Chichen Itza is one of the heritages of Maya's civilization.
Chichen Itza means "at the mouth of the well of the Itza" and it is the symbol of Maya's sacrifices civilization.
After it was registered as a world heritage in 1988, it has been visited by so many people like during that time when I visited.
It is located just in the middle of the Yucatan peninsula.
You can apply for a tour going to Chichen Itza in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen.
I was asked to join a tour many times by touts when I walked on streets and they all have the tour going to Chichen Itza.
So you don't need to book a tour in advence. However, since the prices are different, you should check some shops and compare.
I went to Chichen Itza from Cancun by a bus and I remember it probably took about 3 hours. We went to a souvenir shop and had lunch there on the way to Chichen Itza.
All stuff were exactly like Mexico.
Do you know what this is?
At first, I thought it is just a wall with many faces carved on it but the tour guide said these each face is Maya's hieroglyph.
We can guess the same face has the same meaning. I thought it was awesome that someone carved exactly the same face.
■ A pyramid which symbolizes Maya's civilization, El Castillo
The first thing that you see in Chichen Itza is this.
This is the most famous pyramid named El Castillo. It is said that it worships Kukulcan, the Maya's supreme god.
It was my first time to see a pyramid in my life. The weather is perfect and also the scene is so great, isn’t it?
A building behind Castillo is Temple de los Guerreros.
There are 91 steps on the staires on each of the four sides around Castillo. When we include the last one step to the God temple, the total number of steps is 365, corresponding to the days of a year.
The god Kukulkan is like a sneak with wings.
It is a little bit hard to see but there are heads of Kukulkan under the stairs on the lower right corner of this picture.
Actually the suprising thing about this pyramid is the way that Kukulkan appears during equinox. The position of the sun creates a shadow in the corner of pyramid which looks like the shadow body of Kukulkan. It seems like Kukulcan comes out of the pyramid. This is known as Kukulkan's advent.
We can notice the fine design of the people who lived in this era are.
If you are interested, look up the Kukulkan's advent.
■ Temple de los Guerreros
Next is Temple de los Guerreros.
Chacmool is lying at the upper entrance of temple.
As I already explained on my previous article about cenotes, it symbolizes the dead warriors and brings offerings such as sacrifices to god.
A thousand stone pillars surround the temple. Becase of this, it is called "Group of the Thousand Columns". I don't know if there are exactly a thousand pillars.
There are so many wild iguanas everywhere.
■ Playing Field
It is said people offered sacrifices so that they could get the blessing of the sun in the Mayan civilization.
In their civilization, being sacrificed was a very honorable thing and people decided who will be sacrificed by playing ball game.
I think you are wondering what king of game they played. It is said that the game was like soccer and basketball put together and split in half. It is a one-game match in which players are not allowed to use hands to shoot a ball into a basket hoop. The ball was made of rare tube.
I guess that winner became sacrificed since it was a very honorable thing. It was very wonderful that as I was standing on the playing field that prospered in the Mayan era, I imagined for a while how people played the game during that era.
Next time, I am going to write about Tulum heritage!
The article I write is still about Mexico diving. I had written about cenote until today but I would like to write about the Caribbean Sea this time especially Cozumel which is one of the famous oceans in the Caribbean Sea.
Have you ever heard of Cozumel island?
Cozumel island is a small island located in Southeast of Playa Del Carmen.
You can get to Cozumel from Playa Del Carmen by a boat. There is a scheduled boat and it takes about 45 minutes to get to each place.
This is a ferry in Playa Del Carmen. The scheduled boat goes and comes from here 17 times a day. I remember the inside of the boat was too cold because the airconditioner was too much.
This is a picture after landing in Cozumel.
You can see a big cruise ship over there in this picture. There are many cruise ships stop near this island. In Japan, the number of cruise travelers from abroad is increasing especially Kyushu such as Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Okinawa nowadays but I think if it is compared with that in Cozumel, the number is very different.
According to an instructor, it is getting an island for only travelers. I also felt the biggest industry here must be tourism industry because the most of the shops there are Souvenir shops rather than local shops.
We moved to an another ferry to go to the first diving point.
■ San Francisco Wall
The first diving point is San Francisco Wall! But actually we were not supposed to dive there. We could not move due to engine trouble and the closest diving point was San Francisco Wall.
The feature of San Francisco Wall is drift diving with the strong tide and steep gradient.
Our instructor was not willing to let us dive there because it is for advanced divers and we do not have enough experiences. But since we could not move he seemed like it cannot be helped.
Under water world is like this.
This can show how Caribbean Sea is! Beautiful!
The color of this fish is amazing. Since the tide is very fast and strong, it was hard to stay to take pictures.
You can see how San Francisco Wall's tide is fast and gradient is steep.
I could see a wild Spotted Eagle Ray swimmig gracefully. Some thought he swims very slow but I took this video following him as fast as I could. Actually the speed was pretty fast.
I was lucky that I could see him at the end of first diving!
■ Paradise Reef
After San Francisco Wall diving, we moved to the next diving point, Paradise Reef. The engine trouble was solved, we could get there as scheduled.
The instructor said that there are some fish which live only in the Carribean sea and Cozumel, I was certain that I could see them because I was lucky I could see a Spotted Eagle Ray at the first diving. It was strange confidence.
As you see this point is also very beautiful!
This is taken at about 5 meter depth from surface.
This is the view of about 15 meter depth the sand was so white.
As I thought I was lucky on this day and I could see rare species fish such as spotted drum.
Some probably think how he swims because of his wired body shape.
Because of this cute swimming it's said an idol fish of Caribbean Sea.
I also could see a fish which lives only in Cozumel, Splendid toadfish.
Many people thought it doesn't look special but there are so many divers who come to Cozumel to only look for it.
I was just very lucky to two of rare fish in only a day. Also I saw schools of fish.
And big groupers.
I had seen them only in an aquarium, the feeling watching them not through glass was very different.
I ran into them accidently in this vast ocean. I felt a little bit of fear when this huge fish was coming closer. Watching them closer, feeling of the texture of their scales and finding they don't look like they are afraid but they pay attention to us, It was just amazing.
If you go to Cancun or Playa Del Carmen, please go to Cozumel as well!
It was very difficult to take pictures in the deep part because it is not bright enough when compared to the shallow part and water pressure gets stronger so if you press the shutter button once, it doesn't come up for a while.
A few merters from the bottom of Cenote El Pit, there is a layer of hydrogen sulfide. That sounds dangerous but air comes from air tank and even I went through the layer, it was totally ok. It was like swimming in and above clouds. One of my favorite cenotes.
After the diving at cenote El Pit, we went to cenote Dos Ojos which is very popular among divers.
The meaning of Dos Ojos is "two eyes" in Spanish. As it means, there are two diving routes. We call them "the first eye" and "the second eye" and I dove at the first eye.
There were so many snorkelers at the second eye.
The view just after entry is like this.
There is nothing which the other canotes have such as layer of hydrogen sulfide or haloc line and so on but it is said that the water here is clearer than the others. You can see a diver who is over 100 meters away.
You can realize how popular it is among divers. Including snorkelers, people come from all over the world.
People enjoy the cave exploring more than seeing lights here. Exploring and swimming in the cave feel very fresh because we usually enjoy just seeing the inside of the caves by walking and if you swim you can see the things that you cannot see if you walk like a stone pillar extending from the ceiling and shell fossils buried in rocks. And you can see them closer.
Since the water is so clear you can feel as if they were just flying or floating.
It was incredible. I do recommend cenote Dos Ojos a lot.
But it is crowded when you dive sometime. When I dove here it was before noon but as you can see in some pictures it was a little bit crowded.
Each cenote has a best time to be seen the most beautiful because of the relationship between the shape of hole of ceilings and the sunrise. If you don't like to dive in the crowded cenote, you should talk with your instructor and they will probably suggest the best time.
■ Cenote: Chacmool
Finally, this is the last cenote that I can recommend and it is Cenote Chacmool.
According to Wikipedia, the meaning of Chacmool is the term used to refer to a particular form of pre-Colombian Mesoamerican sculpture depicting a reclining figure with its head facing 90 degrees from the front, supporting itself on its elbows and supporting a bowl or a disk upon its stomach.
According to our instructor this sculpture is the symbol of the dead soldiers and it is said that it brings sacrifices to the god of Maya.
Since the sun appeared and disappeared on the day I dove here, I could see and enjoy both of the views of dark cenote and bright cenote. It also has the beautiful light curtain.
This picture is when the sun disappears. You can find it is dark but the blue color is still beautiful.
This is when the sun appears. Comparing with the one before this picture, the brightness is very different. One of the best pictures: a diver on the middle of the light curtain.
A diver crossing over the light curtain. This is one of my most favorite pictures.
The route I dove here is called "Kukulcan" which means "a snake has feather" in Maya and it is a god in Maya myth.