So the Mayans declare that the world ends and the entire world erupted into chaos. Who are these people? And why do they get to decide the fate of our planet? All fair questions we'd like to clear up and help you discover where you can learn more about this epic civilization.

Photo Credit: Priscilla Santana

Why is the World Going to End on 12/21/12?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but actually, it isn't. The Mayans just believe it's the end of an era, not a big fiery apocalypse like War of the Worlds or I am Legend would have you imagine. Will Smith will most likely not be donning his best space gear to save us from the abyss of vampires, aliens, or any other hybrid human creatures..that we know of.

The palindrome 12/21 is still significant though. Ancient Mayans, whose civilization thrived in southern Mexico and Central America until about 900 A.D. actually used three calendars, one of which was called the Long Count Calendar that completes a major cycle on that date (and was thought to be the last recorded milestone, as far ahead as they could plan before Christ's time). The Mayans never claimed to be able to predict the future so somewhere along the line their excellent astrological and math skills got misinterpreted. Still a good excuse as any to #yolo right?

Photo Credit: Ted Van Pelt

Most Famous Mayan Ruins

Since you have some time left on earth, why not head to the source to investigate one of the most powerful civilizations in history?

Chichen Itza (Mexico)

The most famous and well restored Mayan ruins are in Mexico. This Yucatan pyramid is the most popular during Spring and Fall equinoxes, (March 21 & September 21) when the setting sun creates shadows that look like snakes winding down the sides.

Altun Ha (Belize)

An important pre-Colombian spot, Altun Ha is pretty easy to get to 30 miles outside of Belize City by the Caribbean Sea. The temple pyramids were only recently made a tourist spot in the 1960's. Buildings are used for caches, partially for public offerings and in part for family rituals.

Copan (Honduras)

Located in the Rio Copan Valley, Copan was created following a number of dynasties between the 5th and 9th centuries. The ruins are set in the far southeast region of Mesoamerica in the fertile valley and feature a number of statues and carvings depicting past rulers and their marvels.

Tulum (Mexico)

A famous port city, the Mayan ruins of Tulum are situated on a 12 foot cliff overlooking the peninsula of Quintana Roo. A favorite spot for their great coastal location, it's the perfect place to combine a beach holiday with history and a cultural infusion.