Two Weeks in the Yucatan Peninsula
There is so much more to the Yucatán Peninsula than the Riviera Maya. If you have two weeks to explore, you're in for a treat: refreshing cenotes (sinkholes), scuba diving with whale sharks, white-sand beaches either deserted or full of life (take your pick), breathtaking Maya ruins, beautiful colonial towns, nightlife for every taste and whim, delicious cuisine, biospheres and reserves, and majestic haciendas all await you in the Yucatán Peninsula.

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The Lost City

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Cobá holds the ruins of a large pre-Colombian Maya civilization located on the Riviera Maya. Lesser known than Tulum, the name Cobá means turbid (cloudy) waters - probably having to do with the five cenotes (underground rivers) in the region, which may have played an important role as a source of water for agriculture in the development of this zone. At one time the city is believed to have had 50,000 inhabitants.

Much of the area is still unexcavated, although recent excavations unearthed a stele, which is unique to the Maya world, as it is covered in hieroglyphics. A restored ball court confirms that the popular ball game was practiced here. Bloodletting rituals traditionally followed Maya ball games at Cobá and slaves were forced to participate. This differs from what was practiced at the later site of Chichen Itza, where the captain of the winning team was beheaded after the game.

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by Michelle da Silva Richmond
AFAR Local Expert
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