El Caracol, a fascinating archaeological zone in Punta Sur

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El Caracol, a fascinating archaeological zone in Punta Sur

Traveling to Cozumel Island is entering a wonderful place in the Mexican southeast that unfolds an unknown world. The experiences of Cozumel go from aquatic activities and gastronomic delights, to cultural discoveries in millenary sites.

Among the attractions that can be found on the island, there is an architectural testimony of the Mayan civilization, whose structure and decoration stands out in the region. Its name is El Caracol, a millenarian archaeological site that captures its visitors for its history and meaning.

Located at the southern end of Cozumel Island, to get to El Caracol, you must take a small dirt road that leads to the Punta Celerain lighthouse. It is located in the ecological reserve of Punta Sur, which is managed by the Cozumel Parks and Museums Foundation.

The Punta Celerain lighthouse in Cozumel, near El Caracol.

The Punta Celerain lighthouse in Cozumel, near El Caracol.

 

What is El Caracol?

It is a set of structures built during the Late Postclassic that includes vestiges of two main temples. The roofs of both temples are collapsed, but very close to them is the building of El Caracol, which served as a miniature temple that was surrounded by larger structures.

It owes its name to the shells that crown the dome of the temple, decorated with four rows of natural shells embedded in the stucco. It is also known as Caracol Tomb, because of its small size and shape that resembles a burial mound. From this place, you can enjoy an exceptional view of the sea of Punta Sur.

El Caracol, in the Punta Sur park in Cozumel. Photo: Saúl Peláez S.

El Caracol, in the Punta Sur park in Cozumel. Photo: Saúl Peláez S.

It is believed that the temple was dedicated to Ixchel, the Mayan goddess, although there is no conclusive proof of this. In addition, it is said in the popular imagination that the blowing of the wind makes the shell whistle.

Because there is no permanent staff on the site, the visit must be requested at least five days in advance at the INAH Center. The visiting hours are from Monday to Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

El Caracol is another jewel than the Riviera Maya offers, the perfect pretext to visit Cozumel and enjoy the hospitality of its inhabitants and the magic hidden in the Island. When will you visit us?

Culture and nature coexist in Cozumel Island.

Culture and nature coexist in Cozumel Island.

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