The peninsula Yucatan in the northern east corner of Mexico is a wonderful treasury with magic Maya ruins, marvelous Caribbean beaches with exciting sea-life, nice colonial towns and mystical cenotes. A cenote is a natural sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. It is a huge platform of limestone with an extreme karst nature. There are no visible rivers but it has the longest known on earth in the subsurface. Consequently the cenotes are and were important for human water supply. They were holy for the Mayas and public access was forbidden.

Like the cenotes you find Maya ruins nearly everywhere. Most famous are the UNESCO world heritage sites Uxmal and Chichen Itzá. The latter one had been elected one of the seven wonder of the world few years ago.

The 39 meters high temple Casa del Advino -The Magician's house of Uxmal

 

When we entered Yucatan we had a scary experience. Later it turned out that it was less severe.

Mexico's federal state Chiapas in its southeast corner has a huge diversity as well as flora, wildlife, landscape, culture and people. 12 ethnics live in Chiapas with different languages like the Tzotzil indigenous people in the villages around the town San Cristobal de Casas, a true colonial treasure. It is located 2000 meters high in the cooler highlands which raises up more than 4000 meters sea-level and which is partly covered with large pine forests. The other lower part of Chiapas is pure jungle with nearly unbearable hotness and humidity. Here you find some of the most exciting Maya sites like Palenque, Yaxchilán and Bonampak. The last one has the best preserved pre-Colombian frescoes of whole America, approximately 1200 years old:

Warrior with a shaman who wears a special headgear

 

But the tropical paradise has its drawbacks. Besides the booming tourism and oil industries poverty is still an issue. Most of the indigenous people were exploited and sometimes enslaved in the last centuries. This caused a lot of uproars which were usually knocked down violently by the colonial landowners. The last one was the Zapatista movement in the 1990s, which still have a strong influence in some parts of the state.

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