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Incredible Ruins Resurface in Mexico … Literally

In Mexico, travelers and locals alike are flocking to the Chiapas region to see for themselves a mid-16th century temple that has just resurfaced in the Nezhaulcoyotl reservoir. A recent drought that hit the Grijalva River has dropped the water level by 82 feet, revealing the ruins of this grand relic.

Known as the Temple of Santiago, the church was built in a small village called Quechula by monks who intended it to serve what they expected to be a big population. The region didn’t develop as quickly as they planned, however, and the village was abandoned during the plagues of 1773 to 1776. In 1966, a dam was built that submerged the village and its impressive temple under 100 feet of water.

This isn’t the first time the temple has made a comeback. In 2002, the water level was so low that locals could actually walk through the ruins. The water hasn’t dropped enough for that today, but locals are still celebrating its reappearance, and local fishermen are offering ferry rides to adventurous tourists who want to walk atop the ruins.

Since there’s no way of knowing how long the temple will be around or when it will resurface again, travelers are taking advantage of their luck and earning serious bragging rights. Here are some of our favorite shots of the church from Instagram.

Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.(Photo: David Von Blohn/AP)

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By Jamie Ditaranto

Jamie Ditaranto is a traveler in a love triangle with writing and photography. Follow the drama on Twitter @jamieditaranto and Instagram @jamieditaranto.

Ditaranto joined SmarterTravel in 2015. She loves ecotourism, cities with history, and discovering local hangouts. Though she likes all the continents equally, she holds a special place in her heart for rainy little islands.

Her work has also appeared online at USA Today, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and other publications. You can check out her photography on her website.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "My instant camera comes in handy for giving instant gifts to new friends."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Befriending penguins in Antarctica."

Travel Motto: "You have to get the hard places out of the way first."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "On short flights, the window. For long flights, the aisle."

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