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Mayan Ruins > CHACCHOBEN, Quintana Roo

Temple at ChacchobenChacchoben is less than an hour away from Mayan Beach Garden. Chacchoben is a Maya word meaning "Red corn."

Abvoe is Edifice 24, #3 on the map to the right . It's the first ruin you see at the site. It is roped off to protect it from damage. On the back are covered areas of original plaster, but they aren't as spectacular as some other sites such as Dzibanche and Kohunlich .

When you know the history of a site, it makes the visit far more interesting. In 1972, Dr. Peter Harrison officially reported the site to the Mexican Government. At that time, the state of Quintana Roo was not very populated and there were few good roads. Twenty years prior to that, Mr. Serviliano Cohuo was the first man to arrive at the site, fell in love with the area and decided to settle down in that particular location. Seven Cohuo children were born there and grew up having the spectacular view of Chacchoben in their back yard (their old house can still be seen behind the Gran Basamento). They lived in the only way they knew, the Maya way, keeping the traditions and performing rituals and ceremonies that were part of their world limited only by the surrounding jungle. They grew up having a sense of respect towards Chacchoben.


Entry fee: 46 pesos

Hours: 8:00 am- 5:00 PM

Chacchoben site map

The youngest Cohuo son wrote me and told me this about Chacchoben, "My father used to say that we must become the guards and protectors of that place, and so he finally was recognized by the Government and was given the title of Honorary Guard . . . No salary or credit was given to him." He lived to see his beloved property divided in two when the road was built, experiencing great sadness as he saw many of the temples destroyed by the heavy machines. Mr. Serviliano Cohuo eventually died of cancer and one of his sons has built a house next door that you can see from the site. He has now taken over the responsibility of keeping and protecting the land, but it was always clear to every one in the family that the place was federal property and that NOBODY could own it. In 1994 the INAH started the excavation project in Chacchoben and access to the area was blocked to anyone outside the project or with the property until 2002. Please keep in mind thesacredness of this place as you visit.

Map to ruins

Chacchoben was settled about 200 BC, so it is quite an old area, but the current buildings date around 700 AD, still very old. This is the tallest building at the site and was unavailable for climbing, although others said a month ago you could still go to the top. The main reasons that ruins are usually blocked from climbing is because they are either dangerous, are deteriorating, or because people have vandalized them. This may seem unfair, but it is important to protect the site so that others may enjoy it.

Chacchoben has a pleasant park-like atmosphere. It's quiet and full of beautiful palms that look like date palms, but are referred to as "Cohoon" palms. Cohoon palms grow very tall and are associated with the site of Kohunlich which was named after them. The presence of the Cohoon palm makes the two sites feel very similar.


Chacchoben has many trees that often obscure the perfect picture, but add to the atmosphere and provide ample shade in the heat of the day. This picture was taken about 9:00 in the morning.

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