Introducing Yucatán Peninsula
Caught between the relentless beat of progress and the echoing shouts of tradition, the Yucatán Peninsula stands at a crossroads. On one side you have the brawny mega-resorts like Cancún and Playa del Carmen with their oft-preposterous pomp and circumstance. On the other are the proud, steadfast traditions of the Maya, the mystery of the ceremonial centers created by their ancestors, and the Old World allure of colonial masterpieces such as Mérida and Campeche. And in between, on every peroxide-blonde beach and every patch of jungle still echoing with the roars of howler monkeys, beats the heart of Ixchel, the earth goddess, marveling at her remarkable creation.
Despite overzealous development, the natural beauty of the Yucatán abides, and with it, the reverberations of civilizations past. Set in a vast, jungle-swathed natural reserve, the pyramids of Calakmul are a prime example of nature and ancient history in perfect harmony. Far more famous and crowded - but absolutely unmissable nonetheless - are the ruins of wondrous Chichén Itzá, seventh modern wonder of the world. There's a Maya ruin near Xcalak, too, although that's probably not the reason you'd be visiting - this tiny beach town in the middle of nowhere has another attraction: its absolute isolation from the tourist trail...
Last updated: Mar 2, 2009
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