Taste of the Mayan world

If you are interested in enceinte civilizations you should definitely visit Yucatan and Chiapas regions in Mexico.

There are four significant sights in that area:  Chechen Itza, Tulum, Coba and Palenque.

Visiting them will give you quite a good picture of how the Mayan civilization

Functioned, what was the life in a Mayan city like, what were their main achievements, their traditions and key mistakes that lead to their disappearance?

 

The Ruins of Tulum are not far from Tulum’s beach and situated on tall cliffs along the seaside along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is fun to rent a bike in Tulum and cycle to see the Pyramids.  You can have a self-guided walk around. The sight is not very big, so give it some couple of hours. It was one of the last cities built by Mayas between 13 and 15 centuries. From the architectural point of view it has 3 most famous buildings: the Temple of the Frescoes that was used as an observatory, the Temple of the Descending God and Castillo. The visit to the Ruins can be combines with the visit to famous

Ruins of Tulum
Ruins of Tulum

Cenotes/ underwater cave systems that are located in Tulum area. The entrance fee is MXN 64 per person. The best time to go

is early morning at 8.30 in order to avoid the crowds and the heat of the sun.

 

From Tulum it is about 44 km to the Ruins of Coba, about a 45 minutes’ drive. There are also public busses that go there. Entry fee is MXN 64 per person. This archaeological site is located in the jungle, so it is a bit different experience from Tulum’s ruins.

It is a big complex of ruins, of which only a small portion was cleared up from the jungle and restored. The main attraction is the Nohuch Mui pyramid, 42 meters, the tallest Mayan structure on the Yucatan. Besides that there are few temples, falleries and astronomic observations. It is the only Pyramid in Mexico that is still permitted to be climbed. All other pyramids have been closed for climbing either for the conservation or safety purposes.

 

Chechen Itza used to be one of the main pilgrimage sites for over a 1000 years and it still remains the Mexico’s most visited attraction, a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is a day trip from Cancun or Merida, but there are many things you can do around it, so it is nice to stay for 2-3 days. The entrance is 145 MXN per person.

There are couple of Cenotes on the territory of the Mayan city that were used for the sacred ceremonies. There is a lot of discovered buildings on this site, however the main attractions are: The Pyramid of Kukulcan (El Castillo), The Temple of the Warriors with its famous figure of Chac Mool, that was used for sacrifice; Great Ballcourt for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame; Temple of the Jaguars with a figure of a stone jaguar (this figure is also a common souvenir from there); Cenote of Sacrifice, El Caracol and many other discovered and restored buildings. To have a more unique experience, visit Chechen Itza

on March 21st or September 21st to see the Equinox, when the shade creates a body of a serpent on the stairs of the Pyramide.

Alternatively, come here on the June 22nd for the summer solstice, when you can observe how the Northern side of the Temple of Kukulcan is illuminated by the rising sun, while the Southern and Western sizes remain in the shadow, so the temple is perfectly divided in two halves.

 

The easiest way to reach Palenque is to fly to its airport, but it is also possible to drive or take a bus there from San Christobal de las Casas (5 hours). The ruins are 6 km away from the city and you can get a minibus for 20 pesos. It is quite a big site, so

It is nice to spend there at least a day. Only the central part of it has been excavated, most of the territory remains covered by jungle. The main attractions are: The Templo de as Inscripciones – a burial monument and El Palacio – the ruler’s residence. There are couple of places with the high staircases that you can climb to admire a view on the whole cleared up landscape.

Hiking to the ruins you will pass by beautiful waterfalls and natural pools. The entrance is 27 pesos and 54 pesos for the entrance to the ruins. Do not miss a nice archaeological museum nearby the ruins.

 

Your next destinations to continue the discovery of the Mayan civilizations will be Guatemala and Belize.

 

 

If you want to read up more about the Mayans visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_civilization

 

 

 

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