Central America - SouthoftheBorder travel blog



























































Lft Tulum 9am via colectivo to bus (Coba ruins), then on to Valladolid (ADO) then another colectivo 2 pm to Piste (near Chichenitsa ruins). Arr Pasada Olalde 2:45, nice driver dropped us at the door. Then to find out the rooms are now 300p, much more than LP said! Bon hesitates, man who speaks English says,"You want cheaper? How about 250p?" Bon, "Same room?" A bit taken aback. "Oh yes!" Could have knocked me over w/ a feather...this is the 1st time in all of MX when we questioned the price (which, because prices are high, we've done often-asking for anything cheaper), that the price has dropped! Always before it's been a take-it-or-leave-it thing. Even when you can see the place is almost empty! Many times we've left to find cheaper. Here the lack of tourists is particularly evident-altho at the sites/ruins we've seen hundreds of people...I'd guess 95% in group tours.

Coba Ruins

Chichen Itza Ruins

It's really sad since the tours contract w/ the big hotels for rooms & big restaurants for buffet food. Thus, in the tourist realm it's similar to Walmart or Home Depòt-the little guys (and here there are 10-15 small, local restaurants getting the shaft. We ate at a small place-good food, reasonable price, clean, well kept-we were the only ones eating. Cost 150p, just enuf food vs across the street 220p & buffet w/ tons of food, way more than we could eat and, perhaps 100 or more tourists filing past filling their plates. And we wonder why obesity is a problem!

Walking up & down the 4-6 blocks of Piste main street lots of "For Sale" or "For Rent" or just closed and run down looking. Not apretty sight. Even at 250p ($20 US) our place is not that great-no TV, very basic, and somewhat run down tho clean & hot H2O. In India & elsewhere the same would be half the price and incl TV or even AC! To get that in MX would be at least 400p ($32 US) we are finding. Also, the Maya sites in this area are way crowded and not much to see. Most ruins are roped off limits so you can't get up close enuf to see inscriptions or mosaics and even if there were some, which often there are not, there would be a dozen or more people blocking your view listening to some "guide" giving a story about what mainstream archeologists think is here. Clearly from what we've read there have been antecedent civilizations/peoples who lived here 10-15,000 yrs ago maybe even earlier, not just 800-1200 yrs ago!


UPDATE Chichen Itza from 4-4-19:

Mayan cave ruins



Up early...walked 25 min (2 km) to Chichen Itza site. Rained lots last nite, am cool and few clouds. Began explore 8:15, very few people...most of site is roped off, sanitized ^ very huge area. By 10:30 reached exit ^ tour buses pouring in, lots of guides w/ 2 to 40 plus trailing behind...fun to watch them. Back to Posada Olalde and to colectivo by noon...arr in Valladolid and ckd in at Hotel Maria Guadalupe. After great lunch at Squimoz we began a search for colectivo to Ek Balam that the LP said we could find...unfortunately, we kept running into taxi brick walls...drivers all insisting that no colectivos as we described existed and we'd have to pay thru the nose. Every place suggested by people we asked turned into a taxi stand where they wanted $150p or $12 US. Finally, a fellow who somehow got the picture said it would be 30p each, just as the LP said! However, turned out to be a private car...got us there by 3:30 (see pics). Nice site, only 20% explored, very different from others and few tourists. We waited too long for colectivo but luckily a couple from CA silicon valley at the site gave us a rental car ride back to Valladolid...he a history teacher, she a software marketing person - a week in MX. His a "business" expense trip.

Ek Balam

Carnival is in full swing here on plaza, dancers, loud music just like Isla, but talent quite a bit more professional. Dinner our favorite: Aztec Soup at Squimoz - Yummm!

Back at Hotel and a nite in room w/ TV movie, what a treat and a fine day. Weather great, connections like clockwork (or when not, a chance ride saved our bacon) and fine food!

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