Explore Mexico's Ancient Mayan Sites on a New Train Line

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iStock

A new project in the works in Mexico will make exploring the country's historical landmarks easier. As Travel + Leisure reports, the proposed Mayan train line will shuttle tourists around the Yucatán Peninsula, making stops at both famous and lesser-known sites in the area, and connect to the state of Chiapas.

The Mexican government first began discussing the new line—a southern extension of the current Mayan train that runs from Cancún to Tulum—in 2012. Plans were put on hold in 2015 due to funding issues, but they re-entered the national conversation when Andrés Manuel López Obrador made a campaign promise to revive the project. Now, the Mexican president-elect is talking about moving forward with construction after he's sworn into office in December.

When the new Mayan train opens, it will run from Cancún to Palenque, an ancient Mayan village in northern Chiapas. Stops will include Chichen Itza, Mexico's most famous Mayan pyramid, as well as lesser-known archaeological sites that don't see as many visitors. By connecting these places to Cancún, one of the country's most popular tourist destinations, the hope is that more vacationers will add these less-trafficked Mayan sites to their itineraries.

Construction, which will cost an estimated $6 billion to $8 billion, is slated to begin early 2019 and wrap up within four years.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Chernobyl Creator Craig Mazin Urges Visitors to Treat the Exclusion Zone With Respect

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Following the success of the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, one tour company reported that bookings to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone located in Ukraine rose 35 percent. Now, series creator Craig Mazin is imploring the new wave of tourists to be respectful when snapping selfies at Chernobyl, Gizmodo reports.

A 2500-square-kilometer exclusion zone was established around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant shortly after its reactor exploded in 1986 and flooded the area with harmful radiation. The abandoned towns are still too radioactive for people to live there safely, but they have been deemed safe to visit temporarily with the supervision of a guide.

Chernobyl has supported a dark tourism industry for years, but thanks to the miniseries, photographs taken there are gaining new levels of attention online. News of influencers posing for irreverent selfies at the site of the nuclear disaster quickly went viral. Mazin tweeted:

Regardless of why people are visiting the site, being respectful in the presence of tragedy is always a good idea. It's also smart to resist leaving a tour group to snap the perfect selfie in some abandoned building: Tour companies warn that breaking rules and wandering off approved paths can lead to dangerous radiation exposure.

[h/t Gizmodo]

A Traveling Harry Potter Beer Festival Is Coming to Several U.S. Cities

If you’ve ever wondered what the alcoholic version of a butterbeer would taste like, you’ll soon have the chance to find out. A series of ongoing Harry Potter-inspired beer festivals are coming to cities across the U.S. in the next couple of months.

According to Rock Star Beer Festivals, which is organizing the event, Muggles and wizards alike will get unlimited samples of 20-plus beers. There will be plenty of adult butterbeer to go around, and for more daring souls, there’s Snape’s Lair of Secret Cider Potions. Is it actually cider, or could it be a polyjuice potion? Attendees will soon find out.

In June, the festival will be coming to Fresno, California on June 21 and New Orleans on June 29. In July, it will head to Philadelphia (July 13) and Boston (July 20). Tickets to the festivals can be purchased through Eventbrite or booked on Rock Star Beer Festivals’ Facebook page under the Events tab. Act fast, though, because tickets—which generally sell for $40 to $45 apiece—regularly sell out.

What else can you expect to see at such a magical event? Rock Star Beer Festivals says the venues hosting the festival will be “transformed into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” with guests being transported to the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, and, of course, the Leaky Cauldron. You’ll also get to snap photos with Hagrid and dance to music by the Sorceress Sisters and DJ Dumbledore. Just be careful not to drink and do magic, or you could end up having an accident à la Neville Longbottom.

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