News | 2010 | Ruinas Arqueológicas

While out for a walk in Mexico, my family and I stumbled across a group of Mayan ruins we hadn't known existed--the ancient coastal community of Xaman-Há. We were going from our hotel in Playacar to the city of Playa del Carmen, looking at these rather large and expensive houses and anticipating a frenzy of souvenir shopping when we came across a stone sign proclaiming Ruinas Arqueológicas. Of course, we took the opportunity to investigate, running from the sidewalk into the forest to see what the abandoned buildings were all about (cue the Indiana Jones theme music).

Xaman-Há temple Xaman-Há temple
two opposing views of the same structure

Where Chichen Itza was crowded with hawkers and bands of tourists, we had this site completely to ourselves. We first encountered a series of low step-pyramids, then came a ruined curving wall. We followed the wall through the forest and found another set of ruins, these ones overlooking the Island of Cozumel.

Xaman-Há Ruin
Xaman-Há ruin

By reading the signs posted throughout the site, we discovered Xaman-Há was occupied during the Mayan post-classic period (1300 - 1500 A.D.) as a resupply depot as well as a point of embarkation for women travelling on pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Ixchel on Cozumel (I've been told Ixchel was a goddess of midwifery and medicine, and women would seek her favour to secure fruitful marriages).

Xaman-Há Ruin
arboreal termite nest

In the photo above, you can see the remains of the wall we followed through the forest. Above the wall is the nest (about the size of four basketballs) of some arboreal termites. Apart from an iguana and several geckos, this nest was the wildest thing we saw at this site--it's completely surrounded by Playacar and Playa del Carmen. Not really Indy's style, but it is kind of cool for a local neighbourhood park.

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