Chacchoben Mayan Ruins in La Costa Maya, southern Quintana Roo, Mexico
(left) Las Vacijas pyramid of the Gran Basamento and Edificio 24 in Plaza B (right)
The Place of Red Corn
Roughly 110 miles (177 kilometers) south of Tulum Mexico are the seldom seen Mayan ruins of Chacchoben, an excellent but somewhat distant day-trip to see a high, broad-leaf jungle ruin site. These majestic, mostly restored temple pyramids take on a mystical quality surrounded by towering mahogany trees, enormous cohune palms, strangler figs and the hanging tentacles of banyan trees. Chacchoben means "the Place of Red Corn", in Spanish "Lugar de Maiz Colorado".
Edificio 24 in Plaza B is the first structure that you see but even more impressive temples lay behind in the Gran Basamento; the tallest one being Temple 1. Some low structures are in Plaza Las Vias canopied by a forest of Cohune palms and mahogany trees. The archaeologists think Chacchoben was settled about 200 BC but the buildings excavated thus far date from around 700 AD. Chacchoben has a wonderful primal feel surrounded by tall palms and trees, many with long beards of Spanish moss waving in the gentle breeze. Climbing on the ruins is prohibited but just walking around this site is well worth the trip. If you're into remote ruins this is a nice one. Chacchoben is roughly the same distance south of the Riviera Maya as Chichen Itza is west of the Riviera Maya. Hours are 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday thru Sunday and the entrance fee when we visited was 30 pesos/person.