DAY 6: TULUM, MAYAN RUINS

  • built in the thirteenth century
  • a seaport trading mostly in jade and turquoise

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  • protected by a limestone wall, one theory is that priests and nobility lived within and the peasants lived outside of the walled area

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Pyramid El Castillo
  • one of the last inhabited Mayan cities.
  • stayed in existence up to 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico

Imageformerly known as Zama, City of Dawn, because it faces the sunrise

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Templo Dios del Viento (God of Winds Temple)

ImageGetting There from Playa Del Carmen:

  • take a colectivo (local bus) for 40 pesos (about $3 usd)
  • ride is anywhere between 40 mins and an hour depending on how many stops the bus makes
  • comfy, a/c, smooth ride

Ticket price: 52 pesos

24DEC12. Tulum, Mexico. Canon 550D, Lens EF18-135mm

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DAY 2: THE INS & OUTS OF CHICHEN ITZA

Because I was literally just arriving to my hostel, hadn’t even gotten into my room yet…I wanted to book a tour of Chichen Itza through them (Mayan Hostel.) 45 usd. 15 usd to the hostel and then $30usd when you buy your ticket. This is how it went. A van picked me up at around 715am and took me to a place called Plaza La Fiesta. This is where you book your actual tour. So I now know that I can take the R1 bus on Tulum for about 8 pesos and get off at the Plaza (therefore not having to pay the hostel a fee) — but, truth be told, this is just information to help the next person because I am still ok with paying the whole 45usd. I met people at the Plaza who had been herded in from other places and some paid like $65usd for the same deal, and were told they were getting breakfast, a new bus with a bathroom…all of which they didn’t. I wasn’t told any of that so I didn’t feel deceived. Our bus was kind of old with no toilet, but it had a/c and the bus wasn’t full, so you could spread out and sleep. We probably left the Plaza a little after 10am…(a huge line in the Plaza of people going on different tours)…At about 1120am, we got to a cenote (seh-NO-teh), an underground cave/swimming pool…and were given 40 minutes to swim, take pictures, shop (shopping is forced upon you at every stop.)    *Count on a 12-14 hour day away

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a cenote

At about noon, we left for the restaurant to have a buffet lunch. Again, you have to walk through a shop to get there and they push free tequila shots, but push you to buy the bottles even more. Lunch was ok. I’m a vegetarian, so my choices were a bit limited, plus, I don’t usually eat much on those kinds of things, anyway. It’s in a big open-air banquet room, lots of flies are also hungry at the same time you are…I had some chips and salsa and some watermelon.

After lunch, we finally headed to Chichen Itza. Our tour there probably started at around 215pm. The tour goes about an hour and then you have free time to walk around as you like. Our bus was going to pick us back up at 5pm.

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Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza means “at the well of the mouth of the itza” in Yucatec Maya. It thrived between c.600-1200 a.d. It was easily one of the largest Maya cities. Archaeologists still visit here to try to piece together this past civilization and it is estimated that around 12 million tourists visit these ruins each year.

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Kukulcan Pyramid a.k.a. El Castillo (The Castle)

The Temple of Kukulcan (a Maya feathered serpent deity) is more commonly referred to as El Castillo, The Castle. This step pyramid stands about 98 ft. (30 meters) high.

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El Castillo
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Kukulkan in all of its glory

The Great Ball Court: The Mayans were competitive and they took their sports seriously. They played games in which, if a team lost, the captain of the losing team could be beheaded to offer up to the gods as a sacrifice.

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If you look closely, you’ll notice one ring on the side of each wall. The idea was to get the ball through that hole.
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reverence to the serpent deity at the great ball court
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one of many reporters doing stories about the end of the world. It was the end of the world eve, so…
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Temple of the Warriors

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the serpent’s head at the bottom of Kukulkan

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*ideas gathered from tour guide,wikipedia

20DEC12. Yucatan, Mexico. Canon 550D, Lens EF 18-135mm

CHICHEN ITZA: TOP 10 PICS OF THE DAY

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The Incredible Kukulcan Pyramid, a “New 7 Wonders of the World”
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Serpent Worship
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At the famous ‘ball court,’ where the captain of the losing team was beheaded for sacrifice to the gods
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Temple of the Warriors
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Souvenirs a’plenty. Thinking of Stevo.
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the immensity, the grandiosity…

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20DEC12: The Eve of the End of the World. Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Canon 550D, Lens EF18-135mm