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    Xcaret Eco Theme ParkXcaret Eco Theme Park Playa del Carmen, Mexico
    Xcaret park opened in 1990 as an eco-archaeological park that would welcome visitors from around the globe and offer them an exciting day here exploring the beauty of Mexico's biodiversity and cultural heritage, and has become so successful that it has been preserved as an environmental management system. The park reuses its water resources for irrigation of the green areas and plant nursery as well as producing 160 tons of compost each month for their own use. It is devoted to promoting the marine turtle conservation of two species that come here every year, the green sea turtle and loggerhead turtle, which the park uses for research on their migratory routs that they travel through in their lifetimes, and has an auto grafting technique that identifies the turtles when they come back here to nest. This fantastic park would begin in 1984, when architect Miguel Quintana Pali bought twelve acres of land in the Mayan Riviera so he could begin constructing his dream home, and would become more interested in opening this park after discovering cenotes and underground rivers that would be visited by many and enjoyed by all. There is also a magnificent beach, pools, tropical jungle trails, a main plaza, stained glass plaza, the house of whispers and a rotating scenic tower that shows you many beautiful views. Their exhibitions include a butterfly pavilion, mushroom farm, regional wildlife in very natural surroundings, a breeding farm, a coral reef aquarium and living museums of orchids. The cultural exhibits include a Mayan archaeological site, the Vino de Mexico wine cellar, St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, a Mexican cemetery and hacienda heneqauenera. Natural habitats include spider monkey island, marine turtles area, flamingos, fauna of Mexico, Manatee lagoon and Jaguar island. These unique black creatures will amaze you as they stare somewhat hidden beneath great trees, in the brush and watch as you meander by, looking intently for sight of one of these elusive creatures, that abruptly appear and startle you with their unique eyes, as if sizing you up for dinner. It is an amazing adventure for a couple or a family, with an amazing underground river that is great to swim or snorkel, with numerous openings in the ground above to let light in.

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    Chac MoolChac Mool Playa del Carmen, Mexico
    Chac-mool is the name of a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican stone statue that had been located at the ancient archaeological site of Chichen Itza, and is a human figure that is reclining with its head raised up and looking to one side, holding a tray over its stomach. Its meaning, either of the position or the statue is still unknown, but is has been found in or around temples in Toltec and other post-classic central Mexican sites, as well as post-classic Mayan civilization sites with heavy Toltec influence, like the Chichen site. The ancient name for these kinds of sculptures is not known today, but the name "chac-mool" belongs to Augustus Le Plongeon, who had excavated one of the statues at Chichen Itza in 1875. He would name it Chaacmol, that he had translated from the Mayan language meaning "thundering paw". He claimed the statue had been a depiction of a former ruler of Chichen Itza, and his sponsor, Stephen Salisbury of Worcester, Massachusetts, would publish Le Plongeon's find, and revised the spelling to "Chac-mool". These statues, called Chac-mool, have been confused with Chaac, who had been one of the strongest deities in Maya mythology that is closely associated with the phenomena of rain and thunder, who that weren't associated with. These statues can be found in all of Central Mexico and the Yucatan, being seen at the Tula and Chichen Itza sites, and others like Mexico City, Quirigua in Guatemala, Tlaxcala and Cempoala. Strangely, it is used for other meanings, like the yearly conference held by the Archaeology Students' Association of the University of Calgary, in Calgary, Canada, a cenote in Playa del Carmen, a short story in Los Dias enmascarados by Carlos Fuentes, a secondary mascot for the online imageboard 420chan, and the ninth track on Rodrigo and Gabriela's 2009 album; 11:11.

May 11, 2011