The small town of Manuel Antonio Ay is located in what had to be the metropolitan area of the ancient Mayan city of Cobá 10 km away, since it is estimated that it had about 50,000 inhabitants at its peak (and it is possible that significantly more), and its built area extended over about 80 km². The city of Cobá was the nexus of the largest network of causeways in the ancient Mayan world, which would contribute to it becoming one of the largest and most powerful cities in the northern area of Yucatán, having dominated a vast area, including the north of the state of Quintana Roo and areas in the east of the state of Yucatán. This power lay in its control of large areas of farmland, control over trade routes and, critically for a Mayan city, control over large water resources. Among the commercial routes that Cobá controlled, are ports such as Xel Há and Tulum.
Tulum, 33km southeast of Cobá and located in the waters of the warm Caribbean Sea, was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya; reached its peak between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spaniards began to conquer Mexico. One of the best preserved coastal Mayan archeological sites, Tulum has now become a popular tourist destination worldwide.
In addition to the spectacular beaches in the area, part of the area's tremendous appeal lies in the countless cenotes of the peninsula. Cenote comes from the Maya Word Dzonoot: 'hole with water'. There are several types of cenotes: open, semi-open and underground or in caves. This classification is directly related to the age of the cenote, with mature cenotes being those that are completely open and the youngest ones that still have their dome intact. Cenotes are, in most cases, a widening of complex underground river networks. Thanks to caving or spelunking, the existence of interconnections between the cenotes and between them and the sea has been proven, evidencing a true underground runoff system throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. In some cenotes the Maya made ritual human sacrifices.
This is how, in addition to being inspired by its history of tremendous resilience - like that of most of the indigenous communities of the Americas - Manuel Antonio Ay is located in an axis of fascinating historical and natural connections, offering us infinite possibilities for exploration for IAE MX goals.