El Cedral is a small village on the southwestern side of Cozumel and also the site of the oldest Mayan ruins on the island. Spanish explorers first discovered the site in 1518, when it was a center of Mayan life and commerce. It later became the island’s first official city in 1847, and
today it is home to a small community of quaint houses and farms. Visitors can view the ruins alongside a small church and the village of El Cedral as it stands today.
Most of the Mayan temple was torn down, but a small archway remains. Though it is just a fraction of the structure’s former glory, it is enough to visualize what daily life may have been like at the time of Mayan civilization.
In late April, you can catch the annual Festival de El Cedral, celebrating local artists, music and traditions. Year-round there are vendors selling embroidered handicrafts and refreshments.
El Cedral can be found on the Carretera Costera Sur highway in Cozumel between kilometers 17 and 18. The site is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and there is no admission fee.