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: Cheri kolp
Our guide was excellent! So much knowledge
Reviewer: Andrea Ott
We took this tour with 2 guides who were both remarkably qualified. Our group was 20+ people and our guide called each one of us by name throughout the whole tour! He was knowledgable and highly qualified with degrees in Archeology, History and Anthropology. What more could you ask for a tour to the Mayan ruins? Our ride there was comfortable and shorter than tours we heard about to other ruins in the area and we had ample time to see the remarkable sights. Be preapred for a 15 minute walk to the bus from the port, but it's well worth it.
Our ship arrived late into port and we were afraid we would miss this excursion. It turned out we didn't and throughly enjoyed our guide and the site. The guides were very personable and informative. The only hassle was finding the office, directions are confusing and we were frustrated.
Reviewer: Marianne Terrigno
We really enjoyed the tour from beginning to end. It was a short walk from the ship to the tour office but once we got there the tour was organized, we had native guides who were knowledgeable and friendly, the vans were new, clean and air conditioned. The ruins were worth traveling to and very interesting.
Reviewer: Wendy Rees
My husband and I took this excursion at the end of January 2018. Our tour guide's name was Eddar and our driver was Pedro (if I am remembering correctly). Eddar was very knowledgeable about the Mayan people and the ruins. He also had a great sense of humor, and was very friendly and helpful. The Mayan ruins are amazing, and it was also fun to see the monkeys up in the trees. I enjoyed hearing about the history and why so many of the ruins remain uncovered. Lunch at the resort was wonderful, and taking the kayak out in the lagoon was a lot of fun. We stopped on the way back and purchased fresh pineapple from the people selling on the side of the road - with added chili pepper (that is something everyone should try). The van was kept very nice and clean, and was a very comfortable ride. I would definitely recommend taking this tour, and hopefully you get Eddar as your tour guide.