Archaelogical sites and Mayan culture in Xcaret
Xcaret which means in Maya language “little inlet”, used to be an ancient port that functioned as a very important trade route. Xcaret port city was initially called by the Mayan civilization as Ppole.
Xcaret rose to the height of its power in the late Post Classic Period (1400-1517 AD) of the Mayan culture. Archaeologists tell us that Xcaret was also a major ceremonial center, where Maya from all over the Yucatan peninsula would go to purify both body and soul in the baths located in the city's sacred wells before sailing for Cozumel Island, a sanctuary for the Moon goddess, Ixchel.
Ppole was strategically situated in one of the main maritime routes of the Maya which extended from the Yucatan Peninsula coastline south Belize and Honduras, and featured temples and monumental structures which can be admired today at Xcaret’s archaeological sites. The inlet was a natural safe harbor for large canoes sailed by brave oarsmen who transported over 40 passengers and heavy loads. Xcaret was also a very important site where feathers, gold, jade, honey and cotton cloth were traded.
Ppole was also the first place where the Itzaes landed to invade the rest of the Mayan world, finally settling at Chichen Itza in 918 AD. Some of the ancient Mayan vestiges of Xcaret feature 500 residential structures and over 60 temples which are scattered throughout the surrounding jungle, which remain as living testimonies in stone of Ppole’s past glory. Learn more about Mayan culture at Xcaret’s archaeological sites.