That evening we wandered the streets of Valladolid, past the square which is home to the Convent of San Bernardino de Siena and Parque Sisal where the citizens of Valladolid were out and about. Our first dinner introduced us to one of our favourite Mayan foods of the trip - Cochinita Pibil. The slow cooked pork cooked in Maya spices underground, paired with pickled onions and other toppings on a tortilla is hard (read: impossible) to resist.
After spending the night in Valladolid we drove 45 minutes to Chichén Itzá, a major Mayan centre during the years 600 - 900 AD. In fact, it is still a major centre for tourists and is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico! The current site of Chichén Itzá is home to distinct Maya structures that span an area of 5 km squared, however the residential areas of the lower class citizens were made from perishable materials so these probably extended much further into the jungle.
We explored the site of Chichén Itzá for a couple of hours taking in all of the history, and also taking in the shade whenever possible. We wandered around the site and down to the Cenote Sagrado, the location of sacrifices (human and other) to the rain god, Chaac. The Maya were not beyond human sacrifice and their most important rituals ended in it; they believed that human blood was the ultimate source of nourishment for their gods.
Accessing Cenote X'kekén involved walking down slippery rock steps into a cave. Once we got down there, we realized how spooky this cenote really was. There was one opening in the "roof" of the cave and from time to time we could see people peering in. We hopped into the water, underwater camera in hand, and took a refreshing dip in the water as bats flew above us.
The house was an incredible sight to behold and although Mexican Folk Art isn't necessarily our normal taste in art, some of the pieces on display are pretty spectacular. And if a piece wasn't mind-blowingly cool, chances are that it was at least crazy to look at. It was worth the visit.
The next blog pists about our trip can be found here:
Yucatán Road Trip: 2 Days in the Ruta Puuc
Yucatán Road Trip: 3 Days in Tulum
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Yucatán and would recommend it to everyone, so we have created a guide for anyone who is looking to do a road trip around the Yucatán Peninsula! Check it out, and spread the word about this remarkable road trip destination: YUCATÁN ROAD TRIP GUIDE
And you can check out the travel video of our trip below:
Here are some more photos from the first two days of our Yucatan road trip: