Tag Archives: El Castillo

Tulum, 2011

My husband and I arrived in Tulum and went straight from the bus station to the beach.

We stayed in one of the separate huts on the beach in a hotel that had a mini statue of the Tulum ruins near the beach bar. The image was very familiar to me as it featured on the cover of our guidebook.

Tulum had the bluest water I had ever seen along with the whitest sand. I understood now why everyone raves about the Caribbean.

We went to an Italian restaurant in the fancy hotel at other end of beach as I had heard it was famous for it’s fresh lobster pasta. We took our sunset cocktails at the deckchairs on the beach before we headed inside the restaurant for dinner, where the floor was also sand. The waiter made us a prawn made out of palm leaves.

Thinking it the safer option, we walked back to the hotel along the road instead of the beach, but it was a creepy deserted country road at night. By day, there wasn’t much to do either, except to go to the local shops for supplies.

I discovered what a real taco was when we had the best fish tacos I have ever had on the beach. No Old El Paso hard shell tacos here, just small soft fresh tacos with fresh fish and some special sauce.

We spent a couple of days lazing on the beach, listening to the other travellers talking loudly, trying to outdo each other; and the regular fruit seller passing by with cries of “Piña, mango, coco.”

One night, we met a group of young Aussie surfers at the beach bar; and on another, an old surfer dude from America who had been living in Tulum for a number of years now. He introduced us to some local friends who proceeded to drink us under the table with double strength tequila happy hour cocktails. We declined their offer to head into a nightclub in town for further drinking.

Instead we went into town the next day for the freshest, loveliest tortillas I have ever eaten at a local restaurant near the bus stop, made while you eat. I really didn’t know what good Mexican food was like until I had been to Mexico. Even the guacamole is made differently here.

On our last day we went to explore the Tulum ruins. While definitely not the most culturally significant ruins, being the newest in Mexico; they are definitely one of the most picturesque as they overlook the beach and the blue waters of the sea.

There were huge iguanas everywhere that roamed around the tourists and the stones. Walls surrounded the site and a small cenote could be found in one of the ruined houses.

We saw the Temple of the Wind God, the famous El Castillo and walked down to the beach. There were many temples, platforms, a palace and a guard tower.

Next stop to continue our Caribbean adventure was Isla Mujeres, and if I thought the water of Tulum was blue, we hadn’t seen anything yet!

Related posts: Chichen Itza, 2011, Campeche and Merida, 2011, Palenque, 2011, Oaxaca, 2011, Mexico City, 2011

Chichen Itza, 2011

I didn’t really know what a cenote was when we arrived in Chichen Itza in the middle of the Yucatan. I had skimmed over a mention of them in the Mexico guide book and dismissed it as something we wouldn’t have time for. My husband and I were here to explore the ruins after all.

We visited Chichen Itza early in the morning which was perfect as there was no one else around and we also avoided the midday heat this way.

The Group of the Thousand Columns was very impressive as well as the iconic El Castillo with serpants at its feet.

This wasn’t the first time I had visited the ruins. I have a photo of me as a toddler at the top of the Templo de Chac Mool, sitting on his statue. This time, the temple was roped off so I was unable to climb to the top to replicate the picture.

I liked the platform of the Jaguars and Eagles and the stone ring in the ball court was huge. We found noughts and crosses made out of stones, the Market and the High Priest’s grave.

The crumbling roof of the Observatory was a sight to see and the Church was very interesting as it had the most detailed stone carvings.

After half a day in the heat walking the ruins, the tour buses arrived and we decided it was time to vacate.

Back at the hotel swimming pool, we met an American couple travelling with their grandson. Starved for younger conversation, the boy started telling us about this fantastic cenote over the road that was featured on the Red Bull high diving competitions- and you could even swim in it.

You can swim in cenotes?! This idea was getting more appealing, especially now that we had half a day to spare. So we thanked him for his advice and gathered our bathing attire.

Paying our entry fee at the Cenote Ik Kil main gates, we realised that there were lots of locals around too- always a good sign that it must be good!

We walked down to the top of the cenote and peeked down into the largest gaping hole in the ground I have ever seen. Vines were growing around the circumference of the hole, reaching down towards the dark waters below.

Excited, we started climbing down the long windy staircase into the cenote.

Reaching the bottom, we disrobed and got in line to go in. American boys were ogling Brazilian girls in their g-strings and trying to pretend they weren’t looking, not very successfully.

To get into the cenote, you could take a ladder or climb up a shorter staircase to jump in. Remembering that I had read that cenote’s are very deep, I opted for the ladder.

The water was beautifully cold and clear and there were many black fishes swimming around exploring.

It was a great way to cool off after our day of sight-seeing and I am so glad that we found time to go in depth for this amazing experience.

Related posts: Campeche and Merida, 2011, Palenque, 2011, Oaxaca, 2011, Mexico City, 2011