illennia before some bloke cast the first fly in Great Britain, Mayans had built a massive empire across Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Their labors gave rise to a well-developed trade system, complex religious practices, and—like any respectable culture—exceptional fishing. One of their best spots was a place called Punta Pájaros, located on the southeastern coast. Pájaros doesn't look like an island on an atlas, but it might as well be. Pull up a map and you’ll (eventually) find a pockmarked peninsula hemmed in by Caribbean beaches, salty inlets, and impassable mangrove swamps. The area is part of the 1.3-million-acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (imagine a tropical national park dotted with ancient ruins). The Mayans themselves named it Sian Ka’an, which means “the origin of the sky.” If you know your history, you’ll recall that Mayans were one of several Mesoamerican cultures famous for conducting human sacrifices in a variety of creative ways.