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January 5, 2009

Today we took a day trip to Tulum and Xel-ha.

Tulum means the ‘walled city’ and was built after Chichen Itza was abandoned. Inside the walls are the remains of temples and the home of the governor. Tulum is also noteworthy because many of the temples are on cliffs overlooking the sea. Despite that it was built after Chichen Itza, it is in worse condition because it wasn’t constructed as meticulously or as sturdy as Chichen Itza. Ninety percent of the buildings have been either destroyed or unexcavated. Tulum has beautiful beaches and has one of the highest points in the very flat region.

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Xel-ha is an ecological park that incorporates the environment with an adventure park. Many of us went on inner tubes down the lazy river. We went snorkeling through caves and jumped off high cliffs. We saw many different types of fish as well as stingrays, manatees, dolphins, birds, and iguanas. They facilitate awareness about the ecology of the region by exposing tourists to wildlife. While they claim to be ecologically friendly by protecting wildlife and educating tourists, it is difficult to remain so because of the huge number of tourists they receive everyday.

Kari, Laura, Katherine