Friday, June 23, 2017

Chacchoben Ruins

Chacchoben (meaning red corn) was the biggest Pre-Columbian city found in the Los Lagos region.

Visitors are allowed to walk up close to the ruins to inspect the stone work but are not allowed to climb on to them.

The city's buildings are dated around 300 to 500 CE but its biggest splendor was reached 600 to 900 CE when controlling the resources of a wide territory allowing it to participate in the political and commercial exchange between the north and south regions of the peninsula.

Walking around this temple

Around 1100 CE this city was abandoned. The jungle took over quickly. It probably just took fifty, sixty years and all was covered in green.

The settlement was rediscovered in the 1940s by a local family. They lived and farmed the land close to the ruins until in 1972 this archaeological site was reported to the Mexican government.  In 1994 excavation and restoration began and is still continuing as funds permit.

More ruins are hidden close by in the jungle. View from the 'grand platform'

This staircase leads to the 'grand platform'. It still has most of its original stones since it was completely covered by debris and vegetation and therefore did not lose the decorative outer flat-stones. Generations of Mayans used to collect stones from the ruins to repurpose them for house construction.

Today a circular path leads the visitors by three pyramids (ceremonial temples), several staircases, and many walls.

Visitors are allowed to climb the stairs

On the very top was the building for the priests and priestesses.

I like the jungle look, but our tour guide explained that the Mayan cities were kept clean of vegetation.

Chacchoben is well worth a visit. Touching the stones, sitting on the steps, walking the grounds, trying to imagine how it must have been 1500 years ago...

After touring the ruins of Chaccoben we had lunch at the beach of Costa Maya, good food, endless drinks, and music. This was an awesome day!

Frigate birds, huge and prehistoric looking

We sailed with the Empress of the Seas, the smallest ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet but a gem nonetheless.

You may like this related post: Around Chacchoben


  1. Amazing ruins! I wonder if this is one of the places that practiced human sacrifice?

  2. Wow, so amazing to visit such old ruins! They look like in such good shape, too. It's just so incredibly awesome to think of the history of them!

    1. I am not sure in what shape they were when discovered, but some reconstruction was done we were told

  3. They built things to last back then, for sure!

    1. Hi Aaron, thanks for visiting my blog :-) And yes, it sure is amazing to look at the pyramids knowing they were built without heavy machinery and they last so well.