mesoamerica and the maya world

Category: coast

Kate Spade Mayan Riviera Ava Clutch

That’s the product name of this offering from Kate Spade, which “bursts with a jolt of bubblegum pink PVC that makes it ideal for a cool spring day.”

kate spade mayan riviera clutch

What do you think? Does this say Maya Riviera?


(also available from Powell’s)


Feeling Lazy

Like dusk at Puerto Morelos.

dusk at puerto morelos

Is development out of control on the Mexican Riviera?

Last time I was down there, in February, I got stuck in some heavy-duty traffic jams. Traffic jams in the Yucatan? Development along the coast is going full bore, and some are worried — and rightly so — that locals are being left behind in development that displaces long-time residents and sends most of its benefits elsewhere. The Christian Science Monitor has the story:

yucatan development article

The Garifuna Journey

This 45-minute video, shot entirely in Belize, presents an overview of the history of Garifuna people of the Central American Caribbean coast, as told in their own voices. (Around 18 mins. are some historical photos.) The Garifuna are an ethnic mix of Carib, Arawak, and African peoples. To the outsider, Garifuna drumming is the most immediately striking and characteristic aspect of the culture. There are some examples around the 15 minute mark in the video. Around 21-22 mins. is a taste of punta, the contemporary expression of traditional Garifuna rhythms. There is a female chorus around 39 mins.

I am still looking for the perfect Garifuna drumming video — there is a lot of touristy stuff, much of it shot in restaurants or at staged performances, on the web, but the authentic experience seems elusive.

Tulum and Dean


The Maya ruins of Tulum are located on the Yucatan coast, in the southern Riviera Maya. Tulum is not exactly a major Maya site. It’s a late one, and the construction is a little crude compared to the finest Maya stonework.

During the period the city was at its height the Yucatan was racked with warfare, and consequently Tulum is one of the few walled Maya cities. Today Tulum is appallingly overrun with tourists, which makes it a bit difficult to fully enjoy. Nonetheless, it boasts a spectacular location. Few significant Maya cities are built directly on the coast (no doubt its seaside location was a defensive factor for the city’s founders). It is likely that the Spanish conquistadors’ first intimations of the Maya civilization were the siting of Tulum on its lofty perch.

I will have more to say about Tulum later. Today I mention it because Hurricane Dean is about to make landfall, and reports say it will hit just south of the historic city. I hope that the ruins will not be badly damaged and that the good people of the Yucatan will suffer as little as possible as the storm cuts its furious swath through to the Gulf.

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