Chichen Itza is the most famous Mayan city in the Yucatan Peninsula. It's also in a lot better shape than the other ruins, by a pretty wide margin. I was hoping to be able to climb one of the pyramids as I had done at the ruins in Coba, but unfortunately they no longer allow this. Apparently it was allowed a few years ago but I imagine that there were so many tourists that they had to take measures to ensure the conservation of the ruins.
Chichen Itza is one of the seven wonders of the world and, as you'd expect, if full of both tourists and local vendors hawking souvenirs. My favorite part was the iconic pyramid ("El Castillo" to the locals) which is 24 meters high and has 356 steps. It was built with astronomical symbolism and the Mayans performed sacrifices in the Sacred Cenote nearby. Also, you can't miss the Temple of the Warriors, the Thousand Columns, and the El Caracol observatory.
The entire Yucatan peninsula is formed of limestone and thousands of years ago it was covered by the sea. Limestone's natural permeability and the amount of rainfall have luckily left us with some authentic natural swimming pools called "cenotes" (from Mayan, "Tz'onot"). The Ik-Kil cenote is near the Chichen Itza archeological zone and is gorgeous with fresh, temperate water. It's not too crowded if you avoid the peak season.
The ruins of Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, X-Lapak, Labná and the Loltún caves are within the Puuc route. To get there, we rented a car in Merida and arrive in 1.5 hours. Uxmal the first thing you encounter when you enter the house of the seer is a spectacular 39 meter temple. In fact, that's where we celebrated the sound and light show. In Uxmal, the convent of the nuns, the game of bald, the Great Pyramid, which is 32 meters tall, and the 100 meter governor's palace with a very elaborate facade are some highlights. Admission is 116 pesos, and a tour for 8 people is 500 pesos. Logbook.
More than sport or entertainment, the ball game was practiced throughout Mesoamerica as a ritual. Two teams competed to put a large rubber ball through a stone ring set in the wall, on the side. It is said that the party who lost were ordered to death. Although there were probably many different versions of the game, it was always played in a field in the form of "I" . The fields were of variable size, but the oldest was aligned in a north-south and later from the east to the west. The losing team was sacrificed after the game, which was, in those times, an honorable way to die.
It is not entirely clear what the real purpose of this unique building was at Chichen Itza, but the general consensus is that it was an astronomical observatory. It helps, of course, the fact that the dome looks like an astronomical observatory. What is clear is that the Mayans came to have some very important astronomical knowledge (a lot more than European cultures at the same time, for example) and so this is very likely to be the building's use.
Visiting these ruins and museum is like a trip to the past. I recommend visiting. There is also a cenote where you can swim after the tour. The cenote is 60 mts. deep in the deepest part and has a shallow part for non-swimmers, it is wonderful to bathe in its water which are cold at first but nice after.
A cenote is a geologic formation found in some very deep caverns, whose roof has collapsed, forming a deep pond. The Yucatan is full of these amazing "pools". For the Mayan civilization, these places were used for numerous acts of rituals and sacrifices to the gods. The so called "Xibalba Gate" (or the realm of the dead) has flooded green waters. You can sit on its edge, surrounded by lush vegetation, be silent and breathe deeply. Perhaps you may even hear the songs of the last Mayan festival drifting over you.
It's a very beautiful colonial city, and especially my favorite little corner is the cathedral of Sisal or rather the ex-convent. Situated in the center of Valladolid. There I was baptized there so I feel a special bond. It is nice and has a very big terrace.
This is one of the Mayan archaeological sites that is most striking for its glyphs and sculptures in the main pyramid. Maya is a city and in its glory it was painted red and scented with perfume or incense. If you're looking for Mayan treasures and you like history this place is a must. The entrance is an impractical arch, but it was fully functional for sacred matters. Ek Balam is very close Temozon, a Yucatan village that is famous for its furniture and smoked meat, you should try some! Valladolid, another major Yucatan city, is nearby and is worth visiting during this tour.
I didn't dare bathe in the cenote, though I had intended to. But it's not the same view when you see one in a photograph as it is to walk down a cave mouth, on a stone staircase and be hit suddenly by the dark humidity. Even though the water was very clean and illuminated, it only impressed by a little. So I just watched the natural stone dome and took some pictures, which you can see gives an almost scary feeling with the dark, quiet waters. There are many cenotes in the Yucatan, which used to be used as water tanks and supposedly as altars to the gods of water. Many valuables have been found in them that were thrown in by a priest making a tribute. It's believed that the offerings could also include human beings, from the remains found at the bottom by divers.
On a small pyramid, this temple is adorned with sculptures of the rain god Chac, the feathered serpent Kukulkan, one chacmool guard at the entrance, and two carved columns. It's also known as the Temple of 1000 columns, but the lobby only has 100. It has several sloping walls, three of which are decorated with warriors, eagles and jaguars devouring human hearts. The term Chac Mool refers to a type of sculpture that depicts a man holding a plate lying on his stomach. The man leans on his elbows, with his knees bent and his head turned 90 degrees to one side. This symbolism is based on the accord with universal Gnosticism, which says that in the interior of a human being, besides the thousands of defects that we carry, we also carry the different parts of the Being that, like soldiers, help us fight an interior evil. No wonder that the complex constituted a Gnostic maze or a soldier's initiation. Either way, it's the area's most magical place and isn't the most popular, so you should take advantage of it soon!
The Parque Francisco Canton Rosado is the largest park in the city of Valladolid in Mexico, the second most important city in history after the city of Merida. This is a fairly large park close to the place of the same name, ie Francis Square and opposite Canton Street which houses the Cathedral of San Gervasio or Servatius. Also surrounding the park are two of the leading hotels in the city and the Municipal Palace and House of Culture. The park is commonly known as the park of love, as it has white chairs especially for couples with 2 seats facing eachother. Its banks are also painted in white and house the coat of arms of the municipality. There is a fountain at the center of the park and various souvenir shops.
Francisco Canton Square is in the heart of Valladolid in the Yucatan (Mexico). It's the city's most well known and most famous square, and also serves as a parking lot for 90% of buses that arrive to visit Valladolid, after organized excursion to Chichen Itza. In the center of the square, there's the famous Parque Francisco Canton Rosado, commonly known as the loveliest park in the city. There are characteristically white benches with only 2 seats. Also, from the square, you can see the great Cathedral of San Gervasio or Servatius.
This cathedral is not in many guidebooks and therefore often goes unnoticed by tourists. It is located in the center of the Mexican city of Valladolid, to be more specific between Canton Francisco park and the square. Construction began in 1543 and, although it was firstly dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady, when the conquerors arrived in Valladolid, they changed it to San Gervasio. It was later remodeled and they changed the orientation of the north facade. This is one of the oldest churches in the New World.
Watching the sun set over the beaches of Progreso, in the Yucatan Peninsula, is a unique and unforgettable experience. Shortly before the sun sets you can enjoy watching the flamingos from a lookout built especially for this purpose, which is situated on the road between the towns of Chicxulub and Uaymitun (both are ports near Progreso). All this just 30 minutes from the city of Merida
Kabah is a beautiful place in the Mayan culture. I loved it for its majesty and the wisdom in its monuments. In this corner you want to see a sacred arc, marking a path, between Kabah and Uxmal. I was lucky with my Mexican Mayan and Spanish friends to experience one of the most beautiful moments of my life in this place. It was a beautiful ceremony, we ask the ancestors, we pray, we talk with our prayers we passed under the arch and made the path you can see in the pictures in the most respectful of the silence to go through it and go with a happy heart. The Kabah Mayan archaeological site is divided because the road. On one side you find the Arch of Triumph and the other The Great Pyramid and the ruins of Kabah. "Happiness is the reward of the brave"
Steep, with an oval base, the home of Adivino for me, this is the most striking monument in Uxmal. According to legend it was erected in one night by a dwarf, but the truth is that you can appreciate various stages of construction where a a temple covered the construction from above. It is assumed that the pyramid was painted red with touches of blue, yellow and black. The corrosion of the paint and mortar has brought out the limestone from underneath. It is 35m high and it is forbidden to climb to the top to prevent erosion. It seems like a perfect idea and should be applied to all such monuments.