The Santa Rosa Xtampak archaeological zone is a dream for lovers of archaeological zones, one of the great sweets of the Mayan world for adventurers.


Visiting Santa Rosa Xtampak was an illusion fulfilled, it is one of the jewels of the interior of the state of Campeche. It is one of those places far from the best-known routes through Mayan lands, a very special archaeological area.

Santa Rosa Xtampak is not going to disappoint you, you know it is candy, a dream for lovers of the Mayan world. Campeche preserves pure Mayan jewels, and Santa Rosa Xtampak undoubtedly is.

Personally, I love the state of Campeche. The work of the INAH of Campeche is palpable in each of the archaeological zones of the state, the care and cleanliness is seen. They also make very attractive dissemination on social networks. For me it makes a difference, and the work and dedication of the institution is greatly appreciated.

Believe me, Campeche can surprise you a lot.

santa rosa xtampak

HOW TO GO TO THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA OF SANTA ROSA DE XTAMPAK

The closest town to the Santa Rosa Xtampak archaeological zone is Hopelchén, a town in the interior of Campeche with modest hotels where you can stay. The road that leads to Santa Rosa is not in the best condition, but it is easy to get to. It is not necessary to go in a 4×4, nor is the road unpaved.

how to go santa rosa xtampak
Not the entire road is in these conditions, only the last section
  • FROM HOPELCHEN: leaving towards Mérida from Hopelchén, you immediately see a sign with the detour to Santa Rosa. It is only 40 kilometers, but the journey on the road is long, it takes just over 1 hour by car.
  • FROM CAMPEHE: if you are staying in Campeche it is 126 kilometers and it takes 2 and a half hours more or less.
  • FROM MÉRIDA: from Mérida you have 178 kilometers, a 3-hour drive along the interior highway 261 that I like so much. You pass through Uxmal, Kabah, Chunhuhub on this road.

There is no public transportation to get to Santa Rosa de Xtampak.

Mexico state: Campeche

Santa Rosa Xtampak, the hidden dream in Campeche 1
Open © Google Maps to go to Santa Rosa Xtampak

HISTORY OF SANTA ROSA DE XTAMPAK

Santa Rosa Xtampak is considered the regional capital of the Chenes because it is the largest town in this area thanks to several relevant details that indicate this after studying architectural, pictorial, epigraphic and ceramic elements.

Santa Rosa Xtampak covered 30 square kilometers and its influence is estimated up to 400 square kilometers. The Chenes region covered approximately 2.500 km2.

Chenes is an ancient Mayan architectural style. The ancient Mayan had several architectural styles. The prevailing architectural style in Santa Rosa Xtampak is called Chenes. It is characterized, among other details, by buildings decorated with large masks that partially or totally occupy the main facades.

Santa Rosa de Xtampak was built on a hill. From the toll booth there is a steep ramp to the first structures. As the settlement grew, they made leveling and adaptations to the terrain.

Santa Rosa Xtampak, Campeche
Building with Serpent's Mouth, characteristic façade of the Chenes
Santa Rosa xtampak archaeological zone, Campeche
Climb from the toll booth towards the archaeological zone
Santa Rosa Xtampak, Campeche

As the regional capital of the Chenes, it had relevant political, residential and ceremonial buildings, you will surely enjoy the place a lot. It is known that he received jadeite, obsidian and salt from Guatemala, central Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. His business networks were extensive.

  • HEIGHTY SANTA ROSA XTAMPAK: it was occupied since the beginning of our era, and in the Late Classic period (600 and 900 AD) it reached its peak. The eight stelae recorded so far contain dates between the year 646 and 911 AD. The decline of the place is estimated to have been between 1000 and 1200 AD.
  • WHAT THE NAME OF SANTA ROSA XTAMPAK MEAN: «the name of the archaeological zone combines two words. Santa Rosa was the name of a XNUMXth century hacienda, now disappeared, on whose land were the pre-Hispanic vestiges or xlabpak ("old walls" in Yucatec Mayan). The locative was used throughout the XNUMXth century (when it was known as Xlabpak de Santa Rosa), and in the following century it was modified, being called Santa Rosa to the preserved walls of one of its main buildings." Text © INAH By the way, the probable emblem glyph has recently been found, something that does not happen in many Mayan cities.
  • ARCHITECTURAL STYLE OF SANTA ROSA XTAMPAK: the predominant architectural style is that of the Chenes, although there are also characteristics of the Río Bec architectural style. Influences always exist as we well know, and even more so in large cities with strong commercial relationships.
Mayan periods

EXPLORATION SANTA ROSA DE XTAMPAK

Like so many ancient Mayan cities on the Yucatan Peninsula, the first references of explorers are John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood. His travels through the Mayan world were in the mid-XNUMXth century. Another of the great explorers of the Mayan world, Teobert Maler, arrived at the end of the XNUMXth century. Maler made a more exhaustive exploration than the first.

In the 1930s and 1940s, several researchers at the Carnegie Institution, led by Harry Pollock, studied the remains of Santa Rosa. In the late XNUMXs, Richard Stamps and Evan DeBloois of Brigham Young University in Utah recorded and analyzed the settlement's architecture, pottery, and chultuns.

Santa Rosa xtampak archaeological zone, Campeche
Chultunes are water tanks made by hand since ancient Mayan times.

Each of the explorations gives us different data. In this case Evan DeBloois studied 67 chultunes. The chultunes were water storage systems. By calculating its maximum capacity, it is estimated that there could be an average of 10,000 inhabitants, on the low side.

Other specialists have passed through Santa Rosa Xtampak, the first architectural restoration tasks being in the 90s.

Santa Rosa xtampak archaeological zone, Campeche
Santa Rosa Xtampak, Campeche
Santa Rosa xtampak archaeological zone, Campeche

MY EXPERIENCE IN SANTA ROSA DE XTAMPAK

Santa Rosa Xtampak brings out the best of my smiles. It took me years to go, for one reason or another I did not visit until 2021. At that time I was guiding private groups through the Yucatan Peninsula. One of the trips ended in Campeche, and upon returning home I took the opportunity to take a few days and visit several archaeological sites that I was really looking forward to.

During those days of August 2021 I visited Hochob, Dzibilnocac; Tohcok, Chunhuhub, Xcalumkin, Kanki and the expected Santa Rosa Xtampak. I enjoyed them all very much, Santa Rosa Xtampak and Dzibilnocac are the apples of my eye.

Santa Rosa xtampak archaeological zone, Campeche
In 2001 I visited Santa Rosa de Xtampak alone

I returned to Santa Rosa Xtampak with my brother in 2022, a bottomless curiosity whom I love with all my heart. Whenever he visits us we usually take a little trip together. These days of adventures between brothers are always extraordinary, they are days of “Las SalvaAventuras”, that's what we call them (our first surname is Salvadó).

Santa Rosa Xtampak, the hidden dream in Campeche 2
With my sister from SalvaAventuras

As I tell you, Santa Rosa Xtampak is well removed, you don't arrive by chance. There are several archaeological zones in this area of ​​Campeche that I love, then I recommend some of them. You can spend a few days here exploring, very fun.

Santa Rosa Xtampak is a really cool little adventure. Just the path to get there, where you will hardly meet anyone, already makes it an attractive place. Most likely, you will visit it almost alone, and it feels like a real luxury to be able to walk around and observe an ancient Mayan city as splendid as this one.

It is a great place with very impressive buildings, especially the Palace is a very different structure than usual. That square is to enjoy.

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Palace of Santa Rosa Xtampak
Santa Rosa Xtampak, the hidden dream in Campeche 4
Santa Rosa Palace Square Xtampak

On your walk, don't miss climbing one of the still unreconstructed mounds, from where you have beautiful views. In fact, there is a wooden ladder leaning on a tree that you can climb to have a panoramic view. Personally, I really enjoyed the El Cuartel part.

Enjoy and feel the thousand corners that Santa Rosa de Xtampak gives us, it is an extraordinary walk.

Santa Rosa Xtampak, Campeche
The barracks
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Stairs leading to the top of a ruined temple
Santa Rosa Xtampak, Campeche
The little staircase at the top of the mound
Santa Rosa xtampak archaeological zone, Campeche
Panoramic from the top of the ruined temple, climbing the stairs

HIGHLIGHTS OF SANTA ROSA DE XTAMPAK

The most emblematic building of Santa Rosa Xtampak is the Palace. It is a three-level residential building 44 meters long by 25 meters wide and about 17 meters high. In addition to the external stairs, it has a pair of interior stairs, something unusual in the Mayan world.

The square where it is located is very beautiful. Surely the natural environment and the walk through the Xtampak complex is the highlight. If you are a bird lover you will enjoy it, you can still see the ocellated turkey. There are mammals like the puma and jaguar that have been observed, but we know how difficult it is to find felines in the wild.

I show you different faces of El Palacio.

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Santa Rosa Xtampak, the hidden dream in Campeche 7
Santa Rosa Xtampak, Campeche

SANTA ROSA XTAMPAK ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA MAP

Once you arrive at the Santa Rosa Xtampak toll booth, you will begin the tour by going up a ramp. As we have seen, this city is built taking advantage of a slope. The route is signposted, so I recommend that you follow the signs so you don't miss anything.

Browse the place, obviously always with respect and without damaging anything. You can spend about 2 hours calmly exploring the vestige. I like many corners, it is also a wonderful walk through the mountains.

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Go to the map Santa Rosa Xtampak © INAH

TIPS FOR VISITING SANTA ROSA XTAMPAK

I recommend sleeping in Hopelchén, the closest town. It is not an almost touristy place, so you can live everyday life with the tranquility of non-touristy places. You find simple accommodation. The one I recommend is the Hotel Jaguar, for me the best of all.

If you are looking for more comfort, you should stay the night in Campeche and from the beautiful town, schedule your outings in the area.

Bring mosquito repellent, the months from June to November are the months with the most insects. Since the rainy season is changing now, it is better to always wear it even if it is a dry season.

Bring water for your trip, if you can use your thermos it is better to not use so much plastic. Don't throw trash, you will see that there are several trash cans.

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Last stretch to the entrance of Santa Rosa Xtampak

PRACTICAL INFORMATION SANTA ROSA XTAMPAK

1- Santa Rosa Xtampak archaeological zone schedule

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day


2- Services

There are toilets and parking. Also a small museum on site, it is always nice to see some sculptures.


3-Price Santa Rosa Xtampak archaeological zone

70 pesos per person.

On Sundays, entry is free for Mexicans and foreigners with permanent residence.

FREE ENTRY EVERY DAY FOR:
Mexicans •Over 60 years of age (with official credentials) •Retirees and pensioners (with official institution credentials) •Teachers and students (with official credentials of the Mexican Educational System) •Children up to 12 years of age •Researchers and interns (with INAH permit credential )

Mexicans and foreigners • People with disabilities (with their proper credentials)

The use of video cameras and professional cameras is subject to payment of fees.

Santa Rosa Xtampak toll booth
Santa Rosa Xtampak toll booth
Small Site Museum Santa Rosa Xtampak
Small Site Museum Santa Rosa Xtampak

PLACES NEAR SANTA ROSA XTAMPAK TO VISIT

In this area there are some unmissable gems to visit. Keep in mind that Santa Rosa de Xtampak is an isolated area, and all other archaeological areas are removed. You can find some stretches of road with holes, especially in the rainy season, be careful.

I leave you some recommendations:

  • Dzibilnocac Archaeological Zone It is located 78 kilometers, 2 hours by car. A beautiful archaeological zone, I love this place.
  • Hochob archaeological zone It is located 93 kilometers, 2 hours by car. It preserves one of the most beautiful zoomorphic facades in the Mayan world, the site is small.
  • Tabasqueño archaeological zone is located 74 kilometers, 1 hour 40 minutes. Another place that I love, it is beautiful.
  • Tohcok archaeological zone is located 45 km away, it takes about 1 hour 15 minutes. A small place very close to Hopelchen.
  • San Francisco de Campeche, the beautiful colonial city is located 133 kilometers, 2 hours 30 minutes by car.
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Photo © Google Maps: click on the image to open the map

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Sandra Salvadó Training photographer, traveler by vocation and certified tourism guide by the Government of Mexico. We promote natural wonders and contemporary Mayan culture. Great fan of pre-Hispanic history. Author of the blog and co-founder of The Shortest Path Travel, agency that guides you through alternative paths in Mayan lands. Social and sustainable tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas.
I am at your disposal for whatever you need. Let's talk.

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