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Posts Tagged ‘Ports of Call’

Tulum Ruins

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Mayan Ruins of Tulum

Gay-Tulum-Calendar-InfoTulum is one of approximately 3,000 Mayan ruins located throughout the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It is one of the smallest ruins uncovered. During the Late Post Classical Period, which was from 1250- 1550 AD, Tulum developed as a city with strategic importance. The Mayan civilization had the only fully developed written language in the pre-Columbian Americas.

In the Mayan language, Tulum means “fence” or “wall”. The walls were 26 feet thick walls, averaging 16 feet in height and 1,300 feet in length.  They were used as a defense against invasions. The explorers of the Juan de Grijalva Spanish Expedition of 1518 were the first Europeans to spot the ruins of the walled city of Tulum.

Tulum Ruins are set high above the Caribbean Sea

Tulum is set high above the Caribbean Sea

There are only 20 remaining structures at the Tulum Ruins. However, due to its location high on the cliffs above the Caribbean Sea and its proximity to the beach, it is a popular tourist spot. The inlet or former port is located between the Inner Precinct and the Temple of the Wind. With access to both land and sea, it became an important trade route for engaging in commercial activities with other cultures in Central America, as well as other people of the Yucatan. The Mayans primarily traded honey, furs, tobacco and pearls. The structures were designed to provide guidance to sailors as they approached the reefs.

 

The Tulum Ruins

Main-Building-at-TulumThe three primary, remaining structures at the Tulum Ruins are:

El Castillo / The Castle

This is the main building. It was designed to take advantage of its crucial vantage point to the sea.

 

Temple of the Descending God

This structure is easily recognizable due to its internationally slanting walls. The stucco façade has carvings of the Descending God, as well as items used in offerings.

 

Temple of the Frescoes

This is one of the best preserved buildings. It has great examples of mural paintings, depicting various images of fruits, flowers and the important Mayan crop corn.

 

 

 

You’ll also be able to see these three structures on the grounds at Tulum:

House of Columns

This building’s entrance was graced with massive columns. The interior was quite large and was covered by a flat roof.

 

The Northwestern House

This building was a portal with two interior pathways and three entrances.

 

House of Halach Huinic

Also known as House of the Great Lord, this palace flanked by columns had three interior rooms. The façade held niches where figures were placed.

 

For vacationers to the Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum is listed on the Top 10 Attractions list of places to see and things to do.  It can be easily accessed via cruise ship port of call or from one of the all-inclusive resorts in the area.

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Top 10 Attractions in Cozumel

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Top 10 Attractions in Cozumel / Playa del Carmen

If you will be vacationing in the Yucatan Peninsula either at a resort or via a cruise, you’ll want to use this guide. It will help you make the most of your vacation time. Use the listings for the top 10 attractions of to do’s and must sees while on the island of Cozumel or over on the mainland in nearby Playa del Carmen.

Gay visiting Tulum

Gay at the Mayan Ruins at Tulum, Mexico

1. Mayan Ruins:

  • Tulum – This site is not very large, especially when compared to the numerous remaining structures at Chichen Itza; but it’s very close to the cruise ship docks and Cozumel. Also, the close proximity to the sea helped make this a thriving Mayan city between 1250 and 1550 AD. And the warm, crystal-blue Caribbean waters with the iconic 60 feet cliffs hovering above the beach make it a popular spot for cooling off in the summer heat.
  • Coba – Located on the mainland near Playa del Carmen, this large site covers more than 30 miles. The main temple is nearly 140 feet high with 120 crumbling steps you can ascend carefully for amazing views. You can combine this tour with the Coba Mayan Encounter where the more adventurous can engage in swimming in a cenote or sink hole, go zip lining and rappelling.
  • San Gervasio Arch

    San Gervasio Arch

    San Gervasio – Located on the island of Cozumel, San Gervasio has great significance to the Mayan culture. Women were encouraged to make a pilgrimage here in order to worship Ix Chel, the Mayan goddess of fertility, rain, moon and weaving. Many of the structures have been lost to time but you can still get a good glimpse into the Mayan way of life.

 

Turtle off coast of Cozumel

Turtle off coast of Cozumel

2. Akumal – Located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Akumal is the perfect place to snorkel with the turtles in aqua-marine waters. You may look but please do not touch. In the Mayan language, Akumal translates to “the place of the turtle.”

3. Rio Secreto Natural Reserve – In this subterranean world, you’ll get to walk and wade throughout the caverns underneath the Yucatan jungle. This “Secret River” is home to a cenote for swimming while surrounded by the beauty of thousands of stalactites and stalagmites. This is a special adventure for true nature lovers.

4. Xcaret Eco-Archaelolgical Park – Listed as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site, visitors can get to know more about Mexican customs and traditions.There are more than 40 attractions including the Voladores ceremony. Witness the Voladores de Papantla dancers launch themselves from a platform like birds in flight.   There’s also snorkeling, and an underground river, as well as Mayan cultural performances.

Sample Tequila

Sample Tequila while in Mexico

5. Tequila Factory – Jose Cuervo, Mexico’s oldest tequila brand has a tasting seminar held daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. You get to sample three of the five tequila styles,  as well as enjoy a taco bar with hand-made tortillas. The tour also includes a margarita class and participants are given a Tequila Connoisseur Certificate at the end of the seminar.

6. Chankanaab Park – Declared a National Park in 1980, it has grown in popularity as the place to swim with the dolphins. It also is a safe location for beginners and children to snorkel. More experienced water lovers can choose to dive and land lovers can hike along the nature trails. There’s some activity for everyone in your group, regardless of age and physical ability, including wheel-chair access.

Deep-sea Fishing for Blue Marlin

Deep-sea Fishing for Blue Marlin

7. Deep-sea Fishing – The offshore waters off of Cozumel are considered to be some of the best game fishing in the world, particularly when fishing for Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Amberjack and Barracuda.  Many companies offer trips of varying lengths out to fishing spots.

8. Atlantis Submarine – You’ll marvel as you explore the deep sea down to 100 feet and you won’t even have to get wet.  This tourist-friendly submarine will give you unbridled access to the world’s second largest barrier reef from the comfort and safety of an underwater vehicle.  Travelers young and old are provided unparallelled, up-close viewing of marine life usually only witnessed by divers.  I’m claustrophobic and sometimes “wig out”inside elevators but the vehicle didn’t cause me to think twice.  Typically, each passenger/couple has a window directly in front of them with unobstructed views of the sea, making the space seem open and much larger than it is.

Horseback Riding on the Beach

Horseback Riding on the Beach

9. Horseback Riding on the Beach – With urban sprawl, many people do not get to see rural areas in their day-to-day lives.  That makes this adventure even better. Galloping horseback along the beach gives you an exhilarating feeling of freedom.

Tasty Assorted Chocolates Samples

Tasty Assorted Chocolates Samples

10. Chocolate Factory – Discover the process used in making delicious chocolate, starting with the beans and ending with the bars. Find out how milk and dark chocolate are produced and why the term “white chocolate’ is a misnomer.  You’ll learn why chocolate was important to the Mayan history and culture. And of course, the tour concludes with delicious samples!

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