The Maya Riviera in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula – Visiting Tulum and Chichén Itzá
10 May 2009
Upon arriving to Playa del Carmen from Cozumel, we rented a car to drive to two important Maya sites: Tulum and Chichén Itzá. Tolum is one of the few seaside Maya ruins that exists and it was just gorgeous. The ocean views and color of the water was among the best we had seen in our entire Caribbean passage.
Chichén IItzá is impressive! The famous "Castle", as the Spanish called the main pyramid, is majestically imposing as well as are many of the other buildings such as the Temple of the Warriors (where the famous statue reflecting a human figure or Chac Mool is located), the Temple of the Thousand Columns, the Balls Court (one of the largest of the Maya ruins), the Observatory and the Nunnery Complex.
There is a lot that one can write about these important Maya sites but it could take pages. Rather, we leave this to the experts and the works they have published. We took many pictures that you can peruse in our Gallery of Pictures and have written the names of the remains on many of the photos. If you are interested in learning more about the Maya civilization and its legacy a search online will yield a lot of important works. There is currently excavations being done by many universities primarily from the United States and they produce ongoing papers on new discoveries.
There is still a lot we don't know about this civilization. A topic of controversy revolves around the question: Why did the Maya civilization disappear? By the time the Spanish arrived to the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) in the early 1500s where the Maya lived, there were just a few groups left who were living in the ruins but were not organized as thriving groups. Some of the theories about the disappearance of the civilization say that it was because the land and crops could no longer sustain the population growth. Others argue that other groups from Mexico like the Toltecs conquered the Maya and their culture was taken over. This mystery keeps archeologists of the Mesoamerica working away to find sufficient clues to put this puzzle together.