A wild undercurrent, writhing like a liquid goddess, resides beneath the scrub jungle, pyramids and rolling hills of Yucatán state. You feel her tides as you walk beneath the towering Maya pyramids of Chichén Itzá and Uxmal, imagining the rich waves of history, slaughter, deceit, fame and famine that rolled through these mighty power centers. She ebbs and flows in the intact colonial cities of Mérida, Valladolid and Izamal as huipil-clad indígenas mingle with trendy students, factory workers, tourists and the wealthy elite as they ply the streets of the peninsula’s modern-day cultural crossroads. She gurgles and spits and purges and pulls in the bird-clogged estuaries near Celestún and Río Lagartos, and underground in the vast system of caves and cenotes that pock the region. There are a few nice beaches in Celestún and Progreso, but most people come to this area to explore the ancient Maya sites peppered throughout the region, like the Ruta Puuc, which will take you to four or five ruins in just a day.