One of the places we went to in search of haunted Mayan ruins was Chacchoben, “the place of the red corn.” We didn’t find any ghosts there, nor did our guide share any ghost stories with us (in fact, he thought I was nuts for asking him if he knew of any), but we saw some beautiful scenery and the remnants of a way of life long since abandoned.
It’s not the largest of the Mayan ruins, but it was nonetheless impressive. There were three primary types of structures within: Sacred, Residential, City.
The first ruin we actually laid eyes on was as we were still on the tour bus. Our guide warned us it would be coming into view after we rounded the next bend.
And there it was, an ancient monolith rising out of the jungle. The driver stopped so we could take pictures. (Or try to. We weren’t allowed off the bus so I did the best I could given I had to take it through the window.)
After allowing time for restroom visits and to shop the ruin’s version of a gift shop, our guide started our tour of Chacchoben. He led us down a dirt path that took us to the first ruin, a sacred structure that was likely used as a temple.
I found it interesting that it was solid inside, not hollow. However they used it, they utilized it on the outside only.
The next stop was to another area with a temple (the one we spied from the road on the bus, actually) and another structure that was also likely used for some kind of sacred ceremonies. To view them we had to scale a set of steep stone steps.
The slight hike was worth the view. Towering amidst the jungle flora and fauna was the highest structure within Chacchoben.
There was also a curious little building across the clearing from the tall temple.
If you looked close enough at the back of the structure under the straw awning, you could see red on the wall. Our guide assured us it was a type of paint the former of inhabitants of Chacchoben had used, not blood.
However, you had to watch your footing very carefully in order to get a glimpse of the red-stained walls. The path behind the structure was very narrow, without hand rails, and the drop off was very steep. I actually refused to walk the path and get a closer look at the red walls because it was so crowded and I was afraid I’d be the klutz who took the plunge.
My favorite part was walking through the trees to the next set of structures on the tour, the ruins of the city and the residential palace.
We came to an avenue of ruins. We were told this is where the every day city life was conducted. The ruins in this section comprised both city buildings and residential dwellings.