A lot of cruise ship passengers when they come to Costa Maya take and enjoy the Chacchoben ruins nearby. It is probably the most popular tour in Costa Maya. I went there recently and here are some photos and more information about this recently new discovered site.
Chacchoben’s roots reach back some 3000 years.
Earliest human settlements in the area have been dated 1000BC, by 360AD Chacchoben was a prestigious ceremonial center boasting Gran Basamento as its most important ritual plaza.
Today Chacchoben’s Temple One, soaring above the canopy of the tropical forest, still expresses the glory of the city’s ancient sophistication.
Chacchoben is only 50 minutes from the Costa Maya Port, which makes it perfect for a half day tour.
The popular Chacchoben Maya Ruins Tour for cruise ship guests is completed in 4 hours total.
Recent history of Chacchoben started in 1942 when Serviliano Cohuo, a young Maya man looking for the perfect spot for his farm accidentally found the temples in ruins and decided to settle down there. Over the years Serviliano Cohuo build his home, got married and had children having the temples in ruins of Chacchoben as their backyard.
In 1972 Dr. Peter Harrison, an American Archeologist leading a project sponsored by Tulane University and the Royal Ontario Museum, made the first professional exploration, the first maps and reported Chacchoben ruins to the Mexican Government.
In 1978, Serviliano Cohuo, was designated honorary guard of Chacchoben and was granted his right to stay in his beloved farm, where he lived for the rest of his days. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to fulfill his dream of seen the temples restored.
In June 1994, a new chapter in the history of Chacchoben was opened as the restoration project under the auspices of the INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History) started. During the years that followed the complexes identified as Group I-A and Group I-B were excavated and restored.
Chacchoben’s ceremonial center covers an area of nearly 6 square kilometers. It is located in an area known as the “Region of the Lakes” due to the number of lagoons and areas with low terrains that are permanently humid or flooded during the rainy season.
Earliest human settlements in the area of Chacchoben, have been dated around 1000BC. The evidence collected during the excavations suggests that the site was abandoned and reoccupied a few times, being finally abandoned around 1000AD. Most structures that have been restored were modified several times during the occupation period with the most remarkable modifications dated around 300-360AD.
The ruins site of Chacchoben takes its name from the village located a few kilometers away that has the same name. The most accepted translation of the name Chacchoben is “place of the red corn”. So far, no inscriptions referring to the original name of the site or the name of one of its rulers have been found, therefore it is officially called Chacchoben, the place of the red corn.
In October 2002, the Government and the community of Chacchoben, settled an agreement. The land was expropriated from the Cohuo family, and the restored complexes were officially opened to the public.
Although most of the land surrounding the site is used for farming, Serviliano Cohuo always kept the jungle covering the different complexes untouched.
Today the site rests within a green island of trees covered with Spanish moss, palm trees and different varieties of orchids among other plants.
This particular landscape gives Chacchoben a special touch that enhances the magnificence of the different structures, and invites you to relax and feel the harmony of nature and history.
So if you are plan on coming to Costa Maya in the future, and are interested in Mayan ruins, you might want to visit Chacchoben.
Thanks for reading, Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina