“. . . the sight of the Caribbean was extremely relieving, but not in a way that suggests that anything leading up to it was in any way ‘bad.’ I began rolling my neck and stretching my back as though I was just waking up from a rejuvenating night’s sleep or finishing a long strenuous day of exercise. The contrast of the overreaching sea and wide-open sky to the relentless, and often claustrophobic, jungle was almost shocking. Only enhancing the experience was the extreme beauty of the turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. Even after standing at the top of the Acropolis at Ek’ Balam and seeing the featureless, flat jungle extend for dozens of miles as far as the eye can see in every direction, the Yucatán, somehow, felt even larger now.

After traveling so far, and just now peaking our heads from the twisted thickets, I couldn’t help but feel slightly cornered – relegated to a tiny strip of sand and squeezed between the dense vegetation and crashing sea. But the minute my bare feet slid into the granular white beach and the salty air flooded my nose, my stressed breath slowed and had officially made the transition from expedition to relaxation.”

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