Zoom out to create a context
Yucatán is a fantastic destination, but because of the combination of beaches and Maya temples it is also quite touristy. The locals you meet are more often than not part of the tourist industry, and if you are keen to meet the “real” locals, you have to make an effort.
Flying Men and an ancient ball game
At Xcaret, near the upmarket resort town of Playa del Carmen and 80km south of Cancun, I watch a highly skilled game being played.
Swimming with the ancient Maya gods in Yucatan
I have my first experience of swimming in a cenote at Xcaret, 50 miles south of Cancun, the “Miami of Mexico”. It is only one of around 30,000 such natural sinkholes in Yucatan.
Mayan sites to rival Chichen Itza
Along the coast road of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, about a two-hour drive from Cancún, are the remains of the Maya city of Tulum, which enjoys one of the best settings of any ancient ruin in the world.
Old gods are still worshiped
Hello Yucatan, center of Maya culture and avoided by the early Conquistadores because of fierce resistance, but now home to the resort of Cancun which welcomes millions of tourists every year. Catholic priests burnt Maya libraries as satanic, yet their language survives to be spoken by more than a million people and the old gods are still worshiped in the Church of the Talking Cross.