January 2001 trip to Cancún, Mexico

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We spent the day Wednesday, January 10th, at Xcaret, sort of a combination of a water park, a zoo, and an ecological preserve. When we first arrived, we went on an "ecological tour", where a guide showed us around and explained how they take care of sea turtles there:

They have a ceremony when they release a new sea turtle into the wild.

They also have an underground river. It takes about 45 minutes to float down the whole thing.
Here's what the entrance looks like:

Joel and I paid a little extra, and went on a boat tour to the coral reef to go snorkeling:


Matthew and Joel leaving for
the coral reef

While we were gone, Dad & Mom stayed and looked at the wildlife


The Xcaret archaelogical zone is one of the many pre-Spanish settlements along this region's coast. THe meaning of the name Xcaret is unknown, but in pre-Spanish and colonial times the site was known as Pole'. The major groups of building are scattered about coastwise, some within the walling, others outside it, and still others up against it. Rather than a protective city wall, it is more like a partition for a given areas. The earliest evidence of human settlement is Xcaret goes back to the Lat Pre-Classic (0-250 A.D.) and consists of sherds and a number of low platforms. By then, there were fishing and farming villages along the coast. Traces from the Classic, which include remains of major buildings, show well-defined social divisions and a thriving trade with the Guatemalan highlands and close trade ties with northern Yucata'n. Many of the buildings from this period were later enlarged and revamped for their re-utilization. Yet it is in the Post-Classic (1000-1550 A.D.) when Xcaret grows and comes to the fore, as other shorline sites, thanks mainly to its sea resources and coasting trade route around the peninsula and down to Honduras. Its location across from Cozumel made Pole' into the foremost port of embarkation fro crowds of pilgrims who crossed over to the island in canoes to visit the famous shrine of the goddess Ixchel. It is hard to tell Xcaret's town limits, since there are any number of low stone walls and dwellings which form an unbroken network along the whole coast. During the early colonial years, it continued to be the port for going to and return from Cozumel. The ruins of a sixteenth-century chapel are witnesses of this period.

From a posted sign

We stayed for the evening and nighttime shows. They demonstrated
a Mayan ball game (at least as close as anyone's guess is about how they played):

They demonstrated some dances, too:

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Created and maintained by Matthew Weathers. Last updated Dec 27, 2002.