Chacchoben: A Family Getaway

Chacchoben: Mayan Ruins, Food and Culture

If you’re planning a visit to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, you owe it to yourself and your family to escape the tourist zones for a day and explore the complex and fascinating Mayan culture that dominated this area for more than 3,000 years, until around 700 A.D.

While there are Mayan ruins, such as Tulum, nearer to the resort areas, one of the most complete and interesting set of ruins is located at Chacchoben, about 100 miles south of Tulum and about an hour’s drive from the Costa Maya.

Learning About Mayan Culture at Chacchoben

During your tour you’ll learn a great deal about the cuisine and lifestyle of the Mayans, but what an experience to actually taste it during lunch.

Mayan cuisine consisted of a variety of plants and vegetables, most notably peppers and corn (maize.) The Mayans are also the first civilization believed to have made use of the cacao bean for chocolate and mole sauces. They also used honey to brew a drink called, “xocolatl,” which could also be drunk by nobles. Game meats, such as deer, guinea pig, monkey, tapir and turtle, were added to the diets when they were available from hunters. A variety of this simple diet is still eaten by area residents today.

Mayan art was colorful, highly-detailed and varied. Many examples of Mayan pottery have been found at Chacchoben and other Mayan historic sites. In addition, modern residents of the area continue the Mayan tradition by crafting colorful canvas and fabric art as well as clothing and masks. Themes are simple and often reflect day-to-day life in the region.

Periodically, you can view local crafts people and artists working on art projects at the craft show in Chacchoben.

While lying on the beach at Cancun or along the Mayan coast can be relaxing, the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico offers much, much more than just fun and sun. Be sure to take a day while you are in the area to explore Mexico’s Mayan heritage for a trip that’s both entertaining and educational.