On the path leading to the ruins, you will see an upside down tree. Our guide said it was uprooted and re-planted this way as a marker by the explorers who found the ruins, so they would be able to find it again - without signalling the site to other explorers in the area. What I can't figure out is: 1) how it continued to stay alive (since it is...more
There are two pyramids at Kohunlich which can be climbed - the Pyramid of the Masks and the Temple Major. Both are STEEP and have no hand railings, so you must be very careful. Also, if you suffer from a fear of heights (as do I), be sure to not go alone. I had to sit on the steps and "bump" my way back down - a rather long and tedious method...more
The hightlight of a trek to Kohunlich is the Pyramid of the Masks - a large pyramid with six carved stucco masks stretching down the side. Some say the masks represent former rulers of the area while others say they represent gods. Most of the pyramid is covered with a thatched roof to protect the masks. Two of the masks were almost completely...more
This is the most elaborate residential complex yet found. It stands atop a large platform accessed by a series of, surprisingly enough, twenty-seven steps (take care - slippery moss grows on most of the steps). Here, we find a series of small patios, corridors, stairs and rooms. This feature has only recently been opened for visiting, and there is...more
The largest structure at Kohunlich is the Acropolis. A wide flight of steps leads up to the top of a massive platform. A narrow entrance opens out into a patio on top. Some tall rooms on one side of this patio bear hallmarks from the Río Bec region. In addition, on the south and east sides of the platform are stairs leading nowhere, another Río Bec...more
Kohunlich is noted for its magnificent stucco masks of the Sun God, Kinich Ahau. These masks make up the lower four panels of the Pyramid of the Masks, and are noted for being the most refine and sensitive deity portrayals in all of Meso America.Originally, each of these masks had been painted bright colors. Much of the red paint can still be seen...more
The Palace holds a prominent place between the Western Residential Complex and the Acropolis. This construction was undertaken around the year 600 A.D. and was originally a one story structure. Later the first primitive dwelling was demolished and a platform was built upon which an elegant resident was built. It probably housed some of the...more
The Western Residential Complex can be seen on your left, immediately after entering the Kohunlich ruins area. This area is thought to have been inhabited between the years of 600-1200 A.D., and is probably functioned as living quarters for a group of high-ranking artisans who were dedicated to the manufacture of of shell artifacts.By observing the...more
On either side of the Temple of the Masks main stairs are a series of five stone masks. Originally there were six, but one was stolen. The faces are all representations of the sun god Kinich Ahau, although slight differences between them have suggested that each is also a portrait of a deified ruler. The masks have conspicuously large lips and...more
The highlight to any visit to Kohunlich is the Temple of the Masks. This pyramid, set on a hilltop at the very back of the complex and is usually the last thing a visitor sees. It is partially covered with a thatch roof to protect the large masks on either side of the central stairs. Visitors are free to climb to the top, but should take care...more
To the extreme east of the Plaza of the Stelae lies the Temple of the Stelae, also sometimes called the Palace of the Stelae, built around 600 A.D. At the base of this impressive structure stand three plain stelas which were probably stuccoed and painted in pre-Hispanic times.A stelae is an ancient stone monument.more
The Plaza of the Stelae constitutes the central space of the Kohunlich archeological site. It is one of the largest in the south of the state of Quintana Roo. This would have been the scene of various public events and ceremonies among the Mayan people who built and inhabited this ancient city.With a little imagination one can see the parade of...more
The Acropolis, the largest structure in Konhulich, was originally a "c" shaped building. It's most notable feature is the false steps on the North and East sides. Also, it has a vaulted interior eight meters high. The Acropolis is built in the Rio Bec style from Campeche.This building was later covered entirely by a huge platform which may have...more
Wild cats: the jaguar, ocelot, margay, puma and jaguarondi are all found in the forests of Quintana Roo. However they are seldom encountered, especially during daylight hours. According to our guide, jaguars frequent Kohunlich, but are mostly nocturnal. For a person who has their own transportation it should be possible to visit Kohunlich at night, but if I did so I would want to take some precautions.
The jaguar is the largest cat of the Americas, growing to 6 feet plus their tail. Their body is yellow with distinctive black ring-shaped spots. It has a very large muscular head and is extremely cunning. Just because you don't see a Jaguar doesn't mean it doesn't see you.
Malaria carrying mosquitoes are also more active at night.
Most, if not all, of the Cruise ships which stop at the new port of Costa Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico offer shore excursions via bus to Kohunlich. Our full day tour cost $90, which was well worth it considering that the ruins are a two hour drive one way.
Our tour bus was new, very comfortable, air conditioned and restroom equipped. Our tour guide spoke good, albeit imperfect English. He was a native graduate student and obviously had a passion for sharing information about his country with visitors. For the entire two hours it took to drive to Kohunlich, on fairly new highways, he shared with us information about the Yucatan, sights along the way, and our destination. He also fielded many questions from us passengers.
On the return trip we drove mostly in silence except for our own conversations. We made one brief stop where I got a large bottled Coca Cola for only 75 cents US. Fortunately, Karen had a bag of salted peanuts in her purse which I added to the Coke for one of my favorite treats.
This is not a commercialized area at all. This means no gift shop, no museum, no snacks, no selling of guide maps. It also means the bathrooms are very, um, rustic. To be blunt, there are three stalls for women, you must potty with the door open, and toilet paper goes in the garbage can, not down the toilet. When you have buses of people unloading...more
We did not even think about carrying an insect repellent on our cruise, but in Kuhunlich you're deep in the jungle and far from any cruise ship. Mosquitoes were plentiful here, but not overbearing. I did get a couple of bites.That might not be a problem except for the fact that some mosquitoes here in southern Mexico are known to carry malaria....more
Luggage and bags:
Bring your backpack with everything that you will need for a day of sightseeing.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Wear comfy walking shoes because you will be climbing and walking a lot.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toilet Tissue or Kleenex is always a good thing to have when going to the ruins for the day.
Mosquito repellant is a good idea, also
Photo Equipment: Bring along lots of film or a large memory card.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Binoculars are a must because you will see many birds around the ruins and some wild animals.
Miscellaneous: Don't forget to bring water. It gets very hot in the afternoon.
This little guy followed our tour group all around - our guide said he sees him here al the time but doesn't know where he came from!
When early explorers and archeologists found these ruins which had been hidden deep in the jungle for hundreds of years, they wanted to be sure they could find their way back. The ruins were overgrown with lush tropical growth and very hard to find. To mark the path they dug up trees and planted them upside down. You can still see a couple of...more
The first thing you will see upon arriving at Kohunlich is this thatch-roofed building beside a dirt parking lot. A sign says that it contains restrooms and a cafeteria. However, when we were there the cafeteria was nowhere to be seen.The restrooms were barely adequate - definitely not up National Park standards one might expect to find elsewhere -...more
To me, the lush tropical plants growing wild at Kohunlich were almost as interesting as the ruins. We saw many trees, vines, and herbs which resemble those which are seen only in a greenhouse or conservatory at more northerly latitudes. I wish at least a few of the plants had been labeled. Perhaps the people who live here take such things for...more