After leaving Izamal, the plan was Chichén Itzá, then on to Paamul to enjoy the beach. Love the plan ... and it worked like a charm ...
Izamal to Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá is on the outskirts of the town of Piste. Really, there isn't much there except a small pueblo, loads of restaurants that cater to busloads of tourists and souvenir shops. Oh, and a bull ring. Right across from where we were camped. And, there was a bullfight that night. You know where this is going, don't you!! We stayed at the Piramide Inn which is owned by a lovely woman named Carol. Her father built the inn 50 years ago as he sensed that Chichén Itzá would become a major destination in Mexico. We camped on the lawn in front of the inn; did I say right across from the bullring?? The party started at about 5. Carol said that they typically don't kill the bull and it all ends around 11. Well ... the real part didn't start until 11 with a live band and it stopped at 4:30 the next morning. Thank goodness we have a loud enough fan that it drowned out most of the sound and we actually slept quite well. Mexicans sure know how to party!!
We were the third vehicle in to Chichén Itzá when the gates opened and had a wonderful opportunity to see the site before the busloads arrived. All of the vendors were hauling their wares through the site to set up shop for the day. Most spoke Mayan so we wondered if there is some rule that vendors at ruin sites must be Mayan. It is a huge site and we did the major portions first before the crowds arrived, then headed into the jungle to explore the smaller temples and buildings. About 2 1/2 hours later, on our way out, the vendors were working their magic with the crowds of tourists. One guy cracked me up when he said, "Only one dollar, only one dollar, cheaper than Walmart!" None of the vendors was aggressive, but the site is the most commercial one that we have visited. Glad we went, and glad we were there early. When we left, there were 36 buses in the parking lot ... each holds 50 people.
Chichén Itzá to Paamul
After exploring the ruins we were ready to head off. There is a great, but very expensive quota from Merida to Cancun. This part of Mexico is much more costly, but likely because the tourism created jobs have a higher pay than in other states.
Stopped at the Cancun RV site to check it out and be sure that it would be an ok spot to leave our rig over Christmas. Paul (Canadian) and his wife Christy (Mexican) just opened the campground 8 months ago. It's on the old, free highway about 20 minutes from Cancun and the airport. Good location for storage, but absolutely nothing around the campground. Not a great long-term place to camp unless doing day trips from there, but great if you want to totally relax. We ended up booking in for the night before our flight so we could get our rig ready for storage. Lovely hosts, great pool and reasonably priced good meals prepared by Christy.
About 90 minutes away is Paamul where we stopped for 9 nights. Time to chill, enjoy the beach and really relax. We also stopped at Xpu-Ha to see the camping there, but it's really a tenting spot, Westfalia kind of site. No dump station. Electric at most but not all sites, water at most but not all sites. A hippy paradise.
We decided that Paamul RV Park would be the best fit for us. However, they started out wanting 47USD or about 800 pesos per night!!! We've not paid over 320 pesos for full hook up and wifi. Here, no sewer (and no dump station) and no wifi. Victor, who is a very good negotiator, got them down to 600 pesos per night and they gave us one night free, so it worked out to 533 per night. Still outrageous, but we needed to plunk. We also managed to "borrow" a wifi signal from a friendly Canadian; and, on the recommendation of a few of the residents, we emptied our holding tanks into one of the empty lot's pipes (worked perfectly).
On the second night that we were there, the restaurant hosted a karaoke night. Lisa, one of the RVers in the park did a great job of playing a few dance tunes, then getting a few people up to do karaoke, then a few dance tunes. It was a lovely combination and I even managed to get Victor up dancing . Victor, Jan and Dave put their names in to do a couple of songs and when Victor was called up to sing, Lisa was impressed and suggested she sing a duet with him in Spanish. In the middle of the song, "Usted", the owner (Miguel) jumped up and joined them to the delight of the guests. Jan and Victor did a comic version of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe;" it's always a hit. Dave soldiered on through his song even though the karaoke screen went blank. Good thing he's a pro!!
The beach at PaaMul was lovely and there are a number of different types of coral "rocks" that are quite different from the west coast. Unfortunately, while we were there, seaweed rolled in to the beach making it difficult to swim. Sargassum seaweed is becoming a significant problem for the resorts along the Mayan Riviera. As well, the heat and humidity played havoc with our comfort level. Fortunately, the infinity pool helped keep us cool and refreshed.
Our final night at the Cancun RV Park was a bit of a hoot. Since they had heard that Victor could sing, they had set up a microphone and plug in for his guitar. Another night of entertainment and he was joined by one of the owner's friends, Gina, who had a good voice and loved singing along with Victor. Fun way to end our time here ... and we are really ready to see our family and celebrate Christmas with them.