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Half Moon Cay - Bahamas
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Cozumel - Mexico
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  Cozumel - Mexico

Another day for exploring the Mayan culture by seeing one of the most famous Mayan ruins sites in Mexico: Chichén Itzá. We arrive in Cozumel, an 29-mile long island 11 miles from the coast of Yucatan. We're doing the 12-hour shore excursion to Chichén Itzá. After having left the ship at 7.00 am, sailing to the mainland of Yucatan by ferry and a 3-hour drive by motorcoach, we finally arrive at Chichén Itzá, where the 'El Castillo' pyramid is waiting for us.
Page introduction photo
The 'Temple of the Warriors'. The sides are decorated with relief carvings of ballplayers, and jaguars and eagles holding human hearts.

When the Toltecs came to Yucatán from the Valley of Mexico in about AD 1000, they made Chichén Itzá their capital, building the Temple of the Warriors modelled on the Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Tula.
The 'Court of the Thousand Columns' on the south side of the Temple of the Warriors.
It's not clear whether there has been a roof on top of the columns. Some of the columns have relief carvings of warriors, others have none.
Another view of 'El Castillo'. The height is 24 meters (about 75 feet). It seems to have a simple shape with square corners, but the whole pyramid was built with symbolism in mind: there are references to the Mayan Calendar, their astronomical view and their gods. Under the pyramid there's a temple with a red throne, made with Jade stones.
The 'Tzompantli', a skull plateau, which refers to the bloodthirsty religion of the Mayans. It shows hundreds of skulls of conquered enemies, captives and losers of the ballgame who were sacrificed.
The 'Ballcourt', where a ball game was played. The court measures 146 m long by 37 m wide, with both goal rings still intact on its 8 meter-high stone walls.
A closeup of one of the goal rings on a wall of the ballcourt. A rubber ball had to be thrown through one of these goal rings.
The 'Caracol'. This is Spanish for 'snail'. It's an observatory with a spiral staircase within (the snail shell). The upper room has seven openings, some of which perfectly align with the equinox and transit of the planet Venus. It has been built with the uppermost precision, very remarkable for that time.
The Iglesia ("church" in Spanish), one of the oldest structures of Chichén Itzá.
Some details of the 'Chichanchob'. Many details have been preserved very well.
Another view of the observatory.

Please note that it's very hot in Chichén Itzá and there's almost no shade. Prepare yourself by bringing sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat or cap and one or more bottles of water. But it's all worth it.
Another view of the Temple of the Warriors.

Chichén Itzá is very touristic because it's so impressive. Many cars and buses packed with tourists visit this place. But Chichén Itzá covers a wide area, and there's lots of space for everyone.
The giant serpent heads representing Kukulcán, the god of the Maya-Toltec conquerors.
This lizard likes the hot and dry climate here.
One of the bungalows of Hotel Mayaland, situated besides the Maya Ruins. In the hotel's restaurant we're having lunch.
During lunch, we're being entertained by this dancer in traditional attire.

In the afternoon we are on our way back to the ship. It's a long trip (motorcoach and ferry to Cozumel) but it was very impressive: you wouldn't miss it for the world!