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2012 - 13th Bakt'un

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Introduction: Cancun and its Mayan Heritage

This site is dedicated to those who wish to see a little more than just the magnificent Cancun beach or nightlife. It is all too easy to stay put in central Cancun and miss out on what lies all around you. There is a massive amount of nearby Mayan culture. Then there is the superb Mesoamerican reef and the fantastic local wildlife. Before you visit Cancun, do some research and make a plan. Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum are only a coach ride away. The Mesoamercian reef and the islands are even nearer. There are many coach/taxi/boat excursions that allow you to really get the best from your time at this unique place. Narrowing your holiday down to just the beach and nightclubs would be to miss out on a rare opportunity.

Cancun and the Riveria Maya are on Mexico's Carribean coast. Nestled on the Yucatan peninsula with ancient Mayan ruins literally within some of the hotel grounds, Cancun offers an astonishing variety of holiday experiences. Whether it is "your bag" exploring the magnificent ancient ruins or marvelling at the phenominal variety of wildlife (or both!) I hope you find something of help here.

Only a coach ride away from Cancun lie major archeological ruins dating from both the classic and post classic eras of the mayan civilisation.

The pick of these has to be Chichen Itza with its magnificent Pyramid and huge ball court. Chichen Itza is now classified as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. As such access to some of the more important structures is controlled.

Dating from the earlier Classic period, the ruins at Coba extend over a huge area and is still under extensive argeological investigation. Here the visitors can clamber up the steep sides of the largest pyramid in the Yucatan - the pyramid of No Hoch-Mul.

The ruins of the port of Tulum are nearby. In Cancun there are even ruins in the hotel grounds. Just outside Cancun lie the El Meco ruins of a smaller though very interesting Mayan settlement.

A short trip across the bay from Cancun is the beautiful Isla Mujeres. A quick trip down to the tip of the island will take you to the Temple of the Moon Goddess Ixca. This is incidentally the eastern most point in Mexico.Of course, visiting these Mayan ruins without any knowledge of the Mayan culture that built them is less than satisfactory. So here you will find a simple straight forward laymans guide to the Mayan civilisation, its rise and its fall. To be elaborated on as I get time!

Cancun also offers a great deal to any wildlife enthusiast. The Mesoamerican reef which is the second largest in the world (only the great barrier reef in Australia is larger) is literally on the Cancun doorstep and borders the whole of the Yucatan penninsula. A number of operators run economical day trips out for snorkelling off the Mesoamerican reef and also run trips to a remote and unpopulated island wildlife reserve, the isla Contoy. With some operators, the Mesoamerican reef snorkelling and the trip to the Isla Contoy are combined, making the most of your time. I have included pages on Isla Mujures and Isla Contoy here as well.

The local people are friendly. Although keen to get a sale, the traders and shop keepers are not as pushy as elsewhere in the Carribean. Taxis are economical (agree the fare first!) and the busses are a delight. On the bus 35 peso's (about $3.50 US) gets you anywhere along the hotel zone up to the Grand Porto with ferries to the Isla Mujures. Often the busses get boarded by buskers (some good musicians, others less so) so expect to get serenaded on you journey. They always appreciate a couple of pesos before you part company.

Almost all shops in Cancun, and most tour operators are more than happy to deal in US dollars as well as pesos. As with most great holiday destinations there is an immense amount of nightlife, which is easy to find and very accessible.

We loved our holiday in Cancun and we found Mexico, and especially the Yucatan Penninsula, the best Carribean holiday we have had. It combined the luxury of high quality hotels, excellent beaches and shopping with tremendous opportunities to see ancient Mayan culture and experience the Mesoamerican reef (as made famous by Jacque Cousteau).

Truly a worthwhile experience and a fantastic holiday.