Costa Maya: A Day in Chacchoben

I have not heard of Costa Maya before I started planning for a western Caribbean cruise. The information I gathered online was always related to the cruising industry. Nothing out there to find out other than the activities and tours one can take as a cruise excursion.

No surprises there, I found out later when we dropped anchor in Costa Maya. It is nothing more than a mini resort of sorts. Set against the deep turquoise sea, Costa Maya is comprised of three grand pavilions, artisan shopping areas, a beach club, saltwater pools, fine restaurants and bars, and all the resources necessary to explore the surrounding jungle and coral reefs.

With a whole day to spend in this port, we knew that there would be enough time to visit this later. First and foremost we wanted to see a Mayan ruin.

Our experience told us that if we wanted some tours in ports of call, we don’t even have to look for tour operators. They would find us. Local tours have barkers, they know when cruisers descend on the port and en masse these barkers pounce on the cruisers. It could be annoying, but if you listen, you could actually find a good deal.

In this case, we just sign up with a tour operator outside of the walls of the “resort” and once a van fills capacity you go to the tour.

In this case, Chaccoben (chak-CHO-ben) is about an hour’s drive from the port. We drove through country roads, but the opportunity for drive-by shooting was very limited given the fact that in a large part of our route dust was flying and in other parts there just wasn't anything very interesting to shoot.

Having already visited Chichen Itza (which in my belief and readings is the “best” of the Mayan ruins), I was looking forward to a good day of shooting, but wasn’t expecting much.

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Chacchoben - place of the red corn in Mayan language.

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Easily doable. Not huge.

There are three restored pyramids. One of them you can climb.

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The area surrounding the ruins is characterized by abundant wildlife. We saw, but was unable to photograph, howler monkeys. However, here I caught my first sighting of an armadillo - in the wild.

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  1. Given the strict rules on Chichen Itza, it's a surprise to see tourists allowed to go up Chacchoben. I honestly haven't heard of this one you went to but I guess the former is far more popular to get all the pampering from Mexican authorities.

  2. Thanks for taking us along on this fabulous visit. Enjoyable series.

  3. Great shots and a fascinating post. I've never seen an armadillo. Love the shot you caught of it.

  4. Great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  5. What a great place to visit and loved the armadillo

  6. Having visited Chichen Itza, I, too, was surprised to see tourists allowed to go up Chacochoben!! How fun and what terrific captures! Love the armadillo, too! Thanks for sharing!

  7. It is a neat place to visit. We also stopped in Costa Maya on a cruise and visited these same ruins. Wonderful shots from your trip!

  8. Great pix...much better than staying in the "resort" for sure.

  9. Love the vine encircling the palm.

  10. Very nice photos. I woud love to visit this place so beautiful!


  11. So much going on that is purely beautiful!

  12. Armadillo, is something which I am hearing for the first time... Beautiful post...

  13. Love that armadillo you caught sight of.

  14. Beautiful an interesting place.

  15. I'd get scared siguro if I see an armadillo here in Pinas.

  16. Great shots! I miss Mexico so much.

  17. Wonderful! Love how you got to see the native wildlife, especially the stunning armadillo...

  18. Thank you so much for taking me on the journey through Chacchoben. Your blog made me want to go back to the area..

    It was nice of you to stop by my blog today...Noriko

  19. Don't you just love how we can see places we each visit and double our pleasure! I may never see in real life where you have been, and vice versa, but I have at least seen something through your eyes that Is totally brand new to me. YAY for our cameras and blogs! :)

  20. What a fantastic place to explore. Wonderful shots. Love that gnarly treet.

  21. I have not heard of Costa Maya before too.
    What a great trip, fantastic photos and amazing post. Thanks for sharing!

    Did you know that many times ago I saw an armadillo in my garden? Here in Brazil we have the opportunity to see many armadillos.

    Wishing you a lovely week.

  22. Nice now I can say I've seen a Mayan ruin ergo thru your photoblog =) Thanks!

    Btw I saw this show with Andrew Zimmern (is that correct) where he was in Peru and apparently the armadillo is a local delicacy. Eh yuck but to each his own. :D

  23. Even though history and culture are interesting, I love the tree trunk your captured!

  24. Very interesting place! I'm surprised that people are allowed on the pyramids.

    Seeing that armadillo was wild!

  25. I've never heard of this place but looks interesting. First time to see the armadillo, I always see them lifeless on the freeway when we're driving to Texas but just noticed the hard tail ;-)

  26. What a great place, I'd love to visit that.

  27. You certainly do travel to the most interesting places! :-)

    Thanks for your visit and comment on my signs entry.


  28. wow, sign in Maya language. Unique!

    I wish one day I can visit that ancient place.

    Thanks for sharing these great photos.

  29. beautiful photos and i love the little armadillo!

  30. beautiful photos and i love the little armadillo!

  31. I like to leave your post until last since you always have so much to see and learn!!

  32. Yes, i believe it's a new place for me too, i'm not yet that adventurous ,though i try to be when it comes to traveling, i still stick to the places that are often visited, but this is more than fascinating, there is indeed a history to tell, a pity it wasn't advertised much,
    nice place, as usual, breathtaking fotos,


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