The Chunhuhub archaeological zone is one of the treasures of the state of Campeche. In the heart of the Puuc architectural style area we find this beauty.

The state of Campeche is the least touristized in the Yucatan peninsula. This does not mean that it is less attractive than Yucatán or Quintana Roo, not at all. There is simply less tourism, so those of you who like to explore more remote areas, Campeche is ideal for it.

At the level of archaeological zones, it has authentic jewels, it is a state that I enjoy very much. If you are passionate about ancient history and the Mayan civilization, it is impossible not to be enthused by Campeche.

Chunhuhub is located between small mountain ranges and savannahs of kankab (reddish earth). This touch of red earth enhances the beauty of the place in an extraordinary way.

We are going to discover the beautiful archaeological zone of Chunhuhub in the red earth, I am convinced that you will like this place.

Chunhuhub Archaeological Zone, Campeche


The Chunhuhub archaeological zone is located halfway inland between Mérida and Campeche. The closest archaeological zone is Kabah, very close to Uxmal. If you are going to visit the Puuc area, do not forget this little gem, it will steal your heart.

The town of Santa Elena in Yucatan is a perfect center for my liking to explore the puuc area by car. You have several lodging options, personally I really like the Pickled Onion.

  • FROM MÉRIDA: you must take the Uman-Holpechén road, number 261. It is 133 kilometers and it takes almost 2 hours by car.
  • FROM CAMPECHE: from the city of Campeche it takes a little over 2 hours to travel the 135 kilometers to the Chunhuhub archaeological zone.

It is very difficult to get to Chunhuhub by public transport.

Chunhuhub, Red Earth Archaeological Zone 1
Photo © Google Maps: click on the image to open the map


The Chunhuhub archaeological site is located in the puuc area, an area named for two reasons:

1- Puuc In the Yucatec Mayan language it means hills or mountain ranges: this is an area of ​​small mountain ranges, where the highest height is around 300 meters above sea level.

2- Puuc It is also the name of the Mayan architectural style that predominates in this region. It is the most delicate style of all those of the ancient Maya, very elaborate and precious.

  • CHUNHUHUB HEIGHT: around 500 AD Chunhuhub increased its population and developed until 1000 AD, practically the entire Classic Period. Chunhuhub's heyday is between 800 and 1000 AD
  • WHAT DOES THE NAME OF CHUNHUHUB MEAN: The name of this archaeological zone means "trunk of the huhub trees" (Pinus caribaea). Peninsular locatives often allude to elements of nature. 
  • CHUNHUHUB ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: the most relevant buildings are in the Puuc style, like the Palace. We see the characteristics of simple or tied columns, fretwork and very well carved ashlars.
Chunhuhub, Red Earth Archaeological Zone 2
Details of the puuc
Chunhuhub Archaeological Zone, Campeche


Two great myths within the exploration were those who first documented the archaeological zone of Chunhuhub. It was John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood who published their experiences in a first book called  Travel incidents in Yucatan (1841-1843).

It was not until 1887 that Teobert Maler, another legendary Austrian explorer, photographed and recorded the architecture of Chunhuhub. Maler was part of Emperor Maximilian's army: once he finished he stayed in Yucatecan lands to explore and took endless photographs.

In the 1930s, Harry Pollock also documented the archaeological zone and recovered several sculptures that had been used to build some houses in the town of Xculoc, located just 5 kilometers away.

Using old stones and sculptures to build new houses is something common that has always been done. Likewise, the Spanish conquerors used carved stones used by the ancient Maya to build churches and new cities.

The first restoration work did not begin until the 80s by Luis Millet Cámara. And it is not until 2007 that the perimeter of the 45 hectares that make up Chunhuhub is protected.

Chunhuhub, Red Earth Archaeological Zone 3
The Palace PHOTO INAH © Teobert Maler 1887. Click on the image to go to the source
chunhuhub ruins


I was very surprised by the Chunhuhub archaeological zone, it is a very beautiful and complete place to visit. The fact that we can enjoy a large entire building like the so-called Structure 2 (a 3-room building) and the Palace (13 bedrooms where they estimate that families belonging to the elite lived) is cool. But much more awaits you.

Only the fact that it is such a little-visited place will allow you to explore the enclosure between the calm of the sound of the birds and the wind moving the branches. I adore the magic that solitude transmits in the archaeological zones, nature is enjoyed a lot.

I always appreciate a site museum where I can see original structures and pieces. At the entrance to the venue there is a small room with very nice pieces. As we have seen, many are from a nearby archaeological zone that is closed to the public.

You will see several holes in the ground: they are chultunes. Wells made by the ancient Maya to collect fresh water. Normally they obtained their water from cenotes, but in this area there are none due to the higher level above the sea. There are many dry caves here.

The red earth of the place makes it very photogenic. For me it is already part of the Puuc tour in the area. I also like the road to get here: you will pass by an old hacienda.

Chunhuhub Archaeological Zone, Campeche
Mayan sculpture Chubhuhub
Piece found in the archaeological site of Xcochkax
Chunhuhub Archaeological Zone, Campeche
All the stones on the ground are from buildings that are not reconstructed
chultun chunhuhub
Chunhuhub archaeological zone, Campeche
Walking with my sister in Chunhuhub


In addition to the structure of the Palace, which is amazing, I loved the peace of the enclosure and that red earth that contrasts with the blue of the sky and the green of the trees.

Enjoy the eyes that look at you from one of the trunks of one of the ceiba trees that are in the central square of the enclosure. The security guard of the place told me that it was made by the former guard, who has already died. There remains his footprint in the form of a watchful face.



Walking the track is really easy. A single path without shade leads us to the main buildings, which are the Palace and the one known as Structure 2.

But it is a place to entertain yourself quietly. I already mentioned my highlights and experience so that you can enrich the visit. It is probable that the INAH worker who waits for you at the entrance will enter and tour part of the place with you.

Think that it is a rarely visited area and sometimes these gifts happen. Take advantage of talking with the person, they always offer good information thanks to their experience.

Chunhuhub, Red Earth Archaeological Zone 4
Map ©INAH Chunhuhub


  • WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The appeal of being a little-visited archaeological area is something that attracts many of us.
  • WHAT TO BRING: dress lightly as the heat throughout the year is powerful, and a cap to protect your head. The months of April to August are the strongest of heat. Do not forget your insect repellent, water and something to eat because it is an uninhabited area.
  • VISIT TIME: Calculate more or less 1 hour to calmly tour the place
Chunhuhub, Red Earth Archaeological Zone 5
Driveway, has hardly any shadows


I leave you as always the updated information of the place

1- Schedule Chunhuhub archaeological zone

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the year. Arrive one hour before the luagr closes.

2- Services

There are restrooms and a small museum on site. Some of the pieces were found in the archaeological site of Xcochkax, near Chunhuhub. Since this place is not open to the public, the most important pieces are on display at Chunhuhub.

3- Chunhuhub archaeological zone price

It has no cost

Chunhuhub Archaeological Zone, Campeche
Chunhuhub Archaeological Zone, Campeche


It is possible to combine the visit to Chunhuhub with other archaeological sites in the area. This area is so beautiful and entertaining, I hope you enjoy it a lot. I still leave you a map to help you in your exploration.

  • Kabah Archaeological Zone It is located only 28 kilometers, 30 minutes by car.
  • Uxmal archaeological zone 50 kilometers from the great jewel of the puuc, 50 minutes by car.
  • Xcalumkin archaeological zone is located 58 kilometers away, 1 hour by car. It is another little treasure of Campeche.
Chunhuhub, Red Earth Archaeological Zone 6
Photo © Google Maps: click on the image to open the map of the Puuc area

Good way,

Travel hacks
the shortest way participate in affiliate program this means that we get a small commission if you buy through these links accessing discounts; in no case does it suppose an additional cost for you and in this way you help us to maintain the blog.

If you prefer, you tell us your idea of ​​the trip and together we organize it.

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.

error: Content is protected !!