Jardin Botanico Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin

If you rent a car and drive about 45 minutes south of Cancún you will come to the wonderful little town of Puerto Morales. More on that in the future. Outside of the town off the highway is a hard to find botanical garden Jardin Botanico Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin It is a fascinating visit and stroll through the Jungle.

It is not an easy hike, the ground is quite uneven in spots and you either have to cross a suspension bridge or hike up a steep hill. Well worth it though. There is allegedly a lot of wildlife but we only saw birds. Of course there were some ruins but also examples of how ancient Mayan’s lived. Inexpensive, uncrowded and very unique. Bring bug spray, it is the Jungle!

These grass roof structures were part of family living. There were three or four adjacent to each other. One had a chimney structure where the family cooked and ate, kind of a Mayan great room.Others were used for sleeping and storage. This is how the common people lived. In Tulum and Chichen Itsa you can see the ruins of stone dwellings were the rulers and elite lived.

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Mayan House

Mayan Housing

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Mayan Ruins

Before I visited Chichén Itzá for the first time I thought there was just the one giant pyramid. I didn’t realize that there was a whole city of ruins. Since then I have visited other Mayan ruins in the Yucatan and Qunintana Roo. In fact there are many archaeological sites all through Mexico and they are not all Mayan. The Mayan people live primarily in The Yucatan and contrary to popular beliefs they are still here.

This ruin is a smaller pyramid in the jungle near the great pyramid of Chichen Itsa. The great pyramid is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world. This one, not so much but it is still amazing to see it standing almost 2000 years after its construction.

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A Lesser Pyramid

A Lesser Pyramid

UNESCO Iguana

Iguanas in the Yucatan are probably as common as squirrels in the eastern USA. I am sure Mexican people think the gringos are all insane taking pictures of what they probably consider pests. This one was special though. This was taken at Chichén Itza which is a World Heritage site, so that makes him special…right?

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UNESCO Iguana

UNESCO Iguana

Chichén Itzá Pillar

I am sure our guide told us the significance of this pillar. However, I have no idea of what the significance is. I think it may be some sort of calendar but just can”t remember. I like the image because of the contrast between the pillar and the small pyramid behind it. The pyramid behind the pillar is about half the size of the larger and more famous structure at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Pillar

Pillar

The Observatory at Chichén Itzá… Redux

Most people visiting Chichén Itzá are elated to see the large Pyramids and the Ball Court. As you are walking through you gain an appreciation for the wonderful Mayan culture that seemed so civilized and yet so brutal. It reminds me of our USA culture. However, the observatory really impressed me. To think that this ancient culture was also mapping stars and comets was a little surprising. Yet Mammoths and Saber Tooth Tigers still existed when the Mayan culture was flourishing.

This image is an edit of an earlier post using Google’s NIK editing tools.

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The Observatory Redux

The Observatory Redux

The Observatory

Original Image

Attention to Detail

One of the most interesting things about visiting the ancient Mayan sites in the Yucatan was seeing their incredible attention to detail. Along the walls of the “ball court” there were incredible engravings like this which detailed the rules of the game.

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Ball court rules

Ball court rules

Goal!

When touring Chichén Itzá in the Yucatan before visiting the pyramids you stop at a long field. This is known as The ball field . They would play a soccer type of game in which they would kick a small ball through this goal. The goal sits atop a stone wall that is easily 20 feet high.

I have tried to visualize how they did this and still can’t quite comprehend it. The rubber type ball is about the size of a softball and the goal is not much bigger!

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Goal!

Goal!