The Maya archaeological site of Chacmultún (chac = red / mul = mound / tun = stone) is one of the last sites along the well-known Puuc Route, featuring architectural details and constructions reminiscent of the type found at Uxmal, Kabah, and some of the other sites in the area. Its name comes from the abundant red limestone used in its construction; the color of the stone becomes even more evident when it is humid or wet. Note that the name was given to the site after being discovered and restored; there is no real way of knowing what the site’s original name was. It is also worth noting that according to a website that pops up when researching Chacmultún, the site was not re-discovered until 1970! And by an Austrian no less, by the name of Toebert Maler. This is interesting since said Austrian died in 1907. But I digress.
Chacmultún is a 10 – 15 minute drive from Tekax and can be made on a half-day trip out of the town. If you want to know anything about the site at all, you should bring along a guide; Julio Sosa, who runs the Kaalmankal park, is the man to contact, hire, and bring along. He is a certified guide and knows his stuff. He is working on his English so knowing a bit of Spanish helps immensely. You should also bring a cooler with water and refreshments on ice, because there is nothing at the site itself; no bathroom nor running water of any kind. There is of course the requisite government ticket booth, and you will pay a fee to enter the site.
The site is comprised of three main areas that are visitable, all perched on higher rocky ground surrounding a large, red-earth field that shows evidence of corn having been planted there from Maya times to present day. The most spectacular of the structures is called X’ethpool, a large structure or set of structures set upon the highest point of the site and which affords one an absolutely magnificent view of the surrounding area. The breeze at the top is a welcome relief after the rather warm hike across that red earth field and up the side of a small hill.
There is still evidence of murals and paintings on some of the walls in the structures in the first part of the site, behind the INAH ticket booth. These are now permanently closed off; this apparently to preserve them.
Chacmultún is also the name of the village located just before the Maya site. There is a red dirt road from the village to the next village, Howitz, and this road passes directly through structures adjacent to the ball court at Chacmultún.
This site is an excellent option to round out your activities in the Tekax area, where you can combine your desire for more Maya history with adventure tourism – caves, rappel, and zip line activities – and the fascinating colonial history of the city and area around it.
Editorial by Ralf Hollmann
Photography by Ralf Hollmann and Oscar Góngora
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