In the Footsteps of the Mayas

Palenque is a popular goal for groups of travelers, so we weren’t very surprised at the many souvenir stands, guidebooks for the site, and the number of tourists. The ruins are located wonderfully in the jungle, and you can climb up the big, high structures. Several paths in the site are close off since structures are still being uncovered and reconstructed there. We especially like the path leading downhill to the museum along a river with beautiful waterfalls and pools in the middle of the rain forest and on to additional smaller complexes with structures.

Here are some private pictures.

Inspired by Palenque, we drove into the Rio Bec region, where there are numerous larger and smaller complexes of ruins to visit. First, we looked at Calakmul, which is not visited very often since it can only be reached via a long approach in your own vehicle. 2,000 years ago, a gigantic city existed here, with over 7,000 buildings and a great area of influence. Today, the remote ruins are in the middle of the jungle, and, from the top of the high buildings, the horizon you see is only green forests, the home of lots of animals. We spotted howler monkeys, toucans, wild turkeys, snakes, wild boars, and even a tarantula (which unfortunately did not survive its sudden encounter with the Bremach). The children loved the fauna, and Max and I had real Indiana Jones feelings which we were exploring, especially when bats swarmed around us in a dark chamber.

We spent much more time there than we had planned because we were so fascinated by it, but also because we had to walk around so much. That’s why we weren’t able to drive as far as we wanted to, but we found a lovely place to spend the night in a village, directly next to the soccer field. The inhabitants of the village came to visit, of course, and raved so much about “their ruins” that we just couldn’t leave out Becan. Even before the gates opened the next morning, we were there waiting. Becan has a lot of residential buildings, almost like apartment building in modern cities, and it was the only Mayan city to have a water moat. For Carla and Robert, there were so many small passages and labyrinth-like structures again for them to run around in and make discoveries.

Then we just couldn’t pass by the ruins of Kohunlich without visiting them since they were not far from the street and were almost on our way anyway. This site was once again completely different than all the others we had seen, just like modern cities all have some things in common, yet still have their own special charm. Kohunlich is located under thick palms in the middle of the rainforest, and the recurrent rain has contributed to its special atmosphere. We took turns looking at the ruins while the children had their own fun with gigantic palm fronds under the dry canopy of foliage.

Private pictures of us visiting the ruins are here.

Now we are finally in long-waited Laguna Bacalar, where we actually wanted to spend several days relaxing before we say farewell to Mexico. Unfortunately, the weather has thwarted our plans: the warm lake, which usually looks like the Caribbean, is completely churned up by all the rain in the last few weeks and everything is flooded. We jumped in anyway, along with our two little water rats. If it keeps on raining, we will probably leave Mexico earlier than we had thought (and much later than originally expected) and head for Belize.

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