1687017921 This Mayan ruin south of Cancun will open to the | phillipspacc

This Mayan ruin south of Cancun will open to the public for the first time


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Mayan ruins are a big part of the reason why Mexico is so popular as a tourist destination, particularly among history buffs.

Belonging to the broader Mayan World, it is home to more than 200 archaeological siteswhere you can still see some of the most impressive structures of ancient civilization, including the world famous step pyramids and ball courts.

Step pyramid in Ichkabal, Mexican Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico

While open-air museums like Chichén Itzá and the Tulum ruins are well known to the general public, one of Mexico’s priceless Mayan treasures remained closed for decades while excavations and conservation efforts were underway, although that will soon change.

A restricted-access Mayan ruin opens to first-time visitors, and if you’re planning a 2024 Cancun trip, you could be among the first to explore it:

The legendary Ichkabal opens to the public for the first time in history

Step pyramid in Ichkabal, Mexican Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico

After a decade since it was first announced as Mexico’s next protected archaeological site, the unexplored Mayan city of Ichkabal will welcome its first foreign visitors.

As revealed by Diego Prieto, general director of the country’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the remodeling works of the ruins will soon be completed, which will allow them to receive tourists already in the summer of 2024.

In his own words, ‘the instruction of the Federation is that the opening of the archaeological zone of Ichkabal is in August 2024, so with the ejidatarios to reach an agreement‘.

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Bacalar, Lake Bacalar, Quintana Roo, Mexico

The ruins are just a two-and-a-half hour drive south of Cancun, toward the trendy resort town of Bacalar, and its opening coincides with the launch of the Mayan Train later this year.

Beginning in December 2023, Cancun-based travelers will be able to hop on an affordable scenic train to Bacalar, the closest major city to the ruins in question, and the gateway to seven-color Lake Bacalar. a popular alternative to the Tulum coast this summer.

From the planned Mayan Train station in Bacalar, the trip to Ichkabal will take less than 25 minutes.

Why is Ichkabal important?

Aerial view of the Ichkabal pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico

Ichkabal was once one of the most important urban centers of pre-Columbian America.

Established by the Mayans as early as 400 B.C. C., was among an elite group of cities on the Mayan trade route, due to its privileged location, very close to the Central American isthmus, offering easy connections to all the major Mayan centers beyond. the Yucatan Peninsula.

Although it was a secondary power and not as relevant a cultural center as Chichén Itzá, currently one of the best-preserved ancient cities in Mexico, or Tikal, in northern Guatemala, Ichkabal was able to flourish as a key commercial center in pre-classical times. .

Chichen Itza, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Like Chichén Itzá, its more famous sister city-state, it consisted of various temples and sacrificial places built as a means to bring the Maya closer to their deities, wide avenues lined with stone houses and public buildings, and ball courts and other entertainment areas.

It was inhabited until the beginning of the 16th century, when the indigenous people were expelled or exterminated after the Spanish conquest and the city fell into disrepair.

As the ‘Hispanization’ of Mexico took place and the native Mexicans eventually assimilated into the Hispanic culture, Ichkabal’s existence was almost forgotten. as post-colonial settlement construction progressed and nature slowly reclaimed it.

mayan ruins

It was not until the 20th century that a renewed interest in Ichkabal was noted, particularly after the boom in tourism in the Mexican Caribbean, which led historians and archaeologists to intensify their efforts in restore the lost city to its former glory.

What are the rules for visiting Ichkabal?

At this point, we still don’t know how much it will cost to visit the ruins or if there are any additional rules that visitors need to familiarize themselves with in order not to be on the wrong side of the law.

mayan ruins

Recently, several tourists have been penalized or fined for scaling Mayan structures at Chichén Itzá and other protected ancient reserves in Mexico.

Some of the pyramids in the Aztec city of Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, are now also Forbidden for climbers.

Regarding Ichkabal’s state of preservation and whether its temples are accessible and safe to enter, we will only know more once the site is formally open and the visiting rules are available for consultation.

While Ichkabal isn’t open, you can still explore countless other visitor-accessible Mayan ruins just a short drive from Cancun. Learn more about them here.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com