Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 6: Calakmul

Day 6
Calakmul -7 hour day

We left the Ecovillage at 8:30a.m. and drove 30km west on 186, to the Calakmul intersection.

Immediately there was a closed entrance gate and we paid $28peso fee pp ($2.21usd) and $46pesos ($3.64usd) for the car. We were told it was a 60km drive to the site. We proceeded to drive 20 km on a 1 land, paved road and were able to average 60km/h.

20km into the “Biosphera” , the road “Y’s”—to the left is a museum/snack shop and to the right another 40km to the site. Last stop for food/beverage! To enter the museum is $54peso fee ($4.27usd)—we paid but did not enter—decided to get to the site first and then do the museum before they close at 3.

The Road

We then made the right and drove another 40km to the site. It took us a good hour from the intersection entry to the site entry….At the site, there was (yet another) $46 entry fee pp ($3.64usd). No paper site map available. No vendors. No food/beverages. Yes, restrooms!

We then entered a beautiful world! The paths were actually swept by employees and well marked. There were 3 different “routes” you could take to explore the ruins, we chose the “Ruta Corta” (short route).

The Swept Path

This site had been excavated during the 1990’s, many of the soft limestone stelae (history/story monoliths) had deteriorated so that the history was difficult to translate. But, like most Mayan sites, they believed the population began to scatter about 1000-1200AD.

We were greeted by: a variety of birds, 2 Toucans, several butterflies, 2 foxes, a peacock-who followed us around the plaza, and 3 different families of Howler Monkeys in the trees above our heads.

We spent 4 hours, just in awe of this site. We were not the only people on tour, there were a couple of high school groups, families and couples meandering around the ruins with us…it was as though we had it all to ourselves at times, as we all had our own agendas!

On the way out, we did stop in the museum—it explained the pre-history of the Yucatan Peninsula. Showed: pre-historic shark jaw with teeth found in cenotes around the region, small tusked elephant skeleton, and huge pre-historic armadillo skeleton along with fish fossils. There was an area for current animals found in the area and the sounds they make. In the Maya sections they displayed some vessels and clay figurines along with some jade and obsidian.

Back in the car for the next 20km—returned to the Ecovillage.

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