Tabasqueño is one of the not very well-known archaeological zones of the state of Campeche, another jewel that preserves this beautiful land.


I tried to go to the archaeological zone of Tabasqueño for the first time in 2021, after the pandemic. Everything was closed for a long time, as we all remember. It was on September 1, 2021 that several archaeological zones in Campeche reopened. So I took the opportunity to go out and visit Santa Rosa Xtampak, Hochob, Dzibilnocac and others nearby for the first time.

I took a little trip alone to enjoy these treasures. At the end of the article I link the map of the area so you can enjoy these wonders. Tabasqueño, I couldn't visit it because it was closed due to a landslide caused by the heavy rains from Storm Cristóbal, which made the pass unusable for a time.

In this year 2023 I was traveling Campeche again with my brother, and this time I was able to visit it. We went with all the enthusiasm, and we were fascinated by Tabasqueño.

My brother and I love photographing bugs, we are big fans of the citizen science platform iNaturalist, where we share photos of fauna and flora. In the archaeological zone of Tabasqueño we found a little-seen treasure, a type of Velvet Ant that is one of the insects that causes the most painful bite in humans.

Tabasqueño archaeological zone, a pleasant surprise in Campeche 1
Pseudomethoca cleonica, member of Velvet Ants
Tabasqueño archaeological zone, a pleasant surprise in Campeche 2
My brother talking about animals in the area with the INAH custodian of Tabasquño

HOW TO GO TO THE TABASQUEÑO ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA

Tabasqueño is located 7 kilometers from the town of Dzibalchén, in the municipality of Hopelchén.

  • FROM HOPELCHEN: to the Tabasqueño archaeological zone, go south, take the paved road towards Dzibalchén. A sign indicates the exit towards Tabasqueño at kilometer 34 (six kilometers before reaching Dzibalchén). In that kilometer you take a gap towards the west and continuing for about two kilometers you reach the site.
  • FROM CAMPEHE: if you stay in the city of Campeche you must travel 94 kilometers to Hopelchén, 1 hour and a half by car. From Hopelchen you go to Tabasqueño, it is 34 kilometers and takes about 40 minutes.

There is no public transportation to get to Tabasqueño.

State of Mexico: Campeche

Tabasqueño archaeological zone, a pleasant surprise in Campeche 3
Open Google maps © to go to Tabasqueño

HISTORY OF THE TABASQUEÑO ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA

Tabasqueño is of the Chenes architectural style, like the other 50 Mayan sites of this style that have been located in this area. Santa Rosa Xtampak It is considered due to its characteristics as the capital of the Chenes region. This style is dated between 650 and 850 AD (Late Classic period). The Chenes, Puuc and Río Bec architectural styles predominate here.

The term "chenes" refers to wells to extract water that the ancient Maya made, and gave names to several communities such as Hopelchén, Dzibalchén, Becanchén, Bolonchén, Kamchén...

In Tabasqueño, after a steep slope, you reach a square of about 60 x 40 meters, where a temple stands out that rises where we see a zoomorphic façade. It is known as Palace-Temple or Structure 1.

The façade represents the figure of Itzamná, deity of the Mayan world, who is the Creator of humans: a good god, lord of the skies, day and night. The Mayans were polytheists, Itzamná is one of the highest Mayan deities.

Tabasqueño archaeological zone, Campeche

Zoomorphic facades as beautiful as the one in Tabasqueño can be seen in Hochob, Chicanna o Anthill to name the ones that come to mind. Pure Mayan art, it is wonderful to be able to enjoy this environment.

Tabasqueño is nourished by fresh water through several sources: two water sources located to the east and west of the settlement; two caves within the heart of the site, where they collected the rainwater that fell through its walls into the cave, and a series of chultunes or underground cisterns for rainwater.

Tabasqueño archaeological zone, a pleasant surprise in Campeche 4
Chultún, water cistern
  • APOGEE TABASCAN: It had its peak between 750 and 900 AD. C. and its decline occurred around 1000 and 1250, during the Early Postclassic
  • WHAT DOES THE NAME TABASQUEÑO MEAN?: Its name comes from the end of the 20th century, since a short distance north of the site, lived a person from the State of Tabasco. That motivated the explorer Teobert Maler, the first to document the Mayan vestiges, to name the archaeological zone that way.
  • ARCHITECTONIC STYLE TABASCAN: It was one of the capitals of the Chenes, with the architectural style of the Chenes with the architectural touch of the Bec River.
Tabasqueño archaeological zone, a pleasant surprise in Campeche 5

TABASQUEÑO ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA EXPLORATION

The archaeological zone of Tabasqueño was first reported in 1887 by the explorer Teobert Maler (1842-1917). He is considered one of the great explorers of the XNUMXth century. No other person discovered and documented so many Mayan ruins. His expeditions in the Mayan world were the longest in the jungle.

To fully understand the importance of Teobert's work, one must know that currently his photographs are still important and reference evidence for studies of architecture and inscriptions of the Mayan civilization. He IAI (Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut) has approximately 2.700 photographs, 7 manuscripts, 15 notebooks, 145 sketches or plans, nearly 230 sheets of correspondence and 370 loose sheets of notes from the work of Teobert Maler.

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Image by Teobert Maler 1889 in Structure 1

Continuing with the history of exploration of Tabasqueño and its reconstructions, we continue with Eduard Seler who described the main building, while Alberto Ruz mentioned some details of the architecture that was still standing, in 1945.

Other names that have contributed prominently and are recognized by the INAH in their writings are Ricardo Robina, Harry Pollock, David Potter, Paul Gendrop, Abel Morales and Betty Faus, Renée Zapata or George F. Andrews

The first conservation work was carried out in 1979 by Agustín Peña and in 1995 by Antonio Benavides. In 2003, under the supervision of Ramón Carrasco, Structure 1 was rebuilt, which had been badly damaged after the 1995 hurricanes Opal and Roxana.

Iván Sprajc and Pedro Francisco Sánchez Nava reevaluated and studied various aspects of pre-Hispanic astronomy at the site in 2013.

SOURCE: INAH website

Tabasqueño archaeological zone, Campeche

MY EXPERIENCE IN TABASQUEÑO

From Tabasque, I have only visited it once in my life, and I went with my brother. We both love it, and we understand each other very well, so the success of the fun is assured. He is surely the person with whom I have visited the most Mayan archaeological sites, after Fausto.

We were both very surprised by Tabasqueño. Because it is a small place, it has many details and curiosities in the premises. One of these curiosities is the tower. The tower-shaped structure measures approximately 1.5 per side, and has a height of 4.60 meters. It faces north and is located on an elevated point, accessed by a ramp.

It is the only tower that I remember with these characteristics in the Mayan world, which is why it surprised us.

Tabasqueño archaeological zone, Campeche

Tabasqueño is far from the most traveled routes, so it is a place that you will surely enjoy in private. The natural environment is remarkable. It gave us the opportunity to photograph different animals and plant species in the area. Walks through the archaeological areas are always pleasant, especially alone.

Tabasqueño is an excellent place that will satisfy those who dare to come from these more distant directions.

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Tabasqueño archaeological zone, Campeche

TABASQUEÑO HIGHLIGHTS

I would highlight the impressive zoomorphic façade of the Palace-Temple or Structure 1, it is something unique to enjoy the Mayan world. When you arrive at the plaza after the climb, the zoomorphic façade quickly catches your attention, it is something very beautiful. The Palace has 10 rooms, 8 on the first level and 2 on the second level.

When Teobert Maler first reported the site of Tabasqueño, he commented on the Palace-Temple or Structure 1, that both the figurehead and the cresting were painted intense red. Having knowledge of the place helps us project what they were like in their splendor, it gives us a more complete look.

Tabasco
Tabasqueño archaeological zone, Campeche

I absolutely appreciate natural environments, and in this case a place as little visited as Tabasqueño makes it even more attractive.

I also like to highlight the good work of the INAH of Campeche in caring for the environment. I give the example that there are more trash cans within a little-visited area like Tabasqueño than in Chichén Itzá. You notice a different touch in Campeche.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION TO VISIT TABASQUEÑO

1- Tabasqueño archaeological zone schedule

Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 17 p.m., every day of the year.


2-Services

The guards are in the booth and where you check in. There are also bathrooms, in this case they are dry bathrooms.

3-Tabasqueño archaeological zone price

Free access


Tabasqueño archaeological zone, Campeche
Tabasqueño archaeological zone, Campeche
Tabasqueno archaeological zone

TIPS FOR VISITING TABASQUEÑO

The closest place to stay overnight is Hopelchén, where you can find simple accommodation. The Jaguar Hotel is the best option that I know of to date. The other option is to stay in Campeche, much more remote.

Bring mosquito repellent, especially in the rainy season where all the insects are born. Well, always carry repellent, because now you never know with so much change in weather.

You can enter with water, if you bring your own water bottle to refill better.

Tabasqueño archaeological zone, Campeche

TABASQUEÑO ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA MAP

After climbing the long elevation, you reach the esplanade where we see the Palace-Temple with its striking zoomorphic façade. There are arrows indicating the directions of the route, so you don't miss anything.

As always, I advise you to explore a lot, always respecting these places, the heritage and heritage of our brief history.

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© INAH Tabasco map

PLACES NEAR TABASQUEÑO TO VISIT

In this area there are some unmissable gems to visit. 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 34 kilometers, 40 minutes by car. A beautiful archaeological zone, I love this place, don't miss it.
  • Hochob archaeological zone It is located 25 kilometers, 30 minutes by car. It preserves another of the most beautiful zoomorphic facades in the Mayan world, the site is small.
  • Santa Rosa Xtampak Archaeological Zone It is located 74 kilometers, 1 hour 40 minutes. Another place that I love, it is beautiful.
  • Tohcok archaeological zone is located 40 km away, it takes about 45 minutes. A small place very close to Hopelchen.
  • San Francisco de Campeche, the beautiful colonial city is located 130 kilometers, 2 hours and a little more 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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