Last spring we made our first family trip to Mexico not knowing much about what the country has to offer tourists other than sandy beaches, margaritas and yummy food. We ended up in the Yucatan Peninsula mainly because it provided us a lot of different activities to keep our short attention spans in check. For us, two days in a row at the beach is more than enough to drive us to kill each other. Sure we love to relax, read and swim like everybody else, but our trips usually need to be broken up with some sort of adventure or history thrown in so that we can stay a close knit family. In the Yucatan we got in some great snorkelling with green sea turtles and caving in some really cool centotes.
Our main historical highlight was a day trip out to the UNESCO world heritage site of Chichen Itza. (One of the low-lights was that the bus picked us up at 5am for the 3 hour drive to get there for opening. Rousing teenagers at 4:30am makes for cranky teenagers.)
Arriving early was key. There was already a line to get in, but the light and clouds were beautiful and I was able to get shots with very few tourists in them. This made photoshopping them out very easy. I know that having people would have added scale to the temples, but I like the mystery the lack of human elements adds to the images. If the grass hadn’t been cut so short it could have felt like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie.
As the sun rose higher in the sky is got incredibly hot, the shadows were increasingly strong and the site became very crowded. This made us very thankful that we did the early morning visit.
Chicen Itza is definitely a place one should visit. Going with a tour we got lots of great information but we only had a few hours in total at the site and it is a place where you could spend a whole day at if you were so inclined. If you are ever in the Yucatan you should make sure to save a day and go.