3rd Gap Year travel blog

































Tulum 03/07/11

Cenotes, Turtles and Mayan ruins.

We arrived in Tulum on the second class bus from Cancun, which wasn’t too different from the first class bus. Air con, confortable reclining seats. The only thing missing was the TV and on board Wi-Fi.

The Weary Traveller Hostel was just down the road a few blocks away. The most sophisticated hostel that I have been to so far. Self-check in on a computer, and a key fob to enter what you wanted for breakfast every morning. It would then print out a receipt to hand to the girl in the kitchen and then you would get your breakfast. We stayed in a double room that was on the other side of the road from the main hostel, but next door to some street food eateries that we made good use of.

The Hostel booked us on to a snorkelling trip to see a Cenote and turtles. Cenotes are Limestone caves full of fresh water. There are Stalagmites and stalactites and columns, under the water as well as small fish. It was about 20miles north of Tulum before we turned off down a very bumpy track for few miles and ended up in a car park full of pick-ups unloading there divers. We walked to the mouth of the cave which was surrounded by jungle and got eaten by very large hungry mosquitos. It was a very quick change and into the water. Underneath you, you could see the cave divers and their lights far off in the cave systems lighting up the rock formations.

After an hour in the water and near hypothermia, it was time to head off for the coast and to see some Turtles. We headed out into the bay where lots of other snorkelers were out in groups trying to find something the first thing we saw was a massive fish, which when we got out found that it was a barracuda, but at the time I only saw a big fish swimming away and wasn’t sure what it was. Eventually we found 3 turtles eating the sea grass on the bottom and coming up for air every so often.

The next morning we walked the 2km north from Tulum to see the Mayan ruins. We paid the entrance fee and managed to dodge all of the tour guides trying to sell their services. It was a small set of ruins and we managed to walk around them in a couple of hours, before heading to the beach that was attached to the ruins. Most of the tour groups and there were lots, coach loads of them, seemed to drop into the beach after a few hours of walking around. It was warm and plenty of pelicans flying overhead. After a few hours in the sea we headed back for Tulum, taking the paths and roads back to town through the jungle. The roads here seem to have been carved out of the jungle with a laser. Dead straight for as far as you could see. There are lots of gated communities being plonked down in the middle of now where with impressive entrances and large fences around the outside. Good for the local people and economy, but not that good for the environment.

The police here seem to have the same opinion as the police in China do. They drive around with their lights on, more of a deterrent, I think that their thinking must be, if I have my lights on, their won’t be any crime, therefore I won’t have any paper work to do. Paper work prevention, a good philosophy.

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