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Kabah opens its gates to tourists after almost 2 years

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Architectural complex in Kabah known as the Palace. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

After 19 months of being closed to the public over concerns of COVID-19 infections, the archaeological site of Kabah is now open to visitors. 

Including Kabah, Yucatán has now reopened eight of its 17 archaeological sites. The ruins still closed to the public include Acanceh, Aké, Chacmultún, Grutas de Balamcanché, Loltún, Labná, Oxkintok, Xlapak, and Sayil.

Critics argue that safety and the preservation of cultural heritage are coming in second to profits, as only the most lucrative archaeological sites for the government’s coffers have been reopened.

INAH argues that for the time being it’s not possible to safely reopen archaeological sites that lack infrastructure such as bathrooms and reception areas that can double as sanitation stations.  

But during the height of the lockdown, even Mexico’s most visited archaeological site, Chichén Itzá has been forced to close down due to outbreaks of COVID-19 on several occasions. 

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This has also been the case on several occasions at Tulum, a much smaller and densely packed site. 

Kabah is an hour-and-a-half from Mérida and 20 minutes from Uxmal. It is one of the largest archaeological sites in the Puuc region of western Yucatán. 

Kabah, which means “powerful hand,” is one of the city-states directly referenced in the Maya text known as the Chilam Balam of Chumayel. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

On approach, the right-hand side of the highway is heavily landscaped and contains the majority of the site’s most notable features. Much of the section to the left is covered with vegetation and is great for exploring, spotting birds, and making out ancient temples buried beneath mounds of rubble and vegetation.

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