Day Trips from Xcalak – Oxtankah Ruins
After cheating a bit on this blog calling Calakmul a “Day-trip”, this is truly a day-trip from Xcalak. If you are in Chetumal and have some extra time, Oxtankah is a nice ruin close to town in a park-like setting. The ruin itself was probably founded in the Pre-classic around 600 BC and was an important ceremonial center for the settlements along the coast of Chetumal Bay including the island of Tamalcab. It was populated all the way through the terminal Classic era until about 1100 AD. By the time the Spanish arrived, it had been abandoned for over 400 years. During its height in the early Classic it was a center for sea borne trade with canals linking to the bay.
The name Oxtankah was given to this site by the archeologist who found it in the 1930s. It means the “Place surrounded by Ramones Trees”. The original name is lost to history. The site includes a couple of plazas with small pyramids and several burial mounds. Ironically the most iconic building is the abandoned Spanish church that was built in the 1500’s.
So getting there is very easy from Chetumal. If you are in town, just take Avenida Heroes north. At the big traffic circle on Insurgentes, keep going north another 15 KM. The site is well marked. The site is in the jungle off the coast, so the trees keep the temperature down. Chetumal can get hot in the summer, so it is a nice break from the heat. The first thing you see is the Spanish church with it’s iconic archway still intact.
The Plaza of the Bees is surrounded by Peten styled, pyramids and structures.
Next is the Plaza of the Columns which has a couple of burial sites.They actually put plastic skeletons in the crypts so you could see how they were situated. There are also some intact stucco bas reliefs as well.
In Calderitas, there are a number of very nice restaurants right on the bay where you can have fresh seafood. Look for El Delphin, Ichpa’atun, or Las Tortugas..