Discovering Mayan Archeological Sites, Cenotes and Glorious Beach Sunrises in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico

These photos were taken during a trip in December 2017, only my second trip with an interchangeable lens camera. With years of added skills and knowledge, the final selection of images you see here was re-edited in 2020 to my current standard.

The Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico is a region with a rich cultural history, and natural secrets that reveal themselves in random corners of its jungle. My first base was Valladolid, a city with a bloody past between Mayans and Spaniards. The Mayan free State that it lived under after booting out the Spaniards was forced to integrate into the Mexican State towards the end of the 19th century. Meanwhile, some of the colonial structures have been around for 4 centuries.

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Valladolid is home to historic archaeological sites like Chichen Itza and Ek Balam, where giant pyramids and palaces rise out of the rainforest. It is also home, with the rest of Yucatán, to cenotes, sinkholes that reveal subterranean water bodies. Some are wide open, while some barely let a few sun rays shine through. Some have stalactites, while others are covered in vines that budding Tarzan tourists take advantage of.

Moving toward the Caribbean coast, I discovered the ancient site of Coba, with one of the largest Mayan pyramid in the region. The coast revealed gorgeous sunrises of an epic scale, as stormy clouds stood menacing over the jagged rocks of Isla Mujeres island, the easternmost point of Mexico.