The sweltering January sun offered little respite from the hounding mosquitoes which prowled the ruins of Chichen Itza in the Mexican Yucatan. Known since the early years of the Spanish conquest, the once glorious city had been eroded by centuries of isolation by the time British explorer and archaeologist Alfred Maudslay first set foot there in 1888. While strong willed and greatly experienced by his previous forays in the ancient Mayan cities of Guatemala, Maudslay endured tremendous hardships for his ultimately successful creation of a detailed plan of the extensive ruins of Chichen Itza. He set up camp in one of the chambers found on top of the building known as Las Monjas (“The Nunnery”) which had served as a palace for Mayan royalty over 800 years before. It is from this base camp that Maudslay was able to map out the site with remarkable accuracy and thoroughness, while also capturing a particularly iconic still photo of an overrun Pyramid of El Castillo among many others. In the final days of his expedition, after five months of hard work in the spiteful heat of the Yucatan coupled with a bout of Malaria, Maudslay’s health greatly declined to the point where he had to return home. It took him six months to recover from his ordeal, but his expedition to Chichen Itza would not be the last time he would venture deep into the heart of the Mexican rain forest in the hopes of documenting the lost relics of the Maya. In this article, I will go over some of the best photography locations in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
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