Latin America's ancient civilisations: Mayans
In the first of the series, we delve into the past to discover the ancient civilisations of Latin America, starting with the…
Chichen Itza is the most visited of all the Mayan sites, and is probably the best kept. The principal architects were actually the Toltecs, who arrived in the Yucatan in the late 10th century and so many of the important buildings bear little evidence of classical Mayan refinements. The buildings were built on an impressive scale and the area has been well manicured for the ease of its visitors.
Twice a year, a startling phenomena occurs, which demonstrates both the startling ingenuity of the Mayan people and the importance of astronomical forces and the lunar calendar in their society. El Castillo is a huge pyramid in the centre of the archaeological site and the most photographed structure here. At sunset on each Spring and Autumn equinox, its perfectly designed steps cast shadowy triangles onto the side of the staircase, joining together to create the astonishing illusion of a huge snake (a sacred Maya animal) slithering downwards, until it connects with the large stone serpent head statue at the bottom.
Visitors to Chichen Itza can stay at one of the nearby hotels or haciendas, affording the opportunity to visit at quieter and cooler times of the day, or equally arrive by car from Merida or Playa del Carmen.
16 Nights from £3,647€3,293$4,105
A land steeped in ancient history, colonial past and scattered with Mayan and Aztec pyramids. We include the stunning Chiapas region with villages nestled in mountains
16 Nights from £2,596€2,085$2,634
Explore the austere and palatial pyramids of ancient Mayan civilisations, discover colonial cities, isolated Haciendas and unwind on the beaches
11 Nights from £1,669€1,019$1,336
Visit the Aztec remnants of the past; Tulum, Calakmul for the pyramids of mighty civilisations, small villages, Chichen Itza, the walled city of Campeche and colonial Merida
15 Nights from £4,976€4,823$5,967
Opulent country Haciendas are now luxury hotels for you to experience. Visit massive Mayan pyramids, archaeological sites, colonial cities and unwind by the Caribbean Sea
14 Nights from £2,595€2,084$2,633
Discover the fortress cities built by the ancient Mayas with huge pyramids and the pioneers in the observation of the universe. After the culture, relax on the beach!
15 Nights from £2,737€2,247$2,832
Journey the backroads discovering seldom visited corners of the Yucatan. History unfolds in the colonial splendour of Merida and pyramids of ancient civilisations.
13 Nights from £2,980€2,527$3,172
A wonderful contrast exploring both Cuba and the impressive Mayan pyramids of the Yucatan, both sharing an elegant Spanish colonial heritage
22 Nights from £4,463€4,232$5,248
Journey to mighty Aztec and Mayan civilisations, from Mexico to Guatemala admiring ancient pyramids, colourful markets and colonial architecture
16 Nights from £4,642€4,438$5,499
Visit Mayan villages, colourful weavers and the massive pyramids built by powerful civilisations that mysteriously abandoned their cities to the encroaching jungle