Five Star Vagabond

Super travel tips, all road tested by David Herd. I'm an Australian guy who moved to Thailand in 2011 & still travel the world as often as possible.

Cancun Chichen Itza Mexico

September 30, 2013 by David Herd

A bucket of Corona

Cancun Chichen Itza Mexico

Cancun Chichen Itza Mexico, it was April 2001 when I travelled there on the way to Cuba. Consequently the photo quality is not up to standard given the fact digital cameras were reasonably new. Cancun reminded me a little of Vegas by the sea with all the fabulous upmarket hotels stretching along the narrow peninsular.

Many luxury hotels in Cancun.

Cancun Chichen Itza Mexico

The choice of luxury hotels is endless, they overlook the Caribbean which has the most beautiful colored water that I have ever seen anywhere in the world.

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Perfect combination.

David Herd Cancun

A perfect combination, two lovely Japanese girls and a cold Corona.

The beautiful Caribbean at Cancun Chichen Itza Mexico

Cancun Caribbean peninsular

The water is such a beautiful colour.

El Castillo at Chichen Itza.

El Castillo Chichen Itza

I gathered all my courage and made the climb, although when I got to the top I looked down & thought “what an idiot I am to climb this”. I must admit the view was breathtaking, I came down sideways looking at the steps not the ground, and found out later about 15 people a year fall to their death.

Dominating the North Platform of Chichen Itza is the Temple of Kukulkan (a Maya feathered serpent deity similar to the Aztec Quetzalcoatl), usually referred to as El Castillo (“the castle”). This step pyramid stands about 30 metres (98 ft) high and consists of a series of nine square terraces, each approximately 2.57 metres (8.4 ft) high, with a 6-metre (20 ft) high temple upon the summit. The sides of the pyramid are approximately 55.3 metres (181 ft) at the base and rise at an angle of 53°, although that varies slightly for each side. The four faces of the pyramid have protruding stairways that rise at an angle of 45°. The talud walls of each terrace slant at an angle of between 72° and 74°. At the base of the balustrades of the northeastern staircase are carved heads of a serpent.

Mesoamerican cultures periodically superimposed larger structures over older ones, and El Castillo is one such example.  In the mid-1930s, the Mexican government sponsored an excavation of El Castillo. After several false starts, they discovered a staircase under the north side of the pyramid. By digging from the top, they found another temple buried below the current one. Inside the temple chamber was a Chac Mool statue and a throne in the shape of Jaguar, painted red and with spots made of inlaid jade.  The Mexican government excavated a tunnel from the base of the north staircase, up the earlier pyramid’s stairway to the hidden temple, and opened it to tourists. In 2006, INAH closed the throne room to the public.

On the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, in the late afternoon, the northwest corner of the pyramid casts a series of triangular shadows against the western balustrade on the north side that evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase, which some scholars have suggested is a representation of the feathered-serpent god Kukulkan. (From Wikipedia)

In 2007, Chichen Itza’s El Castillo was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World after a worldwide vote. Despite the fact that the vote was sponsored by a commercial enterprise, and that its methodology was criticized, the vote was embraced by government and tourism officials in Mexico who project that as a result of the publicity the number of tourists expected to visit Chichen will double by 2012.

From the top of El Castillo you look down at Templo de los Guerreros (Temple of the Warriors)

Cancun Chichen Itza Mexico

The Temple of the Warriors complex consists of a large stepped pyramid fronted and flanked by rows of carved columns depicting warriors. This complex is analogous to Temple B at the Toltec capital of Tula, and indicates some form of cultural contact between the two regions. The one at Chichen Itza, however, was constructed on a larger scale. At the top of the stairway on the pyramid’s summit (and leading towards the entrance of the pyramid’s temple) is a Chac Mool. This temple encases or entombs a former structure called The Temple of the Chac Mool. The archeological expedition and restoration of this building was done by the Carnegie Institute of Washington from 1925 to 1928. A key member of this restoration was Earl H. Morris who published the work from this expedition in two volumes entitled Temple of the Warriors. (From Wikipedia)

“La Iglesia” in the Las Monjas complex.

Cancun Chichen Itza Mexico.

Las Monjas is one of the more notable structures at Chichen Itza. It is a complex of Terminal Classic buildings constructed in the Puuc architectural style. The Spanish named this complex Las Monjas (“The Nuns” or “The Nunnery”) but it was actually a governmental palace.

“La Iglesia”

Cancun Chichen Itza Mexico

This is a small temple (known as the La Iglesia, “The Church”) decorated with elaborate masks.
The Las Monjas group is distinguished by its concentration of hieroglyphic texts dating to the Late to Terminal Classic. These texts frequently mention a ruler by the name of Kakupakal. (From Wikipedia)
“El Caracol” observatory temple.

Cancun Chichen Itza Mexico

El Caracol (“The Snail”) is located to the north of Las Monjas. It is a round building on a large square platform. It gets its name from the stone spiral staircase inside. The structure, with its unusual placement on the platform and its round shape (the others are rectangular, in keeping with Maya practice), is theorized to have been a proto-observatory with doors and windows aligned to astronomical events, specifically around the path of Venus as it traverses the heavens.

Akab Dzib is located to the east of the Caracol. The name means, in Yucatec Mayan, “Dark Writing”; “dark” in the sense of “mysterious”. An earlier name of the building, according to a translation of glyphs in the Casa Colorada, is Wa(k)wak Puh Ak Na, “the flat house with the excessive number of chambers,” and it was the home of the administrator of  Chichén Itzá,  kokom Yahawal Cho’ K’ak’. INAH completed a restoration of the building in 2007. It is relatively short, only 6 metres (20 ft) high, and is 50 metres (160 ft) in length and 15 metres (49 ft) wide. The long, western-facing façade has seven doorways. The eastern façade has only four doorways, broken by a large staircase that leads to the roof. This apparently was the front of the structure, and looks out over what is today a steep, but dry, cenote.

The southern end of the building has one entrance. The door opens into a small chamber and on the opposite wall is another doorway, above which on the lintel are intricately carved glyphs—the “mysterious” or “obscure” writing that gives the building its name today. Under the lintel in the door jamb is another carved panel of a seated figure surrounded by more glyphs. Inside one of the chambers, near the ceiling, is a painted hand print. (From Wikipedia)

I look back on Cancun & Chichen Itza Mexico and realize how surprised I was with these two places. I had very low expectations yet I was thrilled with what I saw.

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                                                through these links below.  Book now & pay later. 🙂
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That’s all folks

Beckington Trowbridge

  Book through AGODA for great hotel deals in Cancun. If Cancun is not for you then try Miami.

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