This week, the weather has been really nice and warm! I feel as if summer is right around the corner, although the actual first day of spring is tomorrow! So crazy!! But in light of this warmer weather and the thought of hot summer days, I wanted to share the last port of call from our Caribbean cruise last summer. It was by far the hottest day I have ever experienced. The kind of heat that makes you feel crazy and it’s almost like your body takes over, needing every ounce of energy to keep you from passing out. As someone who is always cold and usually carries a sweater year round, one thing I remember telling myself was that on the coldest of days, I would remind myself of this sweltering heat.
Our last port of call was in Cozumel, Mexico. This was the only port that I knew I wanted to do an excursion on because I wanted to see the Mayan Ruins! I’m not sure if my love for archaeology developed after watching Indiana Jones on repeat with my brothers when I was a kid or what, but when I was in college I almost majored in anthropology because I was so fascinated by it. Photographing an archaeological dig, baby bonobos, and the pygmies in Africa are still on my bucket list 😉
I think the hardest part of picking the excursion was that there were multiple sites with ruins that we could go see. All of which were an all day adventure including hours of travel. We finally decided on the Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itzu, which is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico.
When we docked in Cozumel, everyone on our excursion were the first ones off the ship due to the tight itenerary. We had to be the first on the ferry and first on the buses. We took a 45 minute ferry ride to Playa Del Carmen and then walked through the town to where the buses waited. When we got on the tour bus, they had a little bag of snacks of all of us and we settled in for a 2 and a half hour ride into Mexico to Chichen Itza, one of the largest Mayan cities. Our tour guides were very nice and informative. They helped make the ride not seem as long by sharing interesting facts about the ruins and the beliefs of the Mayans. Eli and I brought our books and alternated between reading and talking to each other. It was a nice relaxing drive before we got to the ruins.
By the time we got to Chichen Itza, it was probably the hottest part of the day but it was so incredible to see the Kukulkan Pyramid and the other structures!! It was amazing to see these ruins that had been around for so long and to hear the stories behind the design and purpose of the buildings. Even though this was the most touristy things we had done, I was so excited to be there and I couldn’t believe how crazy it was to see. These photos do not do it justice. It was like something out of a movie, almost as if it wasn’t real but it was!
The design behind the Kukulkan Pyramid, also known as El Castillo, is so fascinating. The placement of the structure and the number of steps create a serpent like shadow pattern during the Spring and Autumnal Equinox that meets the snake head at the bottom of the pyramid. Also, they took into account the acoustics of the building and if you stand at a certain spot in front of the stairs and clap, the sound travels up the steps, to the little window, and echos back to you in the sound of a bird. It is so incredible that it was listed as one of the new 7 Wonders of the World after a world wide vote!
The other ruins we saw were The Great Ball Court, Tzompantli, or Skull Platform, The Platform of the Eagles and Jaguars, The Temple of the Warriors, and a few others.
In true tourist fashion, we of course had to get our picture taken in front of the pyramid. We also had a Mayan Calendar made for us and they create it while you are looking at the ruins which I thought was pretty cool! They even gave us a booklet on how to read them but I still can’t figure it out… 🙂 Before our cruise, the only country I had been to outside of the US was Mexico, and practically every time I would come home with a new Mexico blanket. Most of these visit was when I was in JR high or high school, so the colors don’t quite match our home now, so I knew I wanted to get a new one. I also knew that with the tight schedule of our excursion, I might not be able to buy one. Luckily there were a lot of venders on the grounds and outside the excavation site and the very last thing we did before running to our bus was barter for 2 blankets!
I am so happy that Eli and I were able to have this experience during our vacation! I love traveling to new places and learning about other cultures. I always want to include a visit to a museum or historical monument during our adventures. I definitely think that allowing yourself to explore and learn is such a wonderful experience. Especially since who knows when I will be back at that part of Mexico. All of our friends went to a natural water park that day and even though it looked super fun, relaxing and amazing, I’m glad we got to see the ruins! Even though I’m pretty sure we suffered from heat exhaustion and napped the whole bus and ferry ride back to the ship, it was an adventure I will never forget!
Also, if you made it to the end of this post, thank you so much for reading!! I also wanted to announce that I am launching my Travel Photo Print Shop where you can buy professionally printed 11×14 inch prints of some of my favorite travel photos!! So far I just have 1 shot from each of the 4 ports, but I will be adding more in the near future. If you don’t see the shot you wanted, feel free to let me know and I will add it to the shop! Thanks again for all your love and support!! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!