View of Tonina from a distance.
I had never been to a Mayan ruin before.
I’d seen pictures, of course. Pictures of Pyramids in their splendor and pictures of them overrun by tourists. I was prepared for the latter and amazed when I found the former.
My day excursion to Tonina (dating from the 6th – 9th centuries) on a recent blog trip sponsored by Mexico Tourism was a surprise on many fronts. The history, the magnitude and the fact that so few people were there.
Work uncovering Tonina from mounds of earth, rocks and trees began in the 1970′s by a French team. The National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico began excavations soon after and a museum was opened in 2000 preparing the way for tourism. As one of the more recently excavated sites, it is not as well known as others. At 2 1/2 hours from San Cristobal, it is also a little further off the beaten track. This is why it was not busy (I was told that other sites would have had at least 6 coaches of people on that Friday) and such a pleasure to explore. We were able to climb the pyramid.
Please join me…
We first came upon the Ballcourt. Recent research suggests that the game was not as deadly as previously thought.
Over the ridge of the court is a field on the approach to the Pyramid.
And, from the field one gets a look at Tonina. It was pretty impressive with seven terraces and I wondered about my ability to make it to the top.
The beginning of the climb starts along this path on the side of the field.
We first came upon the Palace of the Underworld.
It was completely dark inside. We walked very carefully, guided only by the wall we could touch.
Tonina was not just one big pyramid but included many buildings around it.
As much as was uncovered, there was evidence of more to be excavated.
Side view of Tonina.
The climb is challenging. It doesn't look like it but those are stairs - very shallow stairs.
Working my way to the top.
This shot shows how steep and shallow the stairs are. That's Jesus of Mexican Tourism who sponsored this trip to Chiapas.
My goal is in sight.
I made it.
The view to the right from the top of the Pyramid.
The view to the left from the top of the Pyramid.
The countryside everywhere is absolutely beautiful. What an extraordinary opportunity.