At last we are in Mexico! In Tulum we got our first glimpse of the Yucatan’s Caribbean coast and we were blown away. The sand is whiter and the water brighter blue than we have seen.
Our Experience here, however, was quite bitter sweet. The long strip of gorgeous beach had a number of overpriced, poor quality bungalos. We opted for the cheapest one and that was a mistake!
Our bungalow was the most atrocious excuse for a hut we had ever seen. It mainly consisted of sparsely arranged sticks leading to a poorly made palm roof and a half sand, half concrete floor. We thought it was pretty bad but decided to ruff it for the night.
The worst was yet to be discovered when we payed the twenty bucks, more than we had payed almost anywhere else in all our travels.
Before bed we scoped the place out for whatever strange animals may be lurking, blew out the candles and it began. Smack, smack, smack! We were under attack! Mexican mosquitos were shockingly persistant.
No amount of DEET could desuade them from their feast. Not even the sand storm blowing in from the spaces between the sticks could distract them from their mission to devour us! Instead of sleeping, we spent the entire night fighting for our lives.
The following day we deliriously viewed the impresive ruins of Tulum. Those Mayans sure knew how to pick a spot! The rock temples look out over drastic cliffs onto stunning turquiose water. Iguanas sunbathe all over the ruins keeping a watchful eye and giving an even more ancient feel to the splendid sight.
After exploring the ruins we high-tailed it out of there on the first bus to Mahahual, a rapidly developing fishing village. There were few tourists but apparently during the high season three cruise ships a day stop and fill the place with thousands of people….glad we weren’t there for that.
The day we arrived there was a fishing tournament and Mexican families filled the restuarants and beaches, drinking, eating and having a good ol’ time. Men were posing with giant sword fish and various other beautiful fish while others cheered. We watched one woman impress her family by opening a beer bottle with her teeth. We happily joined in with margaritas, tacos and even a shot of Tequila on the house! We spent two relaxing nighs in a very comfortable, clean, mosquito free bungalo and took an over-night bus to Palanque.
Palanque is said to be the most amazing of the Mexican Mayan ruins. Tourists have been coming for years so it is very well set up. The town itself is 8 km from the ruins and is typical with street food, a popular central plaza called a ¨zoculo¨ in Mexico and people out and about everywhere.
We stayed at an old hippie/backpackers spot on the edge of the ruins called Panchan. Panchan is a group of bungalo operations set in the jungle. Our second floor bungalo was screen on all four walls with a deck and jungle surrounding. We observed two beautifully colored tucans chatting with each other for five minutes on a neighboring tree.
We Spent an entire day climbing temples and catching blurbs about where we actually were by nearby tour guides. The ancient city of Palanque is actually 15 square Kms but only 7 have been excavated and made available to viewers. Although very touristy, one feels set back in time while experiencing the spectacular crumbling buildings set deep in the jungle.
We toured some of the areas incredible waterfalls en route to San Cristobal de las Casas. The drive was five hours up very winding, steep roads.
San Cristobal is in the heart of Chiapas. High in the mountains, the town is buzzing with a young, excited crowd. The constant music and art create a very colorful atmosphere. San Cristobal has a wonderful indiginous market with beautiful hand-weaved blankets and other crafts. We have spent most of our days walking around taking in the rich culture and drinking the region’s famous hot choclate.
We have also spent many hours philosophizing with a group of recently inspired Isrealis. The three of them just completed a four month yoga/meditation retreat in Guatemala and are full of very interesting concepts about the earth and it’s people (everyone will instantly attain enlightenment sometime after 2012 once NYC is buried under water). Two of them are joining us on the 12 hour bus ride to the Oaxacan coast tonight. Back to the heat!