With strong ties to some of the Peninsula’s most powerful city-states, Kulubá is believed to have ruled northeastern Yucatán with an iron fist.
The origins of Kulubá have proven difficult to establish with any real degree of precision, though its architecture suggests the city saw its first major construction boom sometime in the 3rd or 4th century C.E. That being said, archaeological evidence of settlements of Maya peoples in the area surrounding the site goes back at least another thousand years.
Given its location and control over smaller settlements along the coast, it is likely that Kulubá played an important role in controlling and taxing goods coming from coastal cities in Quintana Roo and Central America, both by land and sea.
One of these coastal outposts was called Chikinchel but is now known as El Cuyo, which is a tiny fishing village and a growing getaway hotspot.
Kulubá itself is quite large and the restored sections of the ancient city are divided into three areas: A, B, and C.
The first of these areas and the most visited by far is made up of a large Puuc-style palace, complete with several rooms and a corbel arched ceiling.
Adjacent to the Palace is another large structure, again with several rooms containing several chambers and niches, though on a smaller scale.
Directly across from the palace it is impossible to miss what is likely a section of facade removed out of concern for its conservation. This elaborately adorned section of the facade includes a couple of ornate rain god masks as well as a pronounced cornice and mosaics.
Kulubá’s Section B is just to the right of the main entrance to the site and is made up of a highly ornate structure that has obviously received a good deal of restoration over the past few years.
The exterior of this temple is even more impressive than its interior and features several exquisitely preserved elements.
The facade of this structure also still possesses impressive amounts of its original paint, especially in tight spots where the architecture itself has protected it from the elements.
To the south of groups A and B it is possible to explore a third architectural complex, though if it was not pointed out to you it is extremely unlikely that you would find it on your own.
This extremely lush jungle path is full of songbirds and spider monkeys, so make sure to make your way slowly and quietly to take it all in.
When arriving at Group C is difficult to not be impressed. The size of the structures, combined with their layout and unique features is nothing short of astonishing, even for the most seasoned traveler.
From atop the large temple which dominates Group C, it becomes obvious that even more structures are hiding in the dense jungle below.
One of the most interesting structures in the jungle within Group C is a circular platform reminiscent of temples dedicated to Ehécatl-Quetzalcóatl found in central Mexico.
If you go
If you were to simply glance at a map, it would appear that getting to Kulubá from Tizimín would be quite quick and easy — and you would be mistaken.
Though the first section of the road is not bad at all, once you reach the detour to Kulubá in the direction of Tixcancal, things start to get hairy, fast.
Unless you have great faith in your vehicle you are probably better off ditching your car and making the trek through the last few kilometers of the jungle on foot.
Kulubá is not officially open to the public, but visits are allowed. When you arrive at the main gate look for a gentleman who goes by the name of “Willy” to open the gate. Depending on how busy he is tending to cattle, Willy may offer you a tour, and if he does, make sure to take him up on the offer as you are likely to miss much of what makes this site so amazing without his knowledge.
When visiting Kulubá it is a good idea to wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt, as the area is full of cattle and the ticks which inevitably follow. I have heard stories of these annoying insects making the site almost impossible to enjoy, but during my most recent visit just a few days ago this was certainly not the case.