Travel | Cozumel & Tulum
A taste of Mexico's Ay Yi Yi
Cozumel is one f the most beautiful places in Mexico. With its clear blue water, it definitely is one of Mexico’s best kept places. It is no wonder that ancient Mayans built one of their major cultural centers at Tulum, which is only an hour drive from the main city. Located on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, this beautiful ancient wonder is now a popular tourist attraction, with rare combination of beach and archaeology
During my tour of the ancient city of Tulum, I Learned so much about the Mexican culture. Cozumel is considered southern Mexico and they speak Spanish with their own accent and slang similar to our South in the United States. More intriguingly, their primary language is Mayan. Although it is located in Mexico, the Mayan culture is very well preserved in this paradise location.
The ruins of Tulum were built on the coast with its main temple on a cliff overlooking the beach. This beautiful city has been kept remarkably intact throughout the centuries. The Mayan knowledge of architechture, cultivation and astronomy is amazing. Their temple structures aligned with the winter and and summer solstices. They even had a sewer system built in the city. Another interesting fact is that the Mayan buildings were covered in obsidian stone. Obsidian is a natural stone which is black but shines as gold when light or sunshine hits it. So while many Spanish Conqustadors told tales about the city of gold, it turns out that they were referencing there cities covered in obsidian.
Another interesting cultural treasure is the Mayan dish called Ay Yi Yi. This dish is very similar to a Piqué de gayo or sala, its made with fresh hot peppers (mostly habanero). The legend goes: it received it’s name from the first conquistadors when they were presented this hot dish by the Mayans. At first taste the only thing the Spanards could utter was “Ay Yi Yi” and the name suck. This dish was served as an accompaniment with tacos. I tried my luck with some Ay Yi Yi with my chicken taco dish which I must say was very hot. The chicken tacos alone were very well seasoned and I decided to chase it down a locally brewed beer called Leon.
So if you’re ever in Cozumel, I recommend taking a trip to Tulum and trying some Ay Yi Yi. The food, views, beach and historical lessons make for a great trip.