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 kilometers off of the main highway running south from Xpujil. The area outlines an atmosphere of calm and peace. You get pretty deep into 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 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.
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 which 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 when the first excavation of the zone were begun.
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 group 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 of 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 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 faced is a large mask of Itzamna, the door a giant mouth. The steps of temple are carved like teeth, with the entry way, 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.
How to get there
From Escarcega: just 2:40 hours in 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.
Ruins of Hormiguero are located 22 km south of ruins of Xpuhil.
The most easy way to visit Hormiguero and surroundings is reserve a one day guided tour from Chetumal.
There are a lot of local tour agency in Chetumal.
Entrance & Tourist tips
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: 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.
Tourist Assistance + Emergency Numbers
You can dial 078 from any phone, where you can find free information about tourist attractions, airports, travel agencies, car rental companies, embassies and consulates, fairs and exhibitions, hotels, hospitals, financial services, migratory and other issues.
Or dial the toll-free (in Mexico) number 01-800-006-8839.
You can also request information to the email firstname.lastname@example.org
MORE EMERGENCY NUMBERS:
General Information: 040 (not free)
National Emergency Service: 911
Radio Patrols: 066
Police (Emergency): 060
Civil Protection: +52(55)5683-2222
Anonymous Complaint: 089
Setravi (Transport Mobility): +52(55)5209-9913
Road Emergency: 074
Cruz Roja: 065 o +52(55)5557-5757
Firefighters: 068 o +52(55)5768-3700