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Published: October 30th 2016
Sorry for the gap in blog posts, I've been too busy enjoying myself and haven't had much time to sit down and write.
After another long overnight bus (potentially the last of the trip!) we arrived in Playa del Carmen. It's much more touristy here than anywhere else we've been so far this trip, but we did expect that. The Main Street is full of tourist shops and expensive restaurants. This does mean that there are a lot of cool air conditioned places to escape the heat though!
We had been recommended walking the length of the street to the ferry terminal before going down to the beach, as there are less hotels here and more clear sand to relax on. After a slow walk of stopping in air con and people trying to sell us tours and diving, we eventually got there and found a nice big shady patch to relax in.
We didn't notice at first but the shade was next to a volleyball court, and a group of hotel workers gather to play here after work, so before long we had found friends and got a list of local places to visit and tips.
On our list of
tips was going to Akumal. I'd already heard of it, but one of the guys who had the week off offered to take us the next day. Akumal has a public beach where you can snorkel with turtles right off the beach, free. Many people try to sell you tours, or rent you equipment, but we have our own snorkels and ignored they're rule of needing a life jacket. It's an open ocean they can't enforce such rules!
It's easy to see where the turtles are from shore, as there are a few people snorkelling watching. They're very close to the shore - only a couple of hundred metres out, and there are plenty of them! I was also lucky to see a stingray, and quite a few fish. The pilotfish that buddy up with the turtles to clean their shells seemed quite interested in us too, swimming up to our arms if we held still enough.
After snorkelling with turtles we headed further down the track away from the road, along to quieter beaches. We were taken to a bar where there is a treehouse you can sit in, enjoying the ocean views. It's a tiny treehouse, it fits
4 people and you have to winch your drinks up carefully in a metal bucket! It was a great place to sit and relax overlooking the ocean.
The next day we headed back down the highway, this time to snorkel in some cenotes that were on our list of recommendations. There are 3 cenotes close together, and that aren't too long a walk from the road, unlike some! These are cenote Azul, Eden and Cristalino. We started in cenote Eden which is beautiful, crystal clear waters and a jumping platform, as well as a dedicated snorkelling area. It's so easily accessible, but many people don't realise, and get tours or go to the much busier more touristy cenotes, which meant it was fairly quiet for us 😊
After a few hours enjoying Eden we decided we had to explore another cenote, so we went to cenote cristalino. This was so different, and also so beautiful. It's a series of pools, with a cave at one end and islands of trees between the pools, with narrow swimming passages. Unfortunately after our swim the heavens opened, so we sheltered until it eased off enough to dash back to the highway to get
in to town! Luckily the sun was back out by the time we got back to town, so we could head back to the beach!
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