One of the best parts of our time in the Mayan Riviera was spending a morning visiting the ruins of the only Mayan city built right on the coast, Tulum.
There is something that gets me really excited about visiting ruins, I am intrigued with the unknowable message from the past that they seem to hold. We had the pleasure of being in Mexico on the Vernal Equinox which is the only morning of the year when, at sunrise, the sun's rays shine directly through the three windows at the very top of the high temple pictured behind us above. There was a big celebration at dawn on that day this year as 2012 represents the end of a long cycle of the Mayan calendar along with the beginning of a new cycle and a time of rebirth. We visited the following day so excitement was high at the ruins.
Our time exploring these ruins reminded me of our visit to Stonehenge in 2010, along with other trips before kids when I've felt deeply moved walking through the ruined cities of Machu Picchu, Teotihuacan, and the Roman Forum.
The city is entered through doorways in the 10 foot deep wall set up as fortification,
This was a thriving port city, with many noble homes and shops. Now these homes lie in ruin, with Iguanas crawling practically everywhere basking in the sun. The city was largely abandoned for unknown reasons around the year 1500AD, although the sacred sites and temple there were continually used for celebration and worship long after the Spanish invasion.
The sun was fierce, so we sought out the small bits of shade,
The kids were happy looking at the ruins for about a half hour, then they wanted to play spot the iguana, and complain about the heat!
The cliffs that the city is built on fall away dramatically to the beautiful tropical ocean below, just a magical sight,
and a popular beach, but we couldn't stay long with our babes descending into silliness. We soon left for some lunch, swimming and snorkeling.