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Archaeological zone of Chacchoben

Zona Arqueológica De Chacchoben

To speak of Chacchoben is to speak of the largest settlement of the ancient Mayans that arose in the south of Quintana Roo. It was made up of small-sized villages that had their period of greatest development around the year 300 before our era. Of course, it is one of the best places to visit as part of a trip to the Magical Town of Bacalar, in the Quintana Roo territory.

When going to the archaeological site of Chacchoben, visitors are usually surprised by the Gran Basamento, an archaeological structure that rises in the middle of the dense Caribbean jungle. The Gran Basamento is presented as a stepped type pyramid where religious and social ceremonies were performed.

Visiting Bacalar is not only fascinating to practice sailing but also to admire the formidable structures and urban planning of Chacchoben.

Monument 1 was built right on one of the stairways that makes it possible to enter the basement, a date marker for the Mayan calendar. The latter was used to mark the solstices and equinoxes, as well as to know when the harvest times began.

In the southern part of this pre-Columbian site of Bacalar is the Temple of the Vessels. In this space you can see vestiges of constructions that integrated a residential area. Disseminated remains of bowls, pitchers and plates are also often observed.

In addition to its pre-Hispanic treasures, Chacchoben is a wonderful place to spot exotic birds, toucans, and other animals unique to the Mayan world. Tourists in the Magical Town of Bacalar, in addition to being able to sail on a sailboat in the Laguna de los Siete Colores, when visiting Chacchoben, you will have the opportunity to walk wild trails full of mahogany, white cedar, pepper, fig and zapotes.

The experience of visiting the pre-Hispanic site of Chacchoben

Chacchoben is a pre-Columbian site of the Mayan culture located in the vicinity of the homonymous population. One of the logistical advantages of traveling these routes in Quintana Roo as a tourist plan is that this archaeological complex is only seventy kilometers from Chetumal, the capital of the entity.

About the name “Chacchoben” and its etymological meanings

For any tourist wishing to fully assimilate the special magic that this Mayan site has, it is valuable to know the meaning of the name “Chacchoben”. As no kind of epigraphic evidence was identified about the name that this settlement originally had, the name of the ejido where it is located is used. In this sense, the indigenous word “Chacchoben” means “red corn”

This pre-Hispanic site is considered the largest on record to date in the so-called The Lake Region.

Knowing more and better about Chacchoben in Bacalar

One of the best tourist recommendations that can be offered is a visit to the Magical Town of Bacalar in the state of Quintana Roo. It is there where the Laguna de los Siete Colores is located, a body of water with exceptional characteristics that is fascinating for sailing.

Another unmissable tourist option in the surroundings of Bacalar is to visit the archaeological site of Chacchoben. The exploration of the deposit began in the mid-1990s and to date several of the most relevant structures of the complex have been conditioned.

The latter extends over more than seventy hectares where scattered groups of structures of different orders appear. Particularly noteworthy among these are Group II, the Vías and the Gran Basamento. In these groups of structures you can find the tallest building in Chacchoben and one of the tallest in the ancient Mayan culture.

Why it is valuable to know the Mayan site of Chacchoben in Bacalar

The constructions in question correspond to the religious and civic order, which is revealed by the numerous incense burners found in the area by the researchers. Many of them were located in the upper zone of the Gran Basamento and in the two main structures that culminate it.

It is very possible that the first inhabitants of the area settled there in the late period, that is, in the year 200 before our era. The origins of Chacchoben point to conglomerates of simple houses located around the bodies of water in the area, such as the Laguna de Chacchoben and Laguna del Ocho.
However, the settlement obtained its greatest monumentality around the Early Classic period. It was then that the most relevant public buildings were built.

The first structure that visitors can admire is Temple 24, a huge stepped-type pyramidal building. Due to its architectural characteristics, Chacchoben reveals a possible link with other Mayan cities in the Petén region, as well as a clear ease of the city’s builders for the effective use of concrete between the rock walls.

No less important in Chacchoben is the Great Plaza, which used to be the very heart of this ancient Mayan city. Numerous remains of incense burners have been located in the area, corresponding to the final period of its occupation.

How to visit the archaeological site of Chacchoben

Chacchoben is located in the Magic Town of Bacalar.

The latter is located about 40 kilometers from Chetumal, the capital of the state of Quintana Roo. This implies a transfer by car of approximately sixty minutes. From the Cancun air terminal there are 333 kilometers by car.

Therefore, for those who plan to vacation in these directions of the Mexican Caribbean, it is advisable to arrive by plane to the city of Chetumal and from this place board some transport that will take you in a short time to the Magical Town of Bacalar.

Another route widely used by tourists who are out for a tour on the coast of Quintana Roo is to hire a one-day tour from Playa del Carmen or Cancun, although in this case you must be aware that you will have to travel longer.

To get to Chacchoben from Bacalar, you must travel 50.3 kilometers by car, an about forty minutes trip.

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