Valladolid and Chichen Itza

Trip Start Aug 23, 2006
Trip End Apr 15, 2007

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Flag of Mexico  ,
Saturday, August 26, 2006

We've covered a lot of ground in the last few days, but there's really not that much to tell as it's all been quite easy. A three hour bus ride got us from the coast to Valladolid, a small colonial town to the west. The ride itself was entirely uneventful, on a laser straight 2 lane highway sliced out of the jungle. We passed through at least a dozen lethargic little farm towns along the way, all looking like they had been air dropped into place 75 years ago and not changed much since.

We were up at dawn the next morning to catch the early bus to Chichen Itza, one of Mexico's best Mayan ruins. Being in Valladolid gave us about a 2 hour headstart on the tour groups coming from the coast. Everything went according to plan and we saw pretty much the entire site before the groups started showing up, and avoided the mid-day heat. The morning heat alone was more than enough to take the starch out of us.

Overall Chichen Itza was nice enough, though a bit underwhelming after Bagan. Karen ranked it 5th after Angkor Wat, Bagan, the Pyramids and Petra. The fact that you can't climb any of the temples is a bit of a letdown as well. All those staircases and none to climb. We're looking forward to exploring more Mayan ruins over the next few months, so maybe they'll climb in the rankings.

After Chichen Itza we bussed to Tulum, a coastal town to the south that even Lonely Planet refers to as butt ugly. We arrived thinking we'd stay a day to check out the beach and the ruins on cliffs overlooking the sea, but were so turned off by the town that we had one lazy evening in a decent cabana, then split the next day for Belize.

We're currently in Corozal, just across the border from Mexico and planning to head for Caye Caulker in the morning. We'll be leaving the buses behind for a bit, and taking the ferry to San Pedro, than catch another to Caulker, where we're hoping to settle in for a few days and take a break from the road.

On a side note, the place we stayed in Tulum, Rancho Tranquilo (don't you just love that name?) had a wireless network which I connected to only to have my Norton security software start freaking out. One blocked worm and two squashed virus' later things were back under control, but it was a bit weird to be attacked so quickly.

Sorry, no pics yet, too many slow connections.
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