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Xcaret: Part Three – Mayan Ruins

One of the best things about exploring the eco-park Xcaret near Cancun, Mexico is the lack of boundaries between you and what you’re experiencing.

You will not find roped off areas or keep out signs. No one will shout at you for venturing off the beaten path. For the most part I loved this, but I admit I was a little startled to be walking along a stream only to look down and see a shark and a stingray swimming along only inches from my bare feet with nothing between us but air and a bit of water. Yipes!

I loved being able to not only look at these Mayan dwellings, altars and who knows what, but also touch them, ascend the steps, and duck my head to enter the tiny doorways.

In reading about the Mayans, I find them an interesting contrast of gentle nomadic hunter-gatherers and vicious warriors who stole their neighbors for human sacrifices. In spite of their brutality, their skills are undeniable and impressive. They created lavish temples and palaces without metal tools, developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing, and excelled as farmers, potters and weavers.

I was intrigued to learn that they cleared routes through dense jungles and festering swamps to build extensive trade networks with distant peoples. As prolific writers, they were distinctive in that they were the only ones in America capable of expressing all types of thought. They also chronicled detailed histories of their culture and lifestyle. Unfortunately all but three of their books were destroyed when Fray Diego de Landa, second bishop of the Yucat n, ordered a mass destruction of Mayan literature in 1562.  I do wonder what stories those destroyed pages held.

What group of people in history are you most intrigued by?

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tasteofbeirut - Interesting people and great photos as always; I must say I am fascinated by all ancient civilizations. Just don’t want to go back in time and live in it; I have a book about the people of ancient Egypt, a specific region, and their portraits look so contemporary to me. Yet, they lived 2000 years ago!

Anna Johnston - I often wonder that….. what were all the stories that were so darn terrible that such amazing history had to be destroyed, interesting stuff Krista.

Susan - You know what, the Mayans have always intrigued me most. I loved this post! I learned a lot about the Mayan culture when studying Guatemala in college.

MaryAnn Hardwick - Krista, I absolutely feel I have been here with you because of your excellent pictures and written naration. I find myself wishing I could tag along with you on your trips 🙂

I am interested in all of history although I would really like to learn more about early native Canadians and Americans.

mlleparadis - Oh! M-a-a-a-a-n-n-n! Krista! These Cancun posts have been great. And your written descriptions are giving the photographs some serious competition. But those JELLYFISH! GREAT GREAT PICS! So fun! I’m so happy for you you got to do all of that!

p.s. couldn’t choose just one peoples but thanks so much for telling me lots i didn’t know about the mayans!

William H. Stoneman - What a beautiful photospread!! Thanks for sharing.

Faith - I love the history in this post! Ancient civilizations are really fascinating to me so I thoroughly enjoyed this read…lovely pictures too, Krista!

Barbara - I love history of all kinds and so enjoyed your post!
When I was in Santa Fe, I got very interested in the Anazazi….would love to go back.

Andi - How lovely that there were no boundaries, so rare!!! I’m very interested in the Aborigines of Oz.

Duchess - OOO good question. Alchemists fascinate me. But then again so do the kitchens of the various royal Louis!

Joanne - So many of the places you encounter when you travel are like museums – all of the good stuff is roped off from human contact. Not this! These pictures are gorgeous and I’m so happy you got to experience all this beauty and share it with us!

bellini - Its hard to say which group of people fascinate me. “I’d have to say ancient Greek history. Imagine walking up steps, as you did in Cancun, where ancient people did thousands of years ago.

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