From the moment I was awarded the Fulbright, people have asked me how is Mexico. Many questions revolve around drug violence, indigenous people, … and the beaches. What many people fail to realize is that Mexico is an absolutely beautiful country rich in natural resources. The diversity within Mexico is simply astounding. As I mentioned earlier in my blog posts, Mexico’s history is composed of three major influences: prehispanic, colonial, and postindependence. As many people know, I have looked forward to my trip to the Yucatan all year long. I assure you, the trip did not disappoint. I hope the photos give you a glimpse of the Yucatan.
I started my trip at Tulum. Tulum is widely known for its ruins, which lie along coast. It seems to me that the ruins of Tulum served as a lighthouse that helped ships arrive at the peninsula. My goodness gracious, I had never seen so many tourists in one place. I can see how all the tourists can frustrate people. After seeing the ruins, I was able to go to a nearby ejido, communal land, where I visited in several cenotes (sinkholes). The Mayans used the cenotes as a source of drinking water. The first cenote that I visited is called mysterio maya. At the time, it had only been opened to the public for two months. I was able to avoid the large crowd of people and appreciate the natural formations of the cenote. It was pretty surreal to be swimming around as bats flew over my head. Not at a bad way to finish my first day.
On my second day I visited little-known Coba. Coba is in between Valladolid and Tulum. It is literally in the jungle. You have to ride a bike to get around. One of the most redeeming features of Coba is that you can actually climb some of the ruins. The view from the top of the main temple was breathtaking. Shortly after, I went ziplining for the first time! I am not going to lie, I was terrified. Somehow I mustered the courage to zipline across the lake and record it with my phone. From Coba I travelled to Valladolid. It is a small colonial town near Chichen Itza. I ended up visiting more cenotes there. Valladolid is severely underrated. It is a nice cozy colonial town that grows on you as you sit in the main center eating a raspado and watching the kids play with the main church in the background.
On my third day, I made the trek to Chichen Itza. I held several reservations before I went. Honestly, I had low expectations of Chichen as I thought that it would be a tourists haven. There were a decent number of tourists but it was not overwhelming. But in fact Chichen does live up its name. I think this is an exemplary site of many of the Mayan civilizations. Walking around you can get a taste for its grandeur. The kublak temple is as imposing in real life as it is in pictures. The ball court was by far much bigger than any other ball courts I had seen. The observatory was absolutely amazing. It gives you an idea on how advanced the Mayans were in terms of science, math and astronomy. I can see why it is one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
My trip ended in Merida where I made a guest appearance on #rutamayagueras. It was great to run into Isabelle and Allyson (Fulbrighters!). I ended visiting uxmal as it was relatively close to Merida. Beware, make sure you have a reliable source of transportation or you will be waiting a long time to make it back to Merida.
All in all, it was a great trip. It exceeded my expectations of the Yucatan. I highly encourage making a trip to the Yucatan.