Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:
The old stones of Mexico are worth seeing. And Indiana Jones can (still) go get dressed. To me, the mysterious Mayan pyramids!
It's not just diving in life ... 😉 When my stay in Mexico in July 2014, I could not pretend to ignore the pyramids of the ancient Mayans, all close. Here are four archeological sites that I took the time to explore between two dives, and which I warmly recommend the visit, if you travel in the Yucatan peninsula:
July 2014. Overwhelming heat. In this season, in the Caribbean Sea, the Mexican sun is beating. In front of me, the remains of a small pyramid of gray stones in the middle of a clearing, surrounded by vegetation.
A beautiful iguana is watching me out of the corner of my eye. I approach slowly to draw him the portrait.
We are in San Gervasio, Maya archaeological site, created around -100 BC. JC and occupied until the sixteenth century. Surrounded by a small jungle, it is in the center of the nice island of Cozumel, located off Playa del Carmen and Cancún.
There are old stones, trees hugging the old stones and some dripping tourists, more fascinated by the iguanas stuck in the bushes than by the old stones, in truth. Yet this small site dedicated to the Mayan goddess Ixchel - goddess of fertility, the moon, medicine, weaving - is not lacking in charms. An ancient paved road, a graceful arch still standing, several temples and buildings in fairly good condition. The place is peaceful, far from everything.
I rented a scooter for the day, just to explore Cozumel quietly. San Gervasio is my first Mexican "cultural" excursion, my first Mayan pyramid!
Tulum: facing the sea
A few days later, I leave Cozumel, where I spent most of the week exploring the beautiful coral reef of the island. I now head for the beaches of Tulum and its archaeological site (created in the sixth century, occupied until the sixteenth), a few kilometers south of Playa del Carmen.
I took the ferry at dawn in Cozumel, then boarded a bus that drops me off at the guesthouse i-Tourat the crossroads of two major roads in Tulum. I took the economic option for the only night I plan to spend here. The accommodations on the beach are crowded and overpriced, flanked for the most bars with sonos for "beach parties" night ...
To just sleep and wander during the day, i-Tour proves to be a good option. Adorable welcome (in French!), Loan of bicycles, impeccable air-conditioned rooms, comfortable and thematic (from Frida Kahlo to Hugo Sanchez), several nice restaurants around. They are also tourist center: all minibus excursions stop at home in the morning for breakfast and at that time, there is a crowd in the small courtyard, funny as anything (wink to Marie-Julie from the Taxi-Brousse blogwho stopped there).
I leave my bag and quickly bike to the Tulum site in the middle of the morning. It's already a little too late: the clusters of tourists from Cancún and Playa del Carmen are starting to flow.
Here too, the sun is beating. Tulum was a port-fortress and one can discover many well-preserved buildings on a cliff overlooking the beautiful turquoise blue of the Caribbean Sea. The light is intense, the place very beautiful.
But the crowd of visitors, always denser, spoils a little contemplation. I finally run away and pedal to a stretch of beach to complete this day of tourists on the Riviera Maya.
Chichen Itza: spectacular!
The next day, I take a bus to Valladolid, old colonial town a little more inside, where I intend to stay a few days to explore the surroundings and visit several other famous sites, including the very famous Chichen Itza.
Valladolid is charming and enchants me on arrival. Less and less far from the coast than Mérida, it is the ideal base to shine in the region. One morning, very early, I embark in a collectivo (taxi collective), holding absolutely this time to arrive first at Chichen Itza.
It is the most famous, the most visited, the most beautiful, Unesco classified site, and everything! ! ! 😲
I'm so excited when I'm here that I succumb to Instagram selfie pure tourist. Well, yes, it's not every day that we can take a selfie in front of a Mayan pyramid ... 😀
I arrive so early that the wickets are not open yet. I am really the first visitor of the day to pass the entrance of the site. It makes the staff laugh at the checkouts, which takes advantage of the calm before the tourist influx of the day.
I had read mixed reviews about Chichen Itza. For my part, it's the opposite, I'll be delighted with my visit.
I attack by the big pyramid. The light is beautiful and soft, again, at this time of the day. Some idiots like me are already on the heels of the vast grassy esplanade. Street vendors begin to arrive. For them, it's the race. They rush with their carrioles in the aisles, to quickly have their stalls of trinkets. They throw me astonished looks.
Chichen Itza is definitely worth a visit. The huge pelota court, the still intact sculptures and the vertiginous central pyramid are the show's nails. When I leave, late in the morning, I can hardly go up the flood of the crowd in the opposite direction!
Cobá: mysteries in the jungle
And then, there is the nice site of Cobá, scattered in the jungle. It is also easily accessible from Valladolid. We rent a bike, or a cyclo for two, at the entrance. It's a pleasure to pedal under the trees and to stop from one vestige to another.
I attack by the big pyramid. One of the few where it is still allowed to climb. It is dizzying, the steps are a little collapsed and you have to cling to a big rope to go up as down. But it's worth it. The jungle stretches endlessly, below, like a sea of greenery.
Again, I managed to arrive early enough, to feel almost the soul of an explorer. But it does not last very long ... I will console myself with the small pyramids still buried in the vegetation, where does not stop the crowd.
I publish this post more than a year after my July 2014 trip to Mexico!
If I have already spread a lot about spectacular dives that I was able to do in the waters of the Yucatán peninsula, but I still have some "terrestrial" memories to revive. Other Mexican articles should appear unexpectedly, as the next publications ...
To find all the articles already published on this trip to Mexico in 2014, click on the link below ... 😉