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The next day we had breakfast in the room - lots of fresh fruits and croissants, tea and omelets. We drove to the tiny airport and took a flight on an 18-passenger plane 30 minutes to the ruins of Chichen Itza!  What a view of the jungle!  Then we flew over and around the pyramid!  Awesome - got some great panorama shots of the coast and of the ruins.

The jungle resort at Chichen Itza was magnificent!  This is a place to come and stay for several days - there are too many ruins to see in one afternoon.  Our guide was wonderful and took us into the jungle to see the ruins.  Deep hidden in the jungle near the natural well that gave them fresh water were many houses and roads.

The roads in the ancient city are perfectly straight and used to be covered in white stone. Then we went out to the meadows where the large buildings have been uncovered by archeologists.

The observatory was amazing!  They had a fascinating calender.  We saw the very large buildings, and smaller pyramid temples uncovered now after being nearly ruined by the jungle overgrowth.  They were rediscovered in the 1840's by an American lawyer turned archeologist, John Stephens.  I am now reading his book 'Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan'!  What an amazing find it is!

There were some iguanas running around the ruins.  Our guide explained that the Mayans may have done human sacrifices to their rain god but of course you cannot judge these ancient people by today's standards.  They were incredible astronomers, mathematicians and engineers.  And the art of the designs on the statues and buildings is completely unique. They had no beasts of burden and had not yet discovered the wheel, and yet built these incredibly huge pyramids all over the Yucatan peninsula.

Amazing that the pyramids when discovered were just mounds of earth and trees.  They were temples not tombs where the human sacrifices to the rain god were performed. While there I read 'The Pyramids' which had a chapter about the Mayans.  The book described the human sacrifices where the priests would rip a person's heart out and then toss the body down the long steep stairs to the delight of the waiting crowds.