WHY SHOULD I VISIT IT?
The site of El Tigre (the tiger) has been known since the Spanish conquest as "Itzamkanac"; a very important fluvial port and a natural route between Petén and the Campeche coast. Hernán Cortés in 1525 knew about the commercial importance of the port, and decided to visit it on his way to Hibueras, Honduras. He made paths and built great wooden bridges to continue his journey. Villagutierre, a chronicler, in the year of 1700 wrote "some of these bridges still remain and they are known as Cortés’ bridges".
By the acknowledement of Río Candelaria and testimonies from neighbours of the site, it is possible to think about the location of the bridge used by Cortés to abandon the city after the execution of Cuauhtémoc, and it would be an important evidence to identify El Tigre with Itzamkanac, regional capital of Acalán province; this latest theory might be sustained with the existence of more than a hundred sites in the area, although it is still necessary to continue exploring in order to confirm or discard the theory. The human occupation in El Tigre goes from Mid Pre-Classic period (BC 600-300), to 1557 AD.
HOW TO GET THERE?
It is located in the Southwest of the State of Campeche in Candelaria municipality, 40 kilometers ahead of Candelaria Village. You can access to the site departing from the village along the Candelaria River by boat, or by the highway Escárcega-Villahermosa, up to Nuevo Coahuila village, turning on the detour to Monclova on kilometer 13.5 which leads directly to the site.
TOURING THE SITE
El Tigre is located at the left margin of Río Candelaria, on a natural hill in an area of aproximately 5 square kilometers. The Ceremonial Center has four big structures and six small ones, two plazas, 13 altars and three smooth stellas. It is particular to notice the lack of a well defined architectural style, so for the four main structures are different, one from each other, although the central area was perfectly planned: Structure I closes the Plaza on the South side, Structure II closes it on the East, Structure III and IV on the West forming the second Plaza. Structure I consists of a great platform of 149 meters long, 132 meters broad and 9 meters high, and above it there are four small structues called platforms, on the rear rises a 23 meter high pyramid with a central staircase. Platform 1A consists of a temple with rounded walls and a single access on the East which was possibly to honor Kukulcán. Platform 1B has a central staircase and a structure dated on the Superior Pre-Classic (B.C. 300-250 A.D). Platform 1C has a structure decorated with anthropomorphic masks made out with molded stucco. This last structure has a staircase on the West side and it is still being explored.
Struture II is formed by a 10 meters high platform and its access is through a stairway on which a smooth stella remains. The access to the higher level of the structure is through a second stairway . On this level there are four bodies made with straight walls. On one side there is a stucco mask.
Structure III is 206 meters long and 50 meters broad. It consists on 5 pytamidal bases in different sizes which shared staircases and entrances on the East and West having the possibility to access from the two plazas. Structure IV has a 10 meters high square shaped platform of aproximately 400 meters long, and on two of its corners, northwest and southwest there are some other minor mounds. On its top 7 structures remain in different shapes and sizes.
On the North and South of the Ceremonial Center dozens of mounds form districts, and its structures are arranged in plazas and minor patios. Crossing through the stuctures which border the site, there is a group of ten edifices in a space which once could have been a quarry. There is another structure which was possibly used as a pier during the rain season and as sacbé or road during the dry one, as the main access to the commercial zone. Along the edge of the river several platforms are distributed over cropping outs with an elevation of 20 meters, and huge edifices which once had an important commercial role. There are smaller structures on the West side which probably controlled the access to the site. Some other important architectonic complexes in El Tigre zone are El Auxaual, El Pachimalays, El Champel, El Paxua and El Paxbolonchacha, which are still being carved.
Schedule Monday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 17:00 pm
Visiting time required: 3 hours
Visiting time required departing from Campeche City: 9 hours
Transportation: Bus or car
Recomendation: When visiting El Tigre, you can find delicious dishes made with fish. It is also recommended to rent a launch and have a ride through the river.
SOFT DRINKS: El Tigre and Candelaria villages
RESTAURANTS: Candelaria village
LODGING: Candelaria village
GAS STATION: Candelaria village
TELEPHONE: El Tigre and Candelaria villages
MEDICAL SERVICES: Candelaria village
In Spring and Summer time, wear light clothes because the temperature is over 30 C During June, July and August, use mosquito repellent.
MORE ABOUT EL TIGRE
Piña Chan, Román. Cultura y Ciudades Mayas de Campeche. México: Gobierno del Estado de Campeche, 1985. 186-188.
Vargas Pacheco, Ernesto y Teramoto Ornelas Kimiyo. "Las Ruinas Arqueológicas de El Tigre. Campeche. ¿Itzmakanac?". Sociedad Española de Estudios Mayas No. 10. Madrid: SEEM, 1996. 33-45.
Logros y Avances del Proyecto Arqueológico de El Tigre. Conferencia inédita. Primer Encuentro de Investigadores de los Centros INAH del Sureste. Campeche, 1998.