While planning our cruise, I knew that I wanted to see some Mayan ruins. Through my research, I learned that that was an option at several ports. I examined the shore options in all the ports and decided the best option was to see the Chacchoben ruins in Costa Maya. This was a short port day for us; the all aboard time was 1:30, so I knew we didn’t want to risk this excursion through an outside company, especially because a lot of the shore excursion companies had the all aboard time as later in the day. Even though it was more expensive, we booked this one through Norwegian. As soon as the ship docked, we were off to meet our bus for our hour long drive to the ruins. This was one of the most popular excursions from Costa Maya and it was great to hear the history of the Mayans from our knowledgable guide, Alejandro.
Chacchoben is Mayan for place of the red corn. The Chacchoben ruins are a fairly recent archeological discovery. Discovered in 1972 when an American archeologist noticed some hills that didn’t fit in with the local landscape. Excavation began in the mid 90’s and the park opened to the public in 2002.
One thing our guide told us is that the Mayan people did not disappear as many people think. If you explore the area the Mayans are still around and the Mayan language can still be heard in the area around the ruins. It is believed that between 1000 AD and about the 1800s there was a draught that it made it impossible for the agrarian Mayan society to continue so the people dispersed and joined the other neighboring communities.
Alejandro also explained the Mayan numeral system which made my head hurt. I think they should teach this in school instead of Common Core math. Future generations would have a much greater understanding of math if they could figure that out!
This visit really made me want to explore some more Mayan ruins. I am hoping to return to Mexico some time in the future to explore Chichen Itza or Tulum. Our guide in Belize explained that many of their Mayan ruins are still open for climbing, while many of the Mexican ruins are more protected. He also told us that the old Mayan buildings are some of the tallest buildings in Belize today, which is pretty unbelievable.
Anyway, if you cruise to Costa Maya, I highly recommend taking a tour of Chacchoben. It is great to get a taste of the history and the guides are incredibly knowledgable. Yes, there is a pool and a beach right at the port, it is good to get out an get a taste of Mexico’s history.
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