Río Bec

Top choice in Campeche State

A collection of small but significant structures in 74 groupings, Río Bec covers a 100-sq-km area southeast of Xpujil, and is the only place where all five elements of Río Bec style can be seen in one building: twin towers, a roofcomb, checkerboard pattern sides, false stairs and pillars carved at the base. The remoteness of this site and ongoing excavations give it a certain mystique that’s lacking in more established sites.

Grupo B has some of the best-restored buildings, particularly the magnificent Estructura I (AD 700). 'Discovered' in 1907 by French archaeologist Maurice de Périgny, this palatial structure features a pair of typical tiered towers crowned by matching temples with cross motifs on their sides.

The main structure at Grupo A is a 15m-long palace with intact towers and unusual bas-relief glyphs on the lower panels.

Getting here without a guide is impossible – the very rough dirt road is accessible only via 4WD vehicle, ATV, or (for the fit or foolhardy!) bicycle. Since it’s unsigned, with many twists and turns that can change from year to year, you'll get lost without someone who knows the way. Río Bec Dreams and Ka'an Expeditions can set up tours (reservations required).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Campeche State attractions

1. Hormiguero

6.76 MILES

The buildings of Hormiguero date as far back as AD 50; the city (whose modern name is Spanish for ‘anthill’) flourished during the late Classic period…

2. Xpuhil

8.25 MILES

The ruins of Xpuhil are a striking example of the Río Bec style. The three towers (rather than the usual two) of Estructura I rise above a dozen vaulted…

3. Becán

9.94 MILES

The Maya word for ‘canyon’ or ‘moat’ is becán, and indeed a 2km moat snakes its way around this must-visit Maya site. Seven causeways provide access…

4. Chicanná

10.14 MILES

Aptly named ‘House of the Snake’s Jaws,’ this Maya site is best known for one remarkably well-preserved doorway with a hideous fanged visage. Located 10km…

5. Cueva de los Murciélagos

29.84 MILES

At sundown every evening some two to three million bats swirl up from the depths of a dry cenote, forming a tornado of fur and wings that's a surreal…