If you plan on making a trip to Chichen Itza, then you’ll be sure to see many of the main attractions, such as the Great Ballcourt, El Castillo, and the Observatory. What you want to keep your eyes open for are the few little known ruins and sites that many pass up without notice. After all, the big things are easy to notice, it’s the little things that make their trip worth your wild.
The Red House is named this because of the flakes and scrapes of red paint that were found inside the structure. It was built on a high platform, and is pronounced Chichen Choob in the Mayan language. It is translated as "small holes" and most assume it points to the lime comb roof.
It is an age old problem, traveling as a single parent with kids. This can be doubly frustrating when trying to actually enjoy yourself on a vacation while going to the never-ending kiddie shows every time you turn around. Well, there is a way out of this, use a family guide.
Finding one is discussed in the first part of this series called, Family Guides and Traveling as a Single Parent. Now that you have one, We would like to discuss with you what to expect from your family guide while on vacation.
Some 50 pieces of pre-Hispanic Peru Waka city are displayed at the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, located in zone 13. The exhibition is open until May 28th.
GUATEMALA CITY. - The pieces are an indicative of the artistic and cultural legacy of the Mayan civilization settled in Petén, and have been obtained by the activities of The Peru-Waka ' Project, thanks to the archaeologists who perform investigations and excavations since 2003 in that department.
Every parent wants to take their kids on a vacation that will stay in their memories for the rest of their days, otherwise what's the point right? The hidden factor that most people don't see is the fact that every parent's mind is reeling from all the possible dangers. Vacationing can mean going into busy, complicated, and often confusing tourist spots. The hustle and bustle can make it easy for a parent to get separated from their kids, or even their purse or wallet.
This fear factor alone can sap the fun right out of the vacation for any parent and their children, but as the old adage suggests, "there's safety in numbers." By hiring a family guide the odds of your vacation being safe and smooth doubles. Here are a few reasons how using a family guide ensures your family vacation is as safe as possible:
José Roman Robertos Moguel has a degree in Anthropology with Specialization in Archeology from the School of
Anthropology at the Autonomous University of Yucatan:
The question I asked was innocent and almost superficial, as if something was sensed but did not know exactly the importance of its intuition. The topic of discussion was another, different for me from the last question I had decided to ask, one last question and the resulting response, which intrigued me, subjugated me, and forced me to build further on the subject.
The ruins of Tulum are located in the Quintana Roo state of Mexico and it is known as the Mayan fortress-city seated on a cliff above the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is also known as the ‘Walled City’ because in Mayan language Tulum means ‘Wall.’ The main attracting feature of this ancient city is actually its spectacular location. It is ideally located on a cliff that faces the rising sun and overlooks the magnificent sea.
This ancient Mayan city is a famous tourist destination and it is divided into 4 main portions: the town, the hotel area, the biosphere reserve and the archaeological site.
The town and hotel areas of Tulum are the most improved and modernized portions of the city due to the increase in tourism demands. In these two areas, tourists will find affordable and luxury lodgings, excellent restaurants and gift shops that sell rare and interesting items with modern and ancient flavors.
Tulum architecture is typically Mayan, the same type of architecture found on the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula and that of Chichen Itza, but on smaller scale.
One side of the city is under the protection of the steep sea cliffs and on the other side there is a massive wall protecting it. There are watch towers on the northwest and southwest corners of the city, providing additional security for the walled city. To get into the city, there are narrow gateways in different parts of the wall - two walls each on the south and north sides and another one wall on the west. This impressive wall is the one that makes Tulum the most famous fortified Mayan city.
The archaeological site of Tulum is dominated by the City Square, which is considered as the political and worship center on the city. On the west side of the square is the tallest structure in Tulum called the Castillo and also what could have been the lighthouse. Other fascinating structures within the square are the Temple of the Frescoes, Temple of the Descending God, Temple of the Initial Series and the Kukulcán Group.
There are several cenotes or sinkholes that can be found within the Tulum area. The most popular among these cenotes is the Gran Cenote, which is the most beautiful and most amazing sinkhole in the area and it is ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Other well-reserved cenotes in Tulum are the Nahron, Maya Blue, Tortuga, Temple of Doom, Vacaha, Abejas, Nohoch Kiin and the cave systems and carwash cenotes.
The Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve is a place with a name the literally means ‘Where the sky is born’. This is actually the most appropriate name for the area because witnessing the sunrise here is really like seeing the day being born.
The reserve covers most of the Yucatan Peninsula’s existing ecosystems that comprises low-to-medium growth jungles, savannas, beaches, marshes, cenotes, freshwater and salty lagoons, underground rivers, and natural coral reef.
The area is inhabited by over two thousand natives, mostly are of Mayan background, but all are descendants of the original residents who have lived all their lives in their native homes nearby the reserve.
The Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve is where you can find the best of the Tulum wildlife. There are several bird species like parrots and toucans as well as monkeys like the howler and spider monkeys. Other animals you can find and admire include white-tail deer, wild boars, tapir, geckos, iguanas, garden snakes, scorpions, tarantulas and lots of butterflies.
Water wildlife include all kinds of fish, eels, turtles, sharks (quite a few and non-aggressive), alligators and crocodiles.
Learn more about Tulum and its attractions by reading more Tulum travel information.
Among the many famous and well-visited archaeological sites is the famed Tikal Ruins of Petén in Guatemala. Tikal is not just popular but it is also very impressive as the largest and most probably the oldest of all the ruined cities of the Ancient Maya civilization.
The jungle that covers the Yucatan Peninsula is dense as it is lushly filled with numerous trees as a wild forest. This jungle is not cultivated anymore but according to researches, the landscapes were highly and devotedly managed by the ancient Maya people prior to the collapse of their civilization. The wild forest that has been discovered is what the ancient Maya cities have turned into after thousands of years of being left to the intervention of nature.
All the plant and tree species that are present in the jungle of Yucatan are Maya civilization’s greenery that have gone untamed and the forest is not the landscape that was there prior to foreign invasion.
One evidence that pointed out that there was an ancient civilization that prospered in the jungle thousands of years ago is the fact that the ecosystem of the peninsula bears the indication that there was human manipulation. The plants are uniformly spread which is not the case if they evolved naturally. This observation only proves that the Mayans rigorously changed the jungle where they developed their civilizations. Most of the plants are species that were highly cultivated but have gone untamed after long years of being neglected.
After further investigations, it was found out that the most number of plants that are still present are those that are economically important. This means that the ancient people had really used up the land to provide them with food.
The jungle is almost totally inaccessible except by going on a guided tour. There are roads that were built cris- crossing the region and main highways that run along the coasts.
Most of the inner parts of the jungle are uninhabited except for some hunters that still reside in small communities. These native villages are accessible by trail and there are even some with electricity.
The Yucatan Peninsula is a rugged flat terrain and there are portions that have been turned into National Parks and commercial places like the Xel-Ha and the Xcaret parks that are both are located in the Quintana Roo state.
The Xel-Ha theme park was established in the 1980s and it has been managed by a private company since 1995. The main attraction of this park is the natural lagoon and inlet where hundreds of water species live in. The park boasts a turtle reserve and among the activities being offered includes swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Xcaret means ‘little cove’ in Maya language and this park was founded by a millionaire developer who developed it into an intriguing educational and recreational project that is a first of its kind. The park covers 250 acres of land and an inlet. There is a museum that preserves the ancient people’s history and culture. There are also archaeological sites that are scattered around the flourishing landscaped grounds. There is also a wide area of space provided for activities such as swimming, snorkeling and horseback riding.
These parks and the rest of the National Parks around the Yucatan Peninsula provide today’s generation with places to learn about the ancient Maya civilization and to experience something that has long been hidden from the rest of the world.
The Mayan jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula is a dense tropical rainforest inhabited by the Mayans that was converted into Mexican villages of our modern times. The peninsula is a unique combination of cultural and ecological diversity.
Plan your visit to the Yucatan Peninsula and explore the National Parks and the amazing Mayan ruins. Read more about our Mexico adventure trips.
Belize is a country that lies on the Caribbean coastline of Central America and is bordered on the south by Guatemala, on the north by Mexico and on the east by the Caribbean Sea.
If it’s a great vacation adventure you want, you can never go wrong with a Belizean tour. This country is undeniably appealing as it is full of beautiful and magnificent natural attractions. This place has been blessed with flourishing tropical forests, majestic mountains, pristine waters, Caribbean coral atolls, barrier reefs, majestic Mayan ruins and very hospitable inhabitants.
The Mayan culture was naturally part of the rich heritage of the country Belize because it was believed to be the home of the earliest Mayan civilizations. It was estimated that about one to two million of ancient Mayas lived in this country during the height of their civilization. Despite the fact that these communities have long been extinct, the strong presence of the Mayan culture and influence still hang in the ancient ruins that have been discovered throughout the jungles and forests of Belize.
The Mayan ruins in this place are awesome structures that display the great architectural skills of the ancient people and looking at them both mystifies and fascinates every visitor. It makes every spectator truly feel great respect for the people who have been able to construct these breathtaking pyramids and temples with the use of skills that they have passed from generation through generation. The Mayans may be gone, but their contributions to the world has stood time and are still around to remind everyone, that once upon a time, an ancient civilization lived and left behind legacies that highly influenced the way we live today.
The most visited Mayan sites in this region are the Altun Ha, Caracol, Cahal Pech, Cerros, Lubaantun, Lamanai, Nim Li Punit and Xunantunich. Tikal is actually considered by many as a Belize Mayan site because it is more accessible from Belize than from Guatemala proper.
The crystal clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean make Belize a real marine wonderland. It boasts the second to the largest barrier reef on earth, which extends for about 185 miles. The waters surrounding the coastline feature more than 70 coral varieties, more than 400 tropical fish species and about 200 isolated cays, coral atolls, mangrove and pure white sanded beach islands.
For diving enthusiasts, Belize is simply a must place to visit because of the amazing Blue Hole, which happens to be a diver’s paradise. This natural hole is believed to a cave whose roof could have collapsed thousand of years ago. Through the passing of time, the cave has been formed into an almost perfect hole that offers the most remarkable view of suspended stalagmites and stalactites.
Other activities that can be enjoyed here include kayaking, snorkeling, wind surfing, kite surfing, sailing, water skiing or simply swimming and basking in the glorious Belizean sun.
The best appealing highlight of Belize is its natural beauty. It is like a hidden paradise with lots of untouched rivers, lush vegetation, fascinating waterfalls and mysterious caves. This country is also full of tropical rainforests that are within short distances from each other. And, each one of them boasts natural beauty with incredible animal wildlife like the captivating pumas, awesome jaguars, amazing Howler monkeys and the almost extinct Tapirs.
Natural beauty is the reason why this country is widely known as Mother Nature’s best kept Secret.
Any place cannot be considered as a great place if the locals are not welcoming and hospitable. The people in this country have the reputation of being as warm and as friendly like its weather, which is one of the main reasons why this country is one of the top choices of travelers and adventurers.
Its people are a wonderful combination of different cultures such as the Creoles (from the British settlers and African slaves combination), the Garifuna (descendants of African slaves), Caribs and Arawaks (descendants of the Indian tribes), Yucatec (descendants of the Mayans of the Yucatan), Mopan (descendants of the Peten Mayans), Kekchi (descendants of the Mayans from Verapaz in Guatemala) and the Mestizos or the Spanish-Mayan people.
Aside from the local people, this country is also home to people from different parts of the world such as Lebanese, Chinese and Mennonite population.
Read more about our exciting Belize tours.
Cozumel, dubbed as the Island of the Swallows, is an island in the Caribbean Sea whose beauty extends further than its coasts. It is the third largest island and the second most populated in Mexico. It is well known for sheltering coral reefs and having white sand beaches, turquoise blue Caribbean waters and housing the ancient Mayan ruins.
It boasts its unique city, San Miguel, which is known for its elegance by having a combination of colonial and pre-Hispanic influence and remnants, archaeological sites, paradise like beaches and countless activities to make your stay enjoyable and memorable.
Situated east of Playa del Carmen, this beautiful island’s sheltered coral reefs were made famous by Jacques Cousteau in 1960. From then on, the island became well known to American divers and its piers welcomed the arrival of tourist cruise ships which gave Cozumel international fame.
According to recent investigations, the first settlers arrived around the second century BC and they were believed to be a part of semi nomadic groups dedicated to fishing and hunting.
In the third century AD, the second group of settlers arrived who were made up of Mayans from the Guatemalan Petén region.
The third migrant wave, of chontal Mayans were dedicated to trade and navigation, arrived to the island during the eighth century from Tabasco. They introduced the worship of the god Ix Chel among the others.
On the third of May 1518, Spanish Juan de Grijalva discovered the island and named it Santa Cruz de la Puerta Latina (Holy Cross of the Latin Port) and on its beaches the first catholic mass on Mexican territory was held.
In 1519, Hernan Cortes began the conquest of Mexico disembarking in Cozumel, where the sailor Geronimo de Aguilar joined as one of the first interpreters of Mayan language to Spanish.
During colonization, the island San Miguel de Xamancab, named by Francisco de Montejo in 1527, was abandoned and become a refuge for pirates.
In the mid nineteenth century, as a consequence of the War of the Casts (1847), families from Valladolid, Saban Tihosuco and Chemas in the Yucatan state started to repopulate the island and establish settlements in El Cedral (originally Oy ib) located in the south and San Miguel on the northwest coast.
The Celerain light house is located within the Punta Sur, the largest ecological reserve in Cozumel as it encompasses the southern tip of the island. The reserve is inhabited by many species of animals, 220 different species of birds, reptiles and giant turtles that come to lay their eggs between June and August. Also, a navigation museum can be visited here where you can learn the history of Cozumel and the evolution of navigation since the Mayan civilization until today.
El Caracol is an ancestral structure or an antique light house used by the Mayans to warn the population of a coming hurricane.
One of the best ways to enjoy Cozumel is riding a car as this will enable you to see its long coastline, offering a beautiful sight of the paradise-like beaches.
There are many attractions that will surely keep every visitor in Cozumel busy. Visit Chankanaab National Marine Park, go on a deep-sea adventure, embark on a dinner cruise, take a safari adventure tour, take a swim at the beach, play golf at Cozumel country club, enjoy Mexican foods, go shopping for bargains and a whole lot more.
Read more about our Cozumel Island tours.
Don't miss out on your chance to swim with these giants and book your tour now!
Visit Central America for some wonderful adventure tours. These trips offer ancient sites of Mayan ruins amid amazing tropical jungles. See mysterious Mayan temples emerge from the surrounding tropical jungle with all of its lush vegetation and animal life. Central America is a great place for bird watching too, with its magnificent scarlet macaws, colorful parrots and blue herons.
For the ultimate in overseas adventure travel there are extensive tours of Mayan ruins in Guatemala and Belize lasting up to 20 days long for the fearless traveler. This is the ultimate tour for the visitor who wants to explore the Yucatan area and all it has to see. This extensive tour in the Yucatan is a great way to explore and learn about the ancient Mayan world.
No need for fancy resorts here, leave them behind at Cancun and start your Mayan adventure. Visit the largest site of Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. See the largest pyramid in the southern hemisphere, El Castillo, a high point of touring Chichen Itza. Here, they have uncovered some of the first sports arenas ever documented. There are 7 ball courts here, one in particular, the Grand Ball Court is immense. Not many of the rules of the ancient Mayan sport are known today, except that human sacrifice was involved at some point. Now that’s a game you’d be pretty motivated to win! Also for the Mayan experience on the Yucatan there are the Tulum and Tikal and archaeological sites. To see the ruins at Tulum take an additional tour from Playa del Carmen and see these ancient ruins. Tikal is one of the three great Mayan cities along with Waka, known as El Peru today and Calakmul.
As a sideline to your fascinating exploration of the ancient historical ruins, your adventure trip can take you to the scuba diving off the breathtaking beaches in Belize. Relax in the beautiful clear waters of the Caribbean and marvel at the colorful and varied sea life. Also available are tours to Cozumel, an underwater wonderland of reefs and ruins.
Another accompaniment to visiting the ruins is a boat trip into the lushly vegetated jungle. For the avid bird watcher, the jungles are a great place to see new and colorful bird life. The jungle trees are home to many exotic species including majestic macaws and cheeky parakeets. Also visible among the treetops of the jungle on the way to visit the Mayan ruins are Spider monkeys and the ever noisy and aptly named Howler monkeys. The rivers contain crocodiles, so while eyeing the sky for birds, glance down now and then to be on the lookout for these “floating logs.”
For the ultimate Central American adventure travel experience, Mexico and Guatemala on the Yucatan peninsula combine their mysterious and ancient Mayan ruins with the white sand and turquoise blue water of their beaches. Explore the remnants of the great civilization of the Mayan people, wander in the jungles seeing lush vegetation and animal populations, and enjoy the sea and the sand.
Would you like to experience a genuine jungle experience in Mexico? Travel to Calakmul and enjoy the Mexican nature a
The perfect way to visit Palenque for those with limited time and budget! Save time by traveling at night on a comfortab
Combine the best of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in this 3-day multi-active tour. Travel to the remote corners of the
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