Thursday, 27 February 2014

Mexico is Chichén Itzá and something else: Kohunlich

When we travel to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Riviera Maya to spend some vacations by the Caribbean Sea, it is often impossible to resist visiting Mayan ruins. While Chichén Itzá is absolutely a stunning place to visit, you must know by now that Mayan Explore is also into secluded and beautiful locations. We have written a few articles about virgin and isolated places, and today we would like you to introduce you to some spectacular and little known pyramids: Kohunlich.

View of one the pyramids of Kohunlich

The ruins of Kohunlich are quite large, counting approximately 21 acres. They are surrounded by lush sub-tropical rainforest, which has covered many of the original buildings. Kohunlich was founded around the year 200 BC and grew in importance between the year 250 and 600 AD. It features pyramids, plazas, a sophisticated drainage system, citadels, courtyards, amongst many other beautiful and “modern” buildings. Kohunlich presents many mounds but most of them are still unexcavated. The most famous building is the Temple of the Masks, which received this name for the big humanized stucco masks in its central stairway. A real treat if you like Mayan cities and would like a little history during your vacations in the Mexican Caribbean.

Inside the Temple of the Masks
Based on the complexity of the city, experts believe it was an important place, especially as a connection point between cities in the Yucatan Peninsula and Central America (for commercial purposes). The original Mayan name is still unknown and Kohunlich is not Mayan either. It is a derivation of its English name Cohoon Ridge (where cohune palm grew), given to the city by Victor Segovia the first person to explore the area. The ruins were first discovered by Raymond Mervin, who visited most pre-Hispanic cities along the river Hondo.

View of the pyramids
How to get there

If you are vacationing in Bacalar or Xcalak, Kohunlich is 65km away from Chetumal, on Hwy 186 and approximately 9km off the road. If you are on holiday in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum it is a long drive (6, 5 and 4 hours respectively). Get on Hwy 307 and go south until it ends at the Chetumal/Escarcega Hwy. Drive for 60 km and then follow the sign to Kohunlich (remember the ruins are 9km off the road).