Xcambó means “Place of the Maiden” or “Place of the Waning Moon”. This site is located just 2 km south from San Bruno, on the Yucatan’s north coast, in the Municipality of Dzemul.
X’tampu is what the signs say that guide you to the Mayan site of Xcambó. The “x” is pronounced “sh” (shtam-poo and shcam-bow). For many years, nearby villagers used the stones for their fences, homes, and churches. Today, this very large site is actually under reconstruction and renovation.
Xcambó was a salt and salted fish distribution center it its day, supplying Chichén Itza, Uxmal and Izamal with this protein source.
Located close to the coast and very near the road from Progreso to Telchac Puerto, it is actually just a stone’s throw and short bike ride from the Hotel Reef Club and Las Tunas in Telchac Puerto. As a matter of fact, you can see the hotel and coastline from the top of the main pyramid. A fine example of the use of the ruin’s stones for the other constructions is the Catholic church that is built right into the archaeological site. This makes for a unique combination of the two eras. May 19 and 20 are the Patron Saint days that are celebrated at this ruin.
Experts consider Xcambó as one of the largest pre-Hispanic coastal settlements in the peninsula. The village’s large structures were built on a limestone outcropping surrounded by dense mangrove forests.
This place was one of the most important ports of the Early Classic period and its inhabitants controlled the production and traffic of salt in the area.
Religious practices have been important in Xcambó since the settlement’s foundation.
Proof of this is the fact that villagers from Dzemul still go on pilgrimage to a small chapel built on one of the Maya structures, where they venerate the Virgin Mary in her titles of Our Lady of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception.
This chapel built with stones taken from the Maya temples in Xcambó is also a good example of the sincretism that prevails all over Mexico, in which prehispanic and Catholic religious beliefs blend into one single bicultural contemporary reality.
How to get there?
Xcambó is actually just a couple of miles away from the Hotel Reef Club Yucatan, one of the few all inclusive resorts on the Yucatecan coast.
If you’re not afraid of a little bike ride, you can rent a bycicle there and
pedal all the way down to the ruins.
You also can visit the site from Mérida, taking a bus to Motul and then taxi to Xcambó site.
It will take from 1:30 to 2:00 and will cost $5-$7.
In fact, if you climb to the top of the main pyramid, right in the middle of the archaeological site, you are able to see the Reef Club and the coastline.
The patron days for this site are May 19-20.
Admission: $67 pesos ($4 USD) per person.