The name Chicanná (House of the Serpent Mouth) (8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, US$2.75) is a reference to the site’s most impressive feature: huge stone jaws framing the doorway of the main palace. The ornate design, commonly called a “monster mouth,” is a classic feature of Chenes-style architecture, and Chicanná’s is one of the best around. But the site also contains elements of Río Bec architecture, another example of the mixing of styles common in this region.
Despite the ominous name, archaeologists believe Chicanná was a retreat used by the elite of Becán , which is just two kilometers (1.2 miles) west of here and connected by an ancient roadway.
From the entrance, you’ll first pass Structure XX, a small but exquisitely designed temple-residence. Its main doorway is framed by a monster mouth, and gives way to a foyer-type room and, farther in, a twin staircase leading to the upper level. The upper facade also has a monster mouth doorway, and to either side, columns of masks representing Chac, the hook-nosed god of rain.
The elegance of this structure and others, plus details like the small rosettes on the 1st floor (with little human faces in the middle!) are a primary reason Chicanná is thought to have been a royal retreat.
Continuing along the path, you’ll pass a turnoff to Structure XI, the oldest in the group, dating to A.D. 300, before reaching Chicanná’s central complex. The first building you reach is Structure I, whose two tall, steeply pitched towers are typical of Río Bec style.
Opposite is Structure II, with its spectacular monster mouth facade framing the doorway. The two spiral features above the door are the eyes, similar spirals to each side are the ears, and the teeth are quite obvious, above the door and protruding up from the patio like a snake with a mean underbite.
Left of the main entrance, a smaller door is topped with a stone decoration in the form of a na, the traditional thatched hut used by ancient Maya, and still common today. The exact meaning of the image here (and seen at Uxmal , Labná  and other ruins) is unclear, though a thatched hut—with a three-stone hearth inside it—represents the beginning of the universe in some Maya creation myths.
Completing this central plaza are Structures III and IV, both multiroom buildings, while Structure VI stands a short distance southeast of the plaza. Look for a footpath between Structures II and IV.
If you visit Chicanná in the afternoon, you may spot families of keel-billed toucans and the similar-looking collared aracari. In the trees, keep an eye out for rodents and small mammals, including the gray fox.
Chicanná is located 8.8 kilometers (5 miles) west of Xpujil  on Highway 186. The site is just 500 meters (one-third mile) from the highway turnoff.