Trip Start Dec 30, 2013
Trip End Mar 25, 2014

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Flag of Mexico  , Quintana Roo,
Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Day 10: Wednesday 8 January

The trip from Isla Mujeres into Tulum was relatively painless. We got the boat back into Cancun downtown and then a 4 hour coach from Cancun down to Tulum. Compared to the journeys we would be undertaking over the next while this one was easing us in nicely!! The bus pulled into the ADO station in Tulum and off we hopped. We had booked our accommodation before arriving so we set off in search of La Cigana, our digs for the next three nights.

Almost immediately we were struck by how much more affluent Tulum was compared to old town Cancun. There was a real holiday beach town vibe to the place....no wonder Demi Moore chose to holiday here only a couple days before us (thanks Daily Mail for that nugget of info!!).
We found our hostel easily enough. It was a quaint little place, the reception was also the restaurant and bar! All the dorms in La Cigana are single unit structures with the showers and toilets outside...we were going to get acquainted with Mexican wildlife while staying here that's for sure!!

We unpacked and got ourselves settled before hitting the town for dinner. We settled on an Italian on the Main Street where we had some pizza which was delicious. After dinner we popped into the Mojito bar just down from our hostel...well we are on our holidays! The bar was really cool. It had a contraption installed on an old school Volkswagen beetle outside the bar that extracted the sugar syrup from sugar cane. None of us had seen anything like it before. We got talking to the owner, an Italian dude. As soon as he heard Michele and Jenny's Dublin accents he was calling them Jackeens. Turns out he had worked in London for a few years and his best friend was Irish. He'd even been to an All Ireland Final courtesy of the Ó hAilpíns.....small world or what! We had a couple drinks but hit the hay early enough in the hope we'd wake up to some sunshine.

Day 11: Thursday 9 January

All three of us woke to the sound of torrential rain :( It was beginning to feel like this bad weather was following us. Given that the bad weather was going to hamper our activity choices somewhat we decided to have a bit of a chill out day. We hung around the hostel for most of the day and got a good few admin tasks done such as laundry and trip planning. We grabbed lunch with Conrad the Canadian who was staying in our dorm. He knew a place where we could get quesadillas for the equivalent of a dollar each...they were yum!

That evening we headed back to our new favourite Mojito bar, the barman even shouted us a couple free shots of tequila....well while in Mexico! We finished the night off with an ice cream, probably not the wisest of dinner choices!!

Day 12: Friday 10 January

There were a few fuzzy heads this morning. God damn those tequila shots and that ice cream dinner!!! The sun was shining though so no one was allowed embrace their hangover. Jenny was delighted to finally see the sun....and sure when herself is happy sure isn't everyone?!

We got ourselves sorted, had some breakfast and set off to rent bikes for the day. As it was our last day in Tulum we had a jam packed day ahead. First on the agenda was the beach. Conrad decided he would join us so the four of us set off. The beach was about a 4km cycle from where we were staying...by god was the little bit of physical effort getting there worth it. The beach was fab. Gorgeous blue sea and golden sand as far as the eye could see. We chilled on the beach and caught a few rays for about an hour. Then we were back up on the bikes heading towards the Mayan Ruins in Tulum. The Tulum ruins are the only Mayan Ruins set along the coast on an impressive 45 foot Cliffside facing the Caribbean. The buildings that are visible on the site date from around 1200 to 1500 A.D. Even if you are not into history, Mayan culture, or architecture – the sea views are absolutely breathtaking. It's one impressive spot! We spent a couple hours exploring and chilling on the beach here. We decided to get moving when they closed the beach to the public due to the arrival of jellyfish in the sea.
Final stop of the day was a visit to the Gran Cenote. The Gran Cenote was on the other side of town, about 8km from the beach. The bike ride down was pretty flat and the sun was shining so we were happy out.

Cenotes, pronounced say-note-tay, are lime stone sink holes that are naturally formed in the area of Tulum, the Yucatan and other small cities throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Many of the Mayan villages had a cenote as their city center as they are a natural well, place of worship and meeting place. We swam and snorkeled (once Michele was given a quick refresher lesson in snorkelling from Kathy!!) in the freshwater of the Gran Cenote and it was cool to see all the stalactites and stalagmites up close.

We returned to town after about an hour, dropped off the bikes and headed back to our hostel to get ready for dinner. It being our last night in Mexico it would have been rude not to indulge in the local cuisine one last time so we headed to a Mexican restaurant for some grub....fajitas and sombreros all round. It was a fitting end to our Mexican adventure.

Day 13: Saturday 11 January

The next morning we were up early to get the bus to Chetumal from where we would get the boat to Caye Caulker in Belize. The boat was due to sail at 3pm but we've learned that schedules aren't really adhered to in this part of the world! We were told to line up at 2.45pm for what we assumed to be boarding....no it was for the Mexican border exit security check. We'd never seen anything like it. Everyone's luggage was laid out on the dock in a single line. A sniffer dog watched over by about six heavily armed Mexican military men then proceeded to go up and down the line of luggage....nothing was found thankfully as god knows how delayed our sailing would have been then! All passengers then had to line up single file with our passports while a soldier checked our documentation to ensure all was in order. Finally we got on the boat about 4pm and off we sailed to Caye Caulker!!
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