Travels in Mexico


   Tulum. The last city constructed by the Mayan civilization, was built on the cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea. I have traveled and seen many beautiful places on this planet. Different oceans, coast, seas and continents but never before have I seen such beauty as the Caribbean coast at the city of Tulum. The photographs below do not begin to hint at the sense of awe and feeling of being truly humble and honored to share this place.

View of City

Photo by Patsy McKee

   We packed up early on Thursday morning, our next-to-last day in Mexico, and headed south in a pickup truck to the city of Tulum. Javier was excited about this trip but he was trying his best not to let it show.

   We stopped for lunch at a small roadside open-air restaurant. I am still not sure what we ate but trusted Javier's choice.


Photo by Patsy McKee

   As we entered the main gate, right, I could feel the excitement in the air.

   The marker just inside the gate describes Tulum as: "One of the last cities to be built and inhabited by the Mayans. The city thrived mainly from the 15th to the 16th century.

   It was originally called Zama which means 'Dawn' and is related to its location, which lies on the extreme eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, directly facing the sunrise."

City Gate
Photo by Bill McKee


Carving detail
Photo by Patsy McKee

   According to the information provided at the site, Tulum was a richly decorated city in which all the temples were painted. Some of them boasted murals not only on the inside but on the outside as well. The facades were adorned with sculptures and stucco relief's.

   This Maya city was abandoned approximately 450 years ago.

   The buildings here have begun to show the ravages of time and the elements. Little did I know what laid beyond the main temple, right, even though I had a small glimpse through a break in the wall, seen directly center of the image, appearing here as only a blue blob.

   Javier kept urging us on, seeming to rush us through to the back of the main temple.

Ruins of Tulum
Photo by Bill McKee

Ruins and Sea

Photo by Bill McKee

   As we rounded the back of the temple and approached the cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea, I began to sense why Javier had rushed us here.

   The beauty and the majesty of the Mayan city with the Caribbean as the backdrop was awe inspiring. Waves boom in - against the rocks - the breeze blowing across the water felt better than any imagined, ad-campaign-conspired, scene of such.

   I felt truly small and humble and incredibly blessed to stand here on the edge of the world.

   One of the most incredible sights, after I understood it, was what Javier called "the fence." In the photograph, below right, there is a straight white line just below where the sky meets the sea which continues off both sides of the photo. When I ask Javier what this was, he replied it was 'the fence.' A stone wall, beneath the surface of the sea, running in a perfectly straight line as far as the eye could see in both directions.

   This 'fence,' Javier explained, was built to protect the city of Tulum from the worst effects of tropical storms, hurricanes, etc. My jaw must have dropped because I understood the implications of the engineering feat necessary to undertake such a task. And key to that feat was the intimate understanding of the world in which they lived. And to accomplish this with little more than stone tools. A civilization which lived in harmony with the earth around them and understood many of the mysteries of the universe which we are only beginning to unravel.

   The Mayan and Aztec Civilizations have been accused of human sacrifice. However, new discoveries are made every week and some archaeologist are beginning to question some of the history we have been taught about these civilizations. I do know what a very good friend has taught and shown me of their culture and beliefs. And I see how he lives his life and treats eyeryone he meets. We have been wrong before.


   An Iguana (above) in the shadow, looks out toward the sea from the main temple.

   I can still stand here, feel the tropical breeze on my skin, the sun on my face, and be in complete awe of the power of creation. How humbled I am being able to look upon such beauty.

Beach and Sea
Photo by Patsy McKee

"For what is it to die
but to stand naked in the wind
and melt into the sun"

-Kahlil Gibran

Thank you for your time and your interest. We hope you enjoyed your journey
as we enjoyed ours. Please visit the remainder of our site, Earthdancer Home,
where you will find several image galleries with award winning photographs
gleaned from many years behind the camera, glimpses of unique individuals
such as Javier Alarcon, and a few others we have met along the way.

-Bill and Patsy

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