A pathway from the entrance to Becán leads through the trees, across the moat, and to the backside of Structure IV, which has a profusion of decorative elements and openings. As tempting as it will be to clamber up it, there is much better access from the other side, at the end of your visit.
Instead, continue through Becán’s unique corbelled alley—a long covered passageway that functioned as a public street. It contains small niches that likely held images of deities, and where passersby might have paused to make small offerings.
Emerging onto the Central Plaza, the massive pyramids, Structures VIII and IX, loom to your right in the northeast corner of the plaza. Both can be climbed and afford spectacular views of the countryside. Structure IX, at 30 meters (98 feet) high, is the tallest structure at Becán; at the top is a platform with a huge mask on one end, and a shield-image on the other.
At the west end of the Central Plaza is Structure X. Though not as imposing as the two pyramids, many visitors find this one the site’s most fascinating. Walking around the back, or west, side, you’ll see that the structure contains several large central chambers (12 in all) and innumerable smaller rooms, spread over several levels and connected by way of winding staircases and passageways; there’s even a hidden 2nd-floor patio on the south end.
While many Maya structures gain complexity as new rooms and levels are added, Structure X’s elegant design suggests it was planned from the start. The rooms are clearly residences, and some archaeologists speculate Structure X was a dormitory, of sorts, possibly for Becán’s religious leaders. The Ball Court lies adjacent to the southern end of Structure X.
Be sure not to miss the beautiful and extremely well-preserved stucco mask on Structure X’s southern exterior wall. Only recently uncovered, the mask may depict the sun god Kinichna. It has much of its original red paint and is protected by a pane of glass.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition