Are you dreaming of a vacation to somewhere warm, that focuses on history and the natural environment? Consider Tulum, Mexico. Located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Tulum has incredible Mayan ruins that tell the story of an ancient walled city. Bordered on three sides by massive stone walls, the fourth side is bordered by the Caribbean Sea.
There are guides available at Tulum to bring the stories and legends of the Maya alive. Our guide, Alejandra Gonzalez, spoke of the ways the Maya grew crops using organic methods. She made the stories real, showing the vegetation and explaining what the uses of the plants were for. When iguanas were seen sunning themselves on the ancient walls and buildings, she showed us how to determine what gender they are, males having spikes along their backs.
She also told of the Maya legend of the Chaca Tree and the Chechen Tree, always found growing near each other in the Cancun and Tulum area. The legend speaks of two brothers with very different personalities. The younger brother, Kinich, was kind and merciful while the older brother, Tizic was mean and sullen, gaining strength from the hatred in his heart. As luck would have it, both brothers fell in love with Nicte Ha.
They decided to fight each other to the death, with the winner gaining her love. As they died after this horrible fight, they realized how wrong this was. They pleaded with the gods of the underworld to restore their lives. The gods granted their wish and Tizic was reborn as the Chechen tree, which seeps black poison from its branches, burning anyone who touches it Kinich was reborn as the Chacah tree, whose sap eases the pain of Chechen’s venom.