Thursday, November 21, 2013

Birthplace of the Gods

Let's take a little quiz:

1.  What is the 2nd most visited country in the Americas?
2.  What is the 12th most visited country in the world?
3.  What is the 11th most populous country and the 14th largest country in the world?
4.  What country boasts 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
5. The U.S. of A is not the only United States in North America.  What is the another United States?

The answer to all these questions is los Estados Unidos de México!  The stupendously scenic and intriguing country of Mexico!


Please put aside your qualms about kidnapping and drug cartels.  Let me personally assure you that Mexico is a fantastic country to visit and, if you use common sense, it is very unlikely that you will run into trouble.  

I traveled in Mexico for 3 months from late August to mid November of 2008 and I had a marvelous time!

Initially, I planned to spend those 3 months traveling through Mexico and Central America. But when I began to discover all the wondrous sights of Mexico, I stayed there the whole 3 months, traveling to over 50 destinations from the Chihuahuan desert to the Yucatan peninsula.

This month I will focus on 4 great and perhaps little known destinations in Mexico.  The first one is the "Birthplace of the Gods."  Here's a peak at this awe-inspiring attraction:

This expansive and ancient (from 100 B.C) temple complex is known as Teotihuacan.  It is a mystery who made these magnificent temples. The name Teōtīhuacān meaning "Birthplace of the Gods" was given by the Nahuatl speaking Aztecs who "re-discovered" the ruins centuries after the creating civilization had disappeared!

Teotihuacan, at its zenith around 450 A.D., contained perhaps up to 125,000 people and was the largest city in MesoAmerica!

The most imposing structures are the Pyramid of the Moon:

The Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl--the Feathered Serpent God:

The Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl has some unique stone heads adorning it:

A Jaguar

I have no clue. :)

Quetzalcoatl is on the right.
And finally, the 7th largest pyramid in the world with a volume of 1.2 million cubic meters, the Pyramid of the Sun:

That's me!  :)

Yes, those are ant-sized people at the top.

Here is a map of Teotihuacan to give you an idea of how these pyramids were situated in relation to each other:

The site is aligned perfectly at 15.5 degrees east of North, supposedly because the sun rose at that angle predictably on the same summer day each year.

In case you were wondering...yes, human sacrifices did occur here; animal and human remains were found during excavations of these pyramids.  Oh, you know....the usual...heads chopped off, hearts ripped out, people buried alive...all to ensure the prosperity of the city.

Here is a final view from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun:

Wikipedia photo

Mexico is full of amazing ruins: Bonampak, Yaxchilan, Palenque, Monte Alban, Chichen Itza and my favorite-- Calakmul

I really can't end this post without saying that my visit to Calakmul was a dream come true.  I always wanted to climb the steps of a remote, little-visited, crumbling, jungle-enshrouded Mayan pyramid and only Calakmul met all of these criteria!

It was an unforgettable experience to be the only one in this ancient civilization for an afternoon. To be alone with the spider monkeys and to watch a pair of toucans fly by at eye level while I stood at the top of Calakmul's pyramid brought a tear of joy to my eye.  

Here are a couple of shots of Calakmul:

If Mayan ruins aren't your thing, don't worry!  

Mexico has so many other great sights, sounds, tastes and experiences to offer!

Mexico has gorgeous beaches (Cozumel and Tulum), diving and snorkeling (cenotes of the Yucatan, Isla Espiritu Santo), Copper Canyon which is larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon of the U.S.A, and most importantly--great food and friendly people!

So what are you waiting for?  Visit Mexico!


See you next week at Kolin's Travels!  


  1. wow, you make me want to visit Mexico! this is great!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Harv! Come back and visit the blog again to learn about a new place next week, OK? :)