Archaeological site in Yucatan, Mexico

Kabah is a Maya archaeological site in Yucatán, Mexico. The site is one of several stylistically similar sites on an official tourist itinerary known as the Ruta Puuc. Kabah is most famous for a temple called Codz Poop that features hundreds of masks of the rain god, Chaac.

Warrior statue at Kabah

Understand edit

History edit

The oldest relics from Kabah date from about 700 BC, though most of the structures in the archaeological site were built during the classic era (around 600-900 AD).

Although there is very little solid evidence about Kabah and its rulers it is generally assumed that Kabah was a vassal of Uxmal and did not rule itself.

Several explorations of the site have occurred since 1880, with the most recent being INAH explorations that began in 2020 and are still underway. This exploration has worked to restore several structures and has discovered a great palace in an area that was assumed to have been residential dwellings.

Climate edit

Get in edit

Map of Kabah

By car edit

From Mérida, drive south on federal highway MEX-261 for 100 km. The road bi-sects the Kabah archaeological site. A sign directs you to the parking area.

By bus edit

Autobuses SUR has frequent buses to Uxmal. From there, tour the Uxmal site then take a 20-minute taxi ride to the Kabah site.

Tour operators in Mérida usually combine an Uxmal tour with a visit to Kabah.

Fees and permits edit

The site is open daily 08:00 to 17:00. Admission is M$80 (Jan 2024).

  • 1 Kabah Archaeological Zone, MEX-261.

Get around edit

Walk. Sturdy shoes are recommended.

See edit

Codz Poop at Kabah
  • Codz Poop - the most stunning star attraction at Kabah is the Codz Poop (sometimes referred to as Palace of the Masks) which is a temple covered in more than 250 carved masks of the rain god, Chaac, with an exaggerated bulbous nose. (Some anthropologists believe the noses were illuminated at night.) Chaac was the most important god in the Puuc region, where the lack of cenotes means the city-states had to depend on rain to slake their thirst and sustain their crops.
  • Palace - the palace is mostly ruined, but contained 34 rooms and a large number of decorative columns whose decorative bands have mostly worn away through time.
  • Gateway Arch - Kabah was connected to Uxmal by a sacbe (Mayan stone highway) which entered the city through a large ceremonial arched gateway. (Further sacbeob (plural of sacbe) extended south of Kabah to other Maya cities.)
  • Grupo Noroeste - a recently opened area that features the Edificio de las Manos Rojas (Building of the red hands) and the Edificio de las Grecias (Building of the Greeks)
  • Edificio de las Columnas - further east from the Palace

Buy edit

A small gift shop sells Mayan handcrafts.

Do edit

Explore the ruins.

Eat edit

There is no restaurant on-site at Kabah, however inexpensive loncherias abound in the nearby village of Santa Elena (about 5 km north of the archaeological zone).

  • 1 Lonchería Doña Eli II, C. 17 entre 28 y 30, Santa Elena, +52 997 121 2310. Daily 07:00 - 21:00. Doña Eli serves up mega empanadas with a smile. Calling them "mega" is an understatement. Just one will fill you up. Choose your favorite filling, jamon, cochinita, pollo, queso etc. M$40 (cheap!).

Drink edit

Sleep edit

Hotels and hostels can be found in the nearby towns of Santa Elena, Ticul, Muna, and Oxkutzcab. Many visitors come to Kabah on day trips from Mérida.

Stay safe edit

Bring a hat, sunblock, and mosquito repellant.

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