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Yucatan Peninsula

Travel Guide North America Mexico Yucatan Peninsula

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Introduction

Yucatan Peninsula is located in the southeast of Mexico and consists of the Mexican States of Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Campeche. To add, also a northern portion of Belize as well as the northern department of Petén in Guatemala are part of the peninsula.

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Geography

The Yucatan Pensinula consists of small parts of Guatemala and Belize, but the majority is taken by 3 Mexican states:

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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 Peninsula 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 °C and 34 °C and nights between 17 °C and 23 °C. 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

Cancun International Airport (CUN) is Mexico's second busiest airport and has numerous flights from other cities in Mexico, and cities in mostly North America and Europe. Destinations include Cozumel, Havana, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Belize City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Monterrey, Tijuana, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Amsterdam, Bogota, Milan, Rome, Frankfurt, Panama City, Paris, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Helsinki, Brussels, Barcelona, Madrid, Boston, Orlando, Washington, D.C., Tampa, Santiago de Chile, London, Lima, Oslo, Bologna, Regina, Victoria, Flores, Guatemala City, Belfast, Glasgow, Manchester, Düsseldorf, Munich, Atlanta, Baltimore, Seattle, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee, Birmingham, Bristol, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. There are even more destinations, some of them seasonal.

Cozumel and Mérida have quite a few flights as well, Cozumel having the most international direct flights. There is a small airport on Cozumel which is used by thousands of tourists a year. It handles both national and international flights. Aeromexico and Mexicana (some seasonal) have flights to and from Mexico City.
There are many international connections with destinations mainly throughout North America, like Toronto, Miami, Montreal, Dallas, Houston, New York, Atlanta, Denver, Charlotte, Calgary and Chicago. There are even direct flights to and from London-Gatwick with Thomson Airways.
Some more destinations have seasonal flights, like Memphis, Detroit and Minneapolis.

By Boat

Belize
San Pedro Water Taxi offers direct water taxis between Ambergris Caye (San Pedro) in Belize and Chetumal, Mexico. Belize Water Taxi offers the same connection and both operate on a daily basis.

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Getting Around

By Plane

There are numerous air taxi's hopping between Cancun and Cozumel, with companies like Aerotucan and Mayair.

By Boat

There is a ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. It leaves from Avenida Juarez and is very easy to find on the seaside. the ferrydock has a waiting room and a small McDonalds. There are 2 ferry companies and the ferry takes off about every 40 minutes. The price of a roundtrip should be around 160 pesos. Both ferry companies have different prices but the difference is small. Both have the same comfort, speed and sell drinks and snack aboard. The trip to the island takes about 45 minutes. It can be a little rough so if you get seasick easily you might want to take precautions.

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Sleep

Contributors

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This is version 20. Last edited at 8:18 on Jun 29, 16 by Utrecht. 13 articles link to this page.

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