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The Yucatan Peninsula in south east Mexico is covered by large tracts of dense forest which for many years had hidden the vestiges of Mayan civilisation. In recent times, though, Mayan sites are being discovered and revealed to the world. The best known sites of Chichén Itzá, Uxmal and Tulum have been cleared and are easily accessible for visitors. Other sites whilst more remote and difficult to reach are in many cases more impressive. Edzná is a huge ceremonial centre featuring a temple measuring over 100 feet high. Calakmul, possibly the largest Mayan city with 50,000 inhabitants and 7,000 buildings, is still being extricated from the jungle. Uxmal and Palenque, with its soaring temples, are both sites of important Mayan ruins.

The other attractions of the Yucatan Peninsula are its attractive Spanish colonial towns. Merida was built as a walled city and several of the old Spanish city gates remain. The city boasts the second-largest historic centre in Mexico with colonial churches, mansions and plazas. Campeche is another walled city with perfectly restored pastel coloured buildings and narrow cobbled streets. Celsetun, meaning ‘painted stone’ in Maya, is a tranquil fishing village on the coast west of Merida.

Best time to travel

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Hotels in Yucatan Peninsula