This sign reads: "Community in civil resistance. NO higher electricity costs! NO privatization of utility companies!"
our stealth campsite near Toniná ruins
Toniná was to be our first visit to the famed Mayan ruins of Chiapas and the Yucatán peninsula. We arrived early in the morning and were the only visitors at the site...
Toniná, among green rolling countryside:
stucco image of a demon carrying a beheaded skull and dancing wildly
Toniná is reputed to have the highest of the Mayan temples, with very steep steps
For the Toniná Mayans, this cross represents the threshold between earth and the underworld. When light travels through this thick wall, it symbolizes the soul crossing over to the spirit world.
this figure wears a necklace of cacao pods, which were used to make chocolate/maize beverage and were highly prized.
a cosmic glowbug alights on Jeff's mosquito net
We arrived next at the famous ruins of Palenque, a series of temples and pyramids surrounded by rainforest:
We caught up with some howler monkeys at midday just near the ruins:
conejo (rabbit) skull representation on one of Palenque's premier temples
in the nearby town of Palenque, frozen popsicles: cheap, delicious, and featuring Popeye
near Champotón, our only experience of the Gulf of Mexico on this trip
Now rolling across the Yucatán peninsula, the following images are of the site Edzná, which was a large Mayan city:
taking advantage of fallen ripe papaya in roadside plantations:
We next visited Kabah, almost unvisited and unheralded, and the site of some amazing discoveries:
... bats and iguanas, local inhabitants of the ruins...
Kabah featured some astounding religious buildings:
Kabah, as seen from a nearby unrestored pyramid, after an afternoon rain
Our next stop was to be Ek Balam, about 200 km from Cancún.
... and a giant temple which gives the site its name, Ek Balam. This means Jaguar in Mayan language, and this temple is shaped like a jaguar head, framed by teeth, with the center of the mouth the temple entrance.
As seen here at the start of the rainy season, Ek Balam is set amidst thick green forest. Nearby is the cenote of Xcanche, which we visited by bike on a great track:
Cenotes are big sinks in the limestone topography of the Yucatán, filled with fresh cool water, surrounded by shade, and popular among locals as summer cooling spots.
The spectacular Xcanche is reputed to have been the haunts of Mayan kings and princesses.
a millipede in our path
near Cancún now, drying our clothes after doing some roadside laundry