Across the country from the jungle to the beach, and a few days of relative relaxation
28.11.2016 - 01.12.2016 30 °C
Sam (Caroline really was going to write this one but she’s a bit sick)
Our second overnight bus trip was from Palenque to the west Yucatán beach town of Tulum. It was delayed by a couple of hours, but the better and emptier bus meant we slept really well and arrived in Tulum almost refreshed.
After a nice lunch in town, we caught a cab down to our rustic beachside cabaña (cabin). We were ready to relax, but had to wait around for two hours because the Frenchies who were staying there the previous night forgot that they were checking out. Life’s tough.
Our beach cabin
Undeterred by the delay, we spent the afternoon by the beach, noticing the distinct change in demographics here (Europeans and Americans make up a vast majority of the beachside population, while a few kilometres away in town, it’s mostly Mexicans). You can’t even find much Mexican food on the beach – we had Thai for dinner.
The subtle entrance to our property
I thought one afternoon of beachside tranquillity was enough, so the next day I dragged Caroline back to the bus station and we headed off to Cobá. This small town about 45 minutes from Tulum has a great set of ruins, covering many kilometres and including some pretty impressively tall structures, such as Nohoch Mul (the 'Big Mound', or 'Great Pyramid' if you're being a bit more generous). There are also a number of wide sacbés (ancient Mayan roads) linking the structures.
Not the Big Mound
The Big Mound
And the view of endless jungle from the top
A smaller, more elaborate building hidden in the jungle
We did spend the evening swimming at the beach.
We went out early again the next day to get to the Tulum ruins. They're not the biggest or most impressive we've seen, having been built primarily as a port and defensive outpost for Cobá. But they're the only ones overlooking the sea and are pretty popular among tourists, so we thought it best to beat the crowds.
The setting was spectacular, as expected.
And the ruins themselves weren't bad either. Tulum means wall in the Maya language, and it probably got its name from the extremely thick walls that surround the city on three sides (the fourth being the sea).
We caught another cab to the Gran (Grand) Cenote. Cenotes are pools where limestone has collapsed or eroded and filled with freshwater. There are a couple in South Australia and elsewhere around the world according to Wikipedia, but they're mainly associated with the Yucatán Peninsula.
Obviously they make great swimming spots in hot and humid weather. The lack of predators mean that fish and small turtles thrive in the crystal clear waters, and you can snorkel between them.
In the evening we went out for easily the best meal we've had all trip - delicious octopus and a tuna steak.
As much as I'd recommend that restaurant, Caroline might not. She woke up a few times during the night with a clear case of food poisoning, and she really struggled the next day to do anything other than lie down.
It wasn't a terrible day to be sick, because we didn't have much to do. I loaded her into a taxi to the bus station, we took a bus to Cancún, and she lay down again at our Airbnb place on the beach.
The view in Cancún, essentially a sickeningly extravagant and overdeveloped tourist destination, but with lovely beaches. We're going back there in a few days so we'll write more later
She even managed to walk the mile to Linda and Al's apartment, having eaten nothing all day. (Probably not a good idea because she felt pretty awful afterwards.) But yes, we caught up with the Macindoes at last, and discussed our trip so far and the journey to come and the goings on in Melbourne and around the world.
We caught an Uber home, doing our part for the sharing economy.
Note: we're still a day behind here - we'll try to catch up soon.