From time to time, you will see in this blog that I trade formal shoes to flippers or boots in order to explore more of this world. It’s always a mix of luxury and adventure travel here at Holy Smithereens. And I hope that you too, share this passion of intoxicating concoction.
Mexico to me is a country where luxury lies in the richness of experience and history. The people I encountered, and the abundance of ancient history that lies next to beachside tourism.
It is a country that’s never short on tourists. With beach escapes like Los Cabos and Cancun, foreign visitors flock to the country in steady numbers throughout the year.
For those wishing to see and explore beyond the beach attractions of Mexico, here’s a rough and quick guide to it’s ruins.
There are hundreds of Mayan ruins all throughout Mexico. This is just my personal list, the ones I’ve visited on a 2-week trip.
Location: 62 Kilometres South of Merida
Compared to other Mayan ruins, Uxmal was found in the best condition with a lot of details still intact.
Famous landmarks include Pyramid of the Magician and the Governor’s Palace.
Location: 140 Kilometers South of Merida
This is the 2nd largest ruin in Puuc region after Uxmal. The most famous structure in Uxmal is the Palace of the Masks, where there are hundreds of face masks of the rain god , “Chaac”.
The reverence of rain and thunder is due to the fact that the land and area is so arid and dry. Up to this day. I consumed 3 bottles of water just walking around the site.
Location: Mexico City
Tlatelolco is a “hot spot” in the archaeological world at the moment. In 2009, they discovered a mass grave containing 49 skeletons laid out in a neat line. The burial style makes historians think that the deaths happened during Spanish colonization period.
And recently, the peaks of a pyramid has also been discovered in the area which makes historians believe that Tlatelolco is much older than it is believed to be.
Apart from all these recent exciting discoveries, what makes Tlatelolco special is it’s location. Right in the heart of Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City), you can see the contrast of 3 worlds: The Mayan Empire, The Spanish Colonial Era, and the Modern Mexico.
And to make things even more significant, this was also the site of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, where hundreds of unarmed Mexicans (mostly students) were gunned down by military and police forces.
4.) CHICHEN ITZA
Location: 186 Kilometers from Cancun
No introductions required, Chichen Itza is by far the most famous and most visited Mayan Ruin in Mexico (attracting 1.2 Million tourists a year).
It’s important to know that they do not allow visitors to climb Chichen Itza anymore. (2 years ago, actress Sofia Vergara and her then-fiance were almost arrested after her fiance thought it romantic to propose to her atop the pyramid)
Other famous spots in the area are the Great Ball Court and the Temple of a Thousand Warriors.
Location: 140 Kilometers from Cancun
Tulum has gained a very romantic reputation because of the prime location of its ruins. Ancient ruins that overlook the Caribbean blue.
Tulum was a pre-colonial walled Mayan City which served as a major port for Coba. All I can think of was how this must be real estate gold during the time. Only posh Mayans allowed in the area!
Location: 48 Kilometers from Mexico City
I saved my favourite ruin for last. Teotihuacan is a large city that became the epicenter of culture and commerce for ancient Mesoamerica.
What remains today are the rough stone structures of 3 pyramids which tourists can still climb, along with sacrificial altars.
Even with the few structures that remain, it was easy for me to imagine what a bustling centre of trade Teotihuacan was.
Popular sites in the area include the Pyramid of the Sun (above) and the Avenue of the Dead.