History and Culture
Mexico is a country of rich culture; a colorful and somewhat surrealistic place stays forever in the hearts and minds of its visitors. Its people are fond of traditions and keeping that cultural heritage that Mexico is famous for.
There is so much to say about Mexico’s History & Culture; we just wouldn’t finish! But what we can do is to give you a brief explanation on the southeast region of this beautiful country:
Up the 16th century, the Yucatan Peninsula was inhabited and governed by Mayan tribes. When the Spanish arrived they started a long process of conquest.
Francisco de Montejo, a military man, was named Adelantado by the King of Spain Carlos I. He attempted to conquer the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, what it is now Tulum and Chetumal, but failed. It was his son Francisco de Montejo “El Mozo” who later was able to conquer the Yucatan and in 1542 founded the city of Merida in Yucatan.
The Quintana Roo area however was harder to conquer as there were many Mayan towns in the region; Xel-há, Xcaret, and Tulum, just to name a few. Up to the late 19th century, Yucatán had no means to subdue the Maya rebels, in the eastern part of the peninsula. In 1902, the President, Porfirio Díaz created the Federal Territory of Quintana Roo; naming José María de la Vega first political leader.
Today there are many attractions this particular region has to offer. You can visit many archeological sites; such as Chichén Itzá, Kobá, Tulum, some of them are now eco-parks like Xcaret and Xel-Ha.
The most popular islands in the Caribbean that are part of the Yucatan Peninsula include Holbox, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel. There are many Ports and touristic beaches such as Rio Lagartos, Playa del Carmen, Progreso, Celestún and many more.
Other great attractions that this region features are the cenotes or natural sink holes. They are all over the Yucatan, they used to provide fresh water for the mayans and are now touristic sites where you can swim and dive.
Colonial architecture is also preserved in cities and towns in Yucatan; being Merida, Izamal and Valladolid the most popular ones. Many Colonial churches, homes and haciendas have been renovated and are currently musuems, hotels and restaurants.
A little history on Cancun
Even though Cancun, Mexico, is considered a relatively new tourist destination, it is steeped in a rich history of Mayan culture and archaeology dating back to the 6th Century. The origin of the name is unknown, but if it is of Maya origin, possible translations include ‘Place/Seat/Throne of the Snake’ or ‘Enchanted Snake’.
There are Mayan ruins dotted all over the province, dating back to pre-Columbian Maya civilization, and you can sometimes hear the native language being spoken in downtown Cancun, but mostly it’s Spanish and English.
When development began on January 23, 1970, Cancun only had three residents. The Mexican government had to finance the first five hotels due to the lack of interest from anyone to invest money in an unknown area. The city then began as a tourism project in 1974 and has undergone a huge transformation from fisherman’s island to the famous resort it is known as today, second only to Acapulco. It consists of 14 miles of white sandy beaches and two main residential areas, The Cancun Hotel Zone where you’ll find most of the tourists, and Downtown Cancun, the real Mexican city with local dialogue and ways of life.
It started out as nothing more than a jungle, even a road had to be built to be able to reach nearby towns. But today, Cancun has well paved roads, stable water and electricity supply and everything one would expect from a world-class resort. It also has one of the largest coral reefs in the world and the unique Cenotes for water enthusiasts.
Now that you know a little more about the history & culture of the region we hope you enjoy more your visit! Also, we guarantee you’ll make new friends along the way, as the Mexican people are very welcoming and friendly!