Kohunlich Mayan Ruins
The Kohunlich Mayan Ruin site best known for its Temple of the Masks. It is located about 65km west of Chetumal in the beautiful sub-tropical rainforest, not far from Chaccoben. I wanted my son to be able to see some of the reasons we retired here and Kohunlich was a great opportunity to take him on an adventure and show him some history. The site itself covers about 21 acres and contains about 200 mounds but only a small fraction of them have been excavated; the remainder is still covered by dense vegetation and what appear to be banyan trees. Kohunlich was settled by 200 BC, but most of the site was built during the Early Classic period from about 250 to 600 AD.
The Temple of the Masks itself is an Early Classic pyramid whose main stairways are lined with huge human faced masks. Historians believe that many of the structures on the site were once covered with a red-tinted plaster. The masks on the Temple of the Masks still retain an ancient reddish coloration.
When Nate and I visited we literally had the grounds to ourselves. The place was thick with palm forests and had an eerie almost white noise background buzzing sound. Green parrots flew overhead and leaf-cutter ants and bright orange colored centipedes crawled on the ground. There is a huge central plaza surrounded by temples, pyramids and even a ball court complete with a sloped, bleacher-like viewing area. The stone foundations and a few walls still exist where the “elites” lived; the simple wooden structures where the less fortunate resided have been completely reclaimed by the jungle.
This part of Quintana Roo is thick with barely visited ruins of this type. The Mexican government seems to be doing a great job preserving these wonders and I hope interested people will make sure it stays that way.