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Yucatan

Travel Guide North America Mexico Yucatan Peninsula Yucatan

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Introduction

Yucatan is one of the 31 states of Mexico, located in the northwestern part Yucatan Peninsula.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

Chichen Itza

2009.09.05 Chichen Itza (4)

2009.09.05 Chichen Itza (4)

© All Rights Reserved JOSE_MARIA

Chichen Itza is one of the new 7 world wonders and for good reason. The site is located on the Yucatán Peninsula between Mérida and Valladolid. The site is very popular for daytrips from tourists who stay in the Riviera Maya. The main attraction is the big pyramid of Kukulcan or El Castillo. Unfortunately it is not possibly to climb up the pyramid anymore but it is also impressive to see the building and to imagine how the Mayans have constructed it. They must have had quite some knowledge of mathematics and astrology. The ground plan of the pyramid has square terraces with stairways on every side to the temple on the top. Two times a year during the Spring and Autumn equinox it seems like a snake comes down the stairs of the north staircase. This symbolises the feathered snake which represents Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatle. The shadow moves down by the movement of the sun during the rising and setting of the sun. Underneath the temple archeologists have found another temple. Inside the temple was a Chac Mool statue and a throne in the shape of a jaguar, painted red with spots made of inlaid jade. As most other archeological sites Chichen Itza also has a ball field but it is bigger than many others. Although nobody knows exactly how the ballgame was played the pictures on the walls suggest that the game ended quite bloody.

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Events and Festivals

Day of the Dead

Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries except Mexico (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexciowhere where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.

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Weather

Yucatan has hot and humid conditions typical for the tropical location of this part of Mexico. The temperatures are high throughout the year, with mostly between 30 and 34 degrees Celcius and nights between 17 and 23 degrees Celcius. December and January are coolest, May is the hottest month. June to October is the rainy season, when hot and humid conditions are even worse and there is a chance of hurricanes as well. Generally, temperatures are a little higher in the central parts, though nights tend to be warmer during the coast. It also rains a bit more along the coast.

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Getting There

By Plane

Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport (MID) serves Mérida, the capital, with a number of airlines. Destinations include Mexico City, Guadalajara, Cancun, Veracruz, Villahermosa, Monterrey, Houston, Miami, Milan, Toronto, Belize City and San Pedro Sula (Honduras).

By Bus

Autobuses de Oriente and Uno buses have connections from Mérida to quite a few Mexican cities in the southern parts of the country, including Campeche, Cancun, Oaxaca and Mexico City.

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Sleep

Contributors

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Yucatan Travel Helpers

  • davidecheverria

    I was born and raised in Yucatan, my childhood was surrounded of Mayan culture and traditions, but it was until 18 years of age when I really discovered the greatness of the Mayan wisdom and their legacy.

    Only a couple of years later I received my license as a tour guide by the federal bureau of culture of Mexico.

    With open eyes and mind, found immerse in this fascinating world of my ancestors, one that at this young age was full of perhaps and who knows, a world that was however revealing its secrets to my eyes one at the time.

    Working for cruise passengers for more than 10 years he learned the additional challenge of timing and special needs of cruisers, and as a free-lance, had the joy of guiding thru the most important Mayan sites in Mexico, with University students such as Virginia Tech, De Paul University from Chicago or the University of Anchorage from Alaska, just to name a few.

    After more than 20 years’ experience as a guide as well as traveling thru Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Mexico, learning sharing and feed backing about the Mayan culture and it’s amazing knowledge on Astronomy, Mathematics and Engineering, I found a crew of native guides who share my passion about this legendary civilization, and decided to put it to your reach in the shape of personalized private tours.

    Ask davidecheverria a question about Yucatan

This is version 5. Last edited at 14:50 on Oct 19, 11 by Utrecht. 13 articles link to this page.

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