A must see thing in Mexico and in particular the Yucatan province is the Mayan temples of Chichen Itza, one of the new seven wonders of the world.
The day trips from Playa Del Carmen took 3 hours to get there and obviously 3 hours back in a mini bus packed by mostly American tourists, the whole day taking 12-13 hours. Not wanting to go through this punishment i looked at other alternatives and found that there was an old colonial town nearby by the name of Valladolid.
A 2 1/2 hour bus ride found me in this quaint little town, not big and not lots of tourist attractions but a good gate way to other places and therefore a good base to stop for a few days. It felt like a proper Mexican town (or how i envisaged a Mexican town would be like) a large town sqaure, a church nearby, lots of little roads going off into all directions all looking the same.
Rush hour in Valladolid –
I found an open top tour bus which was parked in the square and enquired about the next departure only 5 minutes to go said a yojng lady. I paid my 55 pesos (£2.75) and went and sat upstairs on the bus. I was the only person on the bus and then the young girl came upstairs and stood next to me with a microphone. She proceeded to do the commentary as though the bus was full of tourists, a little odd but good training i guess !! My fellow passengers –
My own personal tour guide –
Cathederal of San Gervasio next to the main square –
Convent of San Bernardino de Siena –
Me in front of it –
It was a good little tour and quite amusing being the only person on the bus, just got a bit awkard when she started to ask questions and i hadn’t been paying attention !!
Later that afternoon i went to find a local cenote called Zaki, a cenote is a freshwater sinkhole or underground river where the cave roof has fallen in. There are many of them throughout Mexico and are quite an attraction for locals and tourists alike. Some you can abseil down into and then swim around or just walk down from above and swim with the cat fish. There was one only a stones throw from my hotel virtually in the middle of town –
In ancient Mayan times cenotes were consider a sacred bathing place and were protected by the local people.
I guess not so much of a sailing adventure yet as will be travelling some more overland before getting another sailing passage.
Arrived in Mexico on the 29th January into Cancun. I was told to get out of Cancun as its just a bit of a messy city with high prices so i headed like most people do down the road to Playa Del Carmen. OK this is just a big tourist place by the sea but it was actually quite nice, a mix of young families, old folk and young people. Lots of restaurants and bars but all quite civil. The temperature was warm and cool at night, a nice way to get back into living in a warmer climate.
The beach at Playa Del Carmen –
Birds on the beach, they were big guys who weren’t afraid of the tourists.
A wonderful bird is the pelicanHis bill will hold more than his belican,He can take in his beakEnough food for a weekBut I’m damned if I see how the helican!
These guys would perform down by the seafront in a local square, they would spin the platform round with ropes attached to the top as they ran around the bottom. After a while they all took it in turns to climb to the top, a good 60-80 ft in the air. From there they proceeded to sit up there for a good 15 minutes before anything happened, in fact i never knew what happened as eveytime i saw them they were either climbing up the pole or sitting on top of it. I got bored of the wait and dissappeared before anything happened. I think they may have thrown themselves off the top attached by ropes but i will never know. Anyway it was bloody high and they got my respect for doing it –
The most reasonable place i could find to stay was in fact a Spanish language school, unfortunately the students would come down for breakfast and then all practice their Spanish together. This made me feel a little inadequate on the language front and wondered whether i should be doing a course or not. I had heard that if you go down into South America you do really need to pick up a bit of the lingo otherwise it can be a bit difficult. Not really having the time to spend on a 2/3 week course i will have to pick up a few words on the way to help me get by.
After a few days (noches) i travelled to the nearby island of Cozumel a 45 minute (menos) ride away on a fast ferry. The island seems to get bombarded by cruise ships every single day, some times more than one cruise ship comes into the same dock. The passengers must like to spend their money on jewellery and watches as most of the sea front is full of shops selling expensive items with guards wearing flak jackets tooled up ready for action. These shops normally close as soon as the tourists are seen heading back to their boats.
Cozumel sea front west coast –
Cozumel sea front by the ferry drop off –
One of the many pesky cruise ships –
A Disney cruise ship i believe almost dwared by another –
The east coast of Cozumal has the best beaches but the west coast of Cozumel has all the diving spots. As you really needed to rent a car to reach the other side of the island and i have seen enough beaches on my travels i wasn’t too fussed about travelling to see more anytime soon, the later part of the trip will reveal plenty of beaches and snorkelling oppourtunies and the diving is better elsewhere so i just eased myself slowly into the Mexican way of life.