10 Mayan Sites to Explore in the Caribbean
The Caribbean region is one of the most spectacular tourist destinations on the planet.
It also connects many, many countries from the smallest to the biggest on our planet. From Mexico the fifth biggest country in the world to almost the smallest, Saba with a population of 1900 souls.
Every year, millions of visitors frequent these many, many nations to enjoy themselves and relax on white sandy beaches and crystal blue water. But there is more to these Caribbean shores; much more!
Along with its natural splendours, the Caribbean is home to the mysterious vestiges of a once great nation, the Mayan people. A civilization that covered much of Central America including, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and was well established for over 3500 years. Although this civilization is gone, the ruins of their once great empire linger, most of them in Mexico and Belize. Along with these ruins there are opportunities to be had!
1. Chichen Itza – Located in the Yucatán Peninsula, Chichen Itza was a major focal point of the Mayans in the lowlands of the Mexico region for roughly 1,000 years. It is home to a well preserved El Castillo, one of the great pyramids of the Mayan people.
2. Dzibilchaltun – Also located in the Yucatán region is Dzibilchaltun, a once thriving city that is home to the Temple of the Seven Dolls. It is estimated that the city was in use throughout the 16th century.
3. Coba – Approximately 90 kilometers East of Chichen Itza is the city of Coba. It was one of influence and importance until the seventh century when Chichen Itza began a power struggle with the iconic location.
4. Mayapan – In the area lying 100 kilometers west of Chichen Itza, the large city of Mayapan housed more than 4,000 structures. This city is believed to be the cultural and political capital of the Mayans in the Yucatán region.
5. Lamanai – Occupied for nearly 3,000 years is the city of Lamanai. Due to the amount of remnants discovered in the area, archeologists believe that Lamanai was a thriving city of copper metallurgy.
6. Tulum – Located along the costline of the Yucatán Peninsula lies the city of Tulum. Home to some 1,600 Mayan inhabitants, the coastal city was but another casualty during the Spanish conquests of the Mexico region in the mid 1500s.
7. Nim Li Punit – The site of Nim Li Punit is located in Belize just 40 kilometers North of Punta Gorda. The height of this mid-sized Mayan city ended roughly around the ninth century.
8. Uxmal – Home of the Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal seemed to have ceased additional construction between the 12th and 13th century. Some believe the city was sacked by Toltecs which could attribute to the decline in continued construction.
9. Xunantunich – About 130 kilometers West of Belize City is the Mayan ruin of Xunantunich. In 750, the city was abandoned due to an unknown violent event and would not re-establish itself as a power until decades later. The El Castillo is said to be haunted by the “Stone Woman.”
10. Xnaheb – As the construction methods used for developing Xnaheb are similar, it is believed that the site was built by those whom influenced the construction of Nim Li Punit. The Xnaheb site stands in the Southern regions of Belize.
Many believe that the Mayan civilization was technologically advanced for humans during the period of their existence. They were masters of writing, astronomy, mathematics and their architecture is unique. With the amount of information that is available within the ruins, you could spend a lifetime discovering how this once strong empire was reduced to vague memory and speculation.
There are many visitors to the Caribbean who come for more than sand and sea, they come for knowledge!
Mayan archeological sites are a veritable feast of knowledge for intrepid culture hounds, visitor numbers are growing and every visitor is looking for a place to stay in the area!
There are plenty of new business opportunities in Central America around the Mayan sites.
This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.
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