was previously almost uninhabited but in recent years the island has become a haven for many Caribbean cruise liners, leading to the island to quickly develop its infrastructure. The island offers a 7 hour excursion to the ancient city of Maya in
. From the map, you can see it is close to the famous Chichen Itza.
A ferryboat takes passengers from the island to the mainland.
When the conquistadors first saw the Mayan pyramids they thought they were made of gold. During the night the gold turned into ordinary black stone. The Spaniards were convinced that the Mayan's had hidden their gold inside these stones. In fact the pyramids were made with a local stone that turns a golden color in the sunlight. The stone is like phosphorus, absorbing the sun during the day and glowing a golden hue from the energy.
Below, a Mayan mask made of the same stone:
The mask is black in the shadow but as soon as you bring it to the sun the mask begins to sparkle. These masks are made next to the gift shop.
The stone used to make the masks can only be found in the Yucatan Peninsula. The Mayan's also used cactuses to make paper, like papyrus. They also used the plant to make ponchos.
A tractor pulls a train of passengers through the city:
The city is made up of 50 buildings surrounded by a stone wall. Chichen Itza is comprised of almost 2,000 buildings:
According to the Mayan calendar today marks the 5122nd year, making the Mayan calendar three thousand years older than ours. The Mayan calendar divides time into three cycles of 1300 years each. One of the cycles ended on the 21st of December, beginning the second cycle on December 22nd. While the world did not end, the Mayan's did not actually predict such a happening. Their achievements are based on the exact sciences: physics, astronomy and mathematics. Present-day Mayan's do not believe in the hysteria perpetuated by Western society.
Another misunderstanding is that all Mayan's has superior intelligence. That is not true. Only a select few had such knowledge. Engineers, architects, physicists, astronomers and mathematicians became the ruling elite and lived inside the city walls. Everyone else lived outside. The walls were built not to protect the people from enemies, but to emphasize the superiority of the ruling elite.
The ruins still standing today were not homes but temples and monuments built in honor of the vital elements: water, air, fire and earth.
Mayan's lived in houses made of fern because it kept the house roughly 10 degrees cooler:
There are a lot of lizards on the island. They used to be part of the main diet for the Mayan people. Today, people joke and call the lizards 'Mayan chicken'.