Located in the south eastern corner of the Yucatan Peninsula, close to both Chetumal and the Belize border, Kohunlich is a small, little known Mayan site that attracts very few visitors.
Uniquely among sites in the region, the Spanish name for Kohunlich doesn’t derive from the original Mayan name (which isn’t known) but from the English, Cohune Ridge.
Although we don’t know its original Mayan name, we do know that the site backs to around 200BC although most of the city was built in the Early Classic period, between approximately 250 & 600AD. Although this part of southern Yucatan and nearby Peten in northern Guatemala are now covered in dense jungle, in the Early Classic period it was home to a number of vast cities, such as Calakmul and Tikal, and it is thought that Kohunlich served as a regional centre located along the primary trade routes.
Covering around 20 acres, the majority of Kohunlich remains unexcavated and covered in jungle. However, where the site has been excavated there are numerous fine structures and, with its grassy, parkland setting, this is one of the Yucatan’s most beautiful Mayan sites. Add to that the near total absence of visitors (none apart from us on our visit) and you will begin to understand why Kohunlich is one of our top tips for ‘beyond the ordinary’ travel in the Yucatan.
Slightly incongruous, considering its remote location, is the presence of the ultra-modern and highly luxurious Explorean Kohunlich hotel (see picture below), an easy walk from the ruins. In an attempt to entice visitors to hang around, the Explorean Kohunlich operates on an All Inclusive basis, including a number of local sporting activities, although most clients still tend to simply overnight as part of a loop of the Yucatan.