Off The Beaten Path


There is a little know Mayan archaeological site nestled between a main road and Cancun resort hotels called El Rey. It is not advertised and the cost of admission is cheap. No vendors, no hype, just ancient stone structures of a civilization long gone…and iguanas. Lots of iguanas !


There are probably hundreds of them, although we saw about thirty, but we knew we were being watched. They like to perch high upon the ancient stone structures and act as sentinels such as this guy is doing.


There are a variety of iguana colors and sizes at El Rey. Some are black, some striped, some gray and some molting. They were curious about us as we approached them. Most lizards would let us get to within three feet before turning tail or dashing away. Although they walk slowly and deliberately, they can sprint quite fast when necessary.


They have a keen sense of smell, and an extra eye which only detects light and dark, plus Parana-like teeth for tearing leaves off vegetation. They will bite when provoked and their 80 to 120 razor-sharp teeth can do some damage to human’s skin.


Notice how well they blend in with their surroundings…like chameleon lizards, except these guys keep their color adapted to their area of influence.


Unlike their cousins on the Pacific coastal regions which grow to over six feet in length, these east coast lizards average about eighteen inches to two feet.


Although El Rey offers no towering pyramids and observatories such as those found at Chichen Itza, Uxmal or Tikal, it does provide a glimpse of an early eastern civilization with house foundations, a main street, religious temple sites and a variety of other structures. However, the iguanas rule this site…you will be watched all the time you are there !



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