Things to Do

Exploring Bacalar's Ancient Mayan Ruins

Uncover the echoes of the past in Bacalar as you journey through its ancient Mayan ruins, where each stone and artifact tells a story of a civilization that once thrived in this enchanting region. This exploration takes you beyond the surface of Bacalar's natural beauty, into the depths of its historical significance, revealing the mysteries and architectural marvels left by the Maya. Embark on a journey back in time, where the ruins stand as silent guardians of history, inviting you to discover the secrets they have preserved for centuries.

Historical Significance

The Mayan ruins near Bacalar are silent narrators of a once-thriving civilization known for its architectural ingenuity and deep astronomical and spiritual knowledge. Sites like Chacchoben, Kohunlich, and Dzibanche stand as testaments to the Mayans' connection with the cosmos and their architectural prowess. These ruins, veiled by the dense canopy of the tropical rainforest, offer a unique glimpse into the life, culture, and achievements of the ancient Maya.

Each site around Bacalar tells its own story, contributing to a broader understanding of Mayan society. From the ceremonial centers adorned with intricate stone carvings to the towering pyramids reaching towards the sky, these archaeological wonders offer a tangible link to the past. They provide an unparalleled opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the Mayans, amidst the structures where they lived, worshipped, and gazed at the stars.

Key Sites to Explore

Chacchoben Ruins

The Chacchoben Ruins, enveloped by the lush greenery of the jungle, provide a serene backdrop for exploring the remnants of Mayan architecture. The tranquillity of the site allows visitors to immerse themselves in the historical ambiance, with well-preserved pyramids and temples that reveal the complexity of Mayan society. The site's relative obscurity compared to more famous Mayan ruins adds to its allure, offering a more intimate glimpse into the ancient world.

Kohunlich Ruins

An hour's journey from Bacalar will lead you to Kohunlich, renowned for its Temple of the Masks. This site is distinguished by the giant stucco masks that have withstood the ravages of time, providing a unique insight into Mayan religious practices. Kohunlich's off-the-beaten-path status means that visitors can often enjoy a peaceful exploration, free from the crowds, making it an ideal spot for reflection and discovery.

Dzibanche Ruins

Dzibanche offers a more expansive view of Mayan civilization, with its impressive structures that once served as a bustling center of activity. The ruins are divided into two main sites: Dzibanche and Kinichna. Dzibanche is known for its majestic temples and palaces, while Kinichna features a massive pyramid, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding jungle. Together, these sites provide a comprehensive look at the architectural and ceremonial significance of Mayan ruins.

Visitor Tips

Planning your visit to these ancient sites can greatly enhance your experience. The best times to explore are early morning or late afternoon, avoiding the peak heat of the day and allowing you to enjoy the ruins in softer light. Opting for a guided tour can provide valuable insights into the history and culture of the Mayans, making your visit more enriching.

When preparing for your adventure, be sure to pack essentials such as comfortable walking shoes, plenty of water, sun protection, and insect repellent. As you explore these historic sites, remember to respect the surroundings by staying on designated paths and minimizing your environmental impact. This not only preserves the sites for future generations but also respects the cultural heritage of the Mayan civilization.


A visit to the Mayan ruins near Bacalar is more than just an exploration of ancient architecture; it's a journey through time, offering a connection to the spiritual and cultural world of the Mayans. Each site, with its unique characteristics and stories, provides a different perspective on this advanced civilization. Whether you're drawn to the mysteries of the past or simply seeking a deeper understanding of Mayan culture, the ruins near Bacalar offer a gateway to a bygone era, inviting you to discover its secrets.