Monthly Archives: November 2008

My Mayan Vacation

We have returned safely from our two week vacation from the Yucatan Peninsula where we stayed at the Catalonia Royal Tulum. I am not sure where to begin recapping such a great trip so I will just walk through it the way we experienced it.

For the first week we did nothing. I kept a log of what we did every day and for the first nine days I should have written “see Monday” to make it easier on myself. The sun would rise early and we would occasionally sleep in. There was no rush to get to the buffet breakfast and if we received coffee it was considered a good start to the day. Our biggest decision of the morning was to have an omelet or not. After eating what was likely a very unhealthy meal we would make our way to the beach.

After a few hours on the beautiful white sandy beach we would go into the ocean and enjoy the beach from afar in the shallow waters where fish would swim around you looking for food. Once we became wrinkled from the warm water we would return to shore, dry off and have lunch. After topping off with more food we would go back to the beach for a little bit and slowly plan our return to the ocean. Most days we would arrive at the beach around 10AM and leave as the sun was setting by 5PM. It was a pretty honest days work.

At night we ate at one of three restaurants and depending on our mood we would have another glass of wine or a Tequila Boom Boom at the lobby bar. We did not drink in excess but a few times a tequila shot let to a blurry walk back along the path.

Rinse and repeat, that was our life for the first week as we stayed within the jungle confides of our resort. The amount of alcohol consumed depended on our mood, but I got in the habit of having a cold beer from our fridge after our evening shower and became quite addicted to watching Deadliest Catch on one of the few English channels.

After we were thoroughly relaxed and growing a little tiresome of our food-beach routine we felt that we were ready to leave the resort and try one of the excursions available.

Coba Confusion

Do you ever wonder what happens when you get on the wrong tour bus? With multiple buses, vans and taxis arriving at once you would expect someone to not go where they should. Well, we found out first hand and realized that when people find out you are not where you should be panic sets in everywhere, from the hotel to your driver.

Jenna and I were waiting in the lobby for our van to arrive, a driver came by saying Coba?, Jenna confirmed that he meant Coba Express and we were whisked away to the van. Twenty minutes later we were parked on the side of the road about to board a larger bus. As we presented our ticket the guide told us that they were going to Chichen Itza, not Coba and we weren’t where we needed to be.

The next ten minutes were a blur of hurried Spanish, phone calls and speeding down a highway as we were returned to our hotel and the other couple was picked up and rushed to the Chicen Itza bus. As best I could piece together from our tour operator the people that were supposed to get on the Chichen Itza trip had a very similar last name to Coba, or at least one close enough that a Spanish accent could confuse us Gringo’s.

Two days later we were on the right van to Coba and had a wonderful experience, one that was certainly a highlight of the trip. We had an informative guide, rented bicycles to take down the paths, saw some wildlife and made it to the top of the Nohoch Mul Pyramid; which will be closed for climbing in a few weeks.

Tulum – Xel-Ha

After the problems with Coba Confusion we wanted to redeem ourselves to our tour operator and booked a day trip to Tulum and Xel-Ha. Both places were amazing and would have liked it if there was more time available at each place, but that would have meant a full day at either and that would have doubled the cost so this way I was able to sample both and not be stuck somewhere for too long.

First off, Tulum. There is so much history at these Mayan ruins that it feels like a crime to only get a quick information session and then set on your way to explore. It is a little humbling to think that you walked along the same path that existed 2,000 years. It is also difficult to imagine how that civilization managed to build what they did and being so adept at astronomy and mathematics.

On the other side of the coin Xel-Ha was a different experience. It was ultimately a snorkeling water park with a massive lagoon and an amazing amount of fish feet away from you. I am not familiar with fish so I am not sure which ones I was sharing the water with but I did see three stingray’s which was definitely a nervous thrill. I could have easily spent the whole day in the water, exploring caves, going to deeper parts of the water but taking the lazy river ride was nice as well.

The weather was great for our two weeks there, in fact it was near perfect. The weather forecast in Cancun and Tulum called for rain on a few days but the only rain we got amounted to a few minutes of drizzling and that was all. The rest of the time it was in the 30’s and usually with a light breeze. Oddly enough the beach flag was usually yellow, meaning caution, even if the water was near still. On the day the flag stayed at red it was the calmest I had seen the water in over a week, but I trust there was a reason for it.

Of course there are parts missing from this story, like the characters we saw daily (Team Vancouver, Neck Brace, Mantracker, Ewebitch), epic games of War and spending two afternoons riding waves into the shore but this is the short and tall of it: Mexico has come and gone and we’d go back again. In addition to the photos I posted here I will be updating my photo gallery with a more comprehensive album.

My Place South of the Border

Last minute lists are created, bags are packed and a little bit of tidying up was the order of business as we got ready for our trip to Mexico.

Catalonia Royal Tulum - 01 Catalonia Royal Tulum - 02 Catalonia Royal Tulum - 03 Catalonia Royal Tulum - 04

See you on the other side in two weeks.