Palaces, observatories, temples and offering sites remain in the region, having kept superbly well for thousands of years. From then
on, Mexico ploughed all its resources into the area, aiming to transform a tiny agricultural village to one of the finest tourist resorts in the world.
Chichen Itza, one of the centres of Mayan civilisation which stretched over southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, thrived between 700 and 900 AD.
Cancun’s locals are well used to their Yankee neighbours making best use of their relaxing beach holidays, pulsating sports trips that include water skiing and scuba diving, and of course, the notorious youthfully charged ‘Spring Break’.
. In 1967 the government commissioned a survey to find the location with the most potential for tourism in the country and Cancun came out top.The south of Mexico offers the intrepid traveller the best of both the ancient and the modern Central America. The Yucatan was populated by native tribes living subsistence lifestyles and foreigners only came to the area to visit the charming colonial cities of Merida and Campeche or to seek out the much-rumoured but rarely visited Mayan ruins. And that is without mentioning the endless hotels, clubs, bars and restaurants. The peninsula is site to some of the most stunning ancient Mayan ruins.
Back in the 1950s, Cancun was nothing but a sleepy fishing village on the Mexican Caribbean coast surround by dense jungle. Cloaked in thousands of acres of woodland, the Yucatan peninsula contains both jewels of the pre-Hispanic America and the self-contained tourist paradise of Cancun.
Such is the willingness to make their, largely American, visitors as comfortable as possible, you can spend weeks shopping without the need to pay in Mexican pesos, for most establishments accept American dollars.
While Cancun may be the first name that leaps out of the tourist guide, and for good reason, the Yucatan is a thriving region of Mexico that offers much more; bristling in historical architecture, set in rich natural surroundings, the Mayan ruins add more authentic flavour to an area of startling contrasts. Furthermore, English is widely spoken. The place is more that just a resort: it is one of the world’s only tourist cities.
But in the 1960s, the Mexican government realised the terrific earning potential of tourism for the country’s faltering economy.
But the Yucatan houses offer more subtle delights for the more curious Mexican visitor.
There are tens of other sites dotted around the region, each featuring its own unique brand of ruin, including Palenque, where the pyramids are set in the context of thick jungle, and on the coast, Tulum, where the ancient Foam roller Suppliers Mayan buildings are crumbling on the edge of cliffs overlooking the crystal waters of the Caribbean. The site features a stunning 24 metre high temple called Kukulkan, which is flanked by a ball court, a temple called the Sacred Canote that accesses an underwater river and a group of columns which feature carvings of Toltec warriors, a nearby tribe.
Now the resort has a resident population of about half a million, all of whom rely on the two million tourists who flock to the vast swathes of white sanded beaches and turquoise seas that girdle the coastline. From the well planned grid of wide highways to drinkable tap water to championship standard golf courses, Cancun caters for the tourists’ every desire.