Costa Maya's Chacchoben Mayan Ruins
Chacchoben, "the place of red corn" in the Mayan language, is a ruin which may date from 200 B.C. The structures found here date from 700 A.D. The site is quickly becoming one of the most popular along the Costa Maya excursions.
Due in part to its location away from large cities and cruise destinations, and with the more famous Mayan sites such as Tulum getting all the attention, the ruins of Chacchoben, an excellent example of the most brilliant civilization of the new world, remained in obscurity. As you walk through the jungle filled with evidence of temples, courtyards and pyramids, you will feel the connection and harmony between nature and history. Along the way, your guide will tell you the journey the city has taken, from the myth of its creation through the collapse of the great Mayan civilization. As you stand in the heart of this abandoned Mayan ceremonial center, your senses will begin to adjust to the sounds of nature. This Costa Maya excursion covers more than two square miles in an area known as the "Region of the Lakes," due to the number of lakes and lagoons in the area.
Most of the walking is over even-packed dirt and grass on a circular path that passes three excavated and restored pyramids, as well as walls and staircases. The site is far from being completely uncovered, and you will see excavation on several mounds that are known to contain additional structures. Some structures still bear traces of the red pigment with which they were originally coated. At the base of the largest pyramid is a large stone slab called a stela with a Mayan hieroglyphic inscription.
Climbing on the temples is restricted out of respect to the deceased and their spirits.
The ruins site has a service area that includes restroom facilities and a cafeteria. Locals from Chacchoben village have a small shopping area at the site, where they offer handmade souvenirs from their village. Keep in mind that in places like Chacchoben, you are expected to negotiate the prices, so be ready to exercise your Espanol and have some fun!
Please Note: There is a fee to use a video camera at the archeological site (not included, approximately $4 US). Credit cards are not accepted at the site for fees or shopping, but US dollars and local currency are.
Reviewer: Juliet Grainger
This was a fantastic tour of a fascinating site. Our guide, Juan, was extremely knowledgable and friendly. He would talk to the group as a whole and also had plenty of time to talk to people individually. The ruins were beautiful, definitely worth the visit. The minibus journey was comfortable and plenty of water was provided.
Reviewer: Vincenzo Carpita
All worked perfectly and the site is worth to visit. The guides are really an added value and we did enjoy the excursion. From the port there is a little walking to where the excursion start but the directions received were quite well made. Recommended.
Great tour, knowledgeable folks - but not worth the savings to walk outside the gated pier and walk past MULTIPLE groups of suspect locals pretending to be our tour group. It is quite a hike from the pier and honestly did NOT AT ALL feel safe
Reviewer: Penny Breslin
We had a wonderful time on this excursion! The Native Choice office personnel were friendly, organized and professional. Had a very comfy air conditioned bus to take us to the ruins, and we were toured through them with a lot of history thrown in and the way to the ruins. We stopped and had fresh pineapple and chili powder - trust me, it was amazing! I highly recommend. Our tour guide's name was Hugo, and he was the best!
Reviewer: Jennifer Infanti
This tour was excellent and I would HIGHLY recommend it. It was the second tour we took through Shore Excursions while on our cruise and the difference was like night and day. The tour team was very organized! We were offered water and drove in an air conditioned van. Our tour guide was excellent, very knowledgeable and friendly. I would take this same tour a second time!