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  • Tulum: Tulum isn't the most important ancient Maya city, either historically or architecturally, but its seaside setting is uniquely beautiful. The stark contrast of its crumbling stone walls against the clear turquoise ocean just beyond is an extraordinary sight.
  • Calakmul: Of the many elegantly built Maya cities of the Río Bec area, in the lower Yucatán, Calakmul is the broadest in scope and design. It's also one of the hardest to reach -- about 48km (30 miles) from the Guatemalan border and surrounded by the jungle of the Calakmul Biological Reserve. Calakmul is a walled city with the tallest pyramid in the Yucatán -- a city that continuing research might prove to be the largest in the Maya world, more than equal to Guatemala's Tikal. Go now, while it remains infrequently visited.
  • Uxmal: No matter how many times we see Uxmal, the splendor of its stone carvings remains awe-inspiring. A stone rattlesnake undulates across the facade of the Nunnery complex, and 103 masks of Chaac -- the rain god -- project from the Governor's Palace.
  • Chichén Itzá: Stand beside the giant serpent head at the foot of El Castillo and marvel at the architects and astronomers who positioned the building so precisely that shadow and sunlight form a serpent's body slithering from peak to the earth at each equinox (Mar 21 and Sept 21).
  • Ek Balam: In recent years, this is the site where some of Mexico's most astounding archaeological discoveries have been made. Ek Balam's main pyramid is taller than Chichén Itzá's, and it holds a sacred doorway bordered with elaborate stucco figures of priests and kings and rich iconography.
  • Palenque: The ancient builders of these structures carved histories in stone that scholars have only recently deciphered. Imagine the magnificent ceremony in A.D. 683 when King Pacal was buried deep inside his pyramid -- his tomb unspoiled until its discovery in 1952.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.