Archive for the ‘Merida’ Category

posted by colin on Sep 4

Merida On The Yucatan Peninsula

Merida On The Yucatan Peninsula

The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico offers every traveler exactly what they are looking for;  from children to adults, even senior citizens, to couples and singles. Offering the perfect combination of cultural history, beaches, natural beauty, great cuisine and the hospitality of its people.

The Yucatan is no small region, so to help you get started we recommend a trip to Merida, the capital city, where old meets new, and traditional style and modern urban development can all be found. If you are looking for postcard-perfect photo ops, Merida is the ideal departure point for excursions to the main archaeological sites, cities and colonial towns.

In the Yucatan, you can find everything from simple boarding houses to the luxury hotels and restaurants. Our recommendations include the

Mayan Palace Resort
and one of the Palace Resorts, which offers all inclusive family as well as adults only resorts along the Yucatan Peninsula.  The countless attractions include many archaeological sites, such as Exmal (World Heritage), Chichen Itza (World Heritage and Wonder of the World) Dzibilchaltun, Ek Balam and many others, all relatively close to Merida. In fact, the Yucatan State has more than 2,000 archaeological sites to visit and discover.

For lovers of eco-tourism, this ancient land of the Mayans offers locations where sunlight filters through rocks, illuminating cavernous vaults and cenotes (underwater caves). The Yucatan Peninsula lacks rivers and other surface waters as the ground is limestone and very porous. Rainwater filters straight through penetrating cracks, forming vaults and  underground rivers, many of which are interconnected.  Adventure lovers will thrill at the opportunity to swim and snorkle the cenotes above and under ground.

Last but not least, visiting the Haciendas of the Yucatan is an incredible experience. According to the Yucatan Tourism Board, some of these haciendas began to process henequen fiber. This was exploited on a grand scale, turning it into a highly profitable business that lasted until the beginning of the 20th century. Today it is interesting to walk around these old haciendas, which have fortunately been salvaged and converted into hotels, restaurants, luxury tourist shops and museums.

Certainly, as a start to exploring the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida offers a lovely place to start.

posted by colin on Aug 4

 To many would-be travelers to Mexico, the only place they think of is Cancun and similar made-for-tourism enclaves, and they probably aren’t aware of the county’s rich heritage.

Mayan Ruins Along The Yucatan Peninsula Offer Vacationers To Mexico A Much Varied Experience Than Cancun As A Party Town.

Mayan Ruins Along The Yucatan Peninsula Offer Vacationers To Mexico A Much Varied Experience Than Cancun As A Party Town.

One such place where travelers can sample this “other” Mexico is the Yucatan Peninsula, particularly the area in and around the regional capital, Merida. There, visitors who have a taste for history and a desire to do more than just relax at spas or on the beach will find Mayan ruins and colonial remnants.Among these sites is Chichen Itza, known for its signature pyramid, ball court, sacrificial cenote and observatory.

During its most powerful period, 900 to 1200 A.D., human sacrifices were regu­larly made near the top of the pyramid, now known as El Castillo.  In its prime, it was not the unadorned gray stone structure of today.  It was covered with brightly painted masonry depicting dai­ly life. For preservation purposes, tour­ists are no longer allowed to climb onto or up the pyramid, nor can they access the majority of Mayan sites. A Chichen Itza highlight is the cenote, a deep, broad sinkhole that was regarded as a sacred well.  There, heavi­ly bejeweled women were thrown in and drowned in an attempt to please the rain gods.  Acceptance of the sacrifice was as­sumed as long as the body did not re­turn to the surface.  Not surprisingly, vast amounts of treasures have been uncov­ered from the cenote, helping archaeolo­gists to date the time of the sacrifices. The ruins of an observatory sit on an elevated plateau from which astro­nomical calculations were made.  The alignment of the main pyramid indicates that the Mayan people knew about equi­noxes, as crowds of locals now flock there twice a year during the equinoxes to watch the sun project a shadow down the middle of El Castillo.

Easy access to many of the Mayan ruins along the Yucatan Peninsula while staying at some of the Palace Resorts large and boutique all-inclusive resorts.

Mexico is constantly unearthing archaeological wonders, and one of the newest is Ek Balam. Built between 600 and 1,000 A.D., according to estimates, Ek Balam features numerous mounds (thought to be burial sites) and a pyra­mid that contained the library of a for­mer king.  When the king died, his ash­es were placed inside, and the exterior was decorated with statues of birds, jag­uars, various mythical creatures and de­pictions of priests wearing bird feathers.  The site also features two main plazas and a central area that is fenced in by defensive walls. Unlike Chichen Itza and Uxmal, Ek Balam has relatively few visitors and is essentially vendor-free.  That provides a quiet atmosphere where visitors who do see it can relax and take in the Mayan culture.

Of course, the Yucatan, like all of Mexico, has plenty of more mod­ern history. Part of this history revolves around the sisal industry, a four-centu­ry-long saga about Mexico’s efforts to market and profit from the indigenous hemp plant, one of the few agricultural products that manages to thrive in the Yucatan Peninsula’s arid climate.

Less than an hour from the Merida airport, Hacienda Temozon has been refurbished to emulate its peak period of prosperity, which stretched from the 1880s to the 1920s.  The property fea­tures spacious accommodations, and airy bathrooms feature separate walk-in shower and toilet sections, with a sunken marble sink and vanity area in between.  The style of the bedrooms is reminis­cent of the colonial period, with oversize beds, comfortable chairs and tables, climate control and state-of-the-art audio­visual amenities. The hacienda also features a 140­foot-long swimming pool, a fine-dining restaurant serving Yucatan cuisine, ten­nis facilities, stables for horseback riding and an extensive spa, part of which is situated in a candlelit cave with a cenote that functions as a plunge pool.  All of this sits among sprawling grounds with miles of walking paths.

Visitors can stroll where hundreds of workers once processed sisal, prepared it for ship­ment and transported it to market on rail tracks that still crisscross the prop­erty. Adding to the atmosphere are tools of the former sisal trade, including ma­chinery, smokestacks, wagons, carriages, production tools and equestrian gear.Merida itself is home to a renowned anthropology museum, a city museum, a cathedral and the Governor’s Palace, with its second-floor gallery of historic paintings. Downtown Merida is live­ly on Thursday nights, when musicians perform and meals are served in the Parque Santa Lucia. On weekend evenings, many res­taurants in and around Merida’s Plaza Grande place tables outside, creating an urban fair complete with craft sellers and strolling musicians.

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