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Make sure you bring extra film with you at each ruin site. Do not leave your film in the car because the trip back can be time consuming and extremely aggravating on a scorching hot day. Some times a small site that is only listed as a 2-hour visit may have many photographic possibilities while a larger site has less. Don't forget to bring an extra battery.


Mexican Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History known as INAH for its Spanish abbreviation) is the federal government bureau established in 1939 to guarantee the research, preservation, protection, and promotion of the prehistoric, archaeological, anthropological, historical, and paleontological heritage of Mexico.

This bureau is responsible for the over 110 thousand historical monuments, built between the 16th and 19th centuries, and for 29 thousand archaeological zones found all over the country, although is it estimated there must be 200 thousand sites with archaeological remains. Of these 29,000, 150 are open to the public.


Mayan Riviera Maya


You do not need a map for every ruin site, however, it is a good idea to have a map for larger sites. This way you will not miss anything. It is easy to walk right by something and not even know it is there. Some sites like Mayapan are quite open and you can see almost everything there is to see from atop the main pyramid, however a site like Kohunlich is a maze of structures spread out through a thick jungle.

Maps are not available for every site nor are they sold at every site.


INAH is the official body that oversees Mexican antiquities. They publish a number of excellent map booklets that are inexpensive to purchase - 10 - 15 pesos. These booklets come with a precise map and a brief description of each structure accompanied by some photographs.


Dante maps are colourful plastic laminated maps that can withstand numerous openings and closings and wet weather. Beautifully illustrated these maps generally consist of a site map of the ruins and on the flip side a map of the entire state showing other sites of interest. These booklets come with photographs and brief descriptions of items of interest. These maps cost around 30 pesos.

The maps are only available for the following sites:

    Chichen Itza
    Coba /Tulum
    Uxmal/Kabah/Sayil/Xlapak/Labna [all in one booklet]

Playa del Carmen


There are a number of places to find maps and it is advisable to purchase a site map for every ruin site you can, even if you are not even in the area. Think ahead, the map you see may not be available anywhere near that particular ruin site and you may visit it someday. Besides most of these maps cost less than $3.00.

    Venues that sell maps are:

    Chichen Itza ruin's store
    Coba ruin's store
    Uxmal ruin's site store
    Dzibilchaltun ruin's site store
    Xel Ha water park store
    Xcaret store

Many all-inclusive resort stores also carry maps.

The odd store in Playa del Carmen or Cancun will have some maps.

Libreria Dante Peon is an excellent bookstore in Merida that carries the entire "Dante" line of maps. This bookstore also carries lots of English and Spanish books on the Maya. It is located at Calles 57 at 60 in the Teatro Peon Contreras.


National Geographic magazines often carry an excellent site map of a ruin site they are featuring. You can either dig through your own collection if you have them or visit a used magazine store that deals in National Geographic.

Books - There are numerous books published regarding ruin sites both large and small. Many of these books contain detailed site maps.

Magazines - Some magazines like MundoMaya offer site maps from time to time. Some travel magazines do as well, although you would have to search through many to find something.

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Today's Maya number more than six million, are divided in to many differnt ethnic groups and speak more than 30 distinct indigenous languages.

Natural wells are called cenotes from the Mayan word dsonoot.

The Maya describe the Yucatan as "u luumil cutz, u luumil ceh, mayab u kabah" - the land of the pheasant, the land of the deer and Mayab is its name.

The word puuc means "hilly country" in the Maya language of the Yucatec.

The first three rows of a Mayan corn field were for travelers.

True windows are rarely found in Maya architecture.


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