Mayan Pyramids You Can Climb in Mexico with Kids

Our kids were really disappointed when we visited Chichen Itza with them that they couldn’t climb the pyramid there. However, we don’t like disappointing them so as we travelled around Mexico on a road trip we found 3 fantastic pyramids to climb with the kids and highly recommend doing so. So here’s our guide to Mayan Pyramids you Can Climb with the Kids in Mexico.

Mayan Pyramids to Climb in Mexico with Kids Uxmal with a Iguana in front
So you can’t climb in the pyramid at Chichen Itza, but no worries you can at 3 other fantastic sites in Mayan Mexico.

Pyramids to Climb on the Yucatan Peninsula

The Mayan’s built many pyramids throughout the 1000s of years that they ruled the area of the Mayan world.

Each time you visit Mayan Ruins you see these pyramids dominating the sites.

Magicians Pyramid at Uxmal
The Magician Pyramid at Uxmal rises out of the jungle, like something from Indiana Jones.

These pyramids are not actually like tombs as you would associate the pyramids in Egypt with but instead are temples.

Possibly the most well known the temples is at Chichen Itza it dominates the central plaza and is much photographed.

Chichen Itza one of the most famous but no longer climbable

Unfortunately, though it’s also not one of the Mexican pyramids you can climb.

However, in our travels around the archaeological sites, we discovered 3 fantastic pyramids to climb that the kids loved.

Pyramids to Climb in Mexico

The pyramids and temples are common at most of the ancient Mayan sites around Yucatan and Quintana Roo but to prevent injury and damage to them many are roped off and you can’t climb.

There are though 3 that you can climb.

Coba, Uxmal and one in Izamal.

Coba Pyramid

Coba is a Mayan site near to Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya. It can be reached from Cancun and Tulum in around about 2 hours.

Of the 3 pyramids, we are highlighting, it’s also likely to be the busiest.

pyramid at Coba that you can climb with the rope to help you
Coba Pyramid “Ixmoja” which is open to the public to climb

However, following the rule of getting their early and heading straight there, you are likely to be able to experience it without the crowds and to make your way to the top.

We recommend if you are going straight there to take a bike. Either cycle yourself or hire one of the Tricitaxi (Mexican Tricycles) where you are driven around the site.

“Ixmoja” pyramid is the only one of the 3 mentioned here that has a rope and believe me you will need it to climb down from the top.

It’s one of the tallest in the Mayan world around about 42 meters tall. Like the pyramid at Uxmal, this one is still partially covered in jungle and does make it a fantastic experience for the whole family.

The view from the top of the pyramid lets you see parts of the Yucatan Peninsula and Coba site that you wouldn’t normally see including both of the lakes that surround the complex.

Climbing of the pyramid is free but there is an entrance fee to Coba however, of the 3 Mayan Ruins that are easily accessible for families from Cancun this is the one that we recommend out of those 3.

Here, the kids under 12 are FREE and the guides were very good at pointing this out to us when we arrived.

Uxmal Pyramid

Uxmal a UNESCO World Heritage Site is further north towards Merida.

It’s quite a distance from Cancun (around 4 hrs drive if not more) and if you visit we’d recommend staying nearer.

We stayed at Souta de Peon a small town south of Merida but about 50 minutes to an hours drive from Uxmal.

Climbing around the Mayan site at Uxmal family on the steps at the Nunnery Quadrangle
Climbing around the site at Uxmal. Probably the BEST Mayan site we visited in Mexico.

There are lots of structures to climb in fact the only one that really can’t in this ancient Mayan site is the Pyramid of the Dwarf or Magician (see above) depending on the guide that you have at the time.

child on the top of the staircase at the nunnery quadrangle in Uxmal
T at the top of the Nunnery Quadrangle Stairs in Uxmal

Apart from that, it is possible to climb and explore inside the Nunnery Quadrangle, the steps up to the plaza in front of the Governor’s Palace and then again onto the Governor’s Palace itself.

climbing up to the governors palace in uxmal
Climbing the stairs at Uxmal to take us to the Governor’s Palace

But by far the best experience and also the best steps to climb we found of the 3 temples featured here was climbing up to the top of the Great Pyramid.

child climbing up the great pyramid at uxmal
J climbing up the steps at the great pyramid at Uxmal

Fully restored these are cut sharply and although steep they are fairly easy to climb up and then climb down again which is by far the hardest to do.

children on top of the great pyramid at Uxmal
Kids in top of the pyramid at Uxmal – no way that we could get J to smile (got to love travelling with pre-teens and teenagers!)

From the top, you can see across miles and miles of jungle. Only marred by a hotel in the distance that sticks out from the treetops like a sore thumb.

The pyramid here at Uxmal is part of the archaeological zone so like at Coba you have an entrance fee but to climb in the temple is included for those that want to.

At Uxmal too, kids under 12 are FREE no matter if they are Mexican Citizens or from the UK like our two.

Kinich-Kakmo at Izamal

Unlike the other two Yucatan pyramids to climb mentioned above Kinich-Kakmo is completely free to climb. There is no entrance fee at all.

In fact, you find it just off the main plaza in the city of Izamal.

kinich kakmo at izamal
Kinich Kakmo at Izamal it reminds me of the early step pyramids in Egypt.

This is a “rustic” pyramid. It was a bit of a challenge for T to climb. From the street, you can’t actually see the pyramid and at this point, she was quite happy.

kids preparing to climb kinich kakmo at Izamal
Travelled so Far kids getting ready to climb the pyramid Kinich Kakmo at Izamal. I think they thought this was the pyramid.

However, once you walk up the first few steps and reach the plaza in front of the temple you suddenly realise how much of an experience this is going be.

Standing alone with the jungle cleared from all around this is much more similar to the Temple of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza.

climbing kinich kakmo a mayan pyramid
It’s more rubble that steps when you actually start to climb and best to go with your hands free.
girl climbing kinich kakmo
We said don’t look down as you go up the Mayan Temple… What did she do?

Going up is easy. And the view from the top unlike at Coba and Uxmal gives you 360 degree towards the city from one direction and out across the jungle to the other.

family on top of pyramid in izamal
A view of the yellow city of Izamal from the top of the Pyramid at Izamal. Including all 4 of us in the picture.

Do take a moment to have a deep breath at the top because going down is hard.

best way to go down the pyramids in Mexico on your bottom
Go down the best way you can. T chose the same as many going down on her bottom.

J our eldest turned into a mountain goat and made his way down easily. However, T struggled and decided like many others the best way was to go down on her bottom.

If you do this though, please take care as it does have a lot of broken glass on some of the steps.

Kids View on Which was the Best Mayan Temple to Climb in Mexico

We had to ask the kids what was their favourite to climb and they couldn’t agree.

T (8 years old), said her favourite was Uxmal. She loved how it was safer to climb and felt like she was still in the jungle from the top especially as only the front of the pyramid is restored.

J (10 years old), said his favourite was Kinich-Kakmo at Izamal mainly because it was a challenge to get up and down, and the view from the top was unlike the other two.

We’d love to know your opinion!

Have you climbed any of these 3 fantastic temples to climb in Mayan Mexico what did you think?

Which was your favourite?

3 mayan pyramids to climb with kids in mexico

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10 Comments

  1. Wow, what an experience those climbs must have been. We haven’t been to Mexico at all but knowing you can climb SOME of the pyramids makes me want to go with our son, although I’d need to wait a few years until he’s a bit older! #fearlessfamtrav

  2. My boys would be in their element climbing these Mayan pyramids. Mexico is somewhere we’d love to discover. SO many wonderful places in this world! Thanks for linking up to #fearlessfamtrav this time around.

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