Aura Cozumel Grand Resort
- Flamingo Hotel
- Hotel B Cozumel
- Scuba Club Cozumel
- Royal Club at Occidental Grand Cozumel
- El Cid La Ceiba Beach Hotel
- Cantamar Condo Cozumel
- Coral Princess Hotel & Resort Cozumel
- Iberostar Cozumel
- Park Royal Cozumel

If you're looking for cheap hotels or hostels in Cozumel, we recommend you the Beachouse Hostel Cozumel, Amigos Hostel Cozumel and hotel La casona Real Cozumel.