Tikal Guatemala Ruins

One of the places I had my eye on to visit for a long time were the ruins of Tikal Guatemala.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Tikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is what their website says about it:

Tikal National Park is located in Northern Guatemala’s Petén Province within a large forest region often referred to as the Maya Forest, which extends into neighbouring Mexico and Belize. Embedded within the much larger Maya Biosphere Reserve, exceeding two million hectares and contiguous with additional conservation areas, Tikal National Park is one of the few World Heritage properties inscribed according to both natural and cultural criteria for its extraordinary biodiversity and archaeological importance. It comprises 57,600 hectares of wetlands, savannah, tropical broadleaf and palm forests with thousands of architectural and artistic remains of the Mayan civilization from the Preclassic Period (600 B.C.) to the decline and eventual collapse of the urban centre around 900 AD. The diverse ecosystems and habitats harbour a wide spectrum of neotropical fauna and flora. Five cats, including Jaguar and Puma, several species of monkeys and anteaters and more than 300 species of birds are among the notable wildlife. The forests comprise more than 200 tree species and over 2000 higher plants have been recorded across the diverse habitats.

Tikal, a major Pre-Columbian political, economic and military centre, is one of the most important archaeological complexes left by the Maya civilization. An inner urban zone of around 400 hectares contains the principal monumental architecture and monuments which include palaces, temples, ceremonial platforms, small and medium sized residences, ball-game courts, terraces, roads, large and small squares. Many of the existing monuments preserve decorated surfaces, including stone carvings and mural paintings with hieroglyphic inscriptions, which illustrate the dynastic history of the city and its relationships with urban centres as far away as Teotihuacan and Calakmul in Mexico, Copan in Honduras or Caracol in Belize. A wider zone of key archaeological importance, around 1,200 hectares, covers residential areas and historic water reservoirs, today known as “aguadas”. The extensive peripheral zone features more than 25 associated secondary sites, historically serving protective purposes and as check-points for trade routes. The peripheral areas also played a major role for agricultural production for the densely populated centre.

Research has revealed numerous constructions, carved monuments and other evidence bearing witness to highly sophisticated technical, intellectual and artistic achievements that developed from the arrival of the first settlers (800 B.C.) to the last stages of historic occupation around the year 900. Tikal has enhanced our understanding not only of an extraordinary bygone civilisation but also of cultural evolution more broadly. The diversity and quality of architectonical and sculptural ensembles serving ceremonial, administrative and residential functions are exemplified in a number of exceptional places, such as the Great Plaza, the Lost World Complex, the Twin Pyramid Complexes, as well as in ball courts and irrigation structures.

Criterion (i): Tikal National Park is an outstanding example of the art and human genius of the Maya. Its wealth of architectural and artistic expressions also contains important symbolic elements, such as the concept of pyramid-as mountains that define a universe where human beings coexisted with their environment. It is also an exceptional place of cosmological connotations and was considered to have been a “stage” for theatrical representations.

Criterion (iii): Tikal National Park has unique elements that illustrate the historic, mythical and biographic data of the Tikal dynastic sequence. These exceptional records span over 577 years (292 b. C. to 869 a. D.) and register the lives of 33 rulers who reigned over a vast territory of the ancient Maya world. The earliest stone sculpture is Stela 29 dated to the year 292 and the last monument sculptured is Stela 11 dated to the year 869.

Criterion (iv): The archaeological remains at Tikal National Park reflect the cultural evolution of Mayan society from hunter-gathering to farming, with an elaborate religious, artistic and scientific culture. The most representative remains show different stages and degrees of evolution in terms of architectural development related to religious activities and ceremonies. They also exemplify the political, social and economic organization achieved, as expressed by the urban layout its palaces, temples, ceremonial platforms, and residential areas and the wealth of monuments decorated with hieroglyphic inscriptions.

Criterion (ix): The landscape mosaic comprising savannas, lush forests, wetlands and various freshwater systems is part of the Maya Forest, one of the conservation gems of Central America, hosting a rich diversity of flora and fauna as a result of a remarkable evolution of species and ecological communities. The seemingly pristine ecosystems represent an impressive natural recovery after historic conversion and intensive land and resource use during the many centuries as one of the centres of the Mayan civilisation. The ongoing biological and ecological processes are supported and protected by the large scale of the Maya Forest, and particularly its many conservation areas.

Criterion (x): The Petén Region and the Maya Forest are home to an impressive diversity of flora and fauna across its various terrestrial and freshwater habitats. More than 2000 higher plants, including 200 tree species have been inventoried. Palms, epiphytes, orchids and bromeliads abound in the various forest types. The more than 100 mammals include over 60 species of bat, five species of felids – Jaguar, Puma, Ocelot, Margay and Jaguarundi, as well as Mantled Howler Monkey and many endangered species such as Yucatan Spider Monkey and Baird’s Tapir. The more than 330 recorded bird species include the near-threatened Ocellated Turkey, Crested Eagle and Ornate Hawk-Eagle, as well as the vulnerable Great Curassow. Of the more than 100 reptiles the endangered Central American River Turtle, Morelet’s Crocodile and 38 species of snakes stand out. In addition to 25 known amphibian species, there is a noteworthy fish fauna and a great diversity of invertebrates. The property is also known for wild varieties of several important agricultural plants.

Sunrise Tour?

They do have a sunrise tour that starts at 4 am!! I thought about doing it but it is mostly cloudy these days.

I did wake up early though. I heard the rain and went back to sleep until 7 am. ha ha.

Tour in Pictures

The following is my walk around Tikal in pictures.


Tikal tree



A pair of Hollar Monkeys swung by me here but I missed getting a picture of them. Too fast. But throughout my walk you could hear them in the jungle.



















On the walk back home I spotted these animals.



Once out of the park, I was walking across the parking lot and saw I wasn’t the only motorcycle adventurer here.



My Impression

I spent 4 hours walking around the ruins without a guide. Perhaps a guide would have been better, but I am not really into Mayan history. Maybe I would be with a guide ha ha. But they are relatively expensive. So I just read up on Tikal instead.

I am not really much of a ruin person. For me, just being in the jungle and hearing the Hollar Monkeys was just as impressive.

The Tikal ruins were with the trip though.

My Location for June 19, 2017

Screenshot (29)

Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua was one of those places I was really looking forward to as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

UNESCO on Antigua

UNESCO describes Antigua as:

Built 1,530.17 m above sea level in an earthquake-prone region, Antigua Guatemala, the capital of the Captaincy-General of Guatemala, was founded in 1524 as Santiago de Guatemala. It was subsequently destroyed by fire caused by an uprising of the indigenous population, re-established in 1527 and entirely buried as a result of earthquakes and an avalanche in 1541. The third location, in the Valley of Panchoy or Pacán, was inaugurated in March 1543 and served for 230 years. It survived natural disasters of floods, volcanic eruptions and other serious tremors until 1773 when the Santa Marta earthquakes destroyed much of the town. At this point, authorities ordered the relocation of the capital to a safer location region, which became Guatemala City, the county’s modern capital. Some residents stayed behind in the original town, however, which became referred to as “La Antigua Guatemala”.

Antigua Guatemala was the cultural, economic, religious, political and educational centre for the entire region until the capital was moved. In the space of under three centuries the city acquired a number of superb monuments.

The pattern of straight lines established by the grid of north-south and east-west streets and inspired by the Italian Renaissance, is one of the best examples in Latin American town planning and all that remains of the 16th-century city. Most of the surviving civil, religious, and civic buildings date from the 17th and 18th centuries and constitute magnificent examples of colonial architecture in the Americas. These buildings reflect a regional stylistic variation known as Barroco antigueño. Distinctive characteristics of this architectural style include the use of decorative stucco for interior and exterior ornamentation, main facades with a central window niche and often a deeply-carved tympanum, massive buildings, and low bell towers designed to withstand the region’s frequent earthquakes. Among the many significant historical buildings, the Palace of the Captains General, the Casa de la Moneda, the Cathedral, the Universidad de San Carlos, Las Capuchinas, La Merced, Santa Clara, among others, are worth noting.

The city lay mostly abandoned for almost a century until the mid-1800s when increased agricultural production, particularly coffee and grain, brought new investment to the region. The original urban core is small, measuring approximately 775 metres from north to south and 635 metres east to west, covering 49.57 hectares.

Central Park

The center of historic Antigua is Central Park. I spent a lot of time just sitting in the park watching people.



It was only 4 blocks from my hotel, Hotel San Jorge.


The first thing I noticed as I wandered around the park and adjacent streets was that there was a lot of English being spoken! The place was filled with tourists. And this was even the slow period for tourists.

The other thing I noticed was a lot of western food chains: Wendy’s, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, Domino’s, Papa Johns, and Burger King. No Starbucks though 🙁 ha ha. However, all these were discreetly situated and displayed within the town. No gaudy signs.

Volcán de Agua

Where ever you walk in Antigua, the predominant feature is the volcano, Volcán de Agua.


Of course when I was there is was mostly covered by cloud.

Palacio de los Capitanes Generales

One of the two main structures bordering Central Park is Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. It serves as the headquarters of the Guatemala Institute of Tourism, the Antigua Tourism Association, National Police and the Sacatepquez Department government. Also …. during the afternoon rain the roof over the arches provides shelter for those in the park. And in the night the same roof provides shelter for the homeless.


Antigua Guatemala Cathedral

The other major structure bordering Central Park is the Antigua Guatemala Cathedral.




According to Wikipedia, the original church was built around 1541, but suffered several earthquakes throughout its history, and the first church building was demolished in 1669. The cathedral was rebuilt and consecrated in 1680. By 1743 the cathedral was one of the largest in Central America. However, the devastating 1773 Guatemala earthquake seriously damaged much of the building, though the two towers at the front remained largely intact. These have undergone restoration work, and the cathedral has been partly rebuilt.

Santuario Arquidiocesano del Santo Hermano Pedro, Templo de San Francisco el Grande

I spent some time wandering to other parts of the town as well. Above the low buildings I could see various churches. So I went to see them. One of them was Santuario Arquidiocesano del Santo Hermano Pedro, Templo de San Francisco el Grande. It seemed to be a hub for church goers, weddings, school etc.





On my way to the Cathedral I spotted another church … not sure which one it was 🙁


My Time in Antigua


You know I really didn’t do much while I was in Antigua. Went for my coffee in the morning, sat in the park, walked around, and sat at the hotel. It was nice though.

Anyways, I decided to change things up a bit by riding out to Lake Atitlan to meet Brad, who I had met in Oaxaca, for a ride around the lake. That turned out to be a day I will never forget … for all the wrong reasons … I guess for some good reasons too … NEXT POST! 🙂

My Location from May 24 to 27, 2017


Palenque Ruins

I was really looking forward to visiting Palenque and the Palenque ruins.

Once again it was HOT as I rode. Most of the time it hovered around 40 degrees Celsius. And once again the road was straight with bushes on either side. That is until just outside of Palenque when the vegetation began to change. All of a sudden there were trees and greenery. It was still hot though.

Hotel Maya Tulipanes

I had booked the Hotel Maya Tulipanes in Palenque. It was like an oasis during the hot day.


My room wasn’t ready yet as I arrived early in the afternoon as I normally do. So I just relaxed for a bit and talked to one of the staff about tours. I like the tours to sites only because I don’t have to worry about my motorcycle when I am at them.

I ended up booking a whole day tour for tomorrow to three different places – Palenque Ruins, Misol-Ha Waterfalls, and Cascadas Agua Azul.

The next day I woke up early to head off in a van to the Palenque ruins.

UNESCO on the Palenque Ruins

The UNESCO website describes the ruins:

The archaeological site of Palenque in the state of Chiapas is one of the most outstanding Classic period sites of the Maya area, known for its exceptional and well conserved architectural and sculptural remains. The elegance and craftsmanship of the construction, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs illustrating Mayan mythology, attest to the creative genius of this civilization.

The city was founded during the Late Preclassic, which corresponds to the beginning of the Christian era. Its first inhabitants probably migrated from other sites in the nearby region. They always shared the cultural features which define the Maya culture, as well as a level of development that allowed them to adapt to the natural environment. After several centuries, ca. 500 A.D., the city rose to be a powerful capital within a regional political unit. Without a buffer zone the total area of the archeological site is 1780 hectares, 09 areas and 49 square meters and 1,400 buildings have been recorded, of which only about 10% have been explored.

Palenque has been the object of interest of numerous travelers, explorers and researchers since the 18th century. It illustrates one of the most significant achievements of mankind in the American continent. The ancient city has a planned urban layout, with monumental edifices and some of the largest clearings found in all the Maya area. Numerous residential areas with habitation units, funerary, ritual and productive activity areas were placed around the administrative and civic ceremonial centre.

The palencano style is unique for its high degree of refinement, lightness and harmony. It includes buildings with vaulted roofs upon which pierced crestings emphasized its height. Its architecture is also characterized by its interior sanctuaries and modeled stucco scenes found on its freezes, columns, walls, crests, as well as ogival vaults, vaulted halls connecting galleries and T-shaped windows, among other unique architectural features. The sophisticated architectural designs and the rich decoration reflect the history and ideology of the ruling class and incorporate the writing and calendaric systems. The architecture of the site is integrated in the landscape, creating a city of unique beauty.

Once the ancient city of Palenque was abandoned around the 9th century, the thick jungle surrounding it covered its temples and palaces. This vegetation largely protected the buildings and their elements from looting. Furthermore, the fact that the area remained uninhabited, from its abandonment until the Colonial period, aided the protection of the site’s integrity.

Residential areas, buildings with political and administrative functions, as well as those whose function was ritual are conserved in their original setting, turning the site with its exceptional artistic and architectural features into a living museum.

As in the case of the site’s integrity, the authenticity of the site and its elements was protected by the dense vegetation and the fact that the city was abandoned already in pre-Hispanic times. Furthermore, factors like the choice of durable raw materials and high quality manufacturing techniques aided in the conservation of the material culture of Palenque and in conserving the form and design of the property.

Visiting the Palenque Ruins

It was a pretty short drive to the ruins where they dropped us off to explore.

The ruins were in the middle of a jungle. And it was misty. And you could hear the sounds of animals that you just don’t hear back home. Soooooo cool.

I won’t try to describe what I saw as I wondered around. So here are a lot of pictures.





















Now that was the main terrace of ruins. To get to where the van was going to pick us up I needed to climb down to the road. Along the way down there were other ruins, where the commoners would live. the walk back down along a trail was awesome.












What an amazing experience. Loved it.

Back at the bottom I waited for the van to go to Misol-Ha Waterfalls, and Cascadas Agua Azul.

My Route from Campeche to Palenque on May 1, 2017


My Location in Palenque from May 1 to May 3, 2017


The Route to the Palenque Ruins on May 2, 2017


The Palenque Ruins on May 2, 2017


To Merida and the Famous Chichen Itza Ruins

It was time to leave Cancun after a week and head to Merida and Chichen Itza. I could have stopped at Chichen Itza along the way but decided I would get a hotel in Merida and then take a tour to Chichen Itza after my new credit card arrived.

On the way to Merida I just had to stop at the Italian Coffee Company for another Oreo Frap.


Once again I took the toll road to take it easy on my stomach. I can still feel the effects of the operation I had. It was boring though. Just a straight road with brush on either side.

Waiting for my Visa Credit Card Again

The hotel I chose in Merida was the Zar. It is right next door to a UPS store. Surely they would know where to deliver my card to this time around 🙂 Right away I Skyped with Visa and let them know where to send the new credit card to. For the next 3 days I waited for my new card to arrive. This time I didn’t wait around for the first 2 days as I knew it wouldn’t arrive that soon.

As I normally do, I walked around the area to get the lay of the land. A Starbucks was nearby! Great choice in hotels Brian ha ha. The Barista there was really nice and spoke such good English. I asked her where she learned. She told me she never took any classes but learned through watching reality TV shows! Her accent was near perfect. For the next few days she would greet me by name every time I showed up. For me, as a solo traveler, this means a lot. The one thing I miss are connections with people. I am not an outgoing person, although I try to be on the road, so these connections do not come often, especially where there is a language barrier.

A laundromat was a little more difficult to find. The directions I got from people led me to drycleaners and not a laundromat. With a little research, and intuition where one might be, I found one just up the street.

On the third day my Visa card arrived first thing in the morning. And this time is was a new number. Finally this fiasco was over. Now I could book a tour to Chichen Itza. I heard so much about it. They are famous ruins. My expectation were high.

Chichen Itza According to UNESCO

The UNESCO website says this about Chichen Itza:

The town of Chichen-Itza was established during the Classic period close to two natural cavities (cenotes or chenes), which gave the town its name “At the edge of the well of the Itzaes”. The cenotes facilitated tapping the underground waters of the area. The dates for this settlement vary according to subsequent local accounts: one manuscript gives 415-35 A.D., while others mention 455 A.D. The town that grew up around the sector known as Chichen Viejo already boasted important monuments of great interest: the Nunnery, the Church, Akab Dzib, Chichan Chob, the Temple of the Panels and the Temple of the Deer. They were constructed between the 6th and the 10th centuries in the characteristic Maya style then popular both in the northern and southern areas of the Puuc hills.

The second settlement of Chichen-Itza, and the most important for historians, corresponded to the migration of Toltec warriors from the Mexican plateau towards the south during the 10th century. According to the most common version, the King of Tula, Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, or Kukulkan as the Maya translated the name, reportedly took the city between 967 A.D. and 987 A.D.

Following the conquest of Yucatán a new style blending the Maya and Toltec traditions developed, symbolizing the phenomenon of acculturation. Chichen-Itza is a clear illustration of this fusion. Specific examples are, in the group of buildings to the south, the Caracol, a circular stellar observatory whose spiral staircase accounts for its name, and, to the north, El Castillo (also known as the Temple of Kukulkan). Surrounding El Castillo are terraces where the major monumental complexes were built: on the north-west are the Great Ball Court, Tzompantli or the Skull Wall, the temple known as the Jaguar Temple, and the House of Eagles; on the north-east are the Temple of the Warriors, the Group of the Thousand Columns, the Market and the Great Ball Court; on the south-west is the Tomb of the High Priest.

After the 13th century no major monuments seem to have been constructed at Chichen-Itza and the city rapidly declined after around 1440 A.D. The ruins were not excavated until 1841 A.D.

Chichen Itza Tour

I had booked a Grayline tour through the hotel concierge that picked me up at my hotel. Chichen Itza is a hour and a half drive from Merida.

The tour seems to come out of the Mayaland Hotel situated right on the edge of the Chichen Itza ruins. A really nice hotel with an amazing old tree.



This is wher the Chichen Itza tour started.


Before getting to actual ruins we had to pass through a gauntlet of people selling stuff to tourists.


This is all over the ruin sight. They are everywhere. No souvenirs for me as I have no room on my motorcycle for them.

Finally the ruins appeared. The famous El Castillo:





The Great Ball Court where the winners of the game were sacrificed to the gods. The losers were banned from the city and were to make babies for the gods. Huuuummmm I think I would throw the game.



Juego de Pelota:


The tour was rather short. There seemed to be a bit more that we didn’t see on the tour. We had a hour of free time so I went exploring around some crumbled small ruins before a buffet lunch that came with the tour.

Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I have to say that for me the ruins were a disappointment. Teotihuacan outside of Mexico City were far more impressive and larger. Plus you could climb up on the pyramids. Perhaps Chichen Itza has more historical value, but from a uninformed tourist point of view (me) I liked Teotihuacan much more.

My Route for Location from April 10, 2017


My Location from April 11 to 14, 2017


The Route for my Chichen Itza Tour


Avenue of the Dead and Pyramids of Teotihuacán

Today I was really looking forward to walking down the Avenue of the Dead and climbing the Pyramids of Teotihuacán. OK, maybe not so much the climbing part!

I woke up early to get to the park before the tourist buses from Mexico City arrived. That was one of the main reasons for picking a hotel within walking distance to Teotihuacán. The other was so that I didn’t have to leave my motorcycle unattended in the parking lot there with all my belongings.

Teotihuacán UNESCO

Teotihuacán is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The following is a description of Teotihuacán from the UNESCO website.

Teotihuacan and its valley bear unique testimony to the pre-urban structures of ancient Mexico. Human occupation of the valley of Teotihuacan began before the Christian era, but it was only between the 1st and the 7th centuries A.D. that the settlement developed into one of the largest ancient cities in the Americas, with at least 25,000 inhabitants.
The city’s urban plan integrated natural elements of the Teotihuacan Valley, such as the San Juan River, whose course was altered to cross the Avenue of the Dead. This north-south oriented main reference axis of the city is lined with monumental buildings and complexes, from which the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, as well as the Great Compound with the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (also known as Temple of the Plumed Serpent) stand out. One characteristic of the city’s civil and religious architecture is the “talud-tablero”, which became a distinctive feature of this culture. Furthermore, a considerable number of buildings were decorated with wall paintings where elements of worldview and the environment of that time were materialized. The city is considered a model of urbanization and large-scale planning, which greatly influenced the conceptions of contemporary and subsequent cultures.

At the peak of its development the city stretched out over 36 km2. Outside the ceremonial centre, which, despite its imposing size, represents only 10% of the total surface, excavations have revealed palaces and residential quarters that are of great interest at, for example, La Ventilla, Tetitla, Zacuala, and Yayahuala to the west, and Xala and Tepantitla to the east. The city was razed by fire and subsequently abandoned during the 7th century.

The ceremonial ensemble of Teotihuacan represents a unique artistic achievement as much by the enormous size of the monuments (the Pyramid of the Sun, built on a 350 m² terrace, measures 225 x 222 meters at the base, and is 75 meters high, for a total volume of 1 million m³) as by the strictness of a layout based on cosmic harmony. The art of Teotihuacans was the most developed among the classic civilizations of Mexico. Here it is expressed in its successive and complementary aspects: the dry and obsessive geometry of the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon contrasts with the sculpted and the painted decor of an exceptional richness of the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent.

The influence of the first of the great civilizations of Mesoamerican classic civilizations was exerted over the whole of the central region of Mexico, in Yucatán, and as far away as Guatemala (the site of Kaminaljuyu) during the period of Teotihuacan III.

Much larger than the narrow zone of the ceremonial center, the archaeological site of Teotihuacan corresponds to a city of at least 25,000 inhabitants. Teotihuacan and its valley bear unique testimony on the pre-urban structures of ancient Mexico.

Lining the immense Avenue of the Dead, the unique group of sacred monuments and places of worship in Teotihuacan (the Pyramids of the Sun, the Moon and Quetzalcoatl and the Palaces of Quetzalmariposa, the Jaguars, of Yayahuala and others) constitutes an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial center.

Following the destruction and abandonment of the city towards 650 A.D., the ruins were imbued with legend. The Aztec name of Teotihuacán means “the place where gods were created”. According to writings from the 16th century, the sacrifices practiced by Moctezuma every twenty days on the site attested to the persistence of beliefs, which made Teotihuacan a sacred place of exceptional value.

The Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan fully preserves its monumentality, urban design and artistic wealth, as well as the relationship of the architectural structures with the natural environment, including its setting in the landscape. This is due to the maintenance, conservation and permanent protection the site has received. However, natural factors like rain, wind and solar radiation constantly affect the site and its elements, and are considered to be the most important threat. Not all conservation attempts in the past were successful and some elements of the site were negatively affected by the use of inadequate materials (e.g. concrete and polymers). This highlights the need for conservation guidelines for interventions, as requested by the World Heritage Committee in its 36th session (2012), as well as for plans for preventive conservation and monitoring at the site. A further serious threat is the development pressure around the site that is constantly on the rise.

Located 48 km northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacan is one the archaeological sites with the longest history of exploration in Mexico. The first surveys date from 1864, and the first excavations from 1884. Certain monuments were restored from 1905 to 1910, such as the Pyramid of the Sun, for which its discoverer Leopoldo Batres arbitrarily reconstituted a fifth tier. Since 1962, archaeological research has been coordinated by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), which, while encouraging spectacular discoveries (Palacio de Quetzalmariposa, the cave under the Pyramid of the Sun), has instigated a more rigorous policy concerning identification and supervision of excavations in the immediate environs of the ceremonial zone.

While some of the earlier reconstruction work, dating from the early years of the last century, is questionable in contemporary terms, it may be considered to have a historicity of its own now. In general terms, it can be said that the condition of authenticity of the expressions of the Outstanding Universal Values of Teotihuacan, which can be found in its urban layout, monuments and art, has been preserved until today.

Pyramid of the Sun

First on my agenda was to hike the Pyramid of the Sun while I was fresh and the top wasn’t crowded. The Pyramid of the Sun is the pyramid to the right in the pictures.



Surprisingly I made it to the top.





Pyramid of the Moon

The next stop was climbing the Pyramid of the Moon, which you can see in the pictures from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. Luckily for my knees you can only climb half way up. From there though you get a great view of the Avenue if the Dead.



Mayahuel Restaurant

With the 2 big climbs behind me it was time for a break. The Mayahuel Restaurant is just past the Pyramid of the Sun outside of the park. Off I went for a break 🙂




Once again I could have stayed there all day. SOOOOO relaxing. But I had the rest of the park to explore.

Avenue of the Dead

For the rest of my time in Teotihuacán I walked down the Avenue of the Dead reading all the signs and taking in the magnitude of what was here.


As you can see, it is see an active archaeological site.


And archaeologists are finding layers from different time periods. One generation would just build over previous generations of buildings.


I did discover I had one more small baby pyramid to climb though.


My Location for November 22, 2016


Historic Centre of Zacatecas – UNESCO World Heritage Site

From Monterrey I headed to the historic centre of Zacatecas, a UNESCO world heritage site.

The Road to Zacatecas

When I was in the Baja I rode through “swarms” of these yellow butterflies. In Monterrey they weren’t yellow but I think they are Monarch butterflies. There were all over the place. As I rode out they were getting into my helmet, smsching against my glasses, and impaling themselves on my headlight grill.

On one of my breaks I saw this dead one, in tact, on the road.


You rarely see these butterflies back home anymore 🙁

Finding my Hotel

As usual, my GPS led me to the wrong spot for my hotel. This time it wasn’t fun. The historic centre of Zacatecus consists of narrow cobblestone road, much of which are on steep hills. I was sweating trying to negotiate them, and it wasn’t just because it was hot out!

I was so happy to finally reach my hotel without dropping my bike. I thought for sure I would. The hotel let me park it right in front where reception could keep an eye on it.

I stayed at the Hotel Posado Tolosa, an inexpensive hotel in the heart of the historic centre. The room was nothing to speak about, but it was cheap and I could walk everywhere.

Historic Zacatecus

I usually try to get to places around 1 or 2 pm so I have a chance to explore the city. Today was no different. Off I went.

According to UNESCO:

The Historic Centre of Zacatecas, located in the south central part of the state of Zacatecas, between the Bufa and Grillo hills was founded in 1546 after the discovery of a rich silver lode, Zacatecas reached the height of its prosperity in the 16th and 17th centuries. Built on the steep slopes of a narrow valley, the town has many historic buildings, both religious and civil. With Guanajuato, Zacatecas is among the most important mining towns of New Spain. It was a major centre of silver production, and also of colonization, evangelization and cultural expansion. The townscape of the ancient centre is moulded to the topography of the steep valley in which it is situated and is of outstanding beauty. The Historic Centre of Zacatecas has almost completely preserved of the urban design in the sixteenth century, taken as a basis for further development in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The peculiar and representative architecture of the 18th and 19th century make the city a clear hierarchy among the major work by volume and modest buildings.

The historic area comprises 15 religious complexes, mainly of the 17th and 18th centuries, among them the convents of San Juan de Dios, San Francisco, San Augustín and Santo Domingo. The cathedral (1730-60) is a highly decorated Baroque structure with exceptional facades and other features that reflect the absorption of indigenous ideas and techniques into Roman Catholic iconography. The Jesuit church of Santo Domingo has a quiet beauty which contrasts with the Baroque flamboyance of the college alongside it. Its massive dome and towers provide a counterpoint to the nearby cathedral. It now houses a new Fine Art Museum.

Important secular buildings include the 18th-century Mala Noche Palace, the Calderón Theatre of 1834, the iron-framed Gonzalez Market of 1886, and the pink stone Governor’s Residence. Quarters, named after trades or local topography, contain fine examples of humbler urban architecture from the 17th century onwards.

The Historic Centre of Zacatecas is a typical model of urbanization based on the irregular topography of a narrow glen. Today, the city of Zacatecas retains a wealth documentary that illustrates a significant stage in the history of Mexico and humanity as well, as monumental architectural styles that blend together, achieving an exceptional value.


OK – I’ll just let the pictures do the talking 🙂






Of course there is a Starbucks nearby ha ha


Other buildings:




During the night the town switches into party mode. It is all lighted up.




I did manage to find one deserted alley.


Beautiful city!

My Route for October 28, 2016


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