Yucatan Peninsula: Exploring Ancient Mayan Sites
A trip to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is perfect for any kind of traveler – families, solo travelers, adventurers, spring breakers, beach dwellers, ocean divers, history buffs, nature lovers, foodies, and the list goes on. We went to the Yucatan to primarily visit a couple of the Mayan archaeological sites, relax at the beach, and dive into Mexican cuisine.
Contrary to popular belief, the Mayans have not ”disappeared” and it was evident on our trip – their culture, identity, language, and traditions, and people are still alive.
|Mayan village in the Yucatan.|
The largest, most visited Mayan site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World has the Kukulcán Pyramid precisely constructed to measure the Spring and Fall equinox.
Here the sacred cenote, natural sink hole, served as a pilgrimage site for the Mayans where offering were tossed into the pool.
Uxmal is a beautifully preserved and restored site built between 600-1100. If you go during the evening there is a dramatic story and light-show uncovering the myths and legends of the Mayans at Uxmal.
|42 mt /138 ft high|
Visiting Cobá was like uncovering a recently excavated site since there little restoration has been done and it sits under an invasive canopy of trees in the peten. Established between 500-900 AD, the city had about 50,000 inhabitants and is home to the the Nohuch Mul Pyramid, the tallest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan.
|Small ball court – there were ball courts in all of the archaeological sites.|
Tulum is like a walk on the beach. The ruins themselves aren’t as impressive as the surrounding ancient cities, but the ocean view and beaches that Tulum steals the show. Like the Mayan Riviera, it is believed that Tulum was a ”resort” site for Mayan religious echelon. Can you blame them for wanting to hit up those beautiful clear beaches and warm water?
|Some cenotes are very touristy where there will be crowds of people.|
Cenotes are sinkholes and caves part of a natural underground river system in the Yucatan with a curious fresh water top layer and seawater below it. It is estimated that there are 30,000 cenotes in the Yucatan and about 140km of cave passages. Cenotes were considered sacred by the Mayans and presented offerings at there. Some are open to the public for a dip in these refreshing, clear pools.
|A Mayan priest in one of the sacred cenotes.|
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