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Published: April 17th 2017
Wednesday, 12 April
A shockingly early start at 5.25am, witnessing a pathetic sunrise thanks to blocking clouds and a 7am departure on the water taxi. This return trip goes without incident – thank God!
Fork out yet another 1000 pesos to re-enter Mexico, which was a shock. I thought we’d payed all the departure taxes as part of our airfares but apparently leaving and entering via land incurs different taxes. 1400 pesos pp is what our Belizean sojourn cost. There’s $100 we didn’t budget for.
We collected the car, drove 40 minutes north to a town called Bacalar, which is on an amazing lagoon. This is just as beautiful as Caye Caulker in colours, although Mum and Dad say the island is their highlight of the trip so Bacalar is close but no cigar. Personally, I’d be happy to come here instead of Caye Caulker.
Right next door to the lagoon is Cenote Azul and so we pay our 70-cent entry fee and swim in a wonderfully refreshing, 90m deep fresh water sinkhole. Mum and Dad are pleased, as now they can swim every day!
We drive another 200km to our Tulum house, which is absolute luxury compared to our usual fare. It even has its own plunge pool and outdoor shower! We savour our haystacks and retire for an early night to a whisper quiet, comfortable bedroom with air con. Bliss.
Thursday, 13 April
After a good night’s rest, we tackled our second cenote, Casa Cenote. It’s the only brackish cenote in the area, with a mix salt and fresh water and mangrove trees on either side. There’s even a resident alligator! It was packed with people, as we are expecting across the whole weekend, but once we got away from the entrance it was less so. It is about 150m long and 5-15m wide. At the end, there is a narrow channel that branches off to the right and it goes another 50m. It was crystal clear though. At the bottom is rock and there are fish swimming below us, as well as scuba divers who pass underneath. Most people wear life vests but we swam unaided for the duration. The temperature was perfect – not too hot, not too cold.
In the afternoon, we did a scenic drive south along the coast and went to another cenote hoping to swim, only to discover they shut at 5 so we would have paid for about 30 minutes. We decided it wasn’t worth the money so we came home and swam in our pool. Gotta love a personal plunge pool.
Our neighbor across the street from the rental house is Canadian and his wife is Thai, so we booked her services for some homemade Thai – Massaman Curry, Pad Thai and Chili Broccoli. It was all ok, but nothing on Aussie Thai food. An opportunity lost there I think, as we’d seen a Vegetarian place during the day that we would have eaten at if we hadn’t taken up the neighbour’s offer.
Friday, 14 April
Easter Friday, but it’s the least Easter-y I’ve ever felt. There are no chocolate eggs or bunnies, no signs or posters about closing hours or Easter services. In fact, everything is open over the weekend. The only hint I received to remind me that it was Easter, was an sms from Carlie. I miss home on these occasions.
We arrived at Tulum Ruins this morning at 8.30am to beat the heat. The site is fairly open with only a few shady spots, but its location on the beach is scenic to say the least. If I was Mayan, I’d want to live here. The turquoise waves of the Caribbean Sea directly below the clifftop temple is impressive as locations go, and we had several excellent sightings of Iguanas and Agouti. It’s not a big site and we were finished 2 hours later, but as we were leaving there were copious hordes and busloads of people streaming into the entry, reminding us that it’s a holiday weekend.
After lunch we visited another cenote, Dos Ojos, which means “Two Eyes”. It’s called this because two cave rooves collapsed making two separate sinkholes side by side, so from the air it looks like two eyes in the ground. There are three cenotes here and that choice was reflected in the whopping 350 MXN entry fee. Quite a shock compared to the 10 MXN of Cenote Azul! As much as I hate to admit it though, there’s no denying it’s worth the money. These cenotes are all underground as part of the flooded cave system. No sunscreen required! The exploration of the caves only started in 1987 and so far they have surveyed 82km and 28 cenote entrances. It is 119m deep at its deepest part.
The water temp was the coolest we’ve been in, but once we were in it was wonderfully refreshing. The dry floor of the cenote is filled with trees and shrubs so whilst it’s a humid 31C above ground, the cenote floor is fully shaded and the swimming holes are inside the actual cave. It is easy to scrape a bit of skin from the rocks and underwater stalactites, because the water is so crystal clear that you can’t perceive the depth without goggles. The colour changes from emerald green to jade to turquoise, depending on the angle of the light and whether there is rock, limestone or sand on the bottom. It’s mesmerizingly beautiful.
We swam in all three cenotes over 2 hours. It’s possible to also scuba dive if you have a certificate, and occasionally we’d see a light appear underneath a cave wall before it disappeared back into the dark. I could never get sick of cenotes. The race is on to encounter as many as we can over the next week.
Cenote count - 4
Tot: 3.55s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 15; qc: 63; dbt: 0.055s; 3; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb