Today would be our last stop on our tour of the Western Caribbean. Today we stopped in Costa Maya. We have been here several times and have enjoyed visiting the beach or just relaxing at the port. There is so much to do. The port has a great shopping area, a very large salt water pool, swim up bars, beach chairs down by the water line and great restaurants.
However, today we are going to take a bus tour to the Kohunlich Mayan Ruins. To reach the site we have to take a 2-hour bus ride so we had to leave the ship as soon as it docked. We were up around 5:30am in order to get a little breakfast, shower and get to the pier by 7:00am to catch the bus. It was still dark as we disembarked and as we walked down the very long pier we looked back and the ship looked like a Christmas tree all lit with little lights. When we arrived at the entrance to the port we were greeted by local muscians and dancers singing and dancing in traditional dress. It was very nice way to start the day.
As we boarded the bus we were handed a small white bag with a snack and bottle of water for the trip. Our tour guide, Jesus was wonderful. He gave us a running history of the area, the growth of the tourist business and the devastation that hurricane Dean wreaked on his country just a few years before.
About a half hour before we arrived at the site Jesus gave everyone information about Mayans and the site that we would be visiting. We both found this to be helpful because once we got to the site we felt as though we had some knowledge of the buildings we were looking at as soon as we entered the historical area.
There were so many buildings. It really was amazing. We saw the Palace, the Acropolis, Western Residential Complex, Plaza of the Stelas, Ball Game Court and the Temple of the Masks. At each stop Jesus talked at length about the each building describing its significance, the people and their way of life.
It was amazing to look at these structures and realize that they had been constructed around the year 600AD and at one time they were completed covered by vegetation.
Located around the site were small signs that provided small pieces of information about some of the buildings and common areas. “The Acropolis is the largest construction in Kohunlich. The Western Residential Complex functioned as a residence for a group of high-ranking artisans who dedicated themselves to the manufactue of shell artifacts. The Plaza of the Stelas is one of the largest in the South of the State of Quintana Roo and where diverse public acts took place”.
Randy and I were excited to learn that we could walk and climb the buildings. It was fascinating to reach the top of the Acropolis and look over the surrounding countryside. This site was the first time I had seen rounded corners on the buildings. Jesus shared that the Temple of the Masks was built around the year 500A.D. “The temple is one of the oldest constructions in the site. The masks that serve as ornaments look towards the sunset and represent the members of the ruling lineage of Kohunlich, all gathered beneath the form of Kinich Ahau, Face of the Sun, one of the most important Mayan dieties” said Jesus.
We enjoyed the stories Jesus told us about the ball game court and how the game was played. Just behind the court was a mounded structure that was used for sacrifices. We were stunned to learn that it was not the losers of the game who were sacrificed but the winners and that they thought it was an honor to be sacrificed.
The palm trees that surrounded the area were stunningly beautiful creating a wonderful backdrop for these Mayan structures. The Belizean name for these fruiting palms is Cohoon. Jesus was a wealth of knowledge and all too soon it was time to reboard the bus for the two hour trip back to the port.
Thank goodness we were on an official tour from the ship because we were late getting back to the pier. As we walked down the pier and approached the gangplank many passengers were leaning over the railing and clapping as we came back on board.
We decided to relax for the rest of the afternoon before getting ready for dinner especially as tonight the dress code for the evening was ‘Cruise Elegant’. But first we were off to cocktail party for returning passengers. After enjoying a couple of sinfully fruity cocktails and hor d`oeuvres and meeting Captain Massimo Marino and other top level crew members Randy and I got up on stage and danced a little. It was quite fun.
I have to say that tonight was the best beef meal we have had on the ship. We both ordered the chilled, creamy Bing cherry soup, Caesar salad, chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce and baked Alaska for dessert. Everything was wonderful but I have to say the meat was just right. It was tender, and cooked just like I like it medium and béarnaise sauce was perfect. Not enough of it but perfect.
Just for fun we decided to take another portrait and then head to the Punchliner Comedy Club. Scotty K was great. He reminded me a little of Jimmy Buffet with his laid back appearance and easy style and he was very funny. It was a long day so we headed back to the cabin to spend some time on the balcony and look up at the stars.
Tomorrow we start heading home.