The Mexican resort city of Cancun is situated in the Yucatan Peninsula a peninsula bathed by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. Once the center of the flourishing Mayan Empire, the Yucatan Peninsula is renowned for tropical forests, incredible coastlines, and its proximity to one of the world’s greatest reef systems.
The ancient Mayans worshiped the sun god, Kinich Ahau. Centuries later it’s again the sun that has revived the fortunes of this incredible land. Once a sleepy fishing village, now millions of visitors come each year to Cancun to pay homage to the Yucatan sun, and night!
Cancun’s beaches line a 15 mile-long sandbar known as Isla Cancun. It’s here, along the Zona Hotelera, that mankind’s newest sun temples have risen. The sand on Cancun’s beaches has a unique property that allows it to stay cool, no matter how hot the weather.
The locals call it “air conditioned sand” ~ a gift from the gods. The Yucatan Peninsula abounds with such gifts. At the Acuario Interactivo, get close to the ocean’s gentle guardians, the dolphins.
They may even sing some mariachi for you. When it’s time to drag yourself away from the dolphin pools, head to the northern end of the Hotel Zone to Playa Tortuga. From here, the island of Mujeres is just a 20 minute ferry ride.
Step ashore and explore Captain Dulche’s Maritime Museum, and discover the famous pirates, explorers and vessels which once navigated these waters. For a museum that is truly different, strap on a face mask, and dive in. The Museo Subacuatico de Arte, consists of hundreds of life-sized eco-sculptures, many of which are based on Yucatan locals.
The sculptures change over time as sea-life takes up residence, and will one day be completely reclaimed by nature. Yucatan was once dotted with over 40 Mayan cities, but you don’t need to be Indiana Jones to discover this incredible civilization.
Even in the Hotel Zone, you can explore this ancient world at the Mayan Cancun Museum and the temple ruins of El Rey. But to experience the greatest of all the Mayan cities, take a day trip to Chichen Itza. This vast temple complex reached its peak around the 10th century and today is listed as one of the World’s Seven Modern Wonders.
Wander across The Great Ball Court where teams literally played for their lives. At the Temple of Kukulkan, let your gaze climb the stairway to the heavens. Then visit the observatory where Mayan astrologers charted the night sky. When the sun sets, head back to town and explore Cancun’s 21st century dance temples.
Join travelers from all over the globe as they join together to seek out the spirit of the night. The Mayans were masters at many things, but thankfully the 2012 end-date on their calendar wasn’t the end of world. The sun will continue to shine over Cancun’s warm waters and cool sands, for centuries to come.