Chetumal is the capital city of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, where Riviera Maya and Cancun are nestled. Although is a small-size city, Chetumal has a charming atmosphere. Try an activity such as riding a bicycle or walking by its boulevard, while feeling the sea breeze, and you listen to the birds singing.
In the outskirts, there are several archaeological sites, besides natural attractions. The oldest side of the city is famous for its Colonial English-style properties, which were built with precious wood and fluted roofs.
Chetumal is also one of the keystone places to understand the birth of Mexico since it is known as the mestizo cradle. According to historic facts, Gonzalo Guerrero, who was a Spanish soldier that castaway in the Quintana Roo shores, lived amid the Maya and got married to Zazil-Há, a princess. Their descendants are considered the first mestizos in the Americas.
Chetumal features some museums, a Boardwalk to walk by at sunset while enjoying the bay view, and several archaeological sites and natural attractions nearby. Many visitors also cross to Belize’s free zone to visit the shops and casinos.
This museum must be attended by those who want to learn more about this pre-Columbian civilization. The Museum of Maya Culture let the visitors approach an enigmatic ethnic group with the help of technology, plus exhibit unique pieces.
Bacalar Lagoon is less than 25 mi (40 km) from Chetumal. It is also known as the 7 Colors Lagoon due to the majestic blue and green tones as a result of the mixture of fresh and saltwater, as is connected to the Chetumal Bay. There are some cenotes along the lagoon, plus many places to practice water sports such as kayak or snorkel, besides taking fantastic photographs.
San Felipe Fort, better known as Bacalar Fort, was built in 1727 as a defense from the pirate attacks that used to storm the region for over a century. This Colonial building houses the Pirates Museum and must be in your places to visit while being in Bacalar, which is close to Chetumal.
Chetumal surroundings offer many attractions for tourists and locals. There are several natural places nearby, and once you discover them, you will always treasure them.
Mahahual is a piece of paradise located a couple of hours from Chetumal. This fishermen’s village is the new star of the cruise ship destinations due to its astounding beauty and pristine beaches, where tourists can rest and eat deliciously.
Banco Chinchorro is one of the top jewels in the Mexican Caribbean. It is a natural reserve in front of the Chetumal coastline and is home for many coral reefs of astounding beauty where thousands of marine specimens live. There are several sunken ships in the area and is without a doubt, one of the dream destinations for scuba diving.
Calderitas is a fishermen's village nearby Chetumal, 5 mi (8 km) north. At the banks of Chetumal Bay, at Calderitas, you can enjoy the catch of the day at one of their restaurants, swim for a while, or have a boat ride. Also, the Oxtankah archaeological site is very close.
In the Chetumal surroundings, you can find some fascinating archaeological sites. The south of Quintana Roo has not been extensively explored, and there are still under research. The most visited places are:
About 44 mi (70 mi) away from Chetumal, there is one of the most investigated archaeological sites in the south Quintana Roo area: Kohunlich. The Masks Temple is the most famous structure due to the enormous stucco faces almost 6.5 ft (2 m) tall. Other places to visit are the Steles Plaza and the Ya’axná Group, which is the earliest remains at Kohunlich.
Dzibanché is considered the most relevant Maya remains on the Southside of Quintana Roo. It is located about a one-hour drive from Chetumal and features the Lintels Temple with several details that remind to Teotihuacan in Central Mexico.
Close to the coastal town of Calderitas is the Oxtankah archaeological zone, the most important in the Chetumal Bay area. There are several elements here that were relevant in the study of the Maya culture, such as the water collection wells and chultunes. The city was wide, and there is evidence that its limits spread towards the coastline, and even some settlements were at the Tamalcab Island.
Kinichná archaeological site features several temples and an acropolis. There have been founded some facades made out with stucco that allowed scientists to know more about this civilization, besides some offering objects created with jade. The remains are next to the Dzibanché site, and you can visit both in the same day.
This site is still in exploration and is located about 44 mi (70 km) from Chetumal. Only five buildings have been fully explored that rest over the Great Base. In 1994, the archaeology works started at Chacchoben, and it is believed that the city was as big as 173 acres (70 hectares). There is a lot yet to be discovered!
Come to Chetumal and enjoy the calm, easygoing life of the south side of Quintana Roo. Relax for a while and discover the Maya archaeological sites in the surroundings, plus visiting the natural attractions that you will love.