This photo shows a very good replica of the statue of Chacmool that is located in Chichen Itza on top of the Temple of Warriors, which is off limits to visitors. I have postcards & booklets with photos of Chacmool on the Temple. For me it is a powerful work of art. This replica is in the gardens at Mayaland Resort.
I've read that Chacmool was a rain god, that he was considered to be a messenger between earth and heaven & that sacrifices were placed in the plate on his lap. This half-reclining figure with turned head & intense expression is unusual.
Near Merida are many fascinating locations. Chichen Itza is the largest and most important Mayan city of the Yucatan Peninsula. It's about a 90 minute drive from Merida. Near C. Itza is the colonial city of Valladolid & cenotes - the pools of water from underground rivers that are in caves & are open for viewing & swimming. The Yucatan has limestone as its foundation. As a result, there are no above ground rivers.
In another direction is Campeche, the refuge of pirates and the paradise of fishermen, also, the Franciscan convents of Izamal, and the wilderness reserve sanctuary for thousands of flamencos & other birds in Celestun. Flamingoes live naturally in the Yucatan. We saw about 100 of them in a large wetland area on our bus ride to Progreso one day.
Also, nearby is Dzibilchaltun, a pre-historic Spanish town that means “place where there are writings on the stones.” This Mayan center that was built about 200 A.D. is one of the oldest in the Mayan zone.
We spent a day and night at Chichen Itza and Mayaland Resort and Bungalows - on the property of the ruins. I wish we would have had the time to explore ALL of the fascinating areas on the Yucatan Peninsula. Maybe some day.
This is one of the many beautiful views at Mayaland - looking out from the main dining room to the pond and a statue of a woman in the white hipil dress, the traditional dress of the Yucatan women. All of the women working at Mayaland wear them.
There are many of these separate bungalows for guests at various places in the beautifully landscaped grounds at Mayaland. We arrived after dark after coming from Cancun and having dinner in Valladolid. We spent the evening relaxing on the porch of the bungalow while a gentle rain fell. Lights illuminate the palms and other tropical plants. It was very quiet, peaceful and relaxing.
Many people may not know of the beautiful tropical gardens and buildings on the grounds of the Chichen Itza ruins. Mayaland Resort and Bunglows is an exquisitely beautiful place. From one of the hallways in the main building on the property is a framed view of The Observatory on the Chichen Itza grounds.
HOTEL CAFE Y GALERíA "CASA LUCÍA": the main attraction here is the original art by Castro Pacheco - located in front of Parque Santa Lucia. Good pastries and excellent coffee.
"Yucatan Today" says: HOTEL CAFE Y GALERíA "CASA LUCÍA"
On Calle 60, across from the beautiful Santa Lucia Park, you will find "Hotel Casa Lucia," the only Boutique Hotel in Merida in the Small Luxury Hotels category. Green areas, a wonderful swimming pool, "Tiffany" stained glass windows, a majestic marble lobby, and French wrought iron, all invite contemplation and relaxation in Merida's downtown Historical Center. The hotel's "Cafe Lucia" serves the hotel guests 24 hours and is open to the public 8 AM to 1 AM daily. Their delicious regional and international cuisine has fair prices. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the restaurant or across the street in the park. Enjoy their Trova music. The collection in their Art Gallery has works by various internationally recognized artists.
On my third day in Ticul, I visited the Grutas de Loltun, which is a cavern inhabited since prehistoric times and later by the Mayans. In it, there are two columns that when hit reverberate the sound LOL-TOON
The fourth and last site was Kabah, a site with a huge palace that reminds me of the multi-million dollar mansions with nice lawns that are always shown in the movies. This palace's style of course was clearly Mayan and Puuc.
The next day I took the Ruta Puuc bus to enjoy four other Mayan Puuc sites. In my head I kept singing that eighties song... 'I think I’m turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so....' hehehe. The red tour bus stopped only 30 minutes on each site.
The first day I started things off visiting the incredible ruins of Uxmal. This site has to be among the best in the Mayan world. Its amazing the detail work the Mayan put into building the Palace, even more so when one considers the lack of metal tools in the Mayan world back then. For those without a car, there is a Tourist Red bus that takes tourist from Merida to the many Ruta Puuc sights, including Uxmal, Sayil, and Kabah. You can catch this bus at the small town of Sta. Elena as well. Check out my Uxmal page.
From Merida I venture to the small town of Ticul (not Tikal in Guatemala). This town served as my home base for several days. From Ticul I was able to visit both the Ruta Puuc, composed of several Mayan sites with similar architecture, and several interesting small towns.
I visited the Mayan ruin of Dzibilchaltun. It’s true what they say, its fun to pronounce that word :). The sites are not as spectacular as others, but still are worth the visit. Check out my Dzibilchaltun page for more details.
This is another beautiful scene at Mayaland. - this lovely shaded terrace with a stand of Bamboo just beyond.
On the path to Chichen Itza grounds from Mayaland, we happened to see these bits of leaves being carried along by ants. Couldn't resist taking a photo of them.
Inside our spacious and lovely room at Mayaland was this carved wooden door leading to a large bathroom. It's one of the many details that makes Mayaland an extraordinary place.