Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The New Mayan Ruins


A couple of days ago I re-visited the resort just a short way down “our” beach and I did so with a fresh outlook and additional information. We have become anesthetized by the sight of Mayan ruins all about the Yucatan Peninsula. Seeing this once beautiful resort decay into ruin right before my eyes was both awesome and oh so sad.


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This picture I got from Google Earth and shows the resort in its prime. You can note the view that one has all the way to the Caribbean. The pool is, to me, very exceptional. Toward the right there is a small half  round wading pool, 14 inches deep and it flows into the main pool. Barely visible in the lower left corner is another half round wading pool 2 feet deep which also flows to the main pool. You can see chaise lounges and small palapas on the patio. The area in light blue is actually part of the pool apron and is about 1 inch deep and there are people in the picture walking through the shallow water.

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This is a picture of the pool today!

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One of the landscaped waterways that surround the resort as it was around 2006.

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As it looks today! The “jungle” does not sit idly by waiting for a chance to grow. It has to be beaten back constantly and I can now see how the great Mayan ruins were regained by the jungle once the population was gone.

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This is what the  resort suites looked like in the mid 2000s. I do not have a current picture because all the growth is in the way.

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This picture was taken in 2009, well after the hurricane that supposedly devastated the whole area. Obviously, the pool is in need of service, but the palapas are still standing. There is some incursion of weed growth, but not excessive at this point. Most important, note that the windows and sliding doors are still in place. There are railings on all the patios. It is certainly deserted looking, but does not appear to be ruined.

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This is what a patio would have looked like back in time. Now, there are no doors, there are no windows, there are no railings. Inside each room, ALL electrical plugs and receptacles have been removed and all the copper wires removed and stripped of their insulation. Ceiling fans were all removed, the fan blades discarded and the electric motors taken for their copper content. Only in the theater did I see ceiling fans, far too high for the casual vandal to access.

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Heading for the second floor, I found this striking mural on the wall at the stairway landing. Of course there is no practical way to tear a painted mural from the wall for resale, so it sits.

I was heading up to the second floor to find the source of the hammering and deconstruction noise, eventually finding myself in what must have been a main kitchen, complete with a walk-in freezer set for 4 degrees Celsius. Four men of Mexican appearance were in the process of removing a large, insulated air duct from the ceiling. The looked to be a bit upset with my being there, so I did not try to take their picture, but I did notice that this was not a ragtag group of vandals as they had a number of tools and were using and oxy-acetylene cutting torch to remove the duct without damaging it.

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This chandelier is still hanging from the reception center. Too much work? Too little copper? I have no idea, but it still hangs today.

The last two pictures were taken at the same place. The first was taken from the gate area looking toward the reception area.

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This last picture is taken from the reception are looking toward the gate.

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I can understand the capriciousness of hurricanes. I have lived through several in coastal Massachusetts. I have seen the massive amount of damage that one can cause in Florida. This is not hurricane damage. This is not damage from the tornado offshoots of a hurricane. This is a resort that has been ravaged by the vandals that came after the resort had been abandoned and by the ever encroaching jungle-like growth.

Once so beautiful, now so soiled……and so very sad. Mayan Ruins, right at my feet!

If you are interested, you can investigate more pictures on Google Earth, coordinates 20 deg 28 min 11.09 sec North and 87 deg 15 min 40.81 West.


  1. Paul was that the Copa Cabana Resort Complex, it looks like it , That is where we stayed back when we flew down for the week in the early 2000's and you are so right it was a beautiful place when we were there. The small palapas were little bar's where everytime you walked by they would offer you a refreshment. since it was all inclusive you really had to watch how munch you stopped.It is sad to see it going to ruin and being vandalized, they had really upscale facilities and restaurants and like you said the pool and beach area was a showpiece.Hope all is well with you guys, give the girls hug for us, and thanks for the pictures. Sam & Donna....

  2. Good job on today's blog. I never thought of looking up old pictures and comparing them to todays. Right before the hurricane(s), two years in a row, it was called Richardson's, but maybe it was the Copa before that, Gerry & Ann may know.

  3. I checked with Ann. The Copa is now called the Catalonian Royal Tulum and it is doing well almost next to our campground.
    The place Paul took pictures of was Richardson's and before that it was the Club Maeve.