I have returned from my trip, maybe more tanned and definitely more exhausted. Our tour kept us on the move! I explored Mayan ruins, traversed jungles, explored caves, and finally got to snorkel along the barrier reef.
Our first stop was an appropriate beginning. Chichén Itzá is the most visited of all the Mayan ruins. It is an easy day trip from Cancún, and I imagine resort tourists getting bored with the beach deciding to make the trip. It was a good place to start my explorations, though. The city is one of the latest examples of Mayan architecture. Actually, the Toltecs invaded from the north and brought their rain god religion and their warlike ways. Most of what you see is actually Toltec. The city was abandoned in the 1400's.
Chichén Itzá is very touristy with people everywhere and hundreds of vendors selling crap. That said, it is the most extensively reconstructed and very beautiful. Definitely worth seeing.
Here is the iconic El Castillo. It is actually a temple, as well as a calendar, as it is perfectly aligned to the solstices and equinoxes.
I also saw the Temple of the Warriors with its Thousand Columns. Something I have dreamed of seeing forever.
Here is the famous well where they threw their sacrifices. Sometimes jewelry, pottery, or people. As the droughts became more severe, hunger became more widespread, the people became more desperate and really upped the ante on what they would be willing to sacrifice.
My favorite building was the Observatory.
I was also impressed with the huge ball court.
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I have several more photos, but did not want to overwhelm everyone.