Sunday, January 8, 2012

Photo of the Week #36 – Tulum, the Ancient Mayan Ruin near Cancun, Mexico

This location is carved right out of Paradise. The site is the ancient Mayan coastal city of Tulum on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. It’s about 80 miles from Cancun and right on the Mexican Caribbean coast. The ruins date back to around 1200 and the city was at it’s peak between the 1200’s and the 1400’s. From archeological studies Tulum met its demise about 70 years after the Spanish began to occupy what became Mexico. Unfortunately, like in so many other parts of the world, Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers took a devastating toll on the indigenous people.

The main building standing proudly to the slightly to the left of center in the photo was called The Castle. The city was walled on three sides and had numerous other buildings including a temple with in the walls. The fourth side of the city was protected by the 40 foot cliffs that protected the city from the Caribbean side (to the east). Time and weather have taken their toll on this trading city and, of course, it has to be protected from the large number of tourists visiting the site each year. Tulum is one of the three most visited ancient ruins in Mexico. It is currently inhabited by iguanas. They can be see everywhere as one tours the ruins. Tourists are no longer permitted to climb or enter the ruins due to the damage they have caused in the past.

I was visiting the site with my old Air Force buddy, Dave, and my two Kiwi friends, Brian and Carol. And, fortunately, we had our bathing suits on under our shorts. The short walk down a path lined by tropical vegetation took us to one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. There was no way we weren’t going to enjoy the beautiful, crystal clear, aqua water. Refreshing doesn’t even begin to describe the water and the experience. This beach area is also a protected area where sea turtles come to lay their eggs. I’ve seen the ruins at Tulum and have the photos. But, should I get back this way in the future, I just want to come and spend a few days on the beautiful beach. I’ll post a beach photo as a future Photo of the Week.

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