A couple of days ago we decided to visit the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. In 1988 UNESCO declared it World Heritage Site… One of the NEW seven wonders of the world. So… how could we pass it up? After all, it was only 176 kilometers away and Marty is quite enamored with Mayan culture. I looked into tour groups, but everything I read eluded to the fact that unless we arrived at exactly 8 o’clock when it opened we would be viewing temples with MANY other tourists in the scorching heat. We ended up hiring a taxi driver for the day and left at 6 in the morning to ensure arriving when it opened. The two-hour drive was easy and everyone in the back slept most of the way there. When we arrived at eight, the sun was already high in the sky and the heat was getting more intense by the minute. The admission price was $17 dollars per person, but the magnitude of this did not hit me until the afternoon when literally hundreds upon hundreds of people entered the grounds, on a Monday mind you. Apparently 1.2 million people visit Chichen Itza each year. Wow! The ruins were impressive even though they were all partitioned off and you could only view them from behind the ropes. I get it though, with 1.2 million visitors a year they wouldn’t last long with that many people trampling over them. We walked around for about 3 hours until the heat became too much. As we were leaving, the hordes of tour busses arrived and the amount of people that began to pour through the gates was simply astounding. The rest of the day went pretty much like that. We stayed one step ahead of the tour busses and had a terrific day.
After the ruins, we headed to the famous cenote of Ik kil. We dove off a cliff, swam with black catfish, and relaxed after our morning at Chichen Itza. Luckily, we drove out as the tour busses were arriving again and headed to Valladolid for lunch. This entire area of Quintana Roo survives off of tourism and while it is annoying at times if you do not like the typical tourist scene, you can’t blame them for making as much money as they can off of tourists
Our three-week vacation comes to a close tomorrow and it has been absolutely fabulous. Despite the first two weeks of sick children, we have spent a lot of quality time together and had many great experiences. This last week in Akukal has been relaxing and gluttonously lazy. The weird Sargasso seaweed surge that has apparently been plaguing the beach here for the past few months seems to be clearing up… just as we are leaving, but it has been wonderful nonetheless. Kayaking, snorkeling, and an abundance of swimming…we really hate to leave. However, we look forward to getting home and easing back in to normalcy.