Becán Archaeological Zone
West of Chicanná on Highway 186 is the turnoff to Becán (8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, US$3). The largest of the Río Bec sites (save Calakmul, of course), Becán is a fascinating site, especially if you enjoy climbing and clambering around.
The area around Becán was settled as early as 600 B.C., but did not rise to greatness until more than 1,000 years later, in part, because it dwelled under the ever-present shadow of Calakmul. When Calakmul went into decline at the turn of the 8th century, Becán quickly emerged as one of the most important commercial and political centers of the Río Bec region. The sheer size of its pyramids and other structures suggest it commanded a labor force of many thousands.
The name Becán means “Ravine formed by water,” no doubt a reference to the huge dry moat that forms a half-moon around the site. Measuring an impressive 15 meters (50 feet) wide and 4 meters (13 feet) deep, the moat was most likely used for defense, and is one of very few such structures found in Mesoamerica.
Bécan is located five kilometers (3.1 miles) west of Chicanná, and seven kilometers (4 miles) west of Xpujil. The turnoff is well marked, and an access road of several hundred meters brings you to the entrance area.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition