The Maya Train will open up several new ancient Mayan ruins for travelers to explore upon its completion in late December this year. One such historical site is the Oxtankah ruins, one of the most significant well-preserved Mayan sites in the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo. Until now, the ruin’s secluded location made it hard for travelers to explore this once-thriving Mayan cultural landscape, but the Maya Train will help Oxtankah to explode in popularity.
In a press conference organized this week, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the director for the National Insitute for Anthropology and History, Diego Prieto Hernández, told reporters that authorities have begun works to prepare the ruins for the arrival of mass tourism. The Oxtankah ruins are a high-priority location in preparation for the launching of the Maya Train, and significant investments will be made in sprucing up the area.
Together with over 26 Maya ruins found in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, the ancient Oxtankah ruins are set to receive funding from the National Archaeological Site Improvement Program. According to officials, the publicly-run initiative aims to restore and preserve ancient ruins for tourists and locals to enjoy.
Stretching for over 1500 kilometers, the Maya Train is the Mexican government’s flagship railway project that aims to connect some of the main destinations across the Mexican Caribbean. One of the project’s main goals is to help travelers discover new hidden gems across the vast region, which spans several states, including Quintana Roo.
One of the most interesting new locations the Maya Train will help make more accessible is Oxtankah, an ancient Mayan ruin located in Chetumal. Just 10 minutes from Quintana Roo’s capital’s bustling downtown area, Oxtankah is a must-see for history lovers in the area.
History Of The Oxtankah Ruins
Dating back to the I century, the Oxtankah ruins are among the most impressive in Quintana Roo due to their historical legacy. Oxtankah’s seaside location proved strategically valuable, allowing it to become one of the largest trading hubs between the I and Vth century. According to a historical legend, a Spanish explorer sought refuge in Oxtanhkah in the XVI century and quickly integrated into the local community. Later on, it is said he helped fend off Spanish conquistadores.
Oxtankah is located around 10 kilometers north of Chetumal, the state capital of the Quintana Roo. Taking a taxi or Uber is the most convenient way to reach the site, and there are currently no public transport options. There is a small $3 entrance fee, which grants access to the main ground as well as the site’s museum.
Travelers can find over 30 well-preserved structures at the Oxtankah ruins. Most of the site’s most significant structures are found around two plazas, where temples, pyramids, and palaces await visitors. Oxtankah was later occupied during the Spanish colonial area, as a result of which more modern architecture may also be found.
The location’s on-site museum, as well as professional guiding service, will ensure that travelers get all the needed information. Although the location currently lacks stores and restaurants, Oxtankah’s growing popularity will likely spur new commercial development in the area.
The Maya Train
Construction of the massive Maya Train railway project is currently underway in the Mexican Caribbean. The new flagship infrastructure project will connect some of the main destinations in the region and add a new public transport option for travelers. Aside from large urban areas like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, the Maya Train will make more remote regions of the Mexican Caribbean accessible for travelers.
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