Hormiguero is located in the state of Campeche midst the large group of ruins in the Rio Bec area.
This incredible archaeological site lies in the thickness of the jungle. Hormiguero is just a few km off of the main highway running south from Xpujil. The area outlines an atmosphere of calm and peace.
Hormiguero is located deep in the jungle of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve.
In addition, being immersed in the vast jungle, moisture abounds allowing small plants to cover much of the structures and passages, providing a stage that will transport you to the splendor of this Mayan city.
Hormiguero is a little-known site that is a delightful pleasure to visit.
The word “hormiguero” means “ant hill” in Spanish.
Hormiguero was a Mayan city that was at its peak in the Late Classic period (650–850).
Hormiguero was reported by Ruppert and Dennison during their Carnegie expedition in 1933.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t until 1979 that the first excavation of the zone was begun.
Hormiguero has several beautifully carved structures with particularly notable details, such as Structure IV which has a façade with a large mask in rounded towers with unfinished staircases and, like a door, a monstrous mouth with jaws open, symbolizing a portal between the outside world and the underworld.
Only a few of its 84 known structures have been excavated. The site is rich in architectural ornamentation on the buildings. The site is located on flat land with slight elevations towards the south and consists of three main groups of structures.
Structure II is the most completely excavated building at the site and one of the most wildly theatrical of all Rio Bec buildings. It is the most important temple on the site due to its size and the elaborate carvings on the facade.
The facade consists of three main sections divided by two towers with rounded corners, typical of the Rio Bec region.
It is a rectangular platform, with two soaring, false-staircase towers on either side of a colossal Chenes-style monster portal. Inside there are several large chambers.
Unlike some structures, the towers are not false in that underneath a corridor exists that connects the platform of the central facade with the side ones. The central face is a large mask of Itzamna, the door a giant mouth.
The steps of the temple are carved like teeth, with the entryway, a giant tongue.
Nearby is the Central Group, a complex of large temples, most of which are not excavated. Of those that are, Structure V is the most impressive. It is a towering pyramid with a well-preserved Chenes-style temple at the top.
Structure V is located in the Central Group and is a building much smaller than Structure II, but the mask is much better preserved. The mask is an enormous representation of the monster of the Earth, in which the open jaws form the entrance to the building.
On each corner of the building are multiple rows of well-preserved Chaac masks, God of rain.
- From Escarcega: just 2:40 hours by bus, taxi, or by car.
- From Campeche: is around 5 hours by bus or 3:30-4:00 hours by car or taxi.
By car from Chetumal or Escarcega
- Take Highway 186 from Chetumal or Escarcega to Xpuhil.
- The ruins of Hormiguero are located 22 km south of the ruins of Xpuhil.
The easiest way to visit Hormiguero and its surroundings is to reserve a one-day guided tour from Chetumal.
At the site, there are some nice trails through the jungle for either hiking or mountain biking. Hiking in the jungle is fun. There’s a monkey cave along the trail.
- Monday through Sunday from 8:00 to 17:00.
- Free of charge
- Wear light clothing. Hormiguero is in the jungle, so can be hot and muggy.
- In the months of June, July, and August, it is a good idea to use insect repellent and bring rain gear.
- Please plan to arrive at the site one hour before closing in order to have enough time for your visit.
- Suggested visiting time is 2 hours.
It is possible to combine Hormiguero with a visit to Xpuhil, Rio Bec, Becan, and Balamku as all 5 sites can be easily visited in one day.
- Parking, sale of publications, service unit, toilets.
- There’s also a camping area there.