Yucatan the Coast

I know that this has been a topic in the past but there is so much that can be said about this wonder that there is always something new that can be shared about this fascinating location which is why we have made multiple trips there.

When we were last there we took a flight from Guadalajara to Cancun that allowed us to cross the country from west to east. We had been thinking about the coast as a vacation destination, though I will be upfront it was more my husbands idea than it was mine. Anyway we settled on Playa del Carmen. The seaside resort has about 170,000 inhabitants, it is a kind of tourist annex of Cancun, in the heart of the Riviera Maya.

To be honest, it's not the tourist charm of this city (which were too much at times for my tastes) but the traditions that caught my attention. I was surprised to see that they were still strong which is unique for a tourist destination. On the other hand, for those who want to lounge on white sandy beaches with the turquoise water of the Caribbean sea the Riviera Maya has that to offer as well. My husband has taken up scuba diving and I suspect that that is one of the reasons why we chose this destination. The last time we were here we explored the region as a family when our daughter was home for college break.

I cannot say that the beach, learning to snorkel, and even a little shopping alone, and yes a number of visits to Mayan sites.

Chichen Itza and Palenque

The Yucatan is a truly wonderous place on our planet, one of the few true the wonders of the world including the Mayan temples of Chichen Itza. When my husband and I visit we are always amazed at how pleasant and well situated the site was laid out. Egypt has pyramids, true, but so does South America. The main pyramid at Chichen Itza is very impressive and the rest are, too. In the evening we attend a light show on the main pyramid which we found superb!

Palenque is a Mayan city located in the Mexican state of Chiapas, near the Usumacinta River. It is one of the most impressive sites of this culture. Compared to other Mayan cities, it is of medium size: much smaller than Tikal or Copon, it nevertheless stands out for its architectural and sculptural heritage.

The area discovered up to 2005 represents 2.5 km2 but it is estimated to have explored less than 10% of the total area of the city. There are still more than a thousand structures covered by the forest. In 1981, the Palenque site was designated a national park. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

Palenque is one of the richest sites in southern Mexico, on the edge of the Yucatan Peninsula. Accessible buildings include:

The Pyramid of Inscriptions;
The Palace. Once one of the most beautiful buildings of the classical Mayan period, the Palace of Palenque was in the state of ruins covered with vegetation when it was photographed by the explorer Alfred Maudslay, more than a century ago.

  • Temple of the Inscriptions;
  • Temple of the Cross Complex;
    • The Temple of the Cross;
    • Temple of the Sun;
    • Temple of the Foliated Cross;
  • The Temple of the Skull
  • Temple XIII contained the Tomb of the Red Queen
  • The Temple of The Jaguar (a.k.a. The Temple of the Beautiful Relief)
  • Structure XII with a bas-relief carving of the God of Death.
  • Temple of the Count

The architecture has a western variant of the Mayan style.

When you visit it you should be prepared to travel a lot to reach these sites but it gives you a chance fully enjoy the beauty of these places. Regardless of how many times I have been there and seen the many wondrous sights Mexico never ceases to amaze me.

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