Tourists who have a keen interest in all things ancient history should be more excited than ever for the new Maya train arriving in the Mexican Caribbean.
Why, we hear you ask?
Well, one of the main aims of this new infrastructure is to open up the doors to more of the Yucatan Peninsula and connect tourists and locals everywhere.
One such area that will be far more connected than ever is the lesser-known state of Campeche, which is rich with historical and archaeological gems that have once been less easy to get to.
“Segment 3” of the Maya Train, which will travel from Calkiní, Campeche to Ixmal, Yucatan, will stop at Sayil, an ancient Mayan city that is part of the Puuc Route, which stands out for its fascinating mosaic decoration on its main building known as The Great Palace.
Don’t be fooled; though this site is nowhere near as popular as somewhere like Chichen Itza, Sayil is a seminal Mayan settlement due to its breathtaking architecture and design, as well as its intricate system of collecting water, which would have been imperative for its agriculture at the time; a shining example of the advancements Mayan society made in such an early part of the history of civilization.
Tourists choosing to take the Maya Train to the fascinating archaeological site will be able to admire 22 structures, with the most breathtaking being the Great Palace, along with other sculptures and mural paintings that give a glimpse into its life over a thousand years ago.
The Great Palace, in particular, stands out as a must-see due to the aesthetics and symmetry of the structure, with more than 90 rooms inside, living proof of just how advanced the civilization was when it came to the buildings they created, with most of it still intact today.
The site dates back to between the 600s and 900s AD and has on offer areas where the elite was believed to live, another where the inhabitants resided, as well as religious grounds where people were able to pay tribute to the lords of the main building.
The National Institute of Anthropology and History believes that during its boom period, some 10,000 inhabitants lived at Sayil, and it should absolutely be added to your bucket list if you find yourself in Campeche on your next visit.
Maya Train Begins Operation
President Andrés Manual Lopéz has announced its inaugural route from Chiapas to Cancun will take place on December 15th, 2023.
While other sections of the Maya Train are announcing delays to some of its routes, this debut journey will be ready to begin at the start of the winter high season, which is expected to be busier than ever.
This 500-mile-long journey between Cancun and Palenque, Chiapas, will stop at stunning cities such as Valladolid, Akumal, and Puerto Morelos, as well as some popular archeological sites and environmental ones, all of which rank highly on the list of things tourists should do in the region.
This long-awaited and somewhat controversial project has been running into some issues with locals and environmentalists, who argue that it is disturbing historical and environmental sites that should be preserved.
However, it can be argued that the Maya train will in fact connect even more tourists to sites and attractions that were once much more difficult to reach, which can only be a positive for local economies who want to reap the benefits that the current tourism boom in the region is experiencing.
One section of the Maya Train that will travel to and from Tulum is already being delayed until next year due to construction needing to work around and preserve the natural landscapes and historical sites that it will inevitably affect.
Whether you are for or against the building of mass infrastructure such as the Maya Train, one thing is for certain: it will most definitely open up the region to everyone and enable them to experience the true beauty that the Yucatan Peninsula has to offer.
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