Series: Wonders of Mexico
Forests of the Maya
In Mexico's far south lies an unusual peninsula: The Yucatan. Swathed in a forest stretching 50000 square miles and once ruled by the mighty Maya Civilization. But it's also place full of secrets which hold the key to how animals and people survive the long and difficult times.
This is where we begin our journey through the seasons. A young morelet crocodile searches for prey in one of only a few places left with water. Thirst even lures the most elusive forest creature -- the Jaguar. Above in the canopy, spider monkeys are on the search for food, and there's no better place to find it than at the spectacular Maya temple of Calakmul.
Meanwhile Don Roque, a Mayan descendent, reveals the key to the success of his ancient ancestors is all down to the peninsula's unique geology. There are over 8000 cenotes, or natural wells, across this porous limestone peninsula. The cenote in Don Roque's back garden isn't just a vital water source; it's also a haven for wildlife. Nesting cave swallows and turquoise-browed motmots line the cave walls. Some dry caves have become home to a swarms of bats, emerging from the underworld in their millions.
But this underground water isn't enough to sustain life all year round. The Yucatan Peninsula relies on powerful weather systems that develop thousands of miles away in the Atlantic Ocean. As the seasons change, we witness how the vital rains affect all life on the Peninsula.