One of the wildest places on Cozumel is the north side. It is remote and difficult to get to, which only adds to its charm. The main “highway” which loops around the island doesn’t go everywhere. From where the road meets the coast mid island – at Mezcalito’s – there is one dirt road that travels along the north side. It quickly becomes impassable for cars and soon after non 4x4s will be forced to turn back.
There are a few ways to visit this remote side of the island, and we found one that could take us further than our little car could. This adventure allowed us to see a whole new side of Cozumel, far away from the crowds. That was until the group of Jeeps arrived on an excursion from a cruise ship. We had it pretty good for a while. There were some incredible oceanside views here, especially with the big waves crashing up against the shore.
What makes Cozumel’s North-East Side so amazing?
The North-East of Cozumel is quite remote. Just by looking at a road map of the island, you will notice there is only one circular route that loops around the island, leaving many parts isolated. Most of the North half of Cozumel is basically untouched. Hard to get to places always offer a bigger reward.
There is one dirt road that goes past the main road, and it very quickly requires a specialized vehicle. The island has 34 different temples and structures of varying sized. Many of these are located in strange and inaccessible places, so when we found out about this ATV tour on the island, we couldn’t resist.
It took us to this Mayan Temple (known as Hannal) on the north-east side of the island. There is only one small crumbling temple here, so don’t go out there expecting to find Chichen Itza. The temple is known as Hannal, located on a picturesque piece of waterfront with the jungle behind it. It was a pretty great day of adventure.
The wild coastline here was incredible, with crashing waves putting on quite the show against the rocks. This little Mayan ruin is only one of the things we came to see, and nature won this battle hands down.
Where is Cozumel’s North-East Side and how do you get there?
We’re always seeking a little bit of adventure, so when we found out one of the ways to explore this side of the island was an ATV tour, we quickly jumped at the possibility. Were never ones to shy away from adventure, so this was perfect for us. We went with Dune Buggy Adventour.
This was definitely one of those adventures in which the journey shares equal importance with the destination. It was about an hour of driving each way and an extremely fun way to spend an afternoon on Cozumel. After our ATV trip, we spent the afternoon snorkeling on the west side of the island. It was the perfect way to spend the day on Cozumel.
There are many ways to visit this side of the island – either by Jeep or larger sized dune buggies – which take you along this famous dirt road. Someday we would love to visit the lighthouse at the North of the island, but we will most likely visit there by boat, and that’s a story for another day. From what we’ve researched, there is only one group that does the full land trip to the lighthouse. Hopefully someday soon, we will be able to explore here again.
ATV Trip to Cozumel’s North-East Side Mayan Ruins
ATV Trip on Cozumel – Video
Today we’re going on an adventure to the wild north-east coast of Cozumel, exploring Mayan Temples in inhospitable places. The island has one large archeological site called San Gervasio as well as 34 known temples and structures on the island. We chose this ATV adventure because it would take us to the small Mayan Temple of Hannal. While not impressive in size, it occupies a great little piece of real estate overlooking the Caribbean.
Alongside the ruins, we enjoyed the views of the big waves crashing up against the rocky coastline. This was one of those adventures where the journey was certainly more fun than the destination. It’s quite difficult to capture footage while riding along bumpy trails, but we managed to piece together the essence of this adventure.