From Tulum I made a day trip to the spectacular Mayan temple complex of Chichen Itza! This used to be a key political and religous centre for the Mayans that dates back to the year 800. The main temple of El Castillo is over 1,000 years old!
It’s fascinating how the Mayans combined the religious, economic, and day-to-day life together so smoothly. In this site you can visit sacred religious temples, palaces, ball courts, and much more. I admit that the tourist traffic does detract slightly from the ambiance, but its popularity is well-earned.
You will notice in the photos a circular loop-type fixture in the Mayan ball court. Two teams would play, and would win by hitting a small ball through this circular goal net that was high above the ground. The ball could only be hit in by elbows, hips, or knees. At certain times there would be sacred games, and the captain of the winning team would be sacrificed to the gods!
On the way to Chichen Itza, we made a stop to Ik Kil Cenote. Cenotes are natural sinkholes that exposes underground aquifers. The water is fresh and was used by the Mayans for fresh water, and in some sites for religious ceremonies. The Ik Kil Cenote is over 40 meters deep and 60 meters in diameter! Make sure you don’t have any rocks in your pockets when you go in!
I had a great day of Mayan excursions. Next I’ll check out the ruins and beaches in Tulum. What a hard life!