is my most favorite ruins to visit when in Akumal. It
is a very peaceful site. The site is so interesting
in the fact that it has many mounds that have not been
excavated. The Nohoch Mul Pyramid is the tallest pyramid
on the Yucatan Peninsula at 42 meters. Climb the 120
steps, observing that the Maya carved shell-like forms
where you put your feet. There is also a round pyramid.
trails through the jungle are
very well maintained and are very accessible to children
as well as adults. Do bring water, a hat, and bug repellent
as this site is in the jungle. Arrive early as the jungle
goes very hot during the day. Also be aware that when
tour buses arrive you will not experience the jungle
quietness. This site is about 43 Km. from Tulum Pueblo.
to Trip Report
by Carol Glab (Casa Tropical)
for Walled City"
site is very interesting from a stand point that the
Ruins is the only major site that was built on the Caribbean
(Caribe). It also is one of the only sites that is a
walled city. The beach here is one of the most beautiful
around. Please don't go to any of the ruins wearing
only swim suits. These sites are very Spiritual to the
Maya people. It is however quite acceptable to take
a swim to cool off prior to leaving. Arrive early because
when the tour buses arrive the site becomes quite busy.
There is a tourist market at the entrance. This site
is about 24 Km. south of Akumal
site is located on the left about 25 Km. south of Tulum
Pueblo on Highway 307. It is a very small site as far
as the restored building go. It was one of the largest
cities on the Yucatan peninsula built on a Lagoon with
canals to the Caribbean for trade purposes. You will
almost always be the only one there as it is not visited
by very many people. Do take bug repellent as this site
is in the jungle.
important information Thanks to Pablo!
way of background. Cortes and Grijalva both set foot
in the Yucatan in 1519. Earlier Spanish incursions lead
to devestating losses and rejection of Yucatan as suitable
area for "colonization" Yucatan should be
devided by the reader into several regions- (from Landa)
Tazees (Tah-Itzaes- the Itza's), the Culpils (around
Valladolid), the Canul (Jaina) , the Xiu (Uxmal) and
Exab from modern day Cancun south to Salamanca (Chetumal).
Cortes after a brief sojurn on the Isla de Cuzmil, and
thankfully picking up the Madrid Codex, sails towards
Campeche, and more importantly for Spain; Tenochtilan.
forward a few years. The "Mayan Riv" has been
outside the Spanish mind, since the sack of the Aztec
empire seems so rewarding. In 1527, Francisco de Montejo
sets sail from Cuba bent on subjegating the area on
the mainland off Cuzmil. His force invades the mainland,
and places a garrison at Xel-ha. His own troops mutiny
when they learn there is no gold and the natives are
VERY hostile. Montejo burns his ships. He tells his
troops off a city to the south called Samal. He says
it is a City of Gold. It was, according to Alonso d'Avila,
"a city unlike any we had seen". That city,
in the Spanish chronicles, becomes identified with Ponce
de Leon's quest for the "fountain of youth".
The subsequent history of the eastern Yucatan is one
of the Montejo's rule over the capital of Tiho (Merida),
and the battle for the area that we know now as Quintana
Roo, carried out by Mayan tribesman from the Xiu clan.
Due to disease, warfare, and invasive European ideas,
the Maya of Ekab go back into the woods, and formulate
a cultural defense that continues to this day in places
such as the Chan Santa Cruz. It was not until the 1950's
that Gringos were permitted into the ruins of Tulum
on a regular basis. Back in the 1930's or 40's, you
would have been killed.
Samal (near Muyil), is a city of major magnitude. It
was a "feeder" city for Coba during the Late
Classic period of the Maya. During the Post-Classic
period it probably grew in importance as a major artery
for coastal trade, as the traditional Yucatecan Mayan
trade-routes where taken over by the increasingly Mexica'anized
Chontal Maya traders from Tabasco. Samal was either
local Maya or Chontal. It is hard to say since the vast
majority of the once thriving city has been reclaimed
by mangrove. While the site of Muyil may seem "quaint"
to gringos, it is a site of MAJOR importance.
to Trip Report, scroll down to read about Muyil
for Place of Inscribed Flat Stones"
is the Temple of the Seven Dolls and is about 15 Km.
north of Merida. It is just off the highway that takes
you to Progreso. There is a cenote (sink hole) called
Xlacah Cenote that you can swim in to refresh yourself
after you visit the site. The cenote is beautiful and
the water is crystal clear. I loved this aspect as it
was so hot and humid the days that I was there. Yes,
I visited this site two times while I was in Merida.
de las Siete Munecas"
of the Seven Dolls"
Report to come
to Trip Report, scroll down to Chichen Itza
is El Castillo or Pyramid of Kukulcan. This site is
a very popular tourist attaction. Many tour buses arrive
from Cancun as well as Merida. Do go very early or very
late to see that light show and spend the night. Then
return in the early morning to visit the ruins. This
is one of the best restored Maya ruins in the Yucatan.
It shows the influence of the Toltec and the Olmec.
This site feels very angry to me. It is worth the time
to visit as it is very fascinating. It is located about
145 Km. from Tulum via the road past Coba to Chemax
then highway 180 to Chichen Itza via Valladolid. The
road was very good when I traveled it in September 2000!
as the City of Three Cultures"
did not go to the ruins this trip. I did however take
this photo, from the Franciscan monastery in the middle
of town. This pyramid is called Kinich-Kakmo. The pyramid
is part of Izamal Pueblo which is about 50 Km. from
Merida. The pueblo is painted yellow, yes everything
is yellow. The pueblo is known as Ciudad Amarilla (Yellow
City) through out the peninsula. The Pope chose this
city as his place of residence while in the Yucatan
in August 1993.
Report to come
have not visited this minor site between Akumal and
Tulum. It is near the Xel-Ha water park. This photo
is of the Red Hand Prints of a Maya Priest taken at
the Xel-Ha ruins. I will visit this site one day.
Bill in Tulsa
Despite the small size of the Xel-ha ruins they are important for several reasons:
1). Xel-ha is very old. Most of the ruins you will encounter date from the Middle Classic period to Late PostClassic. Approx.
750 A.D. to Cortez. Xel-ha shows habitation going back to the Late PreClassic with an almost unbroken chain of habitation.
Xel-ha was probably a local Yucatecan centre when Tulum was inhabited by Chenes/Mexica seaborne traders. It raises
interesting questions about local dynamics. The evidence is the paintings at Tulum vs. Tankah.
2). The ruins at Xel-ha are ,
despite their size, an amazing compendium of the Mayan "weltgeist". Imagine for $2.00. A cenote, murals, a sacbe, a temple
with serpent heads at the foot of the steps (only one in Yucatan outside of Chichen), and not unimportantly-almost nobody
there. When I was staying at Bahia Principe I would take a thermos of coffee in the very early morning, drive the five
minutes to the ruins and share my morning coffee with the groundskeeper and the ticket attendant before spending a hour or
two with what I consider the closest thing to walking in the Mayan world like it was just before Cortez or Montejo. Turn right
at Xel-ha before you go to the lagoon. It is well worth it!!!
Thank you to Paul Fewster!