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Archaeological Zone Xel-Ha
Yucatán, México
08:00 a 19:00


The Riviera Maya has the most incredible water park theme and magic created by the Maya gods: Xel-Há, a place in the Riviera Maya Mexican hosts the best of the nature of the Mexican Caribbean.

Xel-Há has the most spectacular natural aquarium of the Riviera Maya that invites you to embarcarte into a true aquatic adventure. Explore our water park, where you can enjoy natural attractions, ecological attractions and water activities, as snuba and snorkeling in rivers, lakes, ponds and natural caves bathed by ancient underground rivers that flow into the Caribbean Sea to the Mexican Riviera Maya.


Importance of place

Xelhá is located in an ideal location for development of port activities and surely was widely recognized during the latter part of the pre-Hispanic history of this region. Its original name is unknown, but may be related to the information that some sources told Spanish upon arrival in the Yucatan Peninsula in 1527 which state that began a tour of the coast of Quintana Roo current and less than half of a league small indigenous people called "Xala" had land and a port that seemed favorable for the purposes of colonization, the Spaniards landed on this site, which called Francisco de Montejo Salamanca Xala. This name, corresponds to the name Maya xelhá, xel, piece, entry and always, water-ie "water inlet," is a clear reference to the geography of the place.

The most notable aspect of the site will undoubtedly refers to the characteristics of their location and importance would surely have been in the broader trading system of coastal Late Post-classic. The joint site can be visited include some of the remains of mural paintings that are kept in the East Coast, remain relevant paintings Building Birds, for the Classic Early (200-600 after Christ), as well as the Jaguar, which can be seen in the group with the same name and which corresponds to Posclásico Medio-Tardío (1200-1550 the Common Era).



The site is one of the most important ports on the eastern coast of Quintana Roo, in an area better known for the beauty of its waters and animal life that the importance of their pre-Hispanic structures.

The archaeological site is located 115 kilometers south of the city of Cancun and 16 miles north of Tulum, on the west side of the federal highway 180 Port Juárez-Chetumal. Not to be confused with the park Xelhá whose access is located in the eastern section of the road above.

Chacchoben map

Principal Structures

The area open to the visit includes two sets: the Group of Birds, whose main structure is the palace of the same name and although partially destroyed by the road built in the seventies, are kept beautiful murals in the most noteworthy performances al fresco various birds in the region, as well as a god Tláloc of obvious style teotihuacano.
Very close to this building is a set of low platforms known as Group Lothrop, in honor of the famous researcher who first studied architecture Posclásica the East Coast. Because of its size and design characteristics, and because it is very rare buildings in the region, it can be assumed that this is ceremonial platforms, such as those traditionally used for ritual dances in various parts of Mesoamerica.
Continuing the journey can be seen buildings known as the Palais and the building of Pilastras, which are two broad types palatial buildings with rooms equipped with sidewalks, residential clear vocation. The final shape of the buildings is the result of various stages constructive, although most of them appear to fit the Late Classic period and Terminal (600-1000 after Christ).

A sacbé of 540 meters in length unites this sector of the site known as Jaguar Group, which includes a series of buildings constructed during the final phase of occupation of the settlement (Posclásico Medio-Tardío: 1200-1550 after Christ). These five buildings built on a common platform, including notable ones designated as the House of the Jaguar which is a typical kind East Coast, possibly devoted to ceremonial activities; owes its name to the painting of a jaguar downward, which surely makes allusion to the sacred power of the rulers and their relationship with the principal god of Posclásico: God E divinity of maize, in the version as a god descending.

The Jaguar Group is complemented by the building of Alfardas of similar style, and which can still be seen remnants of the typical alfardas streamers that characterized some ceremonial buildings of the time. It is also of interest to mention beautiful cenote which stands next to this package and that part of a broad system of underground streams that underlie a significant portion of the area Xelhá, and that certainly played a major role in developing the ceremonial conducted in this set.
Finally, although it has been partially explored, it is important to mention the group pier, located near the creek that gives its name to the settlement and where they can observe various platforms East Coast style, as well as a wall defending these constructions any incursion enemies of the city. It is likely that this set of buildings has been directly linked to port activities and navigational aid activities which constituted the economic livelihood of the settlement at times late.


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