We have traveled to Mexico more times than we can count. It is our backyard after all. We were on a cruise to the Western Caribbean and I was excited to visit a new port in Mexico, Costa Maya. We tend to explore cities on our own, but this being our first time in Costa Maya we booked an excursion to the local Mayan Ruins. It’s good we did because when the ship docked we realized there wasn’t much to Costa Maya. It had recently been devastated by a hurricane and the rebuilding was happening at a snail’s pace. Had we not booked the day’s trip we would be sipping Coronas in Tumbleweed Town.
We spent a few hours visiting the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins, about 20 minutes drive from the port. This was our first time visiting Mayan Ruins and they did not disappoint. There are five main temples/structures hidden in the lush tropical landscape. Many of them are over 1,500 years old, preserved by the jungle covering, they are in excellent condition. They stand strong and proud of their survival through the years.
The largest and tallest temple on the site, “El Gran Basamento” is the only one visitors are allowed to climb. Leave it to a Mayan Ruin to remind you how out of shape you are. You are looking at a serious incline if you decide to mount the stone steps of this temple but it’s worth every huff and puff. Once we made it to the top, we were rewarded with an expansive view across the tree tops. You could feel the importance of this place and imagine the ceremonies that took place atop this towering temple. I was definitely channeling my inner Indiana Jones. After I caught my breath, of course.
Another highlight is the setting that surrounds these temple grounds. Extensive rainfall feeds the brilliant foliage and the jungle is bursting with brilliant colors and textures. From sweeping palm fronds to swirly tropical plants to moss-covered trees with dripping roots, nature is giving these impressive manmade structures a run for their money.
There are quite a few Mayan Temple sites throughout Mexico and I recommend visiting at least one to experience the majesty of these structures that have stood the test of time. Now that I have my feet wet with this Temple thing, I’m off to find that Lost Ark.