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San Gervais

 

 

This small, charming site stands in a lovely forest on the island of Cozumel. Once the island’s capital and principal ceremonial center, San Gervaiso is one of the few sites dedicated to the Maya goddess, Ixchel. She is one of the oldest goddesses, considered to be mother of all other gods, responsible for fertility, childbirth, bodies of water, rainbows and the moon. Every woman in ancient Mesoamerica was expected to make a pilgrimage to her site at least once in her life and they made the perilous journey from the mainland to San Gervasio by canoe. Constructed during the Early Classic period (AD 300- 900) and occupied well into the Post-Classic period (AD 900 – 1500), its varied architectural style can be seen throughout the ruins. Typical architectural features include limestone plazas and arches atop stepped platforms, as well as stelae and bas-reliefs carvings. Be sure to see the "hands" temple, which has small red handprints all over its altar. If you want a rugged hike, take the 15-km (9-mi) dirt road that travels north to the coast to a spectacular deserted beach. Open daily 8 AM – 5 PM. Closed in October. Admission: Toll Road $1, Ruin $3.50. Free Sundays and holidays. Located east off Av. Juárez, follow the road north for 7 km (4.5 miles).

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