Campeche State

Though it only has one significant structure, Dzibilnocac possesses an eerie grandeur that merits a visit. Unlike the many hilltop sites chosen for Chenes structures, Dzibilnocac (‘big painted turtle’ is one translation) is on a flat plain, like a large open park. As Stephens and Catherwood observed in 1842, the many scattered hillocks in the zone, still unexcavated today, attest to the presence of a large city.

The single, clearly discernible structure is A1, a palatial complex upon a 76m platform with a trio of raised temples atop rounded pyramidal bases. The best preserved of the three, on the east end, has fantastically elaborate monster-mask reliefs on each of its four sides and the typically piled-up Chaac masks on three of the four corners.

Dzibilnocac is located beside the village of Iturbide (also called Vicente Guerrero), 20km northeast of Dzibalchén. From Campeche’s 2nd-class bus terminal there are several buses daily to Iturbide via Hopelchén (M$110, three hours). There’s no place to stay here so you’ll need to make it back to Hopelchén by nightfall.

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