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Ruins of the King
The ruins of El Rey is a small post-Classic Period archaeological site located just south of Cancun's Hotel Zone across from Playa Delfines. It was first sighted in the 16th century, rediscovered in 1842, and finally excavated in 1954. It dates back to 200 BC and the site takes its name from a skeleton uncovered there and thought possibly to be a former Mayan king.
The site’s guide reported that current research suggests that it was used as a meditation and spiritual retreat. The site must have also been a prosperous trade center as it had 47 storage vaults on raised platforms, which had remnant artifacts from many distant places. The site was accessed by boats that came in from the lagoon side. It has two main plazas flanked by two main streets (most ruins have only one) and a small pyramid topped with a vault. Inside are fresco paintings that still reveal some of the bright colors on the underside of the ceiling.
Today, its only residents are the 1,500 iguanas who like to bask in the sun. The guides tend to the iguanas and a local university helps incubate the eggs.