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Areas of Cancun: Cancun is divided into three distinct areas.
"Ciudad Cancun" (Cancun City), a somewhat typical Mexican town on the mainland
where most Cancun residents make their home, which contrasts
strikingly with the impressive hotel zone, "Isla Cancun" (Cancun Island),
known more commonly as the Hotel Zone. There is also an
ecological reserve with mangroves and lagoons. Cancun Island is a 15 mile-long
sandbar located off the mainland and connected by causeways
on either end. The body of water between Cancun Island and the mainland is
called the Nichupte Lagoon. Ciudad Cancun has economical
hotels and markets, but most visitors stay in the hotel zone, along the main
Tulum Avenue, a strip of elegant hotels and modern resorts.
This is where tourist amenities, upscale shopping and nightlife is concentrated.
of Mexico's most important sites, for centuries
Chichen Itza was the political, religious and
military center of the North of the
Yucatan Peninsula. The city flourished from 300
to 900 A.D., was abandoned, then re-established
from 1000 to 1250 under Toltec rule.
This is why there are two areas of Chichen, the
"old" and the "new." The most well-known
building of Chichen Itza is the Castillo, or
which was dedicated to Kukulcan, the Plumed
Serpent. On the equinoxes a play of light and
shadow on the
stairs appears to take the form of a serpent.
75 miles (120 km) east of Merida and 60 miles
(195 km) west of Cancun.
Functioning between 400 and 1000 A.D., Cob� was
built around four small lakes. Only a few of its
structures have been uncovered. It was the hub
of a complex network of causeways called
meaning white road). The
Nohuch Mul Pyramid,
the tallest in the area, has 120 steps and if
you don't suffer
from vertigo, from the top you can enjoy a
breathtaking view of the surrounding jungle.
95 miles (150 km) from Cancun, 28 miles (45 km)
The original name of this site is unknown. The
present name refers to a stone sculpture that
was found on-site that
depicts a head with an elaborate headdress. This
stone is on exhibit in the Cancun Archaeology
Museum. The excavated
area contains 47 ancient structures which formed
the center of a small city devoted to maritime
trade and fishing.
within Cancun's tourist resort area.
The site was part of a triple alliance with
Chichen Itza and Uxmal, but was at its peak
after the fall of Chichen Itza, between
1250 and 1450. It is considered the last great
Mayan stronghold. The archaeological zone covers
4 square km and that area
contains vestiges of nearly 4000 structures,
mostly residential buildings. Several of the
constructions contain mural paintings.
Mayapan has a
which is a replica of the one in Chichen Itza.
27 miles (43 km) south east of Merida
Inhabited from 200 A.D. until the Spanish
conquest in the 1500s, this is the largest of 30
Maya sites found on Cozumel Island.
It was the political and economical center of
the island and also the sanctuary of the Mayan
moon goddess Ixchel, deity of
childbirth and fertility. Pilgrims from the
entire Mayan world may have come to worship her.
On the northern part of Cozumel island,
Transversal highway Km 7.5
It is believed that the original name of this
city meant dawn. The most spectacular aspect of
Tulum is its stunning location right
on a cliff by the clear turquoise water of the
Caribbean Sea. The fortress city of Tulum had a
population of only five to six hundred
people within its walls, probably only nobles,
and commoners dwelled outside the walls. The
site was at its peak between 1200
and 1520 and was one of the first sites
mentioned by the Spaniards. The most important
structures within the site are
which functioned as a navigational aid,
directing Mayan craft through the break in the
reef, and the Temple of the Frescoes.
81 miles (131 km) south of Cancun on Highway
Tulum Ruins Visitor's
This is the most important site of the Puuc
region and was at its peak between 600 and 1000
A.D. The legend of the city's founding
involves a dwarf who outwitted the king, became
the new ruler and magically constructed the
buildings of Uxmal. The Pyramid of
the Dwarf (also known as the Pyramid of the
Magician) dominates the site. Many of the
buildings are arrayed in ornate stone carvings .
Uxmal is located 48 miles (77 km) south of
Merida on federal highway 261.
is an eco-park which encloses a small Mayan
archaeological zone. Due to its location on one
of the most important
coves in the area, this site was a leading
35 miles (72 km) south of Cancun
"Where the water
A water park
zone is only
was once an
where a variety
of gods were
honored. It was
also a key ocean
port and trade
center. It went
from 100 to 600
and again from
the arrival of
the Spaniards in
75 miles (122
km) south of
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