What a weekend! Because I only have my Maya class on weekdays, this past weekend, my host brother Javier and I decided to venture to a beach town named Tulum, one hour away from Felipe Carrillo Puerto, with my parents, who were staying there for the weekend.
First, on the way to Tulum, we stopped at a small, lesser-known set of Mayan ruins known as Muyil. Barely a small dot on my road map, the site actually houses one of the best preserved Mayan pyramids, built in the Peten style, in Quintana Roo. Also there is another pyramid, a temple, and much more stone and rock hidden under layers of palm trees, waiting to be excavated. Here is a photo of the main pyramid:
Next, we stopped at the Cenote Dos Osos. A cenote, one of the geological formations of the Yucatan peninsula, is a sinkhole which exposes the groundwater underneath the limestone bedrock shelf. The Ancient Maya used cenotes as an important source of water, and regarded them as sacred. This particular cenote was developed into a pool-like facility, with diving platforms, tightropes, and slides. Here’s a photo of me diving (excuse my form, I guess I can cross Olympic diving of my bucket-list):
After a week of home-cooked Mexican food, it was a welcome relief to go to a local Italian restaurant for lunch and an Argentine steakhouse for dinner in Tulum. The food was absolutely amazing, so amazing to the point that I ate too much and became sick later in the night…
However, I have not yet mentioned Tulum’s two main attractions. This morning, Javier and I visited the Maya ruins of Tulum. Ancient Tulum, known as Zama (Dawn) by its Maya inhabitants, was a walled city on the Yucatan coast that served as an important trading center and port in the region. And, thus, it was one of the first Maya cities sighted by the Spanish explorers in the early 16th century. Today, the ruins are famous for their marvelous scenery— ancient temples upon jagged cliffs overhanging a white sand beach and the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Although there were many tourists, as typical for many sites on the Maya Riviera, we managed to take a few photos without too many people in the way:
After the ruins, we stopped at the beach to take a quick dip in the water. Even for me, a part-time Florida resident, the water was exceedingly clear and warm. We could only stay for about 20 minutes, however, before we had to catch our cab back to Carrillo.
Although Tulum was a lot of fun, I’m glad to be back in Carrillo, sitting in the little thatched hut behind my family’s store, watching TV with all my delightfully restless siblings. Off to another week of Maya class!
My next update will be on either Wednesday or Thursday. Until then!