In Mayan’s Land (Mexico)

Cancún, Mexico, November 2015, 82°F. You may already be picturing a white sandy beach in your mind, just by reading the first word of this post. If Cancún is indeed popular for its turquoise water, it is also a great spot to explore the Yucatán peninusla and its Mayan wonders: among them Chichén Itzá and Tulum.

Both places are historical Mayan cities erected around 500 A.D and abandoned around 1400 A.D. Whereas Chichén Itzá (UNESCO world heritage) – well-known for its pyramid, is located in the mainland and remains in very good shape – considering its 1500  years of existence of course, Tulum is directly by the ocean front in the South East of the peninsula and the damaged monuments have probably suffered from the strong winds across the centuries.

If you have the chance to visit the region and have to pick only one site, I would recommend Chichén Itzá. Not only it is one 7 New wonders of the modern world but it is true that the vibes are also deeper, maybe because of its bigger history. As a bonus if you have even more chance, you may be stopped by the police in the hotel zone in Cancún and get a ticket if you drive a rental car without exceeding the speed limit, contrary to the locals. The joy of being a tourist in a developing country!

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Cancún, Mexique, Novembre 2015, 28° C. Vous vous imaginez peut-être déjà une plage de sable blanc rien qu’à la lecture de ce premier mot. Si Cancún est réputée pour ses eaux turquoises, c’est aussi le point de chute idéal pour partir à la découverte des trésors mayas de la péninsule du Yucatán : parmi eux Chichén Itzá et Tulum.

Les 2 sites sont d’anciennes cités mayas construites aux alentours des années 500 et furent abandonées autour des années 1400. Alors que Chichén Itzá (patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO)  – connue principalement pour sa pyramide, est située dans les terres et reste en très bon état de conservation – j’entends pour ses 1500 ans d’existence, Tulum est quant à elle située en bord de mer au sud-est de la péninsule et ses monuments endommagés ont probablement souffert du vent au cours des siècles.

Si vous avez la chance de visiter la région et devez choisir un seul site, je vous recommande Chichén Itzá. En plus d’être l’une des 7 nouvelles merveilles du monde moderne, je dois avouer qu’il se dégage quelque chose de plus profond, peut être par son histoire plus riche. En bonus, si vous avez vraiment de la chance, vous vous ferez peut être arrêter par la police et recevrez une amende en conduisant une voiture de location dans la zone hôtelière de Cancún, à condition de respecter la limitation de vitesse contrairement à tous les locaux. Ah, les joies d’être touriste dans un pays en développement !

Chichen Itza / Tulum Map

More info about Chichén Itzá history: http://whc.unesco.org/fr/list/483

Some tips for your visit to Chichén Itzá – departing from Cancún with a car (prices as of November 2015):
– Driving: the drive is very easy and you cannot go wrong with directions. It will take between 2h30-3h from the hotel zone.
– Toll: surpinsingly the toll was expensive (265 mexican pesos one way). If you have time you may adjust your itinerary to avoid some tolls.
– Parking: indications are once again very easy. The parking costs 30 mexican pesos and there is no time restriction.
– Site visit: 224 mexican pesos per person. Don’t buy the packages from the tourist information center on the main road before arriving, this is more expensive than on site.
– Guide or no guide: that is up to yo but I personally advise to get a guide to capture the essence and understand the history of the site. I waited to go inside to look for one, but it is better to find people before the main entrance and group to share a guide. I paid 500 pesos for a one hour tour, the full tour of 1h30 and 2 hours seems to be around 700 pesos.

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