Month: March 2015

Tulum, Mexico, Day 6: Grand Cenote and Ruins from the Beach

I realized too late that the kayak in Sian Ka’an people were out of business, so we missed that opportunity, but, after we packed about 90%, we set out for the Grand Cenote, which is very close to here. It was not anywhere near as great as Sac Aktun (which I think is also Dos Ojes) but it was well worth doing. But it made me even more aware that it was great to have Nick as a guide at Sac Aktun. This cenote is large, but has a big platform in the middle with three ladders. There were a lot of people there, but it didn’t take away from the experience too much. (At Sac Aktun, we saw two or three other people.) At Sac Aktun, the beautiful, eerie stuff was above us. I was often wondering why we were snorkeling. At Grand Cenote, the underwater stuff was the most beautiful and eerie and sort of instinctively scary. It wasn’t nearly as big, but it had about three beautiful cave parts. A lot of …

Tulum, Mexico, Day 5: Punta Laguna, Spider Monkeys!

This morning, like all but one morning when we had to meet Nick before breakfast started, we had breakfast at the tables along the outside of the restaurant. Despite the thatched umbrellas, it’s a little hard to stay out of the sun, which is quite strong even early, but it’s really nice having breakfast right on the beach. A full breakfast comes with the room, yummy fresh juice, different every day, and a choice of pancakes, yoghurt and granola, or scrambled eggs with rice, beans, and guacamole. I think there’s an all-bread option also. And a plate of fruit with whatever you order. I was trying to figure out how to get in touch with the people who give the kayak tours of Sian Ka’an, the nature preserve just south of Tulum. Their email permanently rejects and their phone doesn’t connect. I think they have a cell phone deep in the preserve and it just won’t connect, but it is really frustrating, because you can’t just drive there. It’s deep in the preserve and you …

Tulum, Mexico, Day 4: Snorkeling and Cenotes with Nick

Isabel and I were right on track to meet Nick, the guide we scheduled, at the supermarket parking lot when we got a call from him asking where we were. All the guidebooks and the phone — most of the time — indicate we’re in Central Time. Buuuut, Mexico changed the time zone for Cancun and Tulum a couple of months ago to Eastern Time to be better for business. Then they decided they would not spring forward at the end of DST. As Nick said, “Don’t try to make sense of it — this is Mexico.” (He’s from California.) So we were an hour late, but I don’t think it mattered. And he understood. And he really should have warned us. He said it has caused all kinds of problems, with irate diners coming for their reservations among other things. The time on the phone varies from correct time (Chicago time, an hour behind Eastern) and an hour earlier. I think it depends on the carrier. It is very confusing. I added Chicago to …

Tulum, Mexico, Day 3: Ruins

I spent a long time this morning trying to research activities. It was fun, at first, over breakfast, but quickly became a real chore because the Internet wouldn’t work, the phone wouldn’t work, you name it. But I finally managed to get a guide who is very well reviewed, and he is going to take us to the reef in Akumal, where there is a somewhat more protected part of the reef which is supposed to be a haven for sea turtles.  He’s going to give us lunch and then take us to the cenotes, the underground rivers with openings providing access. We’re meeting him at 8 and we’ll be done at 2. We’re going to ask him for recommendations for other things, like perhaps going to the enormous nature preserve on the southern end of Tulum, which is not something you can realistically do in a rental car on your own. Today, after all the Internet searching and phone calls, we went to the ruins. You go into a parking lot specifically for the …

Tulum, Mexico, Day 2: The Beach with Pina Coladas

Yesterday was such a long day and such a slog on so little sleep that we both collapsed into bed right after dinner.  It was 10:30 (Central Time) when I turned out the light and an early squawker (which turned out to be some kind of black bird) roused me about eight hours later.  We got up slowly, pottered around a bit, and went for our included breakfast: eggs, tortillas, rice and beans for me, yoghurt and granola for Isabel.  We both had a plate of fruit, watermelon, papaya, mango.  Isabel thought she didn’t like papaya, but found out she did. These photos are our view at breakfast.  When we sat down, there were a couple of guys digging a giant hole on the beach.  I could not figure out why.  It seemed completely nonsensical.  It turns out they were burying seaweed.  There is a lot of seaweed that washes up on the beach, all along the coast.  When you go into the ocean, you have to walk over a swath a couple of feet …

Tulum, Mexico, Day 1: Travel and Arrival

Jim dropped Isabel and me off at the airport, leaving the house at 5AM.  I had gotten about 3.5 hours sleep , but slept here and there on the planes.  Luckily it got me through about 18 hours of travel. I successfully navigated the Hertz counter, trying not to get soaked for more money than my reservation had promised.  Luckily, I can drive a stick, because that was the first thing they threw at me, and I just said, “Fine.”  They did add liability insurance, which upped the price, but it was still quite reasonable.  And we ended up getting an automatic that was much nicer than the basic car I had reserved since they had no gas in their pumps and had to distribute the cars that had at least a few gallons in them.  Second hardest part of the trip navigated successfully!  (The first hardest was getting to the Hertz office, which was just across the street from the airport, but finding the path to get there was not obvious, at least not …