Mexico City > Oaxaca
(Wings and Wheels)
maandag 16 augustus 2004
Page 1 of 159
4 u 30
Brussel - Mexico City
BRU-EWR CO 61 10:30 > 12:30 (7 ½ uur)
EWR-MEX CO 1970 17:20 > 21:38 (4 ½ uu
AM : "Bustoer" Zocalo, Kathedraal, Nation
PM : Zona Rossa wandeling terug naar Cen
tot Insurgenta, Puebla tot Niños Heroes,
(schakers) en Hidalgo plaats; 's avonds lan
Garibaldi (eten & muziek), wandelen via Ca
Zocalo (indianen muziek), terug via Mader
Central tot Hidalfo en Hotel op Guerrero.
AM: Bustoer langs de Plaats der drie cultu
Guadeloupe & Teotihuacan (Pyramide van d
Mexico City > Oaxaca
AM: Auto afhalen op de luchthaven (Alam
"Liggende Vrouw" (klim tot 3,208 m) naar
Verder naar Tehuacan (zoeken naar ruines
PM: verder langs cactussen en de Rio Gran
langs Josuah bomen, agaven, cactussen ma
AM: Bezoek aan Monte Alban (40 km² - Z
PM: Oaxaca (Zocalo, Markten, Santo Dom
Oaxaca > Tehuantepec
AM: Mitla (Stad der Doden, magisch geta
(langs een piste en wandelings)
PM: 200 km naar Tehuantepec (aan Stille
(Mezcal), bossen en cactussen.
Tehuantepec > San Cristobal de Las Ca
AM: vertrek naar Tuxtla-Guttierras (1,20
PM: Sumidero Canyon Mirador route, teru
San Cristobal de Las Casas.
Bezoek van het stadje.
Page 2 of 159
5 u 25
2 u 40
AM: Bezoek aan de Maya tempels
PM: rusten aan zwembad en 's avonds naa
Palenque > Campeche
AM: tocht naar Champoton langs ranches
lunch te Champoton.
PM: verder naar Edzna en langs indianen d
Avonds naar Zocalo waar feesten aan de g
Campeche > Uxmal
AM: Tocht naar Kabah (150 km) [tempel m
Hopelchén, tot Uxmal ("drie maal gebouwd
PM: Bezoek aan Syil en Labna
Uxmal > Chichen Itza
AM: Uxmal (archeologische opgravingen, P
maanstanden en Itzamna, tempel met 365
PM: via kleine wegen lanhs Ticul naar Sotu
Izamal (bezoek klooster en tempel) en ver
Chichen Itza > Cancun
AM: Chichen Itza
PM: doorreis langs Valladoid (lunch en bez
6 u 22
San Cristobal de Las Casas > Palenque
AM: Trekken richting Ocosingo en naar To
PM: verder naar Agua Azul en Palenque
Tropisch oerwoud met banaan, maïs, koffi
4 u 28
Cancun 's morgens terugreis (Cancun > …)
CUN-EWR CO 1988 08:50 > 13:56
EWR-BRU CO 60 19:00 > 08:15
Page 3 of 159
Mexico City en omgeving
Like an enormous living museum, Mexico City is a remarkable showplace for Mexico's 3,000
years of human cultural achievement. It ranks as one of the world's great capitals and is a
must for anyone yearning to understand Mexico's complex past and ever challenging future.
The size and grandeur of the city are staggering. It is not only the oldest continuously inhabited
city in the Western Hemisphere, but also carries the burden of being the largest city the world
has ever known.
Mexico City is located on an enormous dry lake bed in a highland basin (elevation 7,400 feet)
surrounded by towering mountains. The city faces some formidable urban problems, it has a
population of approximately 8'605,239 inhabitants.
But beneath its riveting facade, is an endearing and captivating city that has a magnetism
unfound in other cities. With some patience, the city's engaging history and cosmopolitan air
compensate for its glaring urban character.
Few cities on earth can match Mexico City for historic grandeur. Its tumultuous past
encompasses every phase of Mexican history. It is unique in the Western Hemisphere as a
colorful and compelling mosaic of Pre-Columbian, European colonial, and modern eras.
It is here that in 1519 the Old World and New World met face to face in a confrontation that
would forever shape world history. Mexico City is the exact site upon which the great Mexica
(Aztec) civilization flourished, developing one of the greatest cities of the 16th century.
Mexico City is still the economic, political and cultural hub of Mexico. It is a vivacious, pulsating
city that clamors to be chic and modern while showcasing its colorful ancient roots.
Interspersed throughout the city's unwieldy, and often unsightly, sprawl, are pockets of
beautifully preserved remnants of its colonial and Native American heritage. These include
astonishing historic sites, ranging from awesome ancient ruins, to meticulously restored,
century-old colonial buildings, churches and mansions, to lovely parks and plazas, to
Visitors find accommodations ranging from fine world-class resorts, to colonial inns and stately
Old World hotels. The city is home to dozens of outstanding museums, spanning topics of
varied artistic and academic interest. Music, dance, theater and modern art thrive in the city's
flourishing fine arts community. Dining and shopping are first rate and the city's spring-like
climate invites visitors year round.
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Mexico City surrounds visitors with reminders of the city's larger-than-life past. A strong air of
Europe drapes the capital, sometimes in sharp contrast to the city's ancient Indian past. Its
people make gregarious and gracious hosts
Zocala, Kathedraal, Nationaal Paleis, Antropologisch muzeum, Chapultepec park, San
Sebastian kerk, Universiteit, Placo Garibaldi (avond).
Page 5 of 159
Page 6 of 159
• Alameda Central (The Central Alameda Park)
This beautiful park is located between the Juarez and Hidalgo avenues and on Angela Peralta street. This is the
oldest promenade in Mexico City. It owes its name to the Alamo
trees planted there. It dates from the XVI century. Next to it on
Hidalgo Avenue, is the church of the Santa Veracruz, built in
1526, and considered one of the most important Baroque-style
buildings of the City. To the west, on Dr. Mora and Basilio
Badillo street is the Pinacoteca Virreinal, built in the XVII
century in the Chapel of Dolores. It is known to be among the
most interesting in the city for its paintings.
• Antiguo Colegio de San Ildelfonso
(The old School of San Ildefonso)
Founded by Jesuits in the XVI century, the "Antiguo Colegio de
San Ildelfonso";was transformed into the National High School in 1807. It has acted as a museum since 1978, and
displays important cultural exhibitions.
• Antiguo edificio de la Aduana (The Old Customs Office)
The "Antiguo Edificio de la Aduana", is located on the Brasil,
Venezuela and Cuba streets. This building was constructed in the
XVIII century. It has a facade of tezontle with balconies of quarry
stone. At the stairway you can see a mural painted by Siqueiros
named "Patricios y Patricidas".
• Casa de los Condes de Santa Maria de Valparaiso
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(House of the Count of Santa Maria de Valparaiso)
The Tezontle and limestone facade of this XVIII century house once belonging to the Count of Santa Maria de
Valparaiso makes it undoubtedly one of the most beautiful structures downtown. This mansion presently houses the
main office of Banco Nacional de Mexico and is located on Isabel la Catolica 44.
• Catedral Metropolitana (The Metropolitan Cathedral)
The "Catedral Metropolitana", is located beside the Main Square. It was constructed over the remains of a small
construction, first built in 1524 and demolished in 1626. Finished in 1813, it became the first cathedral in La Nueva
España and the oldest one in the Americas. It has a Baroque-style facade with an outstanding ironwork and 64-meter
Neoclassical-style towers holding 18 bells. In the interior of the Cathedral, you can see the Latin Cross with three
aisles and a barrel vault, 5 large altars and 14 chapels of different styles. Its main altars are the Altar Mayor, Altar de
los Reyes and Altar del Perdon.. The Churrigueresque-style Sagrario Metropolitano, built in the XVIII century, is
found in the east side of the Cathedral. On the west side is "La
Plazoleta del Marquez".
• Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Palace)
The "Palacio de Bellas Artes", is located on the east side of the
Alameda Park. Its construction began in 1904 and was finished
in 1932. It has an art nouveau style and its facade is made of
marble from Carrara. In its interior, there is a crystal curtain
carved with the images of the Iztlaccihuatl and Popocatepetl
volcanoes. There are also some frescos of Orozco, Siqueiros,
Rivera, Tamayo and Montenegro.In front of this building is the
Bank of Mexico, which is an exact copy of the Palazzo Strossi of
Florence, Italy. Next to it is the Latin America Tower, which
was for many years the highest building of the City, with its 47 floors.
• Palacio de Iturbide
The first emperor of Mexico, Agustin de Iturbide, resided in this palace in 1822. The rich limestone facade displays
two statues supporting its balcony. The building now houses the National Bank of Mexico.
• Palacio de la Escuela de Medicina
This XVIII century baroque style building, was constructed by Pedro de Arrieta
to house the Holy Inquisition Headquarters, later it served the National School
of Medicine. Today, it is the Medicine Museum.
• Palacio de la Inquisicion (The Palace of the Inquisition)
This palace is located on Republica de Brasil and Venezuela
street. It was built in the XVIII century and belonged to the
Inquisition. Today, it houses the Museum of Medicine. It is
also known as "La Cachata".
• Palacio de Mineria
This neo-classic building was built between 1797 and 1810
under the supervision of architect Manuel Tosá. The theater
room and chapel are decorated with XIX century paintings of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
• Palacio del Marquez de Valle de Orizaba (Casa los Azulejos)
(Del Marquez del Valle de Orizaba Palace or House of Tiles)
"La casa de los Azulejos", is located on the 5 de Mayo alley, between 5 de Mayo and Madero
street. This palace was constructed in the XVI century and is covered with Puebla-style tiles. The
facade is made of gray quarry stone and the ironwork of the balcony is said to be made in China.
Inside there are some murals made by Clemente Orozco.
• Palacio Nacional (The National Palace)
The "Palacio Nacional" is located in front of the Plaza de la Constitucion. This Palace is the headquarters of the
Federal Executive Power, and was constructed in 1529 in the former Palace of Moctezuma. It burned down in 1692
and since then has been modified several times to become the building it is today. It is a Baroque-style construction
with a facade of gray quarry stone and red tezontle (volcanic rock). The palace has three main accesses: The
Mariana Door, which owes its name to President Mariano Arista who ordered to construct it; The Central Door, over
which the Bell of Dolores was placed; and the one in the south side, named the Honour Door, because it is used as
Page 8 of 159
an entrance for the President. In the interior of the palace there are some murals painted by Diego Rivera and a
monument honouring Benito Juarez.
• Palacio Postal
This spectacular building is made with carved white limestone. Architect Adamo Boari designed it in 1907, since
which time it has served as a post office.
• Plaza de la Constitucion (The Main Square)
de la Constitucion", is the main square of the country and is located in the downtown area of the city. It is also called
"El Zocalo". Its extension is about four hectares, one of the largest in the world.
• Plaza de las Tres Culturas:
The Plaza of the Three
Cultures in Mexico City,
known as the Plaza de las
Tres Culturas in Spanish,
unique cultural heritage.
Once the center of some
of the most powerful
Native American empires
(represented by the ruins
of an Aztec temple shown
here in the foreground), Mexico became a flourishing Spanish colony in the 16th century (represented by the shell of
a Spanish church shown in the center of the photograph). Today, most Mexicans are mestizos, or persons with
mixed European and Native American ancestry. The modern housing project in the background represents this
mixture of cultures.
• Plaza de Santo Domingo (The Santo Domingo Square)
The "Plaza de Santo Domingo", is located near the Zocalo. It is considered the
second most important plaza of the country because of its dimensions and the
historical buildings surrounding it. It has several sculptures, one of them honouring
Josefa Ortiz De Dominguez. Nearby, is the church of Santo Domingo, constructed
with red tezontle and a facade of quarry stone, considered one of the most
representative Baroque-style buildings of Mexico. Another interesting construction is
the Neoclassical-style Chapel of "La Expiacion", located on Dominguez and Valle
streets. On the west side of the Plaza are the Portals of Santo Domingo, which are
part of a colonial house built in the XVII century.
• Plaza Manuel Tolsa y Estatua de Carlos IV
The "Plaza Manuel Tolsá y Estatua de Carlos IV", better known as "El Caballito" (The Little Horse), and the statue
of King Carlos IV, is one of the most prominent pieces by Manuel Tolsá. It is located on Tacubaya street at the
intersection of Xicotencatl and Marconi street.
• Sagrario Metropolitano (The Metropolitan Sagrario)
The "Sagrario Metropolitano", was constructed in the mid-eighteenth century by Spanish Lorenzo Rodriguez. A
beautiful neo-classic altar by Pedro Patiño Ixtolinque and a
magnificent anonymous painting of Saint Christopher dwell inside.
• Secretaria de Educacion Publica (Ministty of Education)
Between 1923 and 1928, Diego Rivera painted murals on the patio
walls that surround this building. The murals occupy over 16,146
square feet and are based on themes suggested by Jose Vasconcelos,
the Minister of Education at the time.
• Suprema Corte de Justicia (The Supreme Court of Justice)
This building is located southeast of the Zocalo on Pino Suarez street.
It was built in 1940 and in its interior there are some murals painted
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by Jose Clemente Orozco. On El Salvador, Mesones, Pino Suarez and 20 de Noviembre streets is the "Hospital De
Jesus" (hospital), founded by Hernan Cortez, whose remains lie in the church next to the hospital where there is also
a mural of Clemente Orozco representing the apocalypse.
• Templo de la Profesa
The Temple of "San Jose el Real", better known as "La Profesa", was constructed during the XVIII century. It now
houses a major painting gallery.
• Templo Mayor
This archaeological site was discovered in the downtown area of the city, on Seminario, Argentina, Justo Sierra and
Guatemala streets. Before the conquest it was the spiritual and political center of the Mexicas. In 1521, the city with
its ceremonial center was destroyed by the Spaniards, as well as the 50-meter high pyramid with two temples over
its top, one dedicated to Huitzilopochtli and the other to Tlaloc. After the discovery of the great monolite of La
Coyolxauhqui, excavations which allowed to see the different stages of construction were begun. So far it has been
possible to recover the ruins of the great Teocalli, remains of the Red Temple and the Recinto de los Caballeros
Aguila, a Chac-Mool figure, and some little niches and pyramids. Nearby, you can visit the church of Santa Teresa
la Antigua; on Licenciado Verdad and Moneda streets are the Colonial-style Casas Del Mayorazgo de Guerrero,
built in the XVIII century, also called the Houses of the Sun and the Moon. Inside the Houses there are some murals
painted by Rufino Tamayo which are considered as historical monuments.
• Templo y Hospital de San Felipe de Jesus
The Temple and Hospital were built according to a posthumous wish of Hernan Cortes. "Apocalipsis", one of Jose
Clemente Orosco's most famous paintings, was done between 1942 and 1944, and is located in the Chair Dome.
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Santo Domingo Square
A sculpture of Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, staunch supporter of Mexico's independence, is
erected in this harmonious plaza. With equally ambitious pretensions but somewhat lacking in
strategy, the Irishman Guillen de Lampart had attempted a similar endeavor in the mid-17th
Century, only to be apprehended and tried by the dreaded Inquisition. The seat of this
infamous tribunal is the building with a truncated corner which dates from 1736, and which
served this same purpose until 1820 before entertaining several occupants until being chosen
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to house the school of medicine. At present it contains a museum dedicated to the study and
practice of medicine, and also serves as a cultural center.
Closely related to the Court of the Holy Office is the church which gives its name to the plaza
and which formerly was part of the convent of Dominican predicators. This extraordinary 18th
Century cluster of ecclesiastical buildings was partially demolished in 1861, with only the
church remaining. Its imposing silhouette, characterized by a single tower, frames the
entryway, a sober example of baroque style. Upon penetrating its interior we are confronted by
a myriad of artistic styles: the poliphony of baroque pilasters and neoclassical columns does
honor to the magnificent choir loft with its intricately carved benches.
Showing the same patience exercised by the master woodcarvers of Santo Domingo, the
scribes in the Evangelists' portal recorded the notes and love letters of yesteryear and today
fashion wooden or metal type into greeting cards or christening notices.
This great square, called the Zocalo, evokes the place of
homage and center of the world which was the heart of
the ceremonial nucleus of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. The
Zocalo brings together the rhythmic beating of drums, the
ankle-rattles of the native dancers and the glowing
incense of modern day medicine men. A point of
reference, of protest, of ritual and of national celebration,
by night it offers an imposing spectacle which culminates
in the tumultuous popular festivities on the 15th of
September (eve of Mexico's Independence Day).
The Zocalo is a massive concrete area signed with a giant flag. The former the
Merchants' arcade on the west side has cafés and even a traditional hat shop!
Inside the underground Zocalo station you will find excellent historical
reproductions of the Square.Artifacts unearthed from the ruins of this double
Mexica temple can be seen in the Templo Mayor and in its adjacent museum.
This museum houses impressive exhibits of ceremonial offerings, as well as
the massive stone representation of the goddess Coyolxauhqui discovered
here, and also displays a number of scale models of the former ceremonial
The Cathedral and its Vestry synthesize the art of New Spain. Through its
imposing sun-bathed baroque and neoclassical facade the visitor enters the
ethereal half-light of this holy site, with its five separate naves, its chapels and
its religious paintings. The Altar of Forgiveness, the sacristy, and the Altar of
Kings are all outstanding. The religious ceremonies are performed with the full
dignity of the Catholic faith, choirs and organs. The City's soft clay subsoil,
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excessive water explotation, has propitiated the gradual sinking of many
buildings such as the Cathedral. Restoration works, partially visible, have
prevented its collapse.
To the East side of the plaza stands the Palacio Nacional, a group of buildings
erected as the seat of civil power from the days of the Viceroyalty until the
present. Its interior has several patios, corridors, and stairways graced by
impressive murals by Diego Rivera whose symbolism depicts, in great detail,
key episodes of Mexico's history
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The Metropolitan Cathedral
The cathedral and its vestry represent a synthesis of art forms in
New Spain. Penetrating its imposing sun-bathed baroque and
neoclassical facade, the visitor enters the ethereal half-light of
this hallowed shrine, with its five separate naves, its side
chapels, and its sacred religious icons. The religious ceremonies
are performed with the full dignity of the Catholic faith and, with a
little luck, it may be possible to hear the strains of one of the
cathedral's monumental organs. The City's soft clay subsoil,
subject to continuous movement over the years, has propitiated
the gradual sinking of many building such as the cathedral, and
sophisticated restoration works, partially visible, have prevented
Museo de Antropologia. There you can get a perfect overview
over all the cultures, which flourished at different times in the
region which constitutes the modern Mexico. Mexico tries to build a national identity on the
concept of the Mestizo culture, the mixture of Indian and European culture. There is special
emphasis on the Aztec culture as the last great Indian Empire. In the museum the Aztec room
is the biggest and occupies the central position between the two wings. Negative aspects of
the culture are downplayed, especially human sacrifice (only some exhibits of sacrificial
knifes). Plan your visit. The museum is huge! My favorite is the Maya room with fine carvings
from Yaxchilán, the tomb of Pacal, reproductions of the murals of Bonampak, etc. But there
are many more extraordinary exhibits from Teotihuacan, Tula, Xochicalco, Oaxaca, Gulf, etc.
If you are interested in Precolumbian culture, there is also the now excavated remains of the
Templo Mayor on the north eastern corner of the Zócalo with a museum. Quite impressive is
also Tlatelolco, the Aztec market, now Plaza de las tres Culturas. 60ies high rise housing
projects encircle the excavations over which a colonial fortress church towers, quite
impressive. In 1968, government troops killed allegedly 300-400 demonstrating students (see
ElenaPoniatowska: La Noche de Tlatelolco).
The most important colonial buildings are around the Zócalo (especially east of it) and
between the Zócalo and Alameda Park. (Photo: Palacio de las Bellas Artes at the Eastern
Corner of Alameda)
If you are fed up with the hectic of the center, take a cab or the metro to Coyoacán (Photo:
Parroquia de San Juan Bautista at Plaza Hidalgo).The small colonial town is now within the
city borders of Mexico City but retains it original charm. From Metro Viveros a 30 minutes walk
along Francisco Sosa, a beautiful street lined with colonial buildings. In Coyoacán visit the
Frieda Kahlo Museum (wife of Diego Rivera) and the house in which Leo Trotzki lived until
he was murdered there.
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I did not like the Zona Rosa. Staying in the María Cristina nearby, I walked across avery day.
It is very touristy. If you want to see where the well-to-do Mexican hang out go to Polanco
neighborhood (north of Chapultepec Park). Expensive shops (Boss, Armani, etc) Cafés,
Restaurants (especially on Avenida Presidente Masaryk between France and Dumas).
Polanco and Chapultepec
• Auditorio Nacional (The National Auditorium)
This auditorium is situated on Reforma Avenue, at the artistic and cultural section of Chapultepec Park. It also
includes some theaters: El Granero, Orientacion and El Bosque.
• Bosque de Chapultepec
Willow trees, ash trees, evergreen oaks and Mexican coniferous trees make this green area the largest one in the city.
Historic and cultural places of interest in addition to recreational areas are all found here.
• Casa del Lago
Several cultural activities sponsored by the Autonomous University of Mexico take place here.
• Castillo de Chapultepec
This splendid neo - classic castle has been the stage for such historic events as an attempted US Army invasion in
1847. It served as the residence for emperor Maximiliano and his wife Carlota in 1866 and later for president
Porfirio Diaz. The rooms of these historic figures can be visited today in the Alcazar at the National History
• Juegos Mecanicos
Page 15 of 159
This park, is located on the Periferico Avenue, southeast of El Molino del Rey. It has a great variety of mechanical
games divided into two sections: one for children and the other for adults. Next to it is the Comision Federal de
Electricidad museum where machinery and scientific artifacts are exhibited. Next to it is the Fountain of Tlatoc.
• LLago de Chapultepec
Two artificial lakes measuring eight and seventeen acres respectively are ideal for canoe rides.
• Monumento a los Niño Heroes
This monument is to honour the Niños Heroes (Heroic Children). It is located in one of the entrances of the
Chapultepec Park. It was built in 1952 with the shape of a semicircle with six columns and a bronze eagle on the top
of each one.
• Museo de Historia Natural
This museum exhibits different stages of the universe and human evolution since its origins.
• Museo del Niño - Papalote The children's museum is a place to feel, discover and have fun while
learning about human beings and the world that surrounds them.
• Museo Nacional de Antropologia
(The National Museum of Anthropology)
This museum is located on Paseo de la Reforma Avenue and Gandhi
street in the first section of Chapultepec Park. It keeps thousands of
archaeological pieces of prehispanic cultures. In the southeast corner
is a giant monolith honouring Tlaloc (God of Rain). It is divided into
23 areas. Around it there is a newspaper library, an auditorium, a
library and the National School of Anthropology.
• Museo Nacional de Historia (The National Museum of
This museum is found on the top of the Chapultepec Hill, inside the
Capultepec Castle in the old park. It was built in the XVIII century
and is surrounded by a wall. It has 20 halls.
• Museo Tecnologico de la Comision Federal de Electricidad
This museum displays models and drawings which demonstrate the basic principles of science and technology.
• Parque Zologico de Chapultepec (The Chapultepec
This zoo was founded in 1923. It has an area of 14 hectares
where animals from all the continents are exhibited. It is
said that zoos and botanic gardens, already existed in
Tenochtitlan and Chapultepec before they were known in
Europe. Among its attractions there is a panoramic train
which runs around the zoo. The Botanic Garden with a great
variety of plants and trees from all over the world is located
on Paseo de la Reforma Avenue and Colegio Militar street.
Located on Reforma Avenue and Molino del Rey, is the
Corean Pavillion a small Pagoda from the Architectonic
School of Korea from the VIII century
At the end of Paseo de la Reforma avenue looms Chapultepec hill, noteworthy for the
centuries-old forest which encircles it and for the castle which crowns its summit. For hundreds
of years Chapultepec has been a focal point in this city of such tremendous population growth
that an airy expanse of green is absolutely vital. It is complemented by important cultural
centers including world-class museums (as the Museum of Anthropology), amusement parks,
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a zoo and lakes, and is crisscrossed by access routes. These routes are most used by hordes
of visitors, many of them making up typical extended Mexican families, with their far-reaching
Chapultepec is girdled by some very attractive neighborhoods:
Polanco, Condesa, San Miguel and, not far away, Tacubaya.
Designed originally as residential enclaves, today they bring
together many interesting buildings, cultural centers, restaurants
like El Lago, Meridien and Cafetería del Bosque.
Main hotels are located just in front of the Park and close to
important business areas like Reforma Avenue, Polanco
neighborhood, Periferico motorway and not far from Santa Fe complex.
to San Angel
The Pink Zone
During more than twenty years, the so-callled Zona Rosa has
been an excellent area to stay and go shopping. It is conveniently
located near the Historical Centre and crossed by Reforma
avenue, which is the main commercial and financial axis of the
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To Coyoacan y San Angel
Points of interest
1. El Angel
A. Days Inn
Page 18 of 159
2. Fuente de Diana
3. Iglesia del Santo Niño
4. Arcos del Acueducto
5. Glorieta de Insurgentes
6. Museo de Cera
7. Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón
8. University Club
9. Monumento a Cuauhtémoc
10. Casa-Museo Carranza
B. San Marino
C. Del Angel
D. María Isabel Sheraton
E. Westin Galleria Plaza
F. Plaza Florencia
G. Krystal Rosa
J. Calinda Geneve
K Suites MarcoPolo
M. Suites Havre
N. María Cristina
During 1967, a year clearly marked by the restlessness of the decade, a certain area of the
Juarez neighborhood was named the Pink Zone; neither red nor white, but certainly Bohemian
and recently renovated to appease the tastes of modern youth. Its elegant hideaways inherited
the glamour of bygone times, and it seemed almost as if, in honor of the names of its streets, it
had been transplanted from Olde Europe.
Taking advantage of the Paseo de la Reforma avenue, Insurgentes avenue, and the Paseo
de Bucareli, the Americana neighborhood was laid out in the shape of an elongated triangle
whose sides exchanged the traditional north-south orientation for that of a diagonal crisscross
A few years later, in an effort to contain the spiralling increase in the price of land lots for
building, which in the case of the Paseo de la Reforma avenue had risen from 50 cents in 1872
to 25 pesos in 1903, the Americana neighborhood changed its name to that of Juarez and
Cuauhtemoc. This fact, however, was of no particular concern to its inhabitants who had
recently discovered a new way to spend their leisure time thanks to the innovation of electric
light (a shining representative of modern times), which allowed them to develop novel habits of
late night revelry.
In 1951 a succession of whirlwind changes was initiated which would eventually transform the
placid residential enclave into a center of business, commercial, social and tourist activity.
The decade of the 60´s witnessed the inauguration of bookstores and art galleries under the
patronage of artists and intellectuals such as Jose Luis Cuevas, Guadalupe Amor, Manuel
Felguerez and Lilia Carillo who were proponents of the new international and intimist styles.
Both the general public and international visitors acknowledged the cosmopolitan attraction of
the Pink Zone, which encouraged the construction of hotels and the opening of restaurants,
handicraft markets, antiques stores and night clubs, not all of which operated within the
boundaries of good taste.
Today the Pink Zone continues to undergo changes: new boutiques, bars and discotheques
have expanded the choices available to those patrons who populate the area in search of
entertainment or survival. Thus, beggars, discotheque hawkers, yuppies, foreign tourists,
Page 19 of 159
nocturnal rodents, revellers, druggies, ladies out shopping and business men blend together at
any time of the day or night with the muted colors of the cobble stones, walls and buildings in
their quest for the much desired Vie en Rose.
• Fuente de La Diana Cazadora
(Fountain of La Diana Cazadora)
This fountain by Fernando Olaquibel was originally known as "The Archer". It
depicts the beautiful Diana Cazadora aiming her arrow at infinity.
• Monumento a Cristobal Colon
This XIX century monument was a gift from Jose Antonio Escandon and was
made in France by Carlos Cordier to commemorate the arrival of the explorer.
• Monumento a Cuauhtemoc
This sculpture representing the Aztec king
Cuauhtemoc "Descending Eagle", is a XIX
century piece by Miguel Noreña.
Monumento a La Independencia
Created by the architect Antonio Rivas
Mercado, this monument is the city's
hallmark. The Independence Column
measures 118 feet high and the winged
victory that crowns it is 22 feet tall, weighs 7 tons, is made of bronze and is coated
in gold. The statues at the column's base represent law, justice, war and peace as
well as various Mexican heroes like Guerrero, Morelos, Mina and Bravo and are
the work of Alciati.
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• Canal de Cuemanco
This channel is located in the town of Xochimilco at the end of Periferico Sur Avenue. It is a 2200 meter long and
125 meter wide race course, which was constructed for the races of oar and canotaje of the Olympic Games in 1968.
• Centro Nacional de las Artes
This National Center of Arts is the touchstone for various art schools: musicans, graphic artists, performers, and
cinematographers. It has its own research centers, a library and a multimedia center. Several art related events take
place here, often free of charge.
• Ciudad Universitaria (The University City)
The University City is located in the southern part of Mexico City via Insurgentes Avenue. The National
Autonomous University of Mexico was founded in the XVI century. Its first building was located on Seminario and
Moneda streets. This large campus was inaugurated in 1953. It was constructed over a big zone covered with lava
from the Xitle volcano. Its main buildings are the Rectory Tower; the Humanities Tower; the Central Library; the
Olympic Stadium; and the Arts and Science Museum among others. Inside the Campus there is a Botanic Garden
divided into two sections, one is a greenhouse and the other is a large open air garden. On the exterior walls of the
Rectory Tower there are some murals painted by Alfaro Siqueiros. The Central Library has murals on mosaic on its
four sides made by the painter O'Gorman representing the different stages of the Mexican History. The Auditorium
of Sciences has a mural made by Chavez Morado on crystal mosaic with the theme The Conquest of Energy. The
School of Sciences has a mural by the same author called The Comeback of Quetzalcoatl. The School of Medicine
has some murals of Elguero Eppens with the themes The Prehispanic Culture and The Crossing of Races. The
Netzahualcoyotl Hall of Concerts is located in the southern part of this campus and is considered among the most
modern concert halls of the world.
Francisco Sosa Avenue leads to Jardin Centenario and Hidalgo Square; throughout it, one can see the Panzacola
chapel, from the XVIII century; Santa Catarina chapel, from the XVII century, with its square and theater; the Reyes
Heroles Cultural Center, and other colonial - style buildings.
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• Coyoacan ex Convento de Churubusco
This XVII century convent served as a fortress under General Anaya's orders during the intervention of the US
Army in 1847. The National Museum of Interventions now occupies this convent.
• Coyoacan Palacio de Cortes
Until 1524 this building was the first town hall in New Spain. Rebuilt by the dukes of Terranova in the XVIII
century, it now houses the political constituency officers.
• Coyoacan Parroquia de San Juan Bautista
This church was a Dominican convent temple from the XVI century. It was rebuilt in the XIX century, and its main
attractions are the Santisimo chapel and the altar piece from the XVIII century.
• Zona Aarqueologica de Cuicuilco
(Archaeological Zone of Cuicuilco)
This archaeological site is located on Insurgentes and Periferico Avenues. It is one of the Valley's most important
ceremonial centers. It is made up of a 25-meter pyramid of five bodies in which top there are some vestiges of an
oblong altar. There is also a museum.
• San Angel ex Convento de El Carmen
Surrounded by gardens, this Carmelite convent built in 1615, houses a viceregal art museum, and works by Correa
and Villapando. The temple has beautiful cupolas with glazed tiles.
• San Ange Plaza de San Jacinto
This romantic plaza is framed by leafy trees and narrow cobblestone streets. It is especially nice on Saturdays when
artists display their accomplishments to visitors.
Xochimilco, is located south of Mexico City, beside the Xochimilco
lake. Its most important attraction is a tour through the garden
chanels aboard a typical Chalupa (a small boat). This region
produces great quantities of flowers and vegetables. In Xochimilco
you can visit interesting places such as the Franciscan Convent of
San Bernardino founded in 1535, which church was built in the XVI
century, with a Plateresque-style facade, a great renacentist retable
and a baptismal font built in 1540; the Chapel of El Rosario, built in
the XVIII century. Four kilometers from Milpa Alta is the San
Pedro Actopan town famous because of its Feria del Mole (Mole
Fair). Nearby you can also visit Mixquic, a town famous for its
celebrations on November 1st and 2nd regarding the Dia de Muertos (The Day of the Dead)
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The table below presents views of the ruins of Teotihuacan, the largest prehistoric city in the Americas. Each thumbnail photo is a link
to a larger version of the same photograph. The sizes of the linked photos are listed in the table. The thumbnails are medium quality
72 dpi jpegs. The linked images are high quality 72 dpi jpegs.
The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest of an immense array of
pyramids in the Valley of Mexico, northeast of present-day Mexico
City. This view is the westward side as seen from the ancienty
city's central avenue, seen at the right.
Teotihuacan's central avenue, the so-called 'Avenue of the Dead,'
extends southward from the Pyramid of the Moon for four
kilometers, past the Pyramid of the Sun and the entrance of the
Ciudela. The Quetzalcoatl Pyramid, seen below, is located in the
center of the Ciudela.
The view of the stepped front facade of the Quetzalcoatl Pyramid
illustrates all the elements of the repeating design.
The Feathered Serpent and Tlaloc masks project from the facade.
495 x 264 pixels - 64 K.
The Quetzalcoatl Pyramid facade has been partially recreated in
the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Trace
amounts of the original paints allowed for a full color recreation.
Most surfaces of the multitude of pyramid facades at Teotihuacan
were painted with bright colors. Vivid fresco murals also decorated
the interiors of buildings. Several are recreated in the museum.
A large stone statue from the ruins is housed in the Teotihuacan
gallery of the Museum of Anthroplogy.
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On the same level and a few feet away are found well preserved
murals of eagles and jaguars.
Excavations at Teotihuacan have revealed that older structures
were infilled and built upon with newer buildings. This view is of an
excavated substructure near the Pyramid of the Moon.
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Mexico City > Oaxaca
Summary: 430,0 kilometers (6 hours, 56 minutes)
Depart Lic Benito Juarez International Airport on Local road(s) (West)
Turn LEFT (South) onto Av Río Consúlado [Circuito Interior]
Bear RIGHT (South-West) onto Blvr Puerto Aereo [Circuito Interior]
Turn LEFT (East) onto Calz Ignacio Zaragoza
Bear LEFT (East) onto Autopista a Puebla
Bear RIGHT (South-East) onto M-190D [Autopista a Puebla]
*Toll road* Stay on M-190D (East)
Bear RIGHT (South) onto Local road(s)
At Puebla, stay on Local road(s) (East)
Bear RIGHT (East) onto M-150
At Tepeaca, stay on M-150 (South-East)
At Tehuacán, continue (East) on M-131
At San Francisco Telixtlahuaca, bear LEFT (East) onto M-190 [Inter-American Highway]
At Oaxaca, bear RIGHT (South) onto M-175
Turn LEFT (East) onto Local road(s)
Driving distance: 430,0 kilometers
Total travel time: 6 hours, 56 minutes
Driving time: 6 hours, 56 minutes
Cost: 83,98 €
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Popocatepetl en "Liggende Vrouw"
Popocatepetl - 2001. Photograph copyrighted and provided by Daniel Hatcher
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Puebla State is located in the extreme east of the basin of the river Balsas, in the Saw Eastern Mother,
between the parallel 17º 52' and 20º 40' of north latitude and the meridian 96º 44' and 99º 04' of west
Limit to the north with the State of Veracruz, to the west with the State of Hidalgo, State of Tlaxcala,
State of Estado de Mexico and with the State of Morelos and to the south with the State of Guerrero and
with the State of Oaxaca. Politically it is split into 217 municipalities and a population of approximately
In the territory that currently occupies the State of Puebla, with an extension of 33,919 km2, they were
established villas and cities that thereinafter were converted in "Intendency of Puebla" and finally, by
decree of the 3 of February of 1924, in Free and Sovereign State.
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Its agricultural production, cattleraising and industrial, Puebla is important, but much more its history
and indigenous culture and also its colonial art. Beautiful cities and large amusements are waiting, if is
decided on visit.
The climate varies according to the region and thus we can find the climate tempered in the declivity of
the Gulf, the same as in the north Saw, where rains in abundant form. In the plains, prevail the dry
climate and of steppe. In the snowfall saw, the climate is tempered and wet, with temperature decreases
in winter. In the valleys of Puebla City and Tepeaca, the climate is tempered and wet and in the eastern
region, are registered variations that go from the tropical rainy until the polar climate in the high
mountain. In Matamores and Chiautla the climate is tropical rainy and in the southern region, dry and of
The Cathedral was built in the XVIII Century, is one of the bigest from
all over America, it has inside a wonderfull decoration. The Cathedral is
one of the most interesting sites in the city.
"3 Oriente" Av. and "16 de Septiembre" St., "Centro Histórico".
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This fountain represents the Welcome symbol to Puebla city. The
fountain is built out of quarry stone that is a characteristic material in
many other monuments of the city.
Aaron Merino Fernández Blv. and Juárez Av
The streets at the downtown has many "Colonial" buildings from XVII
and XVIII century with iron balcony and the front with ornamental tile
and grass mat style brick walls.
La calle 7 Poniente
"7 poniente" av. between "16 de Septiembre" and "3 norte" st.
This park was built in the old Air Field. This is a big lung for the city and
a wonderfull place to take a walk. Into the park there is an aviary with
the most important bird species from all the State of Puebla.
"24 Sur" street between "M.A. Camacho" avenue and "35 Oriente"
Just in the down town is the Zocalo with it's gardens, monuments, and
the famous "San Miguel" fountain. The big trees give a quiet and nice
place to take a break.
"M.A. Camacho" Av and "16 de Septiembre" St.
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This Palace is the official city hall. The front is made out of stone brick
and was built in the 30's. Inside the hall you should visit the "Salón de
"M.A. Camacho" Av. and "2 Norte" street
Tepeaca is located 92 km from Puebla City via federal highway 150 in the State of Puebla, Mexico.
In the center of the plaza of Tepeaca is found the Moorish Roller, once used to torture Indians, converted
now into a four-sided clock.
Some other outstanding places to visit in Tepeaca are:
The San Francisco Convent
The House of El Marquez de Salinas
The Casa de la Colecturia
Onyx items are among its main handicrafts
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Tehuacan is located 120 km from Puebla City, via federal highway 150 in the
State of Puebla, Mexico.
Tehuacan is famous because of its natural mineral springs which waters
posses curative properties.
Among Tehuacan main touristic places are:
The Regional Museum, which is considered to be the most
important archaeological museum in the State
The Franciscan Temple and Convent
Del Carmen Temple
La Concepcion Parish
Iglesia del Calvario
Ex-Convento de San Francisco
Museo de Minerologia
Jardin Botanico de las Cactaceas
Manantiales de Peñafiel y Garci-Crespo
Zona Arqueologica la Meza
Delicious regional cuisine includes Chiles en Nogada (sweet green peppers in nut sauce) and Mole
Regarding handicrafts, the most important are the onyx, textiles, woven straw articles and embroideries.
The name Tehuacan can be translated as "Place of the Gods" or "Place of Stones." (Barrera,
1946) The area is littered with caves and arroyos. In early 1960, archaeologist Richard
MacNeish was in Mesoamerica looking for signs of early agriculture. He collected information
from excavations in other portions of Mexico that led him to believe the Tehuacan Valley was
an excellent area for the beginnings of agriculture. He conducted a survey of schoolteachers in
the area of Tehuacan and areas to the north and south of the valley regarding caves in the
areas and artifacts found. After numerous false leads, he investigated Coxcatlan Cave in the
valley. Subsequent excavations in the cave uncovered 28 zones, making Coxcatlan a richly
stratified site. The Tehuacan Archaeology and Botanical Project had begun. The participants
came from the fields of archaeology, botany, geology and many others. Excavators included
Kent Flannery, Richard MacNeish, Douglas Byers and Fredrick Johnson. The purpose: to
reconstruct the subsistence patterns of the area and to trace the roots of early agriculture.
The Tehuacan Valley contains nine distinct levels of cultural change. These levels are referred
to as phases. From early to late they are:
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Ajuereado Phase(ended well before 6500 BC) The attributes of this phase are traces of
cave occupation and a few chipped stone tools (MacNeish 1961).
El Riego Phase (6500-5000 BC) This phase shows evidence of wet-season and dryseason camps, hints of plant cultivation, chipped stone tools, groundstone implements,
nets, coiled baskets, twined mats and ritualistic multiple burials with suggestions of
human sacrifice (MacNeish 1961).
Coxcatlan Phase (5000-3500 BC) This phase contains fewer sites with larger groups of
people for a longer time, firm evidence of cultivation of corn, beans, squash and chili
peppers, chipped and groundstone tools, and improved basket making and netting
Abejas Phase (3500-2300 BC) Attributes of this phase are possible year round pit
house villages along the river terraces, a diet consisting of 20% agricultural products,
evidence of domestication of dogs, new types of chipped and groundstone artifacts,
split-stitch baskets and possibly cotton threads (MacNeish 1961).
Purron Phase (2300-1500 BC) This phase contains only two cave occupations and a
crude, crumbly type of pottery (MacNeish 1961).
Ajalpan Phase (1500-900 BC) Attributes of this phase are wattle and daub villages,
evidence of subsistence farming, corn, beans, squash, chili peppers, amaranth,
avocados, sapotes, cotton and figurines (MacNeish 1961).
Santa Maria Phase (900-200 BC) This phase contains indications of population growth,
the first structural evidence of true irrigation, improved lines of corn and other
vegatables, larger villages with ceremonial structures, well made pottery, figurines
which provide inferences of religious and secular organization, new stone tools and
woven cotton cloth (MacNeish 1961).
Palo Blanco Phase (200 B.C.-A.D. 700) This phase contains evidence of regularly used
irrigation, peanuts, guavas, turkeys, large hill-top centers with elaborate stone pyramids,
plazas, ball courts, suggestions of priests or king priests rule, finely made obsidian
tools, bark cloth, woven fabrics and fine pottery (MacNeish 1961).
Venta Salada Phase (AD 700-1540) Attributes of this phase are often fortified citystates, shrines, salt production sites, quarry towns, a wide range of irrigation features, a
hieroglyphic system that made possible documentation of elaborate religious systems, a
calendrical system and ceremonialism (MacNeish 1961).
Oaxaca State is found southwest of Mexico limit to the north with the State of Veracruz and with the
State of Puebla; to the south, with the Pacific Ocean, to the west with the State of Chiapas and to the
West with the State of Guerrero.
Oaxaca occupy a surface of 93,952 km2 (4.85% of the total surface of Mexico), and a population of
approximately 3'438,765 inhabitants.
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Oaxaca is located in a tropical zone and its average temperature is of 29º C., though by it injured of its
earthly the climates are very assorted. In the coastal region of the Pacific it is hot and dry: as in
Yautepec, Putla, part of Huajuapan of León and Silacayoapan.
Hot and wet, with tropical forest vegetation, in the low lands of the coastal of the Pacific and the
decreases watershed of the coastal of the Pacific and the watershed of the Mother Saw.
Climate tempered in: the Valley of Oaxaca, Villa Alta and the mountainous region of Choapan, thus as
part of Juxtlahuaca, Silacayoapan and Sola de Vega. The cold climate prevails in the places that has but
of 2,000 meters of altitude.
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Church of Santo Domingo
La Ciudad de Oaxaca esta
aproximadamente a seis horas en camión desde la
Ciudad de México, fue declarada patimonio cultural de la humanidad por la UNESCO y con
sobrada razón. Es un lugar increible.
La plaza de la constitución es el núcleo de la ciudad, junto a ella apreciarán a la catedral que
data de 1535, sin embargo, debido al sismo de 1696 se construyo el edificio que se puede
Al sur del centro se localiza el templo de la Compañia, construcción de los Jesuitas del siglo
XVII que también ha sido restaurado después de sufrir con los mencionados temblores.
Son inumerables los templos que pueden visitar en la ciudad de Oaxaca y ello les puede
tomar un par de días entre galerias, museos y monumentos.
El mejor lugar para comer es el mercado 20 de noviembre, en el centro, ahí encontrarán el
tradicional mole, las tlayudas, el chocolate en agua, los chapulines y el mezcal.
Anexo a ese mercado se encuentra el de Benito Juaréz que cuenta con buenos locales de
artesanías y textiles de todo el estado.
Es esencial visitar el ex convento de Santo Domingo que aloja al Museo Regional de
Oaxaca ubicado a pocas cuadras al norte de la plaza de la constitución. Es una joya colonial
del siglo XVI de la orden Dominica, aunque la casa conventual no se concluyó sino hasta
mediados del siguiente siglo.
Si van a Oaxaca en la segunda quincena de julio no se pierdan la Guelaguetza, esta reúne a
los principales grupos de música y danza de las distintos grupos étnicos del estado que se
complementa con los “lunes de cerro”, celebración dedicada a la virgen del Carmen que
incorpora los rituales indígenas dedicados a las deidades de la lluvia y la fertilidad.
A pesar de la excesiva comercialización de esté evento, es un buen acercamiento a las
tradiciones oaxaqueñas, por cierto, va muchisima gente y si ven algo que dice expo
guelaguetza ni vayan ya que no hay nada que se relacione con dicho evento, es un buen
pretexto para poner locales de comida rápida y obtener créditos bancarios.
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MUSEO REGIONAL DE
Las figuras de la izquierda provienen de Monte Alban, cerca
de la ciudad de Oaxaca, un sitio que primeramente alojó a la
cultura Zapoteca y para tiempos posclásicos a los
A la derecha se muestran figuras de
Cuilapan, también ciudad de raigambre
zapoteca y lozalizada al sur de los valles
La orfebrería alcanzó un excelente
nivel en el México antiguo, muestra
de ello lo tenemos en estos dos
ejemplos. El segundo pertenece a la
tumba 7 de Monte Alban.
También encontrarán piezas de la
mixteca como esta del Cerro de
En este museo encontrarás
Lots of sidewalk cafe/restaurants on the Zócalo. They are a bit touristy but perfect to watch the
life on the Zócalo. I liked esp. Mario´s on the east side (good salads, ensalada mixta is pure
vegetarian) and DelJardin on the west side (good plata especial oaxaqueña, a selection of
local specialties, includes a big crisp tortilla, enough for 2, N$42).
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Many places for a cheap set lunch (comida corrida) everywhere in the center, starting with
N$8! Decent ones charge about N$20 for soup, salad, main dish, desert and soft drink, e.g. La
Olla on Reforma 402.
Good local food also in María Bonita on Alcalá (a few block north of Sto. Domingo). I did not
like very much La Casa dela Abuela on the northwest corner of the Zócalo, entrance on
Hidalgo (1st floor). The Parillada Oaxaqueña (N$59) is a heap of meat, cold, not very delicate.
The location is admittedly unique. Try to get a table at the window with a view of the cathedral
or the Zócalo.
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Monte Alban was the ancient capital of the Zapotecs and
one of the first cities in Mesoamerica. During it's epoch, it
was one of the most populated. It was founded
approximately 500 years BC and flourished until 750 AD.
Located in the central valley of Oaxaca, Monte Alban
exercised political, economic, and ideological control over the
other communities and surrounding mountains. Its principal
constructions include the Great Plaza, the Ball Court, System
II, The Danzantes (Dancers), Building J, Central Building G.H., the Palace, the southern
platform, System 7 Deer and Tomb Number 7 of the Great
The Ball Court is located to the left of the entrance to the
Great Plaza, and has the defining characteristics of ball courts
in this region. This court is marked by two structures at the
sides of the rectangular base, with slanting walls. A sculpture
representing a grasshopper covers most of the western side.
The platform located on the western side contains a stair case
flanked by two alfardas that end in talud, with two stelae in the
largest part; there are two small niches contained there.
System II is a structure consisting of two bodies with a staircase, flanked by two alfardas,
ending in talud with two panels of double escapulario. In the largest area a small temple with a
rectangular base and five columns in front and still others at the back without later walls. To
the south of this area is a tunnel constructed with a vaulted roof that connects to the central
Los Danzantes, constructed in three sections, belongs to
Epoch IIB. Its walls of talud are covered with polished lapidas
with representations of human figures in strange positions, and
with physical traits characteristic of Olmec sculpture.
Building "J" is separated from the other building, and is without
doubt one of the most interesting, owing to its orientation and
form. Resembling an arrow point, it has two bodies. Its
staircase is oriented toward the northwest, its vertical walls are
covered with inscribed lapidas, and they believe that its inside chamber functioned for
astronomical observations but this hasn't been proved. This construction dates to Epoch II.
The Central Buildings G, H and I are located in the central part of the Great Plaza. The
central building "H" is larger than the other two with a large staircase and two tombs. In the
larger part we find a temple with two chambers and two columns at the entrance, very close to
the lateral walls. They believe that this construction belongs to Epoch IIIA, and was used until
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the end of Epoch IIIB. In front of the principal staircase is a small templete with a cuadrangular
base, where we find the famous mask of the Bat God, covered
The Palace is a two-part structure with a central staircase, with
alfardos ending in the form of talud. In the upper part are 13
rooms grouped around a central patio. The doorway of this
grouping is a dintel, recently arranged.
The Southern Platform is a very large structure that closed the
plaza on this side. Of the two parts, in the larger part are two
mounds, and from this spot one can observe all of the great
ceremonial plaza. In the smaller part of this and in the corners various stelae are built-in with
zoomorphic reliefs, as if some type of offering.
System 7 Deer: To reach this location we recommend walking over the largest part of the
southern platform, toward the southern platform in a southeastern direction. It is located
approximately 250 meters from the main plaza. There are four structures surrounding a plaza
oriented toward the four cardinal points.
Tomb Number 7: On the 6 of January 1932, the Mexican archaeologist Dr. Alfonso Caso
encountered a grave with a rich quantity of offerings. This is considered a great archaeological
treasure, displayed in the Regional Museum of Oaxaca. This tomb is arranged on a
rectangular base containing in front a bedroom and vaulted chamber. It is one of few tombs to
have been found, and even though the building had deteriorated a bit, the treasures were
The state of Oaxaca is located in the southeastern area of Mexico. The archeological
zone Mote Alban is located 10 km. west of the state capital, Oaxaca City. Approximate
travel time to the site is 15 minutes travelling on the Oaxaca-Monte Alban highway.
The archaeological zone of Monte Alban, belonging to the
Zapotec culture, is one of the most important in the area of
Oaxaca. Its cultural development and monumental architecture
has become representative of the region, and the
Mesoamerican culture area. The prehispanic capital is located
at the summit of a hill that rises in the southwest of Oaxaca
City. It is located at 1948 meters above sea level (400 more
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than the level of the valley of Oaxaca).
The prehispanic name of Monte Alban has not been identified with precision. The most closely
related descendants of the Zapotecs mention a hill that was known as Dhauya quch o
Dauyacach, or the "Hill of the Sacred Stones". On the other hand, the Mixtecs know it as
Yucucui, or "Green Hill". At the beginning of the 17th century, this spot came to be known as
Monte Alban, owing to the fact that at that time, the lands belonged to a Spaniard with the
surname of Monte Alban or Montalban.
Dr. Alfonso Caso, a Mexican archaeologist, led one of the first explorations and
restorations of this archaeological zone. His project, completed in 18 stages, began in
1931 and finished in 1953. Based on studies of the architecture of the buildings, tombs,
ceramics, and jewelry, he determined that the history of Monte Alban could be divided into
distinct epochs based on social organization, population density, and exchange systems. In
this manner he established 5 epochs designated as Monte Alban I, II, III, IV and V; beginning
in the year 500 BC and lasting through 1521; each of these epochs is further subdivided.
These epochs represent a total of 14 centuries of continuous occupation, plus six other
centuries during which, for some reason, although the site had been abandoned, it remained
important to the inhabitants of the Valley of Oaxaca. From this we recognize that the two
cultures which made the prehispanic history of Oaxaca were
the Zapotec and Mixtec.
The restored area contains the center of an ancient Zapotec
city: Reaching 7 miles in total, this extends to more than 20
square km. The Main Plaza, the central area of the site, is
surrounded by basamentos pyramids, terraces, plazas, patios
and temples and palaces. Most of the stone architecture
appears to have been constructed in the final epoch; however,
in some buildings you can see that initial construction began in
the first epoch, with later construction through the course of the
centuries. The buildings are characterized by horizontal design, accentuated by staircases
bordered by alfardos that finish with a wall, formed of double escapulario, a typical Zapotec
version of the Teotihuacan talud-tablero theme. *The escapulario panel, a decorative element,
is characterized by its silhouette in the form of an E, reclining and stretching, reinforced by its
simple repetition, gives a unity to the diverse buildings of the site.*
The most characteristic buildings surround the plaza: the Ball Court, Temple II, Temple P, East
Palace and Temple Q (eastern side); the Ball Court stands out for its integrity, and the East
Palace for the rooms it contains. Temples G, H, I and J (at the center of the plaza); Building J,
considered to be the first astronomical observatory in Mesoamerica, is very characteristic due
to the declining of its central axis relative to the other buildings, and for its reliefs designated de
las conquistas. The South Platform (in the south) stands out because it is monumental and
because of its reliefs at the base, which represent numbers, writings, and people that define
chronological scenes and war. System M, the Wall of the Danzantes, Building L, Building K,
and System IV (western side). The Wall of the Danzantes contains a series of stelae that,
according to reliefs, represent humans whose movement suggest the name. Because of their
physical characteristics they are considered to represent Olmec culture, identified as the oldest
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in Mesoamerica. Northern Platform, Sunken Patio, Buildings A and B, Bertice Geodesico
Building (Northern Side). The Northern Platform is known for its size and because of the
congregation of various platforms. Tomb 104, located at the back of the North Platform, is
known for its mural paintings, dinteles, jambas with reliefs and clay funeral offerings. Tomb
107, where Dr. Caso found the treasures of Monte Alban, is located on the northeastern part,
isolated from the main plaza.
The structures around the Main Plaza are diverse, and have been identified as living areas,
tombs, and entire communities. The site's museum is located at the entrance to Monte Alban,
and there visitors can learn about the other sites to visit inside the archaeological zone.
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Mitla was the second most important ceremonial center
after Monte Alban. The name Mitla or Mictlan is of Nahuatl
origin and means "Place of the Dead" or "Inframundo". In
Zapotec it is called "Lyobaa", which means "Burial Place",
and in Mexico it became known as Mictlan, "Place of the
Dead" which is shortened in Spanish to Mitla.
The archaeological site and town itself are Zapotec. Mitla was inhabited in the Classic Period
(100-650 DC), with its greatest growth and height in the Post
Classic period (750-1521 DC).
The most characteristic architecture in Mitla is the group of the
columns, where we find the Great House of Pezelao, generally
considered to be the most beautiful archaeological site in the
The group contains two squares. The northern one is bordered
by platforms on all four side. The main building is in the northern
part. In the central patio there are vestiges of an altar. Its is
made of talud, formed by two bands raised over the base, the panel and the cornice.
The great Hall of Columns is rectangular. You pass through this hallway to enter the main
palace which is behind a narrow door. Leaving this passageway we find the decorated patio,
which provides access to each of the four salons. Each is decorated by three panels with
ornate mosaics of carved stone which forms different geometric designs in each band. The
panels contain thousands of polished stones, which are cut to fit without
The most beautiful tombs are located in the northern and eastern
buildings, where the Zapotec priests and kings were buried. In the first, in
front of the stairs, is the entrance to a cruciform tomb, with antechamber.
The ceiling has large single stone dinteles and the walls are decorated
with ornate mosaic panels. The eastern is characterized by a monolithic
stone column that supports the ceiling.
Mitla is located 46 km. east of the City of Oaxaca, the state capital, on Federal Highway 190
(Oaxaca-Tehuantepec). It takes approximately 50 minutes to arrive. The archaeological site is
located in the center of town at the corner of Calle Benito Juarez and Avenida Juarez.
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Oaxaca > Tehuantepec
Summary: 227,3 kilometers (3 hours, 3 minutes)
Depart Oaxaca on Local road(s) (West)
Turn RIGHT (North) onto M-175
At Tlalixtac de Cabrera, bear RIGHT (East) onto M-190 [Inter-American Highway]
Turn RIGHT (South) onto Local road(s)
At Tlacolula de Matamoros, return North on Local road(s)
Turn RIGHT (East) onto M-190 [Inter-American Highway]
Bear LEFT (East) onto Local road(s)
At San Pablo Villa de Mitla, return West on Local road(s)
Turn LEFT (South) onto M-190 [Inter-American Highway]
At Tehuantepec, bear LEFT (North-East) onto M-200 [Inter-American Highway]
Driving distance: 227,3 kilometers
Total travel time: 3 hours, 3 minutes
Driving time: 3 hours, 3 minutes
Cost: 43,81 €
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Sunday market at Tlacolula
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Entre la ciudad de Oaxaca y Mitla se localiza esta población, ya con tintes de ser una pequeña
ciudad, pero que ha podido conservar un excelente mercado los días domingos.
En él podrán observar como los indigenas venden cualquier tipo de producto que va desde
víveres hasta textiles. No tendrán problema para encontrar hospedaje en este sitio.
Las fiestas son como siguen:
3 de mayo.- fiesta de las cruces, se realizan procesiones, sones y
bailes por barrios, empieza en el barrio de la sexta, después cada
lunes en cada uno (5 más).
8 de julio.- fiesta de la preciosa sangre, se lleva a cabo la danza
de la pluma.
segundo domingo de octubre.- Santo señor de Tlacolula, también
hay danza de la pluma, procesiones y convite de flores.
Es buena oportunidad para ir a la terminal y dirigirse a Santa Ana del Valle
que es un lugar parecido al cercanoTeotitlán del Valle, ya que venden tapetes con figuras
geométricas, no son tan famosos como los de Teotitlán pero poseen la misma calidad.
Ya que estamos en Santa Ana, deberán visitar el museo comunitario que concentra una
colección de piezas prehispánicas encontradas en la región, además de tener una sala de
Por ahí rentan bicicletas de montaña en las que podrán ir a la ya cercana Sierra Juárez.
Santa Ana esta a escasos 6 km. de Tlacolula y constantemente sale trasporte que conecta
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Tehuantepec is situated 251 km from Oaxaca City on the federal highway 190 in the State of
Tehuantepec traditions and folklore are famous in the State of Oaxaca. Has beautiful natural
places which form unforgettable landscapes.
The main handicrafts are its regional hand-embroidered dresses, gold jewelry and ceramics.
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Tehuantepec > San Cristobal de Las Casas
Summary: 345,2 kilometers (4 hours, 42 minutes)
Depart Tehuantepec on M-200 [Inter-American Highway] (East)
At San Pedro Tapanatepec, bear LEFT (East) onto M-190
At Tuxtla Gutiérrez, stay on M-190 (East)
Turn LEFT (North) onto Local road(s)
At Parque Nacional del Cañón del Sumidero, return South on Local road(s)
Turn LEFT (East) onto M-190
Arrive San Cristóbal de las Casas
Driving distance: 345,2 kilometers
Total travel time: 4 hours, 42 minutes
Driving time: 4 hours, 42 minutes
Cost: 66,55 €
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Chiapas is located on the south end of Mexico, it is bounded on the east by Guatemala, on the north by
Tabasco, on the west by Veracruz and Oaxaca, and to the southeast by the Pacific Ocean.
Chiapas has a territorial extension of 4,415 km2 (1,704 mile2), and occupy the eighth place on Mexico,
and a population of approximately 3'920,892 inhabitants. It has 260 km of littoral, facing it coast there is
an exclusive economic zone of 87.984 km2 (33,970 mile2).
The Chiapas name come from the Nahuatl compound word "CHIA" and "APAN" (in the river), that is
to say "Chia river".
In this majestic state you can find all that is offered by the nature, cut through by plentiful rivers, hills
and volcanoes, and impenetrable jungles. It has hundreds of lakes, waterfalls, as well as an exceptional
flora and fauna.
To the enumerated list we have to add the petroleum, since, on this state is produced a third part of the
crude oil that is extracted in Mexico.
Chiapas also produce precious woods as the Mahogany and the Rosewood, that are used to make good
quality furnitures and beautiful carvings.
The water of the huge dams Malpaso, Angostura and Chicoasen, is here accumulated in dozen of rivers
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Here we only mention some of the Chiapas wonders, but visit them
can take several weeks, so we recommend the visitor to choose in
advance the places you want to visit, depending on available time
and interest. Any way, a trip along these places will be an
unforgettable and enriching experience.
The prevailing climate is the tropical Sudanese and the rainy mild
with rainfalls in summer. The north area of the central valley of
Chiapas is dry; and the south area is humid. It average temperature is of 20º C., and the extreme maxim
is 40º C., and extreme minimum is 0º C.
Tuxtla Gutierrez is located in the State of Chiapas, 1,081 km southeast of Mexico City via federal
highway 190. It is the capital of the State.
Among its main attractions are:
The Plaza Civica (the Main Square)
The San Marcos Cathedral building in the middle of the XVI century, and throughout the
centuries it has suffered several reconstructions, and even then it is a sample of Colonial
architecture of Chiapas. The tower houses a rail with 48 bells, which accompany the figures of the
Apostles that march on a pedestal every hour. It is a traditional show.
The Madero Park which houses:
o the Regional Museum of the State with two permanent exhibitions one of Mayan
archaeological pieces and
other ones regarding the history of the State through ethnographic collections
The Botanical Garden
which has a great variety of flora from different regions of the State
The Centro de Convivencia Infantil (Center for Children) with a pool, games for
The Natural History Museum
which exhibition of woods is unique in the Country
Another interesting place you can visit is the "Miguel Alvarez del Toro" Zoo, which is one of the
best ones in Latin America, inhabited by:
o birds among other beautiful animals. The visitor can find here a bookstore, a snack bar,
areas for pic-nics and a parking area
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The Tuxtla Gutierrez local artisans make beautiful handicrafts such as:
that you can purchase at Ischanal Market
Regarding regional cuisine, you can enjoy delicious dishes such as:
tamales de jacuanae
you can also savor traditional beverages such as:
water of chia
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El cañon del Sumidero esta a diez kilometros de Tuxtla, la mejor manera de
conocerlo es navegando mediante lanchas que salen del muelle de Chiapa de Corzo, si
contratan pocas personas el viaje puede llegar a salir muy caro, pero si esperan a que se llene
la lancha saldrá mucho más económico.
Este cañon posee unas paredes de hasta 600 metros de altura dando un paisaje
impresionante. En el recorrido existen varias paradas entre ellas encontramos el "arbol de
navidad" esta es una caida de agua que es alimentada por la lluvia que es filtrada por la
montaña, como es de sobreentender la forma se asemeja a un árbol de navidad, en el camino
tambien encontramos una cueva que puede ser visitada siempre y cuando no este arriba el
nivel del agua, en ella podemos observar murciélagos en su habitat.
Otra de las paradas en una pequeña cueva al fondo de la cual se venera a la Vírgen de
Guadalupe en un pequeño altar. Aquí se realizan procesiones el 12 de diciembre, espero que
no sea pretexto para perjudicar el ecosistema que por cierto ya se encuentra bastante
contaminado debido en parte a que ahí se vierten las aguas residuales del vecino Tuxtla
Gutierrez y en parte a la basura no biodegradable tirada por los visitantes. Esto lo
constatamos cuando un individuo de nula conciencia arrojó contra una iguana un envase de
refresco para ver si le pegaba, de la misma manera durante todo el viaje encontramos
envases regados por todo el cañon.
Al final del recorrido se encuentra la presa Chicoasen, ejemplo de lo que pueden hacer los
buenos ingenieros Mexicanos. Si corren con suerte pueden encontrarse con fauna de mayor
tamaño como cocodrilos, ya son pocos y sí encuentran alguno, porfavor no le hagan nada
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San Cristobal de Las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas is a Colonial City and was the capital of the State of
Chiapas, Mexico; is characterized because of its dry and cold climate.
Among its main attractions are:
The Cathedral, the Santo Domingo Temple an Ex-Convent,
where embroideries and beautiful handicrafts are made
La Caridad and San Nicolas Temples
Del Carmen Church
Na-Bolom Center created for attracting scientific and students
from all over the world, interested in learning about the Mayan culture
The San Cristobal Market
In San Cristobal de las Casas you can purchase a great variety of
handicrafts such as:
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wickerwork among others
Regarding its gastronomy, liquors and drinks made from cornflour
are outstanding as well as delicious bread.
Ten kilometers from San Cristobal de las Casas you find the San
Cristobal Recreational Park famous for its interesting caverns.
San Cristobal de las Casas, lovely Colonial town situated in the highlands of the state of
Chiapas, is the ideal place to remain two or here days visiting its main interesting sites such as
the San Cristobal Martyr Cathedral or the Na-Bolom Museum, cultural center of the region, and
later on depart towards one of the most interesting archaeological zones, Palenque, cradle of
the mythical and ancestral Pakal King.
San Cristobal Palenque
Leaving by road at an early hour you pass by the Tenejapa and San Juan Cancuc towns. To
the south of these settlements you will find the Cillon, Bachajon and Temo villages until you
get to Ocosingo, where we recommend visiting the cathedral and taste the cheese that
the natives manufacture.
In Ocosingo there is a detour to visit the archaeological zone of Tonina, one of the largest
Mayan settlements in the area. Visit, it will be a good experience.
Continue by road 199 towards the north, pass again by Temo and arrive to the famous Agua
Azul Waterfall, where you can have lunch and refresh yourself in their blue waters. Further on,
approximately 45 minutes later, you will find the Misol-Ha Waterfall, a beautiful recreation
place where you can spend the night in comfortable cabins to depart the next day towards
The town of Palenque is found at only 15 minutes away from the archaeological site. It has an
airport and its hotel offer is very wide. The five star Mision Hotel is located one side of the
downtown area, and in La Cañada, which is beautiful, we find the Chablis, Maya Palenque and
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Tulija Hotels. This last one is located on the highway towards the airport. It is a four star hotel,
clean and comfortable.
The ancient city of Palenque is a very interesting place. It cannot be seen in one day. We
recommend that you spend three days visiting the site's museum, where among many
treasures, you will be able to admire the "Red Queen" Pectoral, carved in stone.
Entering by the exuberant path that is located almost in front of the museum, you can begin
your visit until you cross a hanging bridge in the middle of the jungle and arrive at a sweet
water creek, which is known as "The Queen's Bath". Being in this Pre Hispanic place, you can
visit The Great Plaza, The Bats, and very specially, the most important and imposing
construction that dominates the plaza, known as the Temple of the Inscriptions, where
Pakal's Grave is located
Fue la capital Tzotzil en tiempos de la conquista europea y actualmente es uno de los
principales centros ceremoniales de ese grupo. Para llegar, es sólo necesario tomar un
colectivo desde San Cristobal de las Casas que se localizan cerca del mercado y en un viaje
de 15 a 20 minutos llegarán.
Les recomiendo lleven suficiente dinero ya que la venta de textiles es lo único que podrán
llevarse del lugar y realmente vale la pena obtener un Poncho para hombres o un Chal para
mujeres ya que estan completamente bordados y realmente son una obra maestra.
Las ceremonias son completamente devocionales, es una experiencia maravillosa ver a los
Mayordomos y a los Alferes encabezando las procesiones, que por cierto, recuerdenlas bien
ya que no se permite fotografiar. Esto creo que antes de ser malo, ha sido un excelente medio
para conservar pura la tradición, yo les recomiendo no meterse en problemas y disfruten sin
tratar de tomar fotografías a las procesiones y al interior de las iglesias.
El museo comunitario Snajsotz`Lebetik - La Casa de los Murciélagos - aunque pequeño,
alberga una buena colección de textiles y datos de la región Tzotzil y sobre todo de
Zinacantán, éste museo se localiza cerca de la iglesia del Señor de Esquipulas en las
afueras, buen pretexto para visitar dicho templo.
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Vale la pena visitar el lugar los días de fiesta, estos son: La fiesta de San Sebastian (19-22
de ene), Señor de Esquipulas (13-15 ene), la fiesta
de Carnaval (varia durante febrero) y la más
importante es la del santo patrono San Lorenzo (811 Ags).
En Zinacantán no existe hospedaje pero por la
cercanía a San Cristobal, esto no representa
problema, además pueden visitar el mismo día la
vecina San Juan Chamula.
San Juan Chamula
San Juan Chamula is located 10 km from San Cristobal de las Casas in the State of Chiapas, Mexico.
In San Juan Chamula have a mixture of Catholic and
Prehispanic traditions shown in the Del Pueblo Temple,
where the saints are venerated with prehispanic rites.
Local artisans of San Juan Chamula make beautiful
A tan sólo 10 km. al noroeste de San Cristobal, se
localiza la mayor concentración de Tzotziles del
país: San Juan Chamula o - Agua Densa - con
40,000 nativos hacen de éste lugar merecedor para su visita.
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Para llegar ahí se necesita tomar un colectivo desde el mercado municipal de San Cristobal,
también existen los taxis colectivos, y cobran exactamente lo mismo, por eso, es
recomendable tomar el que salga primero.
Cuando llegue al centro, el presidente municipal daba su informe en Tzotzil y la oposición le
arrebatía su discurso, las cosas se estaban poniendo un poco densas, llegue a pensar que se
soltarian los golpes, pero no paso de ahí. Poco después todo regreso a la tranquilidad.
Pues bien, para poder entrar a la iglesia necesitan un permiso de la secretaria de turismo, no
lejos de ahí. Sí es día festivo, en la puerta habrá un vigilante Tzotzil, a él habrá que pedirle
permiso y caso solucionado. Dentro de la iglesia se prohibe de manera determinante tomar
fotografías, razón por la cual no incluí en la página. A pesar de ello, es uno de los pocos
lugares en México donde se puede apreciar un ambiente así.
El copal y el incienso se dejan sentir inmediatamente, grupos de velas colocadas por los
fieles acompañados muchas veces de cantos en su lengua madre pidiendo o agradeciendo el
favor de su patrono. En esta iglesia no existe la misa, son ritos semi paganos que los indios
sincretizaron y siguen practicando desde épocas remotas. Ojala ni los católicos ni los
evangelicos destruyan esa manera de culto
Los festivales que pueden apreciar en Chamula son los de Carnaval (febrero-marzo) donde
danzan por una semana completa y que además coincide con los días aciagos del calendario
Maya; el de San Sebastian (mitad de junio) y la semana santa. No hay hoteles, sin embargo,
es una ventaja estar tan cerca de San Cristobal, van y regresan en un rato.
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San Cristobal de Las Casas > Palenque
Summary: 183,4 kilometers (3 hours, 9 minutes)
Depart San Cristóbal de las Casas on M-190 (East)
At Teopisca, turn LEFT (North-East) onto M-199
At Ocosingo, stay on M-199 (East)
Bear RIGHT (North-West) onto Local road(s)
Driving distance: 183,4 kilometers
Total travel time: 3 hours, 9 minutes
Driving time: 3 hours, 9 minutes
Cost: 35,35 €
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Leaving by road at an early hour you pass by the Tenejapa and San Juan Cancuc towns. To
the south of these settlements you will find the Cillon, Bachajon and Temo villages until you
get to Ocosingo, where we recommend visiting the cathedral and taste the cheese that the
In Ocosingo there is a detour to visit the archaeological zone of Tonina, one of the largest
Mayan settlements in the area. Visit, it will be a good experience.
Continue by road 199 towards the north, pass again by Temo and arrive to the famous Agua
Azul Waterfall, where you can have lunch and refresh yourself in their blue waters. Further on,
approximately 45 minutes later, you will find the Misol-Ha Waterfall, a beautiful recreation
place where you can spend the night in comfortable cabins to depart the next day towards
The town of Palenque is found at only 15 minutes away from the archaeological site. It has an
airport and its hotel offer is very wide. The five star Mision Hotel is located one side of the
downtown area, and in La Cañada, which is beautiful, we find the Chablis, Maya Palenque and
Tulija Hotels. This last one is located on the highway towards the airport. It is a four star hotel,
clean and comfortable.
The Ocosingo Valley, located midway between Palenque
and San Cristóbal de las Casas, is one of the most
beautiful in all of Mexico. At an altitude of around 1,000
meters (3,000 feet), it lies in the transition zone between
the jungle below and the pine forests above, featuring
lush, mixed broadleaf vegetation and a near perfect
Part of the Valley as seen from
In Ocosingo there is a detour to visit the archaeological zone of Tonina, one of the largest Mayan settlements in
the area. Visit, it will be a good experience.
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Driving along the federal
highway 199 in the State of
Chiapas, Mexico, you reach this
Mayan archaeological zone of
Tonina with ruins that have not
been explored yet.
Beautiful side view
Cascada de Agua Azul
These beautiful waterfalls of Agua Azul are located 56 km from Palenque in
the State of Chiapas, Mexico.
They have deep blue waters.
Nearby you can admire the 40 meters-high Misol-Ha cascade.
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Set in the foothills of the Tumbalá mountains of Chiapas Mexico, Palenque is situated on a ledge
overlooking the swampy plains that stretch northward all the way to the Gulf coast. Perhaps it is
this positioning between two worlds, that gives Palenque a mystical charm that enchants scientist
and tourist alike. The vista of the flat plains to the north, and the misty green of the lush mountain
backdrop to the south, captures the imagination of modern visitors and most certainly inspired
ancient artists and architects.
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This ancient Maya site is located at the western frontier of the lowland Maya region. While the
name Palenque comes from a nearby village, it is possible that the village was named after the
ancient city or something similar sounding - bahlam kin - jaguar sun - the place where the sun
descends into the underworld, the realm of the jaguar.
It was the flood plain of the Usumacinta to the north that most likely provided Palenque's
inhabitants with the resources to construct their extraordinary city. Blessed with the highest
average rainfall in Mexico, this fertile alluvial plain could have been successfully farmed with raised
beds, and would have produced a harvest that not only could sustain a large workforce but would
also have provided an abundance that could be traded along the great Usumacinta. It seems that
the gods were as enchanted with Palenque as today's visitors.
The architecture of Palenque was truly inventive. They reduced the massive weight of the
traditional corbel arch by reducing its span with a dividing wall and the use of tribolated hollows
that minimized the stress on load bearing walls. This allowed the Palenque builders to construct
buildings with multiple piers and doorways on the front to let air and light into the interior. Mansard
roofs decorated with stucco carvings and horizontal moldings gave the Palenque structures a
pleasing linear appearance.
The most notable structures of Palenque are the Palace (A) and the Temple of Inscriptions (B)
both begun during the reign of Hanab Pacal and added to by his sons, Chan Bahlum and Kan Xul.
Also built during Pacal's lifetime was the temple now called the "Temple of the Count" after the
artist/adventurer, Count de Waldek who camped out in the temple in 1831 while creating fanciful
illustrations of the site. A grouping of temples southeast of the Palace are known as The Cross
Group. (C, D, E)
Off to the west of the main plaza is the first temple built by Pacal, known as the Temple
Olvidado (H). Here one can see the first attempts at many of the architectural features seen in
subsequent construction: the tribolated vaults and the double room interior with a thin supporting
Other structures at Palenque include Temple XIII adjacent to the Temple of the Inscriptions. In
1994 a secret door was discovered that led to the interior of the pyramid and an underground
temple with three rooms. In the middle room was a solid stone coffin with the remains of a woman
who archaeologists have called the "Red Queen" because she was covered in cinnabar. There are
no inscriptions to identify this apparently royal person. In June 1997 DNA tests were performed on
the skeleton of Pacal to determine his relationship with this unknown woman. Results have yet to
Also on the same mound is Temple XII, the first
structure visitors see as they enter the site. It is also
known as the temple of the Skull and the Temple of the
Dead Moon. During 1992-94 over 500 objects were
excavated from this Temple. Temple XIV is alongside the
Temple of the Sun. The temple is in poor condition but a
relief similar to the others in the cross group is on the rear
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The Northern Group
The Northern Group consists of four temples, aligned on
an artificially leveled terrace. Most notable is the small
structure with a pagoda-type roof which inspired some early
explorers to connect the site with the Orient.
The Ball Court is just north of the Palace and remains
unexcavated. There is a natural pool just below a waterfall on
the Otulum river which is known as the Queen's Bath and it is still used as a bathing spot.
On the southern edge of the central plaza
of Palenque, set against a steep limestone
hill, the Temple of the Inscriptions held a
remarkable secret for centuries.
In 1948, Alberto Ruz investigated four curious
stone plugs in the floor of the temple and
discovered a secret passage filled with rubble.
It took four long seasons to remove the
rubble from the steep and slippery stairway
that came to a landing then changed
directions and continued on for 80 feet below
the temple floor and 5 feet beneath the level
of the central plaza.
Behind a triangular slab door, Ruz made a discovery that would change the world's view of Maya
pyramids -- an amazing stone chamber that housed an elaborately carved sarcophagus and the
remains of a royal person along with a multitude of jade and other artifacts. It was not until
epigraphers learned to decipher the glyphs on the sarcophagus and
the inscriptions in the temple above that these remains could be
identified as Hanab Pacal.
It was Pacal himself who had this magnificent pyramid built and
his heir, Chan Bahlum who completed it. The temple rises 75 feet
high and the roofcomb would have added an additional 40 feet. This
must have been an impressive sight from the northern plains, visible
from miles away.
There are eight stepped terraces to the base of the temple, each
banded with a molding that lends a horizontal line to the structure. A
narrow stairway leads up to the temple.
The front of the temple is composed of five doorways separated
by 5 piers. Chan Bahlum used these surfaces for stucco illustrations
of his divine legacy. Each bas-relief carving depicts an adult
presenting the young heir, who is shown with both human
characteristics (with six fingers and toes that also appear elsewhere
on adult portraits of Chan Bahlum) and divine attributes - such as the
snake-like appendage in lieu of one leg and foot.
Inside the temple, two large vaulted chambers house three
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glyphic panels which are the second longest known inscription by the ancient Maya. Here is
recounted the dynastic history of Pacal's ancestors.
A curious feature to this structure is a duct that runs from the tomb, up the sides of the interior
stairs to the temple floor. Many theories have been proposed as to the purpose of this duct, such
as being a channel for Pacal's spirit to communicate with his descendants during bloodletting rituals
on the temple above. Based on the observation that during the winter solstice the sun appears to
set into the temple, following the path of the interior staircase, I suggest that this duct provided a
path for the setting sun to take directly to Pacal's remains.
View of Palace from Temple of the Inscriptions - Courtyard
Chan Bahlum, Pacal's eldest son and successor, continued his
father's aggressive building program. The three temples known
as the "Cross Group", located in the hillock just south of the main
plaza, are among the most elegant of all Maya architecture. All
three temples have a large central opening flanked on each side
by two stucco decorated piers and a narrow portal. The interiors
are divided into front and back rooms, much like the traditional
Maya home. In the back room is a sanctuary that houses a three
part panel. In each temple the panel has a similar theme,
depicting what is now believed to be Chan Bahlum as a boy on
one side and as a man on the other. The central icon is different
in each temple but the glyphs tell the same story - how Chan
Bahlum is rightful heir and ruler of Palenque.
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Temple of the Sun
In the Temple of the Sun the central motif depicts God III as a sun shield. The Panel from the
Temple of Cross has been removed to the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and depicts the
sacred cieba tree. The Temple of the Foliated Cross has lost its entire front wall, permitting a clear
view of the tribolated vault and corbel arch. The rear panel features a stylized maize plant.
of the Cross
Temple of the Foliated Cross
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The Western Section
Above is the western section of Palenque. Visitors don't usually see this section and it remains
mostly unrestored. Of note is "H" which is the Temple Olvidado, Pacal's first construction built
sevveral years after his mother's death.
The Eastern Section
Here is a plan of the eastern half of
Palenque, the area most visitors see is the
large section in white on either side of the
Otolum River.The green wavy lines on the
bottom are hills and the green wavy lines
across the upper section are an escarpment
leading down to the northern plains.
B. Temple of the Inscriptions
C. Temple of the Cross
D. Temple of the Sun
E. Temple of the Foliated Cross
F. Temple of the Count
G. Northern Group
J. Temple of the Jaguar
K. Ball Court
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The Temple of the Inscriptions is famed as Pacal's Tomb. One of
the most elaborate burials in a Mayan pyramid is buried deep
inside this monument.
This photo shows the entire building topped mound called the
"Palace" by modern archaeologists. This wide-angle view is from
atop the Temple of the Inscriptions. The Temple of the
Inscriptions photo above was taken from the Palace's tower.
A view of the Palace and the Temple of the Inscriptions from the
Temple of the Foliated Cross, one of three pyramids facing the
same plaza, called the Group of the Cross.
Close-up of four glyphs on a stela at Palenque ruins, in the
Temples of the Cross Group. Rooms atop the pyramids at
Palenque house stelae with carvings, suggesting that the
information recorded was of great significance to the ancient
Maya of Palenque.
A telescopic view of the Palace tower from the same perspective.
The platform mound below these buildings looks solid, but
actually there are chambers and corridors running below the
Another view from the Temple of the Sun with the Temple of the
Cross in the foreground and the Palace in the background.
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The Temple of the Sun viewed from the Temple of the Foliated
Cross. More ruins lie in the jungle behind this monument. One of
the attractions of the Palenque site is the incredible foliage in the
A telescopic view of the Temple of the Sun from the Palace
tower, with draping jungle vines in the background.
A group of stelae adorn two sides of an internal stairway in the
Palace. This figure seems to be looking skyward. The stone
decorations also include hieroglyphs on a stairway.
Most of the surfaces of the palace were elaborated in full relief,
painted stucco sculptures. This head is a unique image at the
site. Unlike most of the personages displayed in the art this figure
is much larger than life-sized.
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Palenque > Campeche
Summary: 383,4 kilometers (5 hours, 4 minutes)
Depart Palenque on Local road(s) (South-East)
Turn RIGHT (South-West) onto M-199
Turn RIGHT (East) onto M-186
Turn LEFT (North) onto Local road(s)
At Lerma, return South on Local road(s)
Turn LEFT (East) onto M-180
Turn RIGHT (South) onto Local road(s)
At Escárcega, return North on Local road(s)
Turn LEFT (West) onto M-186
At Escárcega, bear RIGHT (North) onto M-261
At Champotón, bear RIGHT (North-East) onto M-180 [M-261]
At Champotón, stay on M-180 [M-261] (North-East)
Driving distance: 383,4 kilometers
Total travel time: 5 hours, 4 minutes
Driving time: 5 hours, 4 minutes
Cost: 73,92 €
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Campeche State is located on the southwest part of the Yucatan peninsula where the coastline with the
Gulf of Mexico curves from a north-south direction to east-west. It lies between 17º 38' 44'' and 20º 47'
08'' west longitude in Mexico.
The State of Campeche is bounded on the north and northeast by the State of Yucatan, on the west by
the State of Quintana Roo, on the south by Guatemala, on the southwest by the State of Tabasco, and on
the west and northwest by the Gulf of Mexico.
Campeche State has an area of 56,114 sq. km (21,665 sq. mi.) including 288 islands and a population of
approximately 690,689 inhabitants.
The State of Campeche has two kinds of climate: the humid warm and the sub-humid warm. The subhumid warm climate has periods of rain in the summer and beginning of fall over most of territory. In
the dry season or times of drought, it is characterized by the convergence of warm winds from the east
and the southwest. The humid warm climate is prevalent in the southwest part of the state, by the
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"House of the Mouth of the Serpent"
The Chicanna archaeological site is situated 44 km from Escarcega in the State of Campeche by the
Federal Highway 186 in Mexico.
Chicanna means "House of the Mouth of the Serpent" in the Mayan language.
One of the most important attractions in Chicanna is a Mayan building reconstructed on a platform
characteristics are of the Rio Bec Style.
The style of the Chenes shows baroque characteristics in the facade of the buildings. The entrances of
these resemble the mouth of a monster, the principal gate represents a great mouth of the Chac God with
large canine teeth which project over the lintel.
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Champoton is situated 65 km from Campeche City in the State of Campeche by the Federal Highway
180 in Mexico.
In 1517, the spanish troops lead by Francisco Hernandez de Cordova reached the village of Ah-KimPech to replenish their water supply, after a 4 days storm they were able to disembark at Champoton
where they were attached by the Mayan troops led by Moch Couoh. The Mayan victory over the
Spaniards became a fact, and ever since the battleground in Champoton where this took place its called
the "bay of the bad fight".
Champoton's actual economy is fishing and also the logging and lumber industry, the extraction of gum
and cultivation of coconut, sugar cane, avocado, corn and bean.
In Champoton you can visit the Caves of Monte Bravo, located 50 km south of the City by federal
highway 261, where you can admire rocks forming interesting figures.
In Champoton and its surroundings you will be able to find a lot of seafood restaurants called
"coctelerias". These restaurants are usually located by the beach, so it gives you the chance to enjoy the
sea breeze and sun while enjoying a delicious fresh fish cocktail or any seafood.
Lerma is situated 8 km to the southeast of Campeche City in the State of Campeche by the Federal
Highway 180 in Mexico.
In Lerma you can visit the Nautic Club which organizes the Copa Anual de Carreras de Lanchas AhKimpech on the Coast of Campeche.
Another interesting place in Lerma is the Fort of San Luis,
which served to repel the landing of pirates in this area and
nowadays is considered a national monument.
One kilometer from Lerma you can visit Playa Bonita, a beach
with fine sand and gentle waves.
On January 6th, the Fiesta del Gallo y del Cochino is celebrated
in this town. (Feast of the Cock and the Pig)
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"Place of snakes and jiggers"
Campeche City is the capital of the State of Campeche. It is located 196 km southeast of Merida in the
State of Yucatan by the federal highway 180, and 471 km northeast of Villahermosa in the State of
Tabasco by the federal highways 186, 261 and 180 in Mexico.
The name of Campeche comes from the Mayan world "Ah-Kim-Pech", which means "The sir sun
jigger", but since its pronunciation was difficult for the Spanish, they called it "Kna Pech", which means
"Place of snakes and jiggers".
Campeche, founded around the third century of our era, was the principal town of the Mayan province .
By 1517, expeditionaries lead by Francisco Hernandez de Cordova reached the village of Ah-Kim-Pech
to replenish their water supply, after a 4 days storm they were able to disembark at Champoton where
they were attached by the Mayan troops led by Moch Couoh. The Mayan victory over the Spaniards
became a fact, and ever since the place where the battle took place its called the "bay of the bad fight".
Later, in 1531, Commander Francisco de Montejo founded Salamanca de Campeche, but failed to enter
in the land of Mayas. In 1540, Montejo's son arrived to Champoton and conquered Kim Pech and
Acanul. In 1541 Francisco Montejo founded the "Villa de San Francisco de Campeche", and won later
Tenabo, Hecelchakan and Calkini.
For the ones who would like to been born in the times when pirates conquered places and struggled
many fights, its definitely a good idea to visit the City of Campeche. Because the constant tension of
wars, conflicts, alliances between England, France and Holland with Spain and Portugal the people from
Campeche were forced to fortify their city by building forts and walls from 1685 to 1704, thus
preventing them from taking advantage of their economic development.
Campeches's history has divided the City in three zones:
The Center, formed by the old walled city which was inhabited by the Spaniards during the
San Francisco, located to the north of the wall, where the Mayan population was concentrated;
San Roman to the south, where the Mexican natives established themselves with the
mulattos brought from the Islands of the Caribbean, mainly from Cuba
Nowadays the bastions and remains of the wall are historical monuments, museums,
gardens and other cultural attractions
The Ancient House of the Carvajal family with Arabic arcs and flight of steps made or
marble. Currently its been converted into a crafts store and government offices.
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The Baluarte of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. Built in 1690, here you can visit the
Stelae museum named Dr Roman Pina Chan, with an exhibition of 22
The Cathedral of the Conception
The Main Square, where some examples of Colonial
architecture can be observed
The Church of San Francisco, built in the XVI century.
The San Francisco de Paulo Toro Park, where an
exhibition of handicrafts from the country is presented in
The Regional Museum which is known as the Casa del
Teniente del Rey (House of the Lieutenant of the
King) with a collection of European weapons from the XII to XIX
The Historical Hall of the Fortifications
which is based on historical explanations,
reconstructions of fortifications of the old walled city
with photo mountings in color and scale models.
"Puerta del Mar" (Sea Gate) located downtown,
its one of the four gates of the City, it was used to
receive and dismiss travelers and their products.
"Puerta de Tierra" (Land Gate), built in 1732.
Its considered as the main symbol of the City. Don't
miss the light and sound show on Tuesday, Friday and
Saturday at 8 PM.
The handicrafts are made of:
palm of jipi
gold and silver jewelry
Campeche is famous because of its excellent gastronomy such as the bread of dogfish, and the Nac-cum
made with red snapper.
Actually the City of Campeche offers visitors numerous things to do and has something adequate for
everyone. Campeche its ideal as a base to visit its surroundings as archaeological sites and beaches.
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"House of the Grimaces"
The archaeological zone of Edzna is located 61 km southeast from Campeche City in the State of
Campeche by the Federal Highway 180 in Mexico.
Edzna is a Mayan name which means House of the Grimaces. The city was founded around 600 to 300
BC as a small agricultural community. Edzna reached its most important era as a grand regional capital
between 600 and 900 AD.
Edzna is one of the most interesting Mayan cities due to the technological advances developed there
An advanced system of hydraulic works
A magnificent drainage system
The rainwater flowed to artificial deposits called Chultunes
The ruins cover an area of three kilometers east to west and 2 kilometers south to north.
In Edzna there are two large clusters of structures: the Group of the Ceremonial Center and the group of
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The ceremonial center of Edzna has a central square surrounded by several structures such as:
The Acropolis on the eastern side
The Large House or Nohol Na on the west
The platform of the Knives on the north
Temples on the south
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Campeche > Uxmal
Summary: 213,1 kilometers (3 hours, 33 minutes)
Depart Campeche on M-180 (East)
Bear RIGHT (East) onto Local road(s)
At Maxcanú, return West on Local road(s)
Bear RIGHT (West) onto M-180
At Maxcanú, continue (East) on M-184
Bear LEFT (East) onto Local road(s)
At Muna, turn RIGHT (South) onto M-261
At Muna, stay on M-261 (South)
At Uxmal, stay on M-261 (South)
Turn LEFT (East) onto Local road(s)
At Kabah, return West on Local road(s)
Turn RIGHT (North) onto M-261
Driving distance: 213,1 kilometers
Total travel time: 3 hours, 33 minutes
Driving time: 3 hours, 33 minutes
Cost: 41,09 €
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Kabah is situated 140 km from Merida in the State of Yucatan by the highway 261 in Mexico. Its just 5
km from Sayil.
Kabah, near glorious Uxmal, to which was connected by a stone causeway
or "sac-be", competes with its larger city in the majesty and beauty of its
palace facades. Its a monumental example of the Puuc style architecture in
which each stone element is part of a total, linking men with its universe.
Recent investigations indicate the zone was inhabited in 250 B.C. and
reached its splendor in the 8th and 9th centuries of our era.
Kabah archaeological site has two groups of buildings, the Codz Pop
and the Palacio, characterized for its extraordinary constructions such
The slender stone Arch building style characteristic of the
region and a distinguishing feature of this site. Is thought to be the center of the city and the
entrance to the "sac-be" to Uxmal
The Codz Pop
which means rolled carpet and
which has ten chambers forty-six meters long,
communicated by only one door and which facade is
ornamented with 250 masks of the rain god Chaac
The House of the Witch
The Temple of the Columns
Mask of Chac, the Rain God,
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The so-called Nunnery at Uxmal is an
irregular quadrangle with buildings on each
side. Each building has a distinct pattern to
its facade. The same two buildings in this
view are seen to the right, in the next frame.
The unique Pyramid of the Magician is to the
right of this perspective and overlooks the
Nunnery Quadrangle. The five detailed views of
facades that follow below are of the building on
the right. All are of the facade facing the
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The above pattern with eight double-headed
The corners of the upper facade feature three
bars is repeated several times along the
In this close-up the red color between the crisscross pattern is visible. Traces of paint reveal
that the complex facades were intricately
painted in prehistoric times.
The detail above is also seen above the
doorway in the view below.
This center doorway faces the quadrangle.
This is one of the best restored/preserved
areas of the ruins.
The cut and sculptured limestone veneer blocks
are attached to a rock rubble and cement core.
Detail of the corner masks reveals a
composition of glyphs, including the symbol for
the planet Venus.
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The Palace of the Governors is a large, long
building on an elevated platform mound.
The building is aligned to Nophat, a mound
on the southeast horizon at the
southeasterly maximun rise position for
The Palace of the Governors has five masks
stacked on its eight corners, numbers that
corresspond to 5 Venus synodic cycles in 8
Uxmal is a majestic archaeological site located 23km from Kabah by the federal highway 261 in the
State of Yucatan, Mexico.
No doubt, Uxmal is considered as the most splendid archaeological site from the Pre Hispanic era on the
American Continent because of the proportions of its majestic constructions decorated with delicate
embossment, which are carved with elegance and precision, astounding both, scientific community and
visitors, since the Mayan builders had neither metal tools nor
detectable means of transportation.
Its foundation date is still undetermined, but archaeologists
rough estimates indicate that it was between the fifth and sixth
centuries AD. Its cultural development, considered classic,
demonstrates a certain similarity to that of Chichen Itza but
shows none of the latter's Toltec influence.
The indigenous chronicles written after the Spanish Conquest
name Ahcuitok Tutul Xiu as Uxmal's founding leader.
Please bear in mind that most place names were assigned to the
various structures by the Spaniards. The name Uxmal was
provided by the Mayans in their decadent period.
Uxmal is divided in three sections, which are:
The Magician's Pyramid,
located at the entrance
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to the site. This colossus stone is the result of five superimposed stages of building, crowned by a
temple at the summit, from which you can contemplate the full grandeur of Uxmal
The Nun's Quadrangle,
so called since the Conquest for its similarity to a convent; comprised
of four large structures resting on an artificial platform and surrounding a grand central square,
75mts long by 45mts wide. Decorated with god masks, jaguars, owls and human figures. This is the
stage in which takes place the light and sound show
The Ballgame Court
The Cemetery Group
The Temple of the Monuments
The Quadrangle of the Doves
The Great Pyramid
The Governor's Palace. Built on a stepped
platform 97.5mts long by 8mts wide and 8mts high;
supposedly, the residence of the most important
members of the ruling class. The visual effect of
movement produced by the rain-god masks jutting out
from the friezes is extraordinary, as well as the
filigree formed by over twenty thousand mosaics on the
facade is remarkable.
The House of the Turtles
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The Old Lady's House
The Temple of the Phalli (requires guide)
The Chimez House (requires guide)
Mask of Chac, the Rain God,
Consisting on several, still unnamed mounds. Visitors require guide.
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Archaeological zone: From 8 to 17 hrs.
Museum: From 8 to 17 hrs.
"The Place of the Ants"
Sayil archaeological site is located only 5 km from Xlapak in the State of Yucatan in Mexico.
Sayil dates from 800-1000 A.C. and its outstanding because of the existence of a construction called El
Palacio (The Palace) with three stepped positions. During its most splendid period, this site had 90
bedrooms for some 350 people. From the top level of the Palace, you can see the church at Santa Elena
and across the way a tine ruin on the side of a mountain, which is called "The nine masks".
Xlapak is another interesting archaeological site situated just 4 km from Labna by the same highway in
the State of Yucatan, Mexico.
In Xlapac there are 14 mounds with 3 pyramids in
restoration process. Its one of the less restored sites in
the zone, allowing the visitors to see how this sites are
found. Also you may find many carved stones laying
around the ground.
Xlapak main attractions are:
The ruins of a building called El Palacio
Some masks of the God Chaac
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"Old or abandoned house"
Labna archaeological site is located 122 km from Merida by the state highway 31 in the State of
Labna, once a city of some 1,500 to 2,800 people, inhabited between 750 to 1,000 AD. This site has
been the focus of recent investigation and actually four of its buildings have
Labna is outstanding because of an elegant arch shaped construction which
marked the limit where the priests, soldiers and nobles lived. Its facade is
decorated with small columns, depictions of palm houses and stylized serpents.
Some other interesting constructions in Labna are El Mirador and the Palace,
decorated with figures honoring the Chaac God and its 70 "cheltunes" (water
cisterns) that are not visible.
"The Pearl of the South"
Ticul is located 100 km south of Merida in the Puuc region, 17
km from the caves of Loltun via federal highway 184 in the State
of Yucatan, Mexico.
Ticul is one of the most important towns of the State of Yucatan.
Among Ticul main attractions are:
The Temple of San Antonio,
built in the XVII century
The Chapel of La Mejorada
The Chapel of San Miguel
Nearby is found the Cenote of Kukuyache
The main craft production is the red clay planter pots that you can find everywhere in the area; Ticul is
also known for the fine leather shoes designed and made by the
local people. Regarding the regional cuisine, we can taste the delicious Poc-chuc or roasted pork.
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Uxmal > Chichen Itza
Summary: 196,9 kilometers (2 hours, 43 minutes)
At Uxmal, turn RIGHT (North) onto M-261
Bear RIGHT (North) onto M-180
At Umán, turn LEFT (West) onto Local road(s)
Turn RIGHT (North) onto Local road(s)
At Umán, return South on Local road(s)
Turn LEFT (East) onto Local road(s)
At Umán, bear LEFT (North-East) onto M-180
At Mérida, stay on M-180 (South-East)
Turn RIGHT (South-West) onto Local road(s)
Arrive Chichén Itzá
Driving distance: 196,9 kilometers
Total travel time: 2 hours, 43 minutes
Driving time: 2 hours, 43 minutes
Cost: 37,97 €
Alternatieve weg (p288 Guide du Routard)
Uxmal – Labnà – Oxkutzcab – Sotota (Lunch te « Los Compadres ») , Pitsé, Chichén Itzá
150 km asfaltweg of 3 uur.
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Founded in 1542 by the Spaniard Francisco de Montejo over the ruins of the Mayan city T'ho and
receiving its name to evoke the conquerors the city of Merida in
Spain. The Cathedral of San Ildefonso was founded with the huge
stones dismantled from
Merida is known as the
White City, nowadays
one of the most tranquil
and safest cities in
Mexico. Her remote
Mayan roots, superb
and the splendor of her
turn to the XIX century
architecture, has made
Merida a captivating
mixture of cultural
Among Merida main
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La Casa de Montejo (Montejo's House). Located south of the main Plaza, its the most
important non government building, distinguished because of its plateresque style.
Cathedral. The elder
in the American continent (1556-1599); with its beautiful mozarabic-style
towers and the great 7-meter high image of a Christ
Canton Palace. At present time Museum of Anthropology and History, built in the early XX
century with marble of different tones where you can see an outstanding collection of pieces of the
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Monumento a la Patria (Monument to the Fatherland). Where the sculptor Romulo Rosso
shaped the history of Mexico
The Ancient Casa Real, actually the Government Palace, houses 27 murals
illustrating historical representations from the Pre-Hispanic and Colonial Eras.
The El Centenario Zoo, where the
city 200 is found
The traditional Paseo Montejo,
designed to emulate the Champs Elysees,
will delight with its three story mansions
with their balconies, harmonious lines,
vivid color and pointed tower.
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60th Street. A stroll down through this enchanting street reveals beautiful parks and buildings,
among them the Hidalgo Park, the Autonomous University of Yucatan, the Church and Park of Santa
Lucia and the Peon Contreras Theater.
Jose Peon Contreras Theater, built in 1900, with its white marble stair, and its seats
decorated in a Rococo-style
The zone of the Markets where you can buy the typical huipiles, guayaberas, filipinas,
henequen carpets. Here you can visit the outstanding markets Lucas de Galvez and the Portal de
In downtown Merida you can enjoy popular shows from 9
o'clock pm during the week. There is also a great variety of
good restaurants where you can enjoy the regional cuisine and
excellent plates such as cochinita pibil and deer meat.
Meriden people are characterized by their hospitality and pride
of their strong traditions and cultural roots. Merida has turned
into a splendid city for business and recreation under a peaceful
and secure climate, making foreigners feel at home.
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Chichen - Itza, world famous archaeological zone, is located 120 km from Merida via federal highway
180 in the State of Yucatan Mexico.
The name Chichen - Itza is derived from the Mayan
language: "Chi" - mouth, "Chen" - well and "Itza" the tribe that inhabited the area.
Chichen - Itza is the most visited archaeological site
in the peninsula of Yucatan, due to its extraordinary
architecture beauty and its geographical location. It
was founded in the year 514 of our era by the priest
LAKIN CHAN who was also called Itzamna. This is
why their people were called since the foundation,
chanes or itzaes.
When the Spaniards arrived to Chichen - Itza, it had been abandoned as a consequence of the civil war
fought with Mayapan. In between 1196 and 1441 the final collapse of this culture took place in the north
of the peninsula.
The conquerors found the buildings partially in ruins and their names and real use were unknown; this is
why the present names are suppositions.
The architectural characteristics of Chichen Itza and that have a direct relationship with. The Mayan
Toltec style are: "El juego de la Pelota", "El Castillo", "El Grupo de las Mil Columnas", "El tzompantli",
El Edificio de las Aguilas", "El templo de los Guerrerros", and "El Mercado". All of these buildings
have the same decoration motives found in Tula. The most frequent representations are warriors and
Quetzalcoatl. The cult of the Feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl in Tula and Kukulkan in Mayan, was very
important. The largest Ball Game in Mesoamerica is found in Chichen Itza. It is 168 meters in length
and 70 meters in width, In the place, as well as in others in Mesoamerica, the Ball Game was an
entertainment, but it also had a ritual side in which the losers were sacrificed.
The pyramid known as known as "El Castillo" is surely the place where the ceremony of the descent of
Kukulkan was held. The pyramid has special astronomical layout so that a game of light and shadow is
formed. On March 21st the body of the serpent metaphorically descends from the temple on top of the
pyramid and arrives at the heads at the foot of the staircase. Excavations in the interior show that there is
a smaller "Castillo" in its interior.
In the "Templo de los Guerreros" there is a temple on the top part where the entrance columns are
typically Toltec. Another one of the buildings that has a Toltec seal without is the "Muro de los
Craneos". These buildings were destined to be the mausoleums of the tying up the years. Every 52 years
the ancient Mayans and other cultures would tie up a sheaf of years to end a cycle. Another important
buildings is "El Caracol", an astronomical observatory.
The archaeological site is divided into 3 areas: the Northern group (distinctly Toltec), the Central group
(early period) and the Southern area known as the Old Chichen (located far away from the other
buildings and its visit requires a guide).
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The Pyramid of Kukulcan (also known as The Castle) where both theology and astronomy,
combine to produce a unique spectacle twice a year, the Spring Equinox and the Autumn Solstice,
days when the shadows projected over the architectonic elements of the building resemble a
serpent descending to the ground. Inside the
pyramid are located the famous Chac Mool
sculpture and the Jaguar Throne.
The Steam Bath
Temple of the Warriors
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Platform of Venus or of the Dance
Sacred Well or the Well of the Sacrifices
Tzompantli, that displays figures of skulls in relief
Platform of Eagles and Jaguars
The Ball Court and the Temple of the Jaguars
Red House or Chichan Chob
House of the Deer
Caracol or Observatory
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The Akab Dzib
Temple of the Carved Panels
The Well of Xtoloc
The Temple of the Bearded Man
The three areas can be seen comfortably in one day. Also you should enjoy the
wonderful Light and Sound Show that is held every evening.
You can travel to Chichen - Itza from Merida by daily travel agency tours, rental
car or public bus lines that have trips approximately every hour. You can do the trip on one day or
preferably stay overnight. There are hotels at Chichen - Itza, Piste (village 1 mile beyond the ruins) and
Valladolid (25 miles beyond the ruins).
Archaeological zone: From 8 to 17 hrs.
Museum: From 8 to 17 hrs.
Light & Sound Show in Spanish*:
Winter Hour: 19 hrs.
Summer Hour: 20 hrs
View of the Caracol in the foreground, the Castillo dominating the
left background and the Temple of the Column on the far right.
This view was taken from atop one of the Nunnery buildings.
The interior of this building at the northern end of the Ballcourt is
sculpted in bas relief. The red paint is still visible. This view is from
the Temple of the Jaguars, the left picture in the next row.
Note the very level horizon, a distinct aspect of Chichen Itza's
Perched high above the Ballcourt this double serpent column
doorway faces the Ballcourt. High walls with a projecting stone
ring line the two long sides of the Ballcourt. This building is atop
The Temple of the Columns is so named for the many columns in
the foreground and to the right of the platform. The columns
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the east side of the Ballcourt and faces away from the main
plaza and the Castillo.
probably supported a roof. In the main doorway two serpent
columns supported a large wooden beam.
A Chac Mool statue faces the main plaza and the Castillo
pyramid from the centerline of the doorway atop the Temple of
the Columns platform. A section of the main doorway beam
remains in the socket atop the wall above the Chac Mool.
Another Chac Mool statue has been found within the Castillo
pyramid. The present version of the Castillo sits atop an earlier
pyramid. This Chac Mool and the jaguar statue in the background
are located on top of the previous pyramid. Excavators have
created a tunnel up the original stairs and under the present
stairs, seen in the next row. A jaguar mool close-up follows below.
This giant serpent's head decorates the base of the Castillo
A close-up view of the 'jaguar mool' inside the Castillo. Note the
jade eyes. Perhaps these treasures are why the guards chased
me out of the ruins at sunrise!
A view of the author (in 1983) astride the Ballcourt's wall with the
Castillo in the backbround.
Another view of the Temple of the Columns with a rainbow,
seemingly emanating from the chac masks on the building corner.
The buildings in the Nunnery area
display Puuc style architecture,
in contrast to the Toltec influence
in the Ballcourt and Castillo area.
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"The Cave of Maya Treasure"
Balankanche is located only 6 kilometers from Chichen Itza, via federal highway 180 in the State of
Balankanche Cave should be visited for the beauty of its natural stone formations and for its
archaeological importance as a ceremonial site for the Maya.
A light and sound show that relates its history can be seen into the cave.
The first man of modern times to see the treasure of Balankanche was a tour guide from Chichen Itza. In
1959, while exploring the cave, Gomez discovered a passageway leading deep into the caverns. It took
him two hours to follow out the path that eventually brought him face to face with the treasures left by
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the ancient Maya 800
Dr. E. Wyllys Andrews, leader of the National Geographic
Society Expedition working nearby, was immediately
summoned to inspect the discovery. Arriving into the cave,
he was astonished when he saw with the beam of his
headlamp hundreds of glittering stalactites surrounding a
huge stalagmite (resembling a ceiba tree) which stretched
from floor to ceiling in the center of the enormous vault.
Carefully placed around the base of this unusual geological
formation, said to be the "sacred tree inside the earth", were
a great variety of ceremonial objects, offering to the rain
god Tlaloc and left undisturbed through centuries of
Years after its rediscovery, the cave of Balankanche was opened to the public, who can now admire the
artifacts exhibited in the exact places in which they were found.
Balankanche is opened to the public all year round, Monday to Sunday
from 9 to 17 hrs.
Guided tours and light sound shows are offered at the site museum,
botanical gardens, snack bar, rest areas and parking are also available
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Chizen Itza > Cancun
Summary: 210,7 kilometers (2 hours, 46 minutes)
Depart Chichén Itzá on Local road(s) (North-East)
Turn RIGHT (South-East) onto M-180
At Valladolid, stay on M-180 (East)
Turn RIGHT (South) onto Local road(s)
At Chemax, return North on Local road(s)
Turn RIGHT (East) onto M-180
Turn LEFT (North-West) onto Local road(s)
At X-Can, return South-East on Local road(s)
Bear LEFT (East) onto M-180
Entering Quintana Roo
Turn RIGHT (South) onto M-307 [Av Tulum]
Turn LEFT (East) onto Local road(s)
Driving distance: 210,7 kilometers
Total travel time: 2 hours, 46 minutes
Driving time: 2 hours, 46 minutes
Cost: 40,62 €
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The State of Quintana Roo is located in the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula at the southeastern tip
of Mexico. It has a surface of 50,212 square kilometers and is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea in both
north and east, bordering Belize to the south and Guatemala to the west with the State of Campeche and
with the State of Yucatan.
The name of Quintana Roo state, comes from Andrés Quintana Roo, a Mexican figure, who played an
important role in the Independence movement and in the creation of the Republic.
It was awarded the status of a Free Sovereign State preserving its ancient surface and borders, by the
October 8, 1974 decree after having filled population and economic requirements. The local constitution
was promulgated on January 12, 1975.
Quintana Roo, is the youngest state of the Mexican Republic and is also the one where the most
important tourist complex, considered one of the best in the world is located with a population of
approximately 874,963 inhabitants.
Quintana Roo is an encounter with nature. Its beaches, considered among the most beautiful ones in the
world, are surrounded by the beautiful blue intensive to clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Having natural landscapes, history and culture it is a wonderful place for those who like hunting, fishing
and aquatic sports.
The climate in Quintana Roo, for most of its surface is a warm one with occasional showers.
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Cancun is located 379 km north of Chetumal via federal highways 295 and 307 in the State of Quintana
The island of Cancun, is connected to mainland Mexico by two bridges. Characterized for its fantastic
landscapes and splendid beaches with fine sand, Cancun is ideal for practising water sports.
The crystal clear waters of Cancun let you admire the sea bottom to depths of more than 26 mts.
Cancun is the most important tourist resort of the State of Quintana Roo and Mexico, and also has some
of the most beautiful tropical beaches in the world.
Cancun has a large variety of attractions such as:
The Bojorquez and Nichupte Lagoons, where you can practice diving
The Archaeological Museum and the archaeological site of El Rey
Kin Inch and Ahuav-Bonil, which are found on the Golf Club grounds
Cancun offers hotels of all categories, traditional & international restaurants, shops, night clubs and
many other services for your entertainment.
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Hotel Lepanto Mexico City
The Hotel Lepanto Is Located A Few Blocks From The Most Important Business, Shopping,
Entertainment And Historical Sites. The Property Is Centrally Located And Offers Meeting Rooms
And An On Site Restaurant/Bar. The Hotel Lepanto Is The Perfect Location For Travelers,
Businessmen And Convention Groups.
The Hotel Lepanto Is Located Downtown Approximately 12 Miles From Juarez International Airport.
- Juarez Intl Airport - Taxi Available 24 Hours At Approx 10.00 Usd. From Juarez Intl - Take
Viaducto Miguel Aleman West. Take Insurgentes Sur And Go North, Then Take Paseo De Reforma
East Until Ave Juarez And Go South. Turn Left On Guerrero Street And Continue To The Property
120$ + tax; Our e-mail address is: [email protected]
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Located 10 blocks from the historical center, Hotel Hacienda la Noria offers 81 rooms and
suites with TV, ample space and unique decor, elegant gardens, and "Las Canastas"
restaurant with the best of Oaxaca food. You can also spend time in our pleasant, pool-side
bar, "El Portalito," sipping cocktails or soft drinks, and nibbling on typical Oaxacan appetizers.
Our pool-side patio bar "El Portalito"
Pool and Kid's Pool
Safety Deposit Boxes
Special Events and Convention Hall
Hotel Hacienda La Noria
Av. Eduardo Mata No. 1918 esq. La Costa
Fracc. San José la Noria
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Telephone: 0 11 52 (951) 514 7555, 514 7122
Fax: 0 11 52 (951) 516 5347
E-mail: [email protected]
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Carretera Cristobal Colon KM 790
Phone : (011-52-) 971-5-0085
Fax : (011-52-) 971-5-0113
Email : [email protected]
Highway 190; go approximately 2KM East of town towards La Ventosa, on the North side of
San Cristobal de las Casas
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Chan-Kah Resort Village
Popularity index: #2 in Palenque out of 16 hotels
Km. 3 Carretera a las Ruinas
Welcome to Chan-Khan Resort Village, we gives all sort of comforts and amenities to our guests.
Credit Cards Accepted
Check-in Time: 3:00 P.M.
Check-out Time: 12:00 Noon.
La Dolce Vita
Carlos n Charlies
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DEBLIZ HOTEL CAMPECHE
Av. Las Palmas 55, off Av. Pedro Sainz de
Baranda, near baseball stadium
Front Desk,Business Center,Concierge,Elevator,Free
Parking,Bar,Banquet,Restaurant,Safe Deposit Box,Lounge,Coffee Shop,Handicap
Facilities,Indoor Parking,Outdoor Parking,Parking,Jacuzzi,Sauna,Conference
Facilities,Meeting Facilities,Secretarial Service,Hai
Shop,Boutiques,Concierge Desk,Currency Exchange,In Room Telephone
Service,Express Check'-In,Express Check'-Out,Front Desk'-24 Hours,Guest
Laundromat,Luggage Storage,Wake up service
AC,Cable TV,Direct Phone,Channel Music,Attbath,Shower,Bath Tub,Shower/Bath
Tub,Minibar,Work Desk,Safe Deposit Box,Smoke alarms,Sprinklers,Double
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Mision Uxmal 3 stars, is located on a hill, surrounded by green areas with characteristic
vegetation of the region, has a colonial style decoration; its structure is distributed on a
horizontal building in horseshoe form with 4 levels. On those levels you will find the front desk
and lobby areas, lobby bar, restaurant, tobacco and gifts store, room area, convention/hall
rooms, and solarium with snack bar.
100 spacious rooms all with private bathrooms, air ocnditioining, cable TV, telephone, smoke
alarm, minibar and balconies with a spectacular view of the gardens and ancient Uxmal
Located only 5 minutes away from one of the most famous Mayan sites, Uxmal, and only 50
km. away from Merida City.
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Hotel Chichen-Itza, Chichen Itza
Chichen- Itza Hotel, 3 stars. It
provides guests with all the amenities
and facilities expected from this class
of hotel, is a comfortable oasis
among an ancient culture, with
parking lot, spacious rooms, a small
pool and good service.
45 comfortable standard rooms,
colonial style with 2 single beds,
queen or king size, air conditioning,
safety deposit box, shower/bathtub,
telephone and a ceiling fan.
1 Restaurant (s)
2 Bar (s)
1 Pool (s)
Located 2 minutes away from the world famous archaeological site of Chichen-Itza in the Village of Piste. Hotel
Chichen-Itza is 12 minutes drive from Chichen Itza Airport and 2 hours and 30 minutes from the International
Airport of Cancun.
Restaurants & Bars
Los Arcos Restaurant: Features regional and international cuisine, for breakfast, lunch, or
dinner. Open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm
Los Venados Bar: You can enjoy your favorite drink. Open from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm
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Flamingo Cancun Resort
Blvd Kukulcan, Hotel Zone
Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Directly on the Caribbean Sea and Kukulcan Boulevard
in Canc n Hotel Zone, midpoint between downtown
Canc n and the airport. Flamingo Plaza is located
across the street featuring Pat O'Brien's Bar, Planet
Hollywood and over 100 shops and boutiques. The
Canc n Convention Center and Plaza Caracol are a 15
minute walk from the Flamingo Canc n. It is a low-rise
hotel with 220 rooms and suites, some handicap
Specials - we have listed important specials that could save you money, call us for details
All-Inclusive! Includes room, meals, activities.
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Rise of the Olmecs in San Lorenzo
Tenochtitlán and La Venta. Colossal
stone heads and fine stone sculptures
Rome founded by Romulus and
Remus (according to legend).
Monte Albán founded on a mountain
looking over three valleys. The
mountain top was leveled to build the
Rise of Teotihuacán as a major city
with up to 50,000 inhabitants.
Earliest recorded dates produced at
First paved streets in Rome;
3rd Punic War, Carthage
Third Servile war - revolt of slaves
First Triumvirate (three rulers) Pompeii, Caesar, Crassus
Construction of the Pyramids of the
Sun and Moon at Teotihuacán.
Teotihuacán, Monte Albán and Tikal
Arch of Constantine built to
commemorate Constantine's great
victory over Mazentius;
Building of first St Peter's
Sacking of Rome by Alaric the
Rome pillaged by Vandals;
Fall of Western Roman Empire
Convention at Xochicalco;
Uxmal and Kabah flourish;
Establishment of Tula;
El Tajin becomes dominant power in
Gulf Coast Region
Pantheon consecrated as a
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Fall of Teotihuacán;
Monte Albán abandoned and Mitla
becomes more powerful. Construction
of the major monuments in Palenque.
Charlemagne, King of Franks,
crowned Holy Roman Emperor
The Toltec capital Tula is the largest
and most important city in central
Revival of Chichén Itzá following
arrival of Quetzalcóatl/Kukulkán
King Otto the Great becomes first
German Holy Roman Emperor
Rome attacked by the Normans
Cholula pyramid reaches maximum
size (it is the largest known in the
Fall of Tula
League of Mayapan dominates the
Rome an independent commune
under Arnaldo di Brescia
Founding of Tenochtitlán by the
Mayapan overthrown by coalition of
Uxmal and associated cities
Aztecs dominate central and southern
Construction of new St Peter's
Cortés arrives in Veracruz
Conquest of Tenochtitlán by the
Michaelangelo begins painting the
Sistine Chapel ceiling; Rome
sacked by army of Charles V of
Three centuries of Spanish rule follows. The native population is reduced from 25
million to less than 6 million, mostly as a result of European diseases. The church grows
more powerful and owns nearly half the land in the country. Native Indians are reduced
to a life of slavery.
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Spanish domination wanes as domestic
problems take priority.
1808: Napoleon forced abdication of King
of Spain and installed his brother Joseph
Bonaparte as King of Spain
1810 (16th September): Miguel Hidalgo
proclaims independence from Spain in
Grito de Dolores. A rebellious uprising
follows, but is quashed by royalists and
Hidalgo is executed.
1821: Augustin Iturbide negotiates
independence from the Spanish and
proclaims himself Emperor Augustin I. His
rule lasts for just one year, and begins a
series of short lived presidencies which
bring great instability to Mexico.
1836: Texas declares itself independent,
Mexico refuses to accept the status.
1845: US annex Texas - leads to MexicoAmerican war; US troops take Mexico City;
1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Mexico loses Texas, New Mexico and
1840s: War of the Castes in the Yucatan
virtually eliminates the Maya people.
1857: War of the Reform, liberals under
Juárez take control over church-backed
1861: Juárez suspends payments on
foreign debts for 2 years, provoking the
threat of combined invasion by France,
Spain and Britain. France alone attacks.
1862: French lose battle of Puebla to
Mexicans; 1864: Maximilian of Habsburg,
appointed Emperor Maximilian by
Napoleon, arrives at Veracruz
1867: Maximilian is executed and Juárez
1872: Juarez dies
1877-1910: The Porfiriato, dictatorship
under Porfirio Diaz, brings stability but little
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1911-1926: The Mexican Revolution
begins as a revolt against Diaz but results
in civil war as rival revolutionary factions
fight for power.
1936: Lázaro Cárdenas elected, forms PRI
and begins major redistribution of land to
1938: Lázaro Cárdenas nationalised
previously foreign-owned oil companies,
resulting in a boycott of Mexican oil by US
World War II brings demand for Mexican
oil and reduction in imported goods to
Mexico, stimilating industrial output.
1968: Massacre in Tlateloco following
student unrest, Olympic Games held in
1985: Huge earthquake hits Mexico City
1988: Election of Carlos Salinas under
whom NAFTA agreement is signed
1994: Zapatista Army of National
Liberation take control of San Cristóbal de
las Casas. Government forces quell the
disturbances and an uneasy ceasefire is
reached in the area.
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The Olmecs were the first of the ancient civilizations of
Mexico, notable for their colossal stone sculptures and
complex calendar system (later used by the Mayas). They
originated in the present day state of Veracruz and
flourished between around 1200 to 400 BC.
The Olmecs built ceremonial cities, with constructions
including pyramids and temples built from mud and earth.
They were probably the first muralists and cave painters in
Mexico, and also produced statues in jade. Typical Olmec
art features jaguars, thick-lipped warriors and goatee
bearded men. Often jaguar and human characteristics are
combined in were-jaguar babies and children; the Olmecs
believed themselves to be descendents of the jaguar and
held the animal in high religious status.
The largest Olmec momuments are the colossal stone
heads, with thick lips and helmets. They have been found
up to around 60 miles (100 km) from the source of the raw
material and it is not known exactly how these 7 foot (2
meter) high sculptures were transported to the ceremonial
sites where they were found.
Major discoveries of Olmec artifacts have been found in La Venta and San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán.
Some Olmec works, including five of the colossal heads, are on display in La Venta Park, an outdoor
museum, having been relocated when the oil industry expansion threatened the original location.
There is little to attract tourist to the archaeological sites, and for those on a short visit the best
introduction to Olmec art is probably to be gained at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico
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centuries before the birth of Christ, the Zapotecs
leveled a mountain top to create their ceremonial city
The location is spectacular
Monte Albán was founded around 700BC, when population growth in
the area was sufficient to support a religious élite. It became the
most important center in the area, and by 300AD had a population of
about 50,000 - more than any European city at the time. Residential
areas were built on terraces down the hillside, and all water supplies
had to be carried up from the valleys.
Many early structures were razed or built over, one of the earliest structures known today is the "Monumento de
los Danzantes", featuring the first examples of writing found in the region. Intensive construction at the site
continued until around 900AD, when the city began to lose political influence to other powers, such as Mitla. The
Mixtecs began to dominate the Zapotecs, and Monte Albán, almost deserted by 700AD, became more of a
religious site - the Mixtecs buried their leaders in elaborate tombs here.
Later invaders were the Aztecs and then the Spanish, who gave the city its current name.
Most of the structures surround a vast plaza, orientated north-south. There are large platforms to the north and
south; you'll enter at the north-east corner.
Founded around 700BC, Monte Albán grew to a
population of 50,000 by 300AD
To your left you will see the ball-court. Zapotec ball-courts differ from
those of the Maya in several ways; there are no stone rings and the
court is shaped like a capital I. The sides of the court were sloping,
but experts think that these walls were used in the game and were
not for spectators. There is no evidence of human sacrifices related
to the ball game in the Zapotec culture. However, the game seems to have involved moving the ball using elbows
and hips similar to the method of play used by the Maya.
The Northern platform was probably the major structure on the plaza, though much of it is in ruins now and it's
difficult to imagine its original glory. There are several broad stairways offering great views of the valley. On the
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west side are two almost identical structures, with steps up to a platform and a walled enclosure at the base.
There are remains of a four-tiered pyramid that would have been crowned by a temple.
The Monumento de los Danzantes is carved with naked human figures in strange positions
Between these two buildings is the Monumento de los Danzantes
(the Dancers). The sloping faces are carved with naked human
figures in strange positions, originally thought to be dancers. Their
real significance is unknown, but the most popular theory is that they
depict some sort of medical textbook - maybe this was a kind of
hospital. Various deformities can be made out, and one figure is
clearly a woman in childbirth. Date glyphs near the carvings are from
In the center of the plaza are two constructions, the largest (in three
sections) was a temple system that included tunnels to other temples
on the site - presumably so that the priest could make sudden and magical appearances. The second building is
the only one not aligned with the cardinal points and is thought to have been used for astronomy, hence its name
'The Observatory'. In its construction, about 40 carved slabs from the Monumento de los Danzantes were used.
There are depictions of rulers above glyphs representing place names, presumably a list of conquered towns.
The southern platform houses the tallest structure, an unrestored pyramid. This is the best place to take
photographs and view the site as a whole.
Before you leave, visit the tombs just north of the main plaza, where the Mixtecs buried their rulers. Important
collections of jewelry were found here, most notably in Tomb 7 whose contents are on display in the museum at
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in a place where men
colossal pyramids were painted red to glow under the Mexican sun
View of the site
The ancient city of Teotihuacán is the most visited of Mexico’s archaeological sites and a must-see if
you’re in Mexico City. The site is impressive for its scale, both in the size of the Pyramid of the Sun (the third
largest pyramid in the world) and the majesty of the Calle de los Muertos (Street of the Dead) - originally 4km long
and flanked by temples, palaces and platforms. Look for amazingly well preserved murals in the Palace of the
Jaguars or the Palace of the Quetzal-butterfly and bold sculptures in the Temple of Quetzalcoátl.
The Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest in the world
Be prepared for lots of walking and climbing here, and remember that the altitude will make your exertions more
tiring than usual. The Pyramid of the Sun is the tallest of the two major pyramids, though it is an easier climb than
the Pyramid of the Moon which has larger steps. If at all possible, we’d recommend climbing to the top of the Sun
and then at least to the first platform of the Moon for the awesome view down the Calle de los Muertos.
Bearing the above in mind, bring some water (the refreshment stalls are quite a distance from the pyramids) a
sunhat, camera, guidebook - but little else to drag around. As usual it’s best to arrive early in the morning or
towards the end of the day to avoid the crowds or the heat (morning is best in summer, when rainfall is more
common in the afternoon). Most of the tour buses have an annoying habit of starting out early in the morning but
then stopping at other less strenuous sights on the way, and/or calling in at a souvenir shop before the site, so
that you finally arrive around noon. Note that in winter it can actually be quite cool (even if it is warm in the city),
and a sweater is recommended.
You’ll find a visitors’ complex with restaurant, toilets and shops at the entrance near the citadel. There’s also a
museum housing a scale model of the city at its peak - well worth a look before or after your visit.
Outside of the summer months (July - September) there is a sound and light show in the evening - in English at
7pm and in Spanish at 8pm.
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By car (or taxi) - it will take about 45 minutes from the city center if you use the toll motorway, much longer if you
use the old free road. There is a small fee for parking at the site. A taxi may work out prohibitively expensive,
though sometimes "tours" with a car and driver/guide can be arranged for a reasonable fee if you want the
By bus - Autobuses Teotihuacán leave the North bus station every half an hour or so. Check that your bus goes
to the site entrance and not just to the town of San Juan Teotihuacán nearby. It will take around an hour, and the
buses run until about 6pm - check the last departure before you leave.
By tour bus - most travel agencies offer half or full day tours to the site, often combined with the Plaza de la Tres
Culturas and the Basilica of Guadalupe, both of which are outside the city center. It’s a convenient way to
combine the three, but note our comments above about getting to the site early. The price is around 200 pesos
Teotihuacán was a large settlement by 150BC, its importance probably arising from a cave system with religious
significance, located underneath the present day Pyramid of the Sun. As other settlements in the area diminished,
Teotihuacán flourished and became a religious and economic center, controlling the region’s production of
obsidian (the black stone used to make weapons and utensils).
Between 1AD and 250AD the ceremonial core was completed, including the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon and
the Calle de los Muertos. The massive pyramid structures were painted red and must have been an awe-inspiring
sight. Trading relationships were established with Monte Albán in Oaxaca and the gulf coast - there is little
evidence of any hostility during the years of prosperity. (You will not see any depictions of warfare or human
sacrifice in the carvings and murals at Teotihuacán, unlike many contemporary cities in Mexico).
Major expansion in population and housing occurred between 250-450AD. As many as 200,000 inhabitants have
been estimated and at least 2000 "houses" counted. Most of these buildings were home to large family groups or
artisan communes. There were even delegations from other cities - a group of craftsmen from Monte Albán is
known to have shared a workshop here. The prosperity continued to 650AD and around this time it was the sixth
largest city in the world.
In 400AD, with around 200,000 inhabitants Teotihuacán was the sixth largest city in the world 300 years later it was found virtually abandoned
However, in 650AD, a great fire swept through the city, devastating
many communities. For some unknown reason a swift decline
ensued and there was no massive reconstruction exercise. Several
theories prevail - invasion from a rival city taking advantage of
temporary weakness, or a culmination of the erosion of natural
resources by over-exploitation.
Whatever the cause, the population soon moved to other growing
cities and Teotihuacán was virtually deserted. By the time the Aztecs
arrived on the scene, the area was little more than an ancient ruin.
To the Aztecs, Teotihuacán was a holy place, where the sun, moon
and universe were created. It was they who gave Teotihuacán its name, meaning "The place where men become
gods". They also named the Calle de los Muertos, thinking (wrongly) that the many ruined temples and
monuments along the "road" were burial places of early rulers. However, the city never regained its concentration
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In time earth and grass covered the great pyramids, until they appeared little more than large hills on the
landscape. Cortés passed through the area in the 16th century and paid little attention to what structures were
visible. It was not until the 19th century that proper excavation and restoration was begun.
The Citadel and Temple of Quetzalcóatl
The main entrance and visitors’ center is directly opposite the La Ciudadela (The Citadel). This large sunken
plaza was the city’s administrative center; you’ll see the foundations
of several rooms and buildings around the perimeter. Its name was
given by the Spanish, who mistook the perimeter platform and
pyramid remains for a fortress and towers.
At the eastern end of the plaza, furthest from the visitors’ center, is
the Temple of Quetzalcóatl. On approach you will see a four tier
pyramid, with steep steps up the nearest side. This construction
completely covered a previous pyramid and temple, but excavations
on the eastern side have revealed a section of this original building.
To see this, walk around the railed platform.
The exposed four-tier (originally six) pyramid has protruding
sculptures of serpents alternating with masks of Tláloc, god of rain and maize. The serpents have plumes or
feathers around their necks (Quetzalcóatl being the ‘plumed serpent’) and their bodies curve from the left of the
head, ending in a rattle. The Tláloc masks have corn-cob faces, with big circular eyes and two fangs. Carvings of
shells and snails around the masks are earth and water symbols. Originally these would all have been painted in
bright colors; green plumes and obsidian eyes for the serpent, white fangs and red jaws for Tláloc. Some traces of
paint can still be seen.
Calle de los Muertos
Leaving the citadel, walk up the Calle de los Muertos towards the Pyramid of the Moon. On the left you’ll pass the
"Edificios Superpuestos" (superimposed buildings) where excavations have unearthed living quarters below the
present level, filled in with rubble in order to build the second stage.
Pyramid of the Sun
Early reconstruction work by Leopoldo Batres in the early 20th century has unfortunately removed evidence of the
true appearance of the pyramid, including its original height. It is now around 215 feet (65 m) high with five tiers,
though the fourth and fifth tier were divided by Batres and there were probably only four original, roughly even
Directly under the Pyramid of the Sun is a tunnel which leads to caves used for religious
Climb the steps to the top of the pyramid; most of the tiers have
small steps that are relatively easier on the legs than those of the
Pyramid of the Moon. At the top there would almost certainly have
been a temple, of which no trace remains. The view, however, is
tremendous and well worth the climb.
Directly under the pyramid is the cave system that is believed to
have determined its location. An man-made entrance was
discovered in 1971 at the perimeter of the pyramid, with steep stone
steps cut into the walls of a shaft 23 feet (7m) deep. From the
bottom, a tunnel leads to the natural caves, extended to form four
rooms. Here various artifacts were found which indicate early use,
probably for religious purposes (caves and water sources, which this
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was likely to be, were seen as holy places).
Palaces of the Jaguar and Quetzal-butterfly
Approaching the Pyramid of the Moon from the Sun, a grand plaza opens up at the base of the pyramid. Several
platforms and smaller pyramids surround the plaza, each pyramid with a central staircase originally leading to a
On the left hand side are the remains of palaces, some with murals and carvings still visible. The Palace of the
Jaguar has murals of jaguars with feathered headdresses, whilst in the Palace of the Quetzal-butterfly are carved
pillars depicting a hybrid bird-butterfly. The eyes of these creatures were set with obsidian and some still pieces
are still intact.
These palaces were elaborately decorated and are assumed to have been the homes of high priests. Other
murals can be seen in residential areas outside of the main complex; at Tepantitla behind the Palace of the Sun
and also at Tetila and Atetelco, west of the main site.
Pyramid of the Moon
Although this pyramid is smaller than that of the Sun, it was constructed on higher ground and its peak is roughly
at the same height. Here there are four tiers, and some of the steps are so large that climbing the pyramid
requires much effort. It is worth at least climbing to the first platform though, for the view directly down the Calle
de los Muertos is highly memorable.
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a pyramid built
overnight by a dwarf magician
and palaces carved with undulating serpents
Uxmal rises above the trees
Uxmal is one of the most well known of the Maya cities, and rated
by many archaeologists as the finest. In area the site is fairly compact,
though you should allow at least half a day for a first visit, after which
you’ll probably want to return to go over the site in more detail. There has
been much renovation work and the grounds are well tended, but wear
good shoes if you intend to do any climbing. It is permitted to climb the
largest structure, the Pyramid of the Magician, and the view from the top is
well worth the effort, though the steps are extremely steep.
Considered by many archeologists as one of the finest
examples of an ancient Maya city
Facilities at the entrance are excellent, with cafeterias, souvenir shops
and toilet facilities. There is also a small museum and auditorium. If you
arrive early, skip the museum and see the site first before the heat is too
The site is open between 8am and 5pm, with a sound and light show in
the evening, (in Spanish at 7pm and English at 9pm). As usual, we
recommend an early or late visit to avoid the midday heat. There’s an admission fee of around $4 and a further
fee for the sound and light show. All the sites are free on Sundays.
From Mérida, follow the 261 in the direction of Campeche. The site is about 70 miles (110 km) from Mérida and it
should take about an hour by car. The entrance is very well signed from the 261. We recommend hiring a car as
the best way to see Uxmal and the other Puuc sites with some flexibility. Otherwise, take a tour from Mérida.
The name Uxmal means 'thrice-built' in Mayan, referring to the construction of its highest structure, the Pyramid of
the Magician. The Maya would often build a new temple over an existing one, and in this case five stages of
construction have actually been found.
Uxmal was one of the largest cities of the Yucatán peninsula, and at its height was home to about 25,000 Maya.
Like the other Puuc sites, it flourished in the Late Classic period (around 600-900AD). Indications are that its
rulers presided also over the nearby settlements in Kabah, Labná and Sayil, and there are several sacbeob
connecting the sites. The area is known as the Ruta Puuc or Puuc route, from the nearby hills.
With a population of about 25,000 Uxmal was one of the largest cities in the Yucatán
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Puuc architecture has several predominant features, most notably constructions with a plain lower section and a
richly decorated upper section. Carvings most commonly found include serpents, lattice work and masks of the
Chac was the god of rain, greatly revered by the Maya at Uxmal because of the lack of natural water supplies in
the city. Although the Yucatán has no surface rivers, most Maya cities, including Chichén Itzá, used cenotes to
access underground water, however there were no cenotes at Uxmal. Instead, it was necessary to collect water in
chultunes or cisterns, built in the ground. The proximity of the Puuc hills did mean, however, that comparatively
rich soil from the hilltop forests was washed down the slopes during rainstorms, making the area one of the most
successful agricultural regions of the Yucatán.
In "Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan" John Stevens recounts stories of the human sacrifices performed at the
highest temple of the House of the Magician. With the victim still alive, the priest would rip out the heart with a flint
knife, and throw the body (allegedly still moving) down the steep steps.
The Legend of the Pyramid of the Magician
Legend held that when a certain gong was sounded, the town of Uxmal would fall to a boy "not born of woman".
One day, a dwarf boy, who had been raised from an egg by a witch, sounded the gong and struck fear into the
ruler, who ordered him to be executed. The ruler promised that the boy’s life would be saved if he could perform
three impossible tasks, one of which was to build a giant pyramid in a single night. The boy achieved all the tasks,
and became the new ruler.
The Pyramid of the Magician
Standing 117 feet (38 m) high, this structure dominates your view as you enter the complex. Unusually built on an
elliptical base, this pyramid is the result of five superimposed temples. Parts of the first temple can be seen when
ascending the western staircase; the second and third are accessed by the eastern staircase, in an inner
chamber at the second level. The fourth temple is clearly visible from the west side, a giant Chac mask marks the
entrance and Chac’s mouth is the door! Note also the series of Chac masks on the sides of the stairway. Climb to
the top of the east stairs to reach the fifth temple and view the whole site.
Legend says that a dwarf boy raised by a witch built the pyramid in one night
The Nunnery Quadrangle
This collection of four buildings around a quadrangle was named "Casa de las Monjas" (The Nunnery) by the
Spanish, because the 74 small rooms around the courtyard reminded them of nuns’ quarters in a Spanish
convent. Each of the four buildings has a unique ornate façade, and each is built on a different level. The northern
building is the oldest and the grandest; here you can see many typical Puuc embellishments - Chac masks
arranged one over another vertically, serpents and lattice work. The building to the east and closest to the House
of the Magician is the best preserved, with a stack of Chac masks over the central doorway and serpents above
the doorways to the left and right. The exact purpose of the group is not known, though, given the size and
importance of the site, it is thought likely to have housed visiting dignitaries or administrative offices.
The Palace of the Governor
Regarded by many experts as the best example of Puuc architecture in existence, the Palace of the Governor
stands on an artificial raised platform and is thought to be one of the last constructed building on the site (around
987AD). The structure has a typical plain lower section and a richly carved upper. Amongst the depictions are
serpents, lattices and masks and also a central seated god-like figure with a long plumed head-dress.
House of the Turtles
Next to the Palace of the Governor and on the same raised platform stands the House of the Turtles, so called
because of a frieze of turtles carved around the cornice. It was believed that turtles suffered with man at times of
drought and would also pray to Chac for rain.
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The Great Pyramid
Originally nine levels high, the Great Pyramid has been partially restored. It seems that another temple was to be
superimposed on the existing structure and some demolition had taken place before the plans were halted,
leaving the pyramid in bad condition. However, you can still see Puuc-style stonework on the façade.
Follow the signs to more areas of interest outside the central section; the beautiful but sadly ruined House of the
Doves, the House of the Old Woman (the adoptive mother of the dwarf in the legend of the Pyramid of the
Magician), the Temple of the Phalli and the Cemetery Group.
The Pyramid of the Magician
The entrance to Temple IV is a giant Chac mask
Entrance to the Nunnery
Inside the Nunnery Complex
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The Nunnery - Eastern building
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Kaba is home to the stunning façade of the Codz-Pop
(meaning "rolled-up mat"). Try to visualize the effect of a
whole wall of Chac masks, around 250 in total, with big
round eyes and protruding, curled noses. The intricacy of
the carving is amazing and much of the detail is intact,
though many of the noses are incomplete. Even the steps
into the building are part of a Chac face; the footstep is a
curved nose. It’s a tremendous sight, and the suggestion
that each nose may have held a torch to light up the
whole structure conjures up a remarkable picture in the
mind. Note also the elaborate roof comb, once 10 ft (3 m)
high, perforated with rectangular openings.
On the same side of the road are the Great Temple and
Temple of the Columns, palace-like structures with plainer
façades, where restoration work is ongoing. The grounds
are lawned and fairly flat, so it’s easy to wander around.
Don’t miss the Arch of Kabah on the other side of the
road, marking the end of a ceremonial sacbe about 2½
miles (4½ km) long leading from Uxmal. In the other
direction the sacbe is believed to have extended to Labná.
Detail of Chac masks
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images of war and death abound
in this great
city of the Maya
The ruins of Chichén Itzá lie about midway between
Cancún and Mérida, so that the journey from each city
takes around 2 or 3 hours via the new autopista. It is
possible to see the main structures on a day trip from
Cancún, and many tour buses do just this resulting in a
large influx of visitors around 10-11am. Chichén Itzá is
the most visited site in the Yucatán and it can get very
crowded here, so if at all possible try to arrive soon after
the 8am opening. This will give you time to climb the
Pyramid of Kukulkán before it gets too hot, and will allow
you to view the whole site from the top before the
crowds swarm in. Alternatively, leave your visit until later
in the day and stay overnight nearer the site, returning in
the early morning. Ideally, you will need two days for a
good understanding of the site, which covers 4 square
The Pyramid of Kukulkán
Admission charge to the ruins is around 75 pesos. The
evening sound and light show costs 35 pesos (add
another 25 pesos for headphones if you want to listen to
the commentary in English). The show usually starts at
around 8.00pm, but we'd suggest you r-confirm the time
when you arrive. Your ticket permits re-entry on the
same day only.
At the entrance to the site is a large visitors’ complex,
with cafeterias, restrooms, bookshops and a small
museum. There are also models of the layout of the site.
Note that there is a second refreshment shop with toilet
facilities by the cenote.
Chichén Itzá has been widely studied, and excavated
and restored more than any of the other Mayan cities.
Yet its history is still clouded in mystery and there are
many contradicting theories and legends.
The Ball Court
A large Mayan community thrived
here between 700AD and 900AD
It is clear that a large Mayan community thrived here
between around 700AD and 900AD, and built most of
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the structures in the southern area. However, the main
buildings in the central area, including the Pyramid of
Kukulkán, the Temple of the Warriors and the Ball
Court, are Toltec in design and influence.
Inside the Ball Court
The Toltecs originated from Central Mexico, and one
respected theory suggests that the Toltecs invaded
Chichén Itzá and imposed their architectural style on
new constructions. Alternatively, we know that the Maya
traded extensively and it is possible that they were
influenced by the Toltecs in their own architecture.
Another more recent theory claims that Tula, capital of
the Toltecs, was actually under the domination of the
Maya, resulting in a transfer of style from one city to
another. There are fragments of evidence to support
each line of thought, but no conclusive evidence for any
Compounding the mystery are ancient legends passed
down through the Mayan tribes and also the Toltecs.
According to Toltec history, in 987AD the legendary
ruler Quetzalcóatl was defeated and expelled from Tula.
He was last seen leaving from the Gulf coast on a raft of
serpents. However, in the same year, Mayan stories
recorded the arrival of a king named Kukulkán, the
Serpent God, whose return had been expected.
Kukulkán defeated the Mayan city tribes, and made
Chichén Itzá his capital.
The South End of the Ball Court
Serpent Head on the Platform of Venus
The Pyramid of Kukulkán
Towering above the other buildings at 79 feet (24 m)
high, the Pyramid of Kukulkán has a structured feel
about it. Two of its sides have been completely restored,
the other two were left to show the condition before work
commenced. Each side had originally 91 steps, adding
the platform at the top as a final step there are 365 in
total one for every day of the year. Further evidence that
this building was linked to the Mayan interests of
astronomy and the calendar is demonstrated at the
spring and autumn equinox. On these days the shadow
of the sun playing on the stairs causes the illusion of a
snake processing down the pyramid in the direction of
the cenote. Naturally, it’s an impressive sight, and there
are usually thousands of people on the site at these
At the spring and autumn
equinoxes, the sun's shadow
creates the illusion of a snake
moving down the pyramid
It’s quite a climb to the top, but once you’re there you’ll
have a terrific view of the rest of the ruins. The temple at
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the top of the pyramid has carvings of Chac, the rain
god, and Quetzalcóatl, the serpent god. As at Uxmal,
this temple was built over the top of an original structure
and at limited times of the day (check at the entrance)
you can enter the old temple via a passage under the
northern stairway. Inside you’ll see a sculpture of a
jaguar, painted red and with jade eyes, exactly as it was
Temple of the Jaguars and Eagles
The Ball Court (Juego de Pelota)
From the Pyramid of Kukulkán, head north-east to the
Great Ball Court, the largest of its kind in the Maya
world. There are eight other much smaller ball courts at
Chichén Itzá and more in other Maya cities, but this one
was deliberately built on a much grander scale than any
others. The length of the playing field here is 40 feet
(135 m) and two 25 feet (8 m) high walls run alongside
The game itself involved two teams, each able to hit the
ball only with elbows, wrists or hips, and the object was
to knock the ball through one of the stone hoops on the
walls of the court.
The Sacred Cenote
Group of 1000 Columns
Look at the carvings on the lower walls of the court and
you will see that this was not a casual sport there are
clear depictions of one team member with blood
spurting from his headless neck, whilst another holds
the head aloft. Some people think the captain of the
losing side was executed by the winner; others suggest
that the winners earned an honorable sacrifice. No-one
knows for sure. It is said that the game was used either
as a method of settling disputes, or as an offering to the
gods, perhaps in times of drought. Only the best were
selected to play, and to be sacrificed in this way was a
Games in the Ball Court were
used to settle disputes or as an
offering to the gods. Many believe
the losers were put to death
Imagine, then, the significance of this giant court, where
the goals are 20 feet (66 m) high and the court is longer
than a football pitch. The acoustics here are superb - a
low voice at one end of the court can be heard clearly at
the other end and the atmosphere during a game must
have been electrifying. It is said that only the noblest
could attend the court itself, the general population
having to listen from outside.
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Temple of the Jaguars and the Tzompantli
From the ball court, head east across the central area towards the Group of the Thousand columns. On the way,
you will see the Temple of the Jaguars with its friezes of the Toltec jaguar emblem, and the Tzompantli or
Platform of the skulls. It is believed that the Tzompantli (a Toltec word) was the platform used for the sacrifices
resulting from the ball game.
Before you reach the Group of the Thousand Columns, you will see a pathway heading north, just by the Platform
of Venus. This is actually the route of an ancient sacbe, and leads to the Sacred Cenote.
A cenote is a sinkhole in the limestone bed, accessing an underwater river. These cenotes were very important to
the Mayans as their main source of water and had great religious significance. Here you will see a deep almost
circular hole with steep sides and murky green water beneath.
There are stories of sacrificial victims being thrown into the Cenote
There are stories of sacrificial victims being thrown into the cenote, along with offerings of treasure. In 1901 an
American, Edward Thompson, bought the land around the site and proceeded to dredge the cenote. He found
jewelry, pottery, figurines and the bones of many humans, mostly children. An international dispute arose when
he shipped the findings to the Peabody Museum at Harvard, where some still remain (the remainder have since
been returned to the Mexicans). The evidence, however, was inconclusive as it was feasible that children were
most likely to fall into the cenote during play rather than as a deliberate act of sacrifice.
A stroll to the cenote is a pleasant diversion from the ruins and makes an ideal refreshment stop there is a small
café/shop nearby and restrooms are available.
Group of the Thousand Columns
After visiting the cenote, head back towards the Group of the Thousand Columns. This complex incorporates the
Temple of the Warriors and a series of columns, some of which feature carvings of Toltec warriors. It is believed
that the columns originally supported a thatched roof which may have been used as a market place.
The temple itself displays another aspect of Toltec architecture the use of ‘Atlantean figures’, or statues
supporting the altar. Here the statues are of warriors, each with the appearance of a different racial type. It is
unclear as to whether these designs were accidental or whether the Maya were really aware of the diversity of the
Look also for the large Chac Mool sculpture, again a feature of Central Mexican rather than Yucatecan design.
The reclining figure holds a bowl, awaiting some sacrificial offering.
From the central plaza, take the path to the southern area of the ruins. This is thought to house the oldest
constructions, and is predominantly Mayan in design.
The Nunnery (Edificio de las Monjas) and the Church (La Iglesia), both erroneously named by the Spanish, are in
relatively poor condition. Look for depictions in La Iglesia of the four bacabs; these creatures (the crab, armadillo,
snail and tortoise) were believed to be responsible for holding up the heavens.
The most impressive structure is the Caracol, named for its curved inner stairway reminiscent of a snail. Also
known as the Observatory, this tower was used for astronomy its windows were aligned with the four cardinal
directions and the position of the setting sun at the equinoxes.
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Quetzalcóatl The ‘feathered serpent’ god, an important deity over all Mexico and known to the Maya as
Kukulkán. According to legend, Quetzalcóatl left the east coast on a raft of serpents, promising to
return. Around the same time, Mayan legend records the arrival in the Yucatán of Kukulkán,
coming from the sea on a raft. The Aztecs and several other ancient civilisations believed in a
cyclical calendar, so that Quetzalcóatl would return at fixed intervals of time. Cortés happened to
arrive in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán at the date predicted for the return of Quetzalcóatl, and
also shared several of the god’s physical characteristics. Thus Montezuma was led to believe that
Cortés was a god – a major contributing factor to Cortés’ success in conquering the Aztecs.
Hernan Cortés was the leader of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico in 1521. He marched on the imposing Aztec
capital of Tenochtitlán from his base near Veracruz. Initially unbeknown to Cortés, the Aztecs had prophesised
the return of the great god Quetzacoátl in the very year and month of his arrival. The physical similarities between
Cortés and the god helped to convince the Aztec Emperor Montezuma that the two were one and the same - this
led to his hesitation in attacking the Spanish and ultimately to the success of the conquest.
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deep in the Yucatecan jungle
ancient roads converge at a long lost city
Cobá is beautiful and mysterious - a visit here requires
some effort but is very worthwhile. Its name means
"ruffled waters", derived from the five lakes in the
vicinity, and it is one of the oldest Mayan settlements on
the peninsular. It also has the highest pyramid in the
area and the greatest concentration of sacbeob (Mayan
roads constructed from stone), both of which suggest a
major city - yet the ruins were not discovered until the
late 19th century. Even today, only a small fraction of
the many structures in this vast site have been
excavated and this, together with the remoteness and
jungle setting, contribute to the feeling of exploring new
ground. Bring a Panama hat and imagine you're Indiana
The city rises through the jungle
There is a collection of wooden stalls selling artifacts
and refreshments around the entrance to the site. There
are no other refreshments available on the site, so stock
up here and prepare for walking through the jungle with
good shoes and lots of insect repellent.
Bring a hat and imagine you're
You will need to walk at least 3km to see the biggest
pyramid; the main routes are on wide, well signed paths
but there are many smaller tracks leading into the jungle
which you may wish to investigate. Some are visibly
very short but for others a guide (there are usually
several around the gate) is advisable.
The largest pyramid, Nohoch Mul
Allow at least half a day to see the main structures and
try to avoid the heat of the day. There are no crowds
here, as Cobá is not on the tour bus routes, and any
other travelers you meet will be of the serious kind
rather than the bikini-clad tourists at Tulúm.
Opening times are the usual 8.00am to 5.00pm. Toilet facilities by the entrance are basic but clean, a small fee is
charged for their use.
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Cobá was a thriving city from around A.D.600, although it had been settled for around a thousand years before
this date. It is more similar to Tikal in Guatemala than to its Mayan neighbors, and depictions of female Tikal
royalty on several stelae found here have led to speculation that there was at least one marriage between the
royalty of the two cities.
Another interesting feature of Cobá is the convergence of around forty sacbeob, built by the Maya, one of which
has been traced a distance of 60 miles (100 km). Each sacbe was constructed with stones to a height of one to
two meters and then covered with white mortar. Their purpose is puzzling as this civilization had no wheeled
transport and had yet to see the horse, but may have been built for religious processions and pilgrimages.
Cobá is one of the oldest settlements in the Yucatan
The first group of structures (Groupo Cobá) is within view of the entrance. Here is La Iglesia, a pyramid over 65 ft
(20 m) high and the second largest at Cobá. The steps are steep and crumbling, and climbing had been
prohibited on our last visit.
Back on the main path, follow the signs to Nohoch Mul, the largest pyramid, over a mile (nearly 2 km) away. The
walk is interesting as there are several stelae, protected by palapa roofs, shown where they were discovered and
there are many more unexcavated mounds along the way. This is also a good chance to observe the jungle life;
butterflies, birds and insects abound but the path is wide and foliage well cleared.
Nohoch Mul is a staggering 136 ft (42 m) high and towers above the jungle. The steps are disintegrating in places
(look for shell-like carvings in others), but climbing the pyramid is not too difficult. Descending is more so, but rest
for a while at the top and admire the scenery - miles of jungle, lakes and a good view of the site as a whole. The
temple, which crowns the pyramid, was added later and is similar in style to those at Tulúm; there is a carving of
the descending god at the entrance.
Nohoch Mul, the largest pyramid, is a staggering 136ft (42m) high.
On the way back from Nohoch Mul, another smaller path leads to Conjunto Las Picturas (Temple of the Paintings)
where fragments of color can be seen in some murals at the top of a four tiered pyramid. As you return, look for
remains of sacbeob along the path and ponder the mysteries of Cobá!
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Preparing Mexican food at home
Buy Mexican food online
Real Mexican food is quite unlike the dishes found in
most Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in other
countries. In tourist areas you’ll find restaurants with
familiar names and ‘gringo’ menus, though the
offerings will often be over-priced and
not of a high standard.
If you have a taste for adventure you’ll
be well rewarded in Mexico; if not stick
to a few simple and traditional dishes
that are almost always excellent and
not too spicy. You’ll find standards
much higher than if you search the
menus for something familiar.
Mexican cuisine has some superb rich
or spicy dishes, but we recommend
that you take it easy for the first few
days until your stomach has grown
accustomed to its new environment.
Upset stomachs are commonly associated with unpurified
water used in ice, to
wash salads and fruit,
stressful traveling, or
different to those at
Mexicans also suffer
when they travel
abroad, and if you stay
in Mexico for more than
a few weeks you may
even experience the
disorders when you
Once you’ve settled down, however, do try some of the
regional specialties. It’s all part of the experience, and for
many people Mexican food is one of the great attractions
of a vacation.
You’ll encounter all of these in your first few days in Mexico:
Tortillas The staple food of generations of ordinary
Mexicans, tortillas can be made of flour (more common
in the north) or maize (the traditional method and still
the most common in the south). Often served alongside
a meal as bread would be, tortillas are also used in
many typical dishes – rolled and baked for enchiladas,
Salsa A salsa is actually just a sauce, although it is
most commonly associated with the red or green mix of
tomatoes, onion, chili and cilantro (coriander) served on
your table as a relish or a dip. Beware of ‘salsa
habañero’ in innocuous bottles like small jars of
ketchup, and always try just a little salsa first as a
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fried for tacos or grilled for quesadillas.
Buy tortillas online at Mexgrocer.com
Buy salsa online at Mexgrocer.com
Frijoles (beans) A good source of protein, beans of
different varieties are most commonly boiled and then
fried. They can be a main ingredient in a meal or
served almost as a garnish.
Buy beans online at Mexgrocer.com
Tequila This infamous spirit is most commonly served
to tourists in the form of a margarita – mixed with lime
juice in salt-rimmed glasses. It is actually derived from
the maguey plant – a spiky bush often seen growing in
fields. Mezcal is a cruder form of Tequila traditionally
served with a worm in the bottle – the worm should be
eaten when the bottle is finished!
Chilies In general, the bigger the chili, the milder the
flavor. Large Poblano chilies are stuffed and served as
a main course, the small habañero is ferociously hot.
To ask if a dish is spicy, say "es picante?" – though
hotel menus will often specify dishes that might offend
Buy chilies online at Mexgrocer.com
Cerveza Mexican beers are now known all over the
world. Corona, Sol and Dos Equis are common brands,
usually served cold and a very refreshing alternative to
Guacamole Avocado mashed with onions, chilies and
cilantro (coriander). Served as a dip or as a garnish.
For more examples, take a look at the sample menus shown in many of our hotel features.
Ceviche Raw fish marinated in lime juice, often in a
Chills Renellos Large Poblano chilies stuffed with
cheese or spicy meat (picadillo). The chilies are mild,
though the sauce may not be.
Enchiladas Tortillas coated in a tomato and chili
sauce, stuffed with vegetables, chicken or pork then
folded and baked. Despite the chili content, enchiladas
are often fairly mild. Enchiladas suizas are topped with
Huachinango Red Snapper, a common feature on the
menus at coastal resorts. Often available ‘al gusto’ or
cooked in a choice of methods.
Quesadillas Tortillas stuffed with cheese, folded and
grilled. A simple dish often served with beans or a little
salad and suitable for those avoiding anything spicy.
Mole sauce A wonderful rich sauce made with the
unlikely combination of chocolate, chilies and many
spices. It can be red or green depending on the
ingredients and the moles of Puebla and Oaxaca are
particularly famous, hence ‘mole poblano’ or ‘mole
oaxaqeño’. The sauce is often served over chicken,
though turkey is more traditional.
Pipían sauce Another of Oaxaca’s specialties, pipían
sauce is green and made from pumpkin seeds. It is
often served over chicken.
Poc Chuc Another Yucatecan specialty, where pork
fillet is cooked with tomatoes, onions and spices.
Pollo Pibil A Yucatecan specialty, not often found
outside this region. It traditionally consists of chicken
marinated in orange and spices then barbecued in
Tacos Tortillas fried until they are crispy and served
with various fillings.
Tamales Cornmeal paste wrapped in corn or banana
husks and often stuffed with chicken, pork or turkey
and/or vegetables, then steamed.
Tortas Mexican sandwiches, often large rolls with
Tostados Thin and crisp tortillas served loaded with
guacamole, sour cream, chilies, chicken etc.
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Continental breakfast or ‘American’ bacon or ham and eggs are often available. Mexicans often have just coffee
and sweet rolls first thing in the morning with a more substantial meal around 11am, but many of the options
below could feature on your breakfast menu. Egg dishes are popular and very tasty, often served with beans.
Plata de Frutas Mixed fruit plate, perhaps including
banana, mangoes, melon, or papaya.
Heuvos a la Mexicana Scrambled with chopped
tomato, onion and chilies.
Chilaquiles Tortillas stir fried with onions, spices and
maybe chicken, topped with cheese and served with a
sort of gravy.
Huevos Rancheros Fried and smothered with a chili
sauce, often hot.
Huevos revueltos Scrambled eggs, often served with
bacon (con tocino) or ham (con jamón)
Huevos Motuleños Fried eggs on tortillas, covered
with a sauce of tomatoes, chilies, peas and ham.
Topped with cheese and served with refried beans.
We’d recommend the following as introductions to Mexican food that aren’t too spicy:
Plain fish dishes
Tostadas (check the ingredients)
Beans and rice
Tortas (check the fillings)
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Cities in August
Mexico City lies at an altitude of 7,240 feet (2,230 m) above sea level - enough to make many people breathless
for a few days when they arrive. It also offers cooler temperatures, often welcome after exposure to the coastal
heat. In general it is a dry city, though summer brings short spells of rain most afternoons. Bring a sweater or
jacket for the evenings and possibly an umbrella in summer and you'll be well prepared for touring the sights.
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Oaxaca lies in a valley at an altitude of 5,000 feet (1540 m) above sea level, surrounded by impressive mountain
ranges. The city's easy going atmosphere is complemented by year-round spring temperatures, perfect for the
appreciation of Oaxaca's many cultural sights and events. Summer rains fall generally in the afternoons - a dull
morning is rare at any time of the year.
Mérida lies in the Yucatán Peninsula and has a similar climate to its neighbor, Cancún. However, being an inland
city, Mérida's heat is more apparent, especially during the summer months when sightseeing can be wearying. It
is essential to bring protection against the sun and to drink plenty of water at these times. Try to avoid the heat of
the day when visiting the many archaeological sites in the area.
Cancún lies on the Yucatán Peninsula, an area of low lying and almost completely flat limestone based land.
Temperatures are ideal for a beach vacation at any time of year, and unlike the southern Pacific coastline the
rainfall is not concentrated in the summer months. There is a chance of rain throughout the year, though March
and April are the driest months. Rainfall is usually in short, sharp bursts and freshens the atmosphere a little.
The hurricane season is around August to October. For those considering a summer vacation, July is generally
drier and more predictable than August. Cancún is also ideal for a winter break
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