The Yucatan Peninsula extends northward from Central America and includes the Mexican states of Campeche, Yukatán and Quintana Roo. Guatemala and Belize are neighbours on the south, for the west and the north by the Gulf of Mexico and east by the Caribbean Sea.

The Yucatan was the home of the Maya civilization before it was conquered by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century. It was the first part of Mexico discovered by the Spaniards, who accidentally landed on its coast in the year 1511, when a ship that had sailed from Darien (Panama) for the island of "Española" (Santo Domingo) was stranded by a hurricane in the bays "Las Viboras" (the Vipers) in front of the Islands of Jamaica.

The Yucatan peninsula is quite different than the rest of Mexico. The feeling you have as you travel and meet the people is more relaxed, more tranquil. This, no doubt, is doing to the Maya and their history. Even the land around you seems different. Although you will find examples of modern and colonial lifestyles, it is the Mayan legacy which creates the sense of another world.

Yucatan CitySome of the major sites include Chichen Itza, Coba, Edzna, Kabah, Tulum and Uxmal. Much of the population is part or all of Maya descent, and in many places the Maya language is still spoken, usually in addition to Spanish, the main language of business.

The Yucatan Peninsula is Mexico’s most popular travel destination. Year round weather that averages 80 degrees, a huge variety of resorts, and thousands of years of fascinating history draw visitors to the Yucatan Peninsula, especially in December through April.

Many tourists are surprised that, while those cites were abandoned before contact with Europeans, Yucatan is still predominantly Mayan. Mayan culture, identity, traditions, and language are very much alive, especially outside of main cities. Referring to locals as Mexican rather than Maya, may risk offending them. The Yucatan peninsula remains one of the most popular travel destinations in Mexico with visitors from around the world. Most tourists can be found on the white sand beaches and in the crystal clear waters on the Caribbean side.

Caves and karst features are common in nearly all parts of the Peninsula. The most notable karst feature is the cenote. Cenote is derived the Mayan word "dzonot" and refers to any subterranean chamber that contains permanent water. While some cenotes are vertical, water filled shafts, others are caves that contain pools and underwater passageways in their interior. Caves were used as sources of drinking water, sources of "virgin" water for religious rites, burial and / or sacrificial sites, art galleries, places of refuge, and mines for clay or minerals. Most have marine origins and many belong to the same genera as cave species from Cuba and the Bahamas.

In the northern half of the tableland, rainfall is light and is absorbed by the porous limestone. The land has tropical dry and rainy seasons, but generally in the north the climate is hot and dry, and in the south hot and humid. The peninsula is subject to hurricanes.

Most of the northern half, although covered with only a few inches of subsoil, is one of the most important henequen raising regions of the world; the uncultivated area is under a dense growth of scrub, cactus, sapote wood, and mangrove thickets. Magnificent forests of tropical hardwoods in SW Campeche, Petén, and Belize provide the basis for a lumber industry.

This area teems with tropical life, including the jaguar, the armadillo, the iguana, and the Yucatan turkey. Fishing is important along the Yucatan coast. Many of the peninsula’s fine beaches and archaeological sites have been developed for tourism, which is a significant part of the peninsula’s economy.

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