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 ruins and come to a huge, huge set of seedy shops, like you set out for a high-tone archeological site and somehow ended up at South of the Border.
One guy called out after Isabel, “It’s you, honey!”, in his Mexican accent, waving a hat at her. She wanted to tell him that straight guys don’t say that. ;-) There were a million huge souvenir shops and a Subway and a Starbucks. I didn’t think there were ruins anywhere near that place. We wound our way around, the shops eventually stopped, and we walked a few minutes towards the ocean.
Finally, the entrance. We hired a tour guide, a government, archeological site guide, nice guy, young, studied archaeology in Cancun. Had a Brigham Young lanyard. Very confusing, said his cousin went there. Anyway, he was a great guide, and I’m glad I hired him over Isabel’s hesitation over the $560 fee (a whopping $35.00 USD).
The entrance through the wall that protected the land side of the site.
One of the really fascinating things he told us is that the Mayans buried their dead in their houses. They found seven bodies basically under the bedroom floor of this house:
Of course, it was gorgeous and fascinating. And very hot and humid!
Tulum, formerly Zama, meaning city of dawn, was one of the last inhabited Mayan cities, at its prime from the 13th to the 15th century.
The smaller of the two temples has an very small opening at the back where the sun shines directly through the front opening on the solstices.
See the face straddling the corner of the pink building? The eyes are under one ridge, the
mouth under the lower one.
Hot and humid and very windy, as you can see in the picture the guide took of us.
We saw lots of iguanas at the ruins.
Today’s bath towel animal, snake or turkey????
More pictures of our room and the hotel and beach in late evening.