Top choice in Mahahual

Chacchoben means 'Place of Red Corn' in Maya and like so many ruins, its origin and use remain a mystery. It has several impressive structures, including two pyramid-shaped temples. It is a popular stop today because it is the only major ruin within a few hours' reach of Mahahual, where cruise ships dock, so the vast majority of visitors come from there for a day trip among the ruins. Do not confuse it with the eponymous town nearby.

Come at peak time and you'll find the place crowded with bus tours. If there aren't any ships in port, you may have this good-sized ruin all to yourself. The site consists of three major structures, none of which you are allowed to climb, but which you can walk entirely around. The largest sits on a raised base and if you're lucky there'll be spider monkeys aplenty hanging out in the trees. There are also a host of other animals and birds to see. A taxi from Mahahual costs M$2500; colectivos to the Hwy 307 intersection runs M$15, then about M$60 to reach Mahahual.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mahahual attractions

1. Fort

24.57 MILES

The fortress above the lagoon was built in 1733 to protect Spanish colonists from pirate attacks and rebellions by local indigenous people. It also served…