Cozumel, Mexico (19th March). Excursion: Chichén Itzá Mayan Ruins
visiting the Maya ruins in Belize, we had high expectations of the ruins of Chichén
Itzá in Yucatan.
of call in Mexico was in Cozumel, a touristy Mexican, Caribbean island, from there we took the ferry to the
main land. The ferry was luxurious but not so big and you felt rolling and pitching the boat very good. And then happened what I never had thought would
happen. Halfway the 45 minutes during trip I suddenly felt very bad and had to
take seasickness tablets!
in Playa del Carmen on the main land and I walked sick and with cold sweat through the shopping centre
to our coach. The coach however was very comfortable and the trip to Chichén
Itzá lasted at least 90 minutes. When we arrived there the seasickness had gone
and I was ready for the extensive Maya site.
|Excursion route 'Chichén Itzá Mayan Ruins' from Cozumel|
was very impressive and the guide was a walking encyclopaedia. We used
headphones and the guide had a microphone and we could hear him, even when we
were not close to him.
|Walking route walking in Chichén
|Jan and our friends with headphones and receivers are ready for the tour.|
had much profit of the lectures of dr. Louise
Itzá was one of the largest Maya cities and dates from 660-1200 A.D. The place covers
an area of at least 5 square kilometres (1.9 sq mi). It consists of
ruins of different periods and different kinds of architecture.
|El Castillo, the
Temple of Kukulkan |
El Castillo, the
Temple of Kukulkan pyramid is about 30 metres (98 ft) high.
digging from the top, they discovered another temple buried below the current
At the bottom of the steps on the west side you see the head of the feathered serpent god Kukulkan.
On the Spring
and Autumn equinoxes, in the late afternoon, the
pyramid shows a series of triangular shadows against the balustrade that evokes the appearance of a serpent. which should be a representation
of the god Kukulkan.
|Heads of Kukulkan|
|Shadow serpent (photo from Wikipedia)|
According to Maya and Spanish sources Maya sacrificed objects and human beings into the Sacred Cenote, a sacred well, as a form of
worship to the Maya rain god Chaac. A great variety of objects have been found in the well: weapons, sceptres, idols, tools, jewellery as well as skeletons of children and men.
|Sacred Cenote |
As I said before, the place was very impressive. Other interesting platforms and temples:
Platform of Eagles and Jaguars|
|Looking for shadow against the wall of the Great Ball Court|
|Temple of Warriors|
|Çhacmool on the Temple of Warriors|
|Cruise terminal |
|Plaza de San Francisco de Assis|
This first night we walked in the little streets and listened to the music, which was everywhere. At last we set ourselves in in a beer-garden, with nice live Cuban jazz music. The beer garden offered only beer and our friend Dianne liked to have a wine. Her husband Roy went to the restaurant next to our beer-garden, ordered a glass of wine and took it to our place. The waiter of our location saw it and she smiled and approved it!
I expected rain too, because our friend Clive had placed Cuban rain pictures on Facebook some weeks ago. Of course it happened. Suddenly it started to rain and everyone was looking for a hiding place. One of the waiters tried to get the money from the people, because normally a lot leave without paying.
The rain did not last for a very long period, so we could stay a little longer and enjoy the music. That night we all went back to the ship with a good feeling about this amazing vibrating city.
|Mieke and Dianne|
|Roy, Dianne and Mieke|
Next day our friends took an excursion with a classic car and we went with a luxury coach to Las Terrazas
We drove through extensive Havana firstand then to the west through the beautiful landscape of Cuba.
|Excursion route 'Las Terrazzas'|
Las Terrazas is a small community and a by UNESCO declared nature reserve in the Sierra del Rosario mountains. The nature reserve includes 5000 hectares
(12355 acres) of forest which was planted in the sixties of last century on the surrounding (deforested) hills by building terraces to avoid erosion. The forest looks beautiful and unspoilt.
We started with a welcome drink (with rum of course) in the visitor centre 'Rancho Curujey'. A band of young musicians played nice and sang songs and the style of the guitarist was a mixture of Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana, not a bad combination, I would think.
|Replanted forest Las Terrazas |
|Near the visitor centre|
|Young musicians in the visitor centre|
After this nice start the guide explained what we could expect to see in the nature reserve. She had an app on her smart phone with bird noises and tempted all kinds of birds. But without the artificial call they came anyway.
|Centro de Informacion 'Ranchon Curujey' - Visitor centre|
|Cuban tody (Todus multicolor) - Dutch: Cubaanse todie|
On our way through the nature we visited an old French coffee plantation 'Cafetal de Buenavista' (first half of the 19th century) and saw the sheds where, in the past, the slaves from Africa had to stay in the night. Inhuman.
|The Cuban trogon or tocororo (Priotelus temnurus) - Dutch: Cubaanse trogon|
After the tour we had a simple lunch of beans, rice, pork, chicken and custard in the restaurant in Baños del San Juan, a tourist place in the area, with a camping site even.
|Baños del San Juan|
Later we enjoyed a very special Creole coffee in the Moka hotel in the village Las Terrazzas .
|Camping site Baños del San Juan|
When we were back in Havana, we saw a parade of dancing stilt-walkers in the town.
|The village of Las Terrazzas|
We did a little bit of shopping and went to the ship for our dinner. After dinner Jan, Dianne and Roy went back to the city and they had a nice evening. I stayed in the cabin with a terrible cold.
Next day we left for the Bahamas.
|Dancing stilt-walkers in Havana|
|The beautiful Marco Polo in Havana.|
|Last view on Havana|
To be continued . . .
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