But aside from all the beach going and lounging, we also experienced Mexico's rich culture, through a day trip to Chichen Itza, the famous Maya archaeological site that's considered one of the wonders of the world. On our trip, which was about 3 hours away from Playa , we learned about ancient Maya customs, their heritage, language and about the spiritual significance of Chichen Itza. The whole thing was truly amazing and something we've only seen up to this point in movies (Apocalypto anyone?). We had a helpful guide who recited interesting tid-bits about each ruin besides the famous Temple of Kukulcan, and it was truly amazing to visualize the civilization that thrived here nearly twelve hundred years ago.
After we explored the site and soaked in all that history, we were pretty hungry and headed to lunch at Mayaland Hotel, also on the Chicken Itza property. While we indulged in a buffet lunch, which usually doesn't spell quality, the food was quite tasty and I took special notice of the freshly made tacos. They were spectacular, and the best part about them, was that they were made before our eyes. I absolutely loved the connection between the artisan and her craft. The Maya woman making these was truly skilled, making perfectly round, airy tortillas, which she produced with finesse and a smile. Here's how they tasted:
Barbacoa Tacos - The tacos here were unlike any tacos I've ever had, and the secret was definitely in the tortilla. It was the second that I sunk my teeth into the tender, corn shell, I immediately sang my praises to the Mayas. "How amaaazing are these tortillas?!" I said to Dan. He totally agreed and the fact they were doubled up, allowing to properly hold the juicy shredded pork was just perfect. They had a slightly charred taste and were still warm, reminding me of just how fresh they were. Aside from the pork, the taco was very simply embellished with raw or pickled onions and the hot sauce of your choice. I loved that our servers warned us about the super spicy sauce (and Dan of course went for it), but I chose the milder tomatillo salsa, which I didn't regret. These were truly tacos to remember.
Our Chichen Itza tour and lunch experience, further imprinted on us the friendliness and generosity of the Maya people. Warm and hospitable, they were always there to make sure we were enjoying everything, and even performed a traditional dance that perked people up from their delicious food coma.
Mayaland Hotel - Chichen Itza 97751, Mexico