Kohunlich: A Little-Known Archeological Site

At Kohunlich, discover the Temple of the Masks—gigantic faces representing Kinich Ahau, the Mayan god of the sun, music, and poetry.


Explore the most iconic archeological site in the vicinity of Chetumal, revered for its ritual and ceremonial significance. 

Situated 43 miles from Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo, Kohunlich is a Mayan city erected at the dawn of the 6th century AD, later abandoned in the 12th or 13th century.

The actual name of this archeological site remains unknown. However, “Kohunlich” originates from the English term “cohune ridge,” signifying “a ridge of corozo palms,” which were discovered covering some structures at the site. It’s believed that this name derived from the English word, a name bestowed upon a lumber camp by Belizean workers in 1912.

The Acropolis 

This monumental structure features vaulted interiors standing over 26 feet tall and boasts false staircases. 

The oldest platform resides in the Ya’axná area, estimated to have been built around 200 BC. Between 500 and 600 AD, the Templo de los Mascarones (Temple of the Masks) emerged—a stone building with central staircases. Adorning its sides are stelae adorned with large ornamental faces retaining red pigment, measuring nearly six feet in height, and gazing toward the sunrise. 

Political and religious leaders inhabited the site. By 1200 AD, the area became residential, forming neighborhoods and family groups. Surrounding the Temple of the Masks are four buildings serving civil and religious purposes.

How to Get There

Heading west from Chetumal, take federal highway 186 (Chetumal-Escárcega) and, at km 60 in the town of Francisco Villa, turn left. After approximately 5.5 miles, you’ll reach the archeological site.

Planning a trip to Quintana Roo? Explore the wonders awaiting you in this marvelous destination.


Kohunlich Archaeological Zone, Quintana Roo, México

See map