Trip Start Sep 08, 2008
17Trip End Feb 28, 2009
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Playa del Carmen is just a smaller version of Cancun with big resort hotels, Starbucks coffee, McDonalds, Outback steakhouse and tourists souvenir shops all along fifth avenue (remember, the streets are laid out on a perfect grid with avenues and cross streets). Only interesting to get on the internet, get supplies of goodies and get the ferry to the beautiful island of Cozumel. Unfortunately, under heavy two-day non-stop rain, Cozumel is no longer that pretty.
After Cozumel, the rain followed me to Tulum. There are beautiful ruins there, not for the monument itself but for its location: the ruins are on the beach ! I could only imagine those pyramids under the sun on a beautiful day with the turquoise Caribbean sea background and a deep blue sky. Never mind, it did not prevent me from going diving in a "cenote" :
Initially on my way to Belize, I stopped in the very industrial town of Chetumal which hosts a brilliant Maya museum. After all those very developed, industrial, expensive cities in Yucatan and Quintana Roo provinces, I did not feel I had a real impression of what Mexico was all about so instead, I took a night bus to Palenque in the Chiapas region. Unfortunately, the night bus is not a sleeping bus with "beds" like in Asia but simply a seating bus. 1st class reclining seats, yes, but they remain seats and sitting is not my favourite sleeping position. In Mexico, there are roads, paved roads, no loud honking but there are enormous and numerous speed bumps. I felt them all and counted them during my sleep. You can feel up to three speed bumps per minute and even in more quiet times it won't be long before a new one comes up. And with a big bus, when you are trying to sleep in a seat, you can feel them all. First you feel the sudden breaking, then you feel the bump under the front wheels and then under the back wheels, then you feel and hear the bus accelerating until it changes gear and gains speed until the next speed bump, never far away. And all this while you are in your seat trying to sleep!
Chiapas is more traditional, but still very touristy and kind of developed in a certain way. The ruins there are huge, in a 15 sq km jungle, streams and waterfalls background and still work in progress as far as the discoveries are concerned. They are still excavating and doing research on some of the buildings. Most of the latter are still covered by nature
In the afternoon, I took a bus out of Palenque all the way to San Cristobal de las Casas, in the mountains with a stop on the way at the Misol Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls. Misol Ha consists of one 35m drop waterfall,
Late at night, I finally arrived in San Cristobal