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Xcaret ( Polé ) is an archaeological site of the Maya in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo on the east side of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean coast.


The ruins of Xcaret located about 5 km south of Playa del Carmen right on the coast highway Carretera federal 180 connecting Cancun to the north with its capital Chetumal.

Xcaret is part of the Municipio Solidaridad. Part of the historic site is now located on the grounds of the same private leisure park.

The Mayan settlement was formerly called Polé, probably from p'ol - derived trade. It is called almost exclusively Xcaret. The name Xcaret means close inlet and refers to a small stream, which flows here.

Xcaret was very likely the connection port for directly opposite the island of Cozumel with its nationally known worship of the goddess Ix Chel. The place took on the network of the Caribbean coast trade along with El Meco and El Rey in the north and Xel Há, Tancah / Tulum and Muyil in the south an important position.


First traces of settlement can be found from the Early Classic Maya ( 250-600 AD). Most of the building dates from the Middle to Late Postclassic (1200-1500 AD).

From about 1200 AD, Xcaret developed in the waning influence of the centers of power in the country into a prosperous port and trading point. The city was part of the coastal trade network that the Caribbean coast retreated with a large number of locations along the region and transported economically. This shows the construction of numerous residential and religious buildings as well as a wall, probably to protect coastal buildings from attacks from the sea.

Probably Xcaret stood as a port and local coastal center with major domestic cities, in particular the neighboring Cobá in close relationship. The extent to which it served as a trading port for Coba, is unclear.

After the arrival of the Spaniards on this coast, the place depopulated gradually, but remained in contrast to other coastal ports throughout to modern times inhabited.

Polé is mentioned in one of the books of Chilam Balam in connection with the mythical journey of the Itza.


The core area of the settlement consists of a series of complexes of buildings along the coastline. They are named alphabetically continuously as group A to group K.

Group A is slightly increased in the south of the bay outside the area surrounded by a wall. It consists of about ten structures. The buildings represent the typical east coast style.

Group B, only a few meters to the west, consists of five structures, mostly low platforms. They form two architectural units.

Group C is about 100 m northeast of the bay and includes four structures and bases for small residential buildings in the East Coast style.

Group D, 80 m northwest of group C, increased somewhat to the surrounding wall. From here the coast was overlook good. The main structure has a semi-circular base with a well-preserved temple, also in the East Coast style.

In Group E, with the main complex, the two tallest buildings of Xaret, No. III and IV during the excavations relics of the early classic Maya ( 250-600 AD) were discovered as a use ceremonial area indicate.

Group F, 250 m northeast of Group E on a large platform, consists of three buildings in the East Coast style. One of these is a temple with two ledges that each show three suggestive of its meaning elements.

Group G, 20 m south of Group F and about 150 meters from the coast, is a chapel from the 16th century. It is with the chapels in Ecab and Tancah one of the first evidence of Spanish presence in Mexico. The carried out in 1994 by María José Uribe Con excavations were found in the atrium 135 graves of Spaniards, Mayans and mestizos. The archaeologists found in the buried fragments of cotton fabric.

Group H, 500 m northeast of the bay, includes a single temple and a low platform with a smaller temple; they lie in a cenote.

Group K lying on the other side. It consists of two solitary temples.

The wall finally goes from group A to group E between the buildings and the beach. Unlike in Tulum, where the buildings are on the land side enclosed by a wall, is here most probably like Xel Há in a wall of protection against attacks from the sea. Some researchers see this as a feature of uncertain life circumstances that existed at that time in the Caribbean coast region.