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It is an important Mayan archaeological zone, known as the center of mayan civil and religious functions. Its original name is unknown. El Meco was the nickname of a 19th century local resident, probably nicknamed El Meco because he used to limp (cojo in Spanish).
Strategically located on the coast in front of Isla Mujeres, El Meco is thought to have been an important point for navigation during the post-classic Maya period along the peninsula; it is related to Isla Mujeres and had strong relationships with its inhabitants.