Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chichen Itza-Tulum-Playa Del Carmen-Cancun, Mexico 12 – 20 Jun 2011

We took a 9:15am bus to Chichen Itza and booked an ongoing bus from Chichen Itza to Tulum at 4:30pm. We arrived at Chichen Itza around 11am, stored our bags in the luggage area and off we go exploring the place. The entrance fee is 161pesos, same price as Uxmal as there were Archeological fees.

We were prepared for a place full of tourist and vendor selling souvenirs. We were not surprise!
El Castillo
Chichen Itza means “at the mouth of the well of Itza" Chichen Itza's El Castillo was named one of the world new 7 wonders apart from* The Great Wall, China
* Petra, Jordan
* Christ Redeemer, Brazil
* Machu Picchu, Peru
* The Roman Collesseum, Italy
* The Taj Mahal, India

We entered to see the massive El Castillo (the castle) dominating the center of Chichen. It is a step pyramid that has a ground plan of square terraces with stairways up each of the four sides to the temple on top. We are not allowed to climb up to see what’s up there. When we were standing right below the stairways and make some noise like clapping, the echo of noise reflects back to us from the top of the pyramid. :-) Weird!
Observation tower
We spent the next 4 hours visiting every single stone building around and did some shopping as well. :-) This place is well worth the visit as the large area covers lots of different type of buildings plus english explanations.

On the bus to Tulum, we slept thru. Arriving in Tulum town at 7:30pm, don’t feel like heading to the beach, we just check into a hostel in town, grab some food and went to bed early.
Robin arrives from Palenque in the morning to join us to Tulum beach, all 4 of us found a cabana by the beach for 450pesos per night. We were happy to finally be at the beach after few weeks of city, ruins and jungle. We drop our bags, got change and head straight to the beach. Wow! It is a paradise! White sandy beach with turquoise sea and coconut trees. We chill here for 3 days refusing to move to anywhere else. Every day we sat by the beach bar, have a beer or cocktail, suntan, soak in the water, beach volleyball and snooze. This is the best time I had so far. I remember this moment strongly.

On the 3rd day, we all have to leave reluctantly as we have to meet people in Playa Del Carmen. 45mins up north is this touristic beach town of Playa. Robin borrowed a car from his friend, we decided to go snorkeling at the nearest cenotes. It was a good choice, we swam in the fresh water caves, crystal clear water and chilling temperature. It was refreshing! That night we spilt as we all had our host house to go to. We met up the next day again at Playa Del Carmen and chill at the beach. There are plenty of shops, bars and restaurant to go around, and a lot of American tourist here. We miss Tulum!

At night at Playa is also a place to party, we can easily find a bar with ladies night and have free drink all night long. Over the past few weeks travelling, I have really hit my quota of liquor. There was not a day that I didn’t have a cocktail or beer. :-)

I was hosted by Fernando for 2 nights at Playa, he is a really nice guy. He helps me a arrange diving at the Cenotes dos Ojos, 2 dives at USD80, including pick up and lunch. Cenote Dos Ojos means 2 eyes, this place was discovered in 1980 when a helicopter checking for fire in the area found 2 holes on the ground which looks like 2 eyes. It was my first fresh water dive and first cavern dive, I love the infinite visibility. J It was really an awesome experience to swim into these big caverns with the eerie sensation. Beautiful formation decorated with stalactic and stalacmic.

The next day, we sign up for a snorkeling trip with whale sharks! It cost us USD115 each, it was not my first time to see a whale shark but definitely my first time to see over 30 whale sharks swimming around! J The weather was not good, rain and cloudy and sea was choppy. Most of them had sea sick on the boat. We get to snorkel with the whale sharks with the guide, they are very strict with no touching the whale shark, I was glad. J Only 2 to 3 person is allowed in the water at any one time with the guide, they ensure we do not swim in the way of the whale shark. But sometime when the whale shark chooses to swim in our way, we can’t escape. J I had a great time swimming with these gentle giant.

Well well, it was time to said farewell to Robin and Juan, they both have to go home. I was glad to have met them and had a great time together. Elena and I will be leaving to Cuba from Cancun on the 20 June 2011 for a week. We met again in Cancun on the 19, it was a rainy day, we decided to watch The Hungover 2, it was hilarious and I get to watch it without any censored. :-)

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