Mexico’s Mayan secrets
There are more than 60,000 documented sites in the Maya world, which encompasses the five states of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula and also the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and El Salvador. These sites range from small villages, which were home to just a few inhabitants, to large cities with populations that topped 70,000.
It is located deep in the heart of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, a 1.8 million acre patch of wilderness home to jaguars, howler monkeys, vultures, and hundreds of varieties of birds, butterflies, and plants. Again, like all the other Campeche sites, there are just a handful of people exploring the remains of this extraordinary Maya ghost town.
With the number of buildings - big and small, covered and uncovered - it's not a great stretch of the imagination to see that Calakmul was once a place of great influence.
By the time the Spanish came on the scene at the beginning of the 16th century most Maya cities were either abandoned or in serious decline.
There is no single theory as to why this happened. Ideas range from famine, to revolution to disease, but whatever the circumstances the Maya themselves never disappeared. They are here in today's Yucatán, in every face of every taxi driver, hotel clerk and police officer. Thankfully the language, customs and architectural evidence of their place in history still survive.
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Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert
After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Heloise Buxton - Travel Expert
Heloise started her Latin American journey as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. With extended summer holidays this was the perfect opportunity to backpack through Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.