Mexico - Isla Mujeres and Tulum
Trip Start Jan 03, 2013
35Trip End Jul 21, 2013
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The first stop was an island off the coast of Cancun called Isla Mujeres. After driving through the hotels and commercialism of Cancun on the way to the ferry port, we knew we had made the right choice of place to start for a few days relaxing and scuba diving.
We woke up really early the next day, thanks to the jet lag, but used the opportunity to explore some of the nearby beaches
We took the boat out to the dive sites with Marco, our dive instructor, for 2 dives. On the first dive, Sean completed most of his skills perfectly and was well on his way to completing his open water PADI course. The second dive was awesome and we saw a hawksbill turtle, a big sting ray, and lots of beautiful reef fish. Sean finished off his skills ok, and effectively completed the course! After cleaning the kit, we went to a local fishermens bar that Marco had recommended. One Sol turned into 5 as we met a nice Aussie couple and chatted to them for the afternoon and went for a sunset drink at a cool beach bar with swings.
The next day there was only the two of us on the diving trip which was great, so we set off with Marco for another 2 dives. We enjoyed 2 more great dives and saw some sting rays, lobster, massive parrot fish and lots of cool disco fish
Tulum was the next stop, and we made our way there via the ferry and collectivos (shared minibuses). Most of the buzz in Tulum is on the main highway, with the beaches, ruins and cenotes (limestone sinkholes with fresh water in them) about 5km away.
To explore the area, we rented bikes from the hostel for the day, and tried to make our way to the Mayan ruins in Tulum. We took a wrong turn and ended up going a longer way round so only got there at 11am. Unfortunately there were hoards of American tourists as we arrived, but after a 25 minute queue we were in. We soon realised why the ruins are so popular, with well preserved mayan bulidings from when it was an important trade port. Impressive. We then spent an hour on a beautiful local beach and had a typical mexican lunch with a cold sol. Perfect!
We cycled to go and see one of the local cenotes and jumped in to enjoy a swim in the cool blue clear water
We both woke up the next day feeling a little queasy, probably the street food we had for dinner the night before. We took the 9am bus from Tulum to chichen itza which took 3 hours. As you entered the site, the first thing you saw was the massive iconic el castillo (castle) building, which was really stunning. We spent the day wandering around the green site, in and out of the jungle taking in all the different ruins, including the plaza of a thousand columns, the ball court (yes, they played a game similar to basketball in a big stadium in Mayan times!) and observatory. We then headed back to Tulum for our last night in Mexico. Tomorrow we were up early to go to Belize!
Although we have really enjoyed our time in the Yucutan in Mexico, it is difficult to get the authentic Mexican experience as it is so set up for mass tourism with resorts, hotels and lots of people!! You can see why, because it is beautiful with iconic beaches and fascinating Mayan ruins, but we are looking forward to getting to Belize and starting to see the real Central America.