Gabi Birthday CelebrationDecember 26, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ 🌙 25 °C
Happy Birthday 🎂🎈🎁🎊🎉
Happy Birthday 🎂🎈🎁🎊🎉
Today we head out for a day trip to Akumal and Tulum.
Akumal is a bay about 30mins south of PDC, famous for its turtles. We head down expecting to do a little snorkeling with the turtles only to arrive and discover hundreds of other tourists with the same idea. There are tour guides, things for rent, things for sale everywhere. We are told we're not allowed in the turtle area without snorkeling gear and life jackets. We venture out in our $1 Wal-Mart goggles anyway and are surrounded by groups of over 10 tourists trying to get a glimpse of 1 turtle. Shame that tourism has kinda ruined the natural beauty of a place a bit.
Onwards to Tulum to visit some Mayan ruins. Not usually that excited about sightseeing of ruins but these are actually really good- the site is set right on the coast and the grounds are very lush and green. Lots of iguanas wandering around too!
Back to PDC for more cocktails and GOT :-)Read more
We arrived in Felipe Carrillo Puerto in the late afternoon and found a hotel for 500 pesos. It was definitely an upscale place too, air conditioner and lovely space to spend a night. Though we are multi method travelers and I for one typically prefer camping, we certainly enjoy the luxury Mexico affords us. It's hot here, I don't know if you've noticed? 😜
We ditched our stuff and confirmed there was no bus to Viage Chico, had some dinner and decided to wander around until the sun went down. We were enjoying our walk around Felipe, and stopped at the Mayan Church of the Talking Cross. There were four men there, all priests, one particularly friendly that told us a bit about the church. It is a blend of traditional Mayan worship and Catholic influence, and the priests rotate between pueblos every week. He showed us his beautifully carved stick with a bird at the end, and even joked with us that it was used to whip those who came in with shoes on or were disrespectful somehow. He had sleepy, soft eyes and was truly a kind man. It was lovely to feel so welcome there. Religion isn't really our thing but spiritually, the Mayan people have such a gentle, kind vibe, it's hard not to feel drawn to their culture and themselves as individuals. They still maintain the teaching of their native language and much of their traditions have continued to be passed down. The older women still wear beautifully stitched white dresses with floral patterns at the collar and hem, and have lace flowing from the bottom. You're hard pressed to find two people who look closely alike; there is a tremendous amount of diversity here.
From the church, we wandered some more and found a bar where a man was singing and playing keyboard. We started to walk right by, dancing in the street, but as we waved to the man playing keyboard, we decided we should go in. So we did!
Once we sat down, of course the ten or so people inside all stared at us as we ordered two Sol's (Mexican lager) and we giggled as we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. We enjoyed the music and the beers with a plate of salt and lime, and the waitress even brought us some snacks: chicken wings and some other chicken chunks with a sweet sauce, all complimentary. Finally the guy playing music asked where we were from after he played some English language songs and we got up to dance... We answered and a couple came over to invite us to dance more and welcome us to their town. It was loud and hard to understand at times but hilarious and truly an excellent experience. We danced some more and laughed and drank more Sol's. There was a bit of a rustle when the alleged owner who was very, very drunk wanted to dance but didn't like how we were dancing without him, and the couple we were dancing with had words with each other... Then the alleged owner came to sit and talk with us but being as intoxicated as he was, got a bit silly and eventually we had to put our foot down to leave but he insisted on paying for all of our beers! All in all, we felt welcome and genuinely accepted there and truly enjoyed ourselves.
We had some delicious snow cone like slushy mixed with ice cream on the way back to the hotel and slept like babies.
The next day, we found a slightly cheaper hotel with a big, beautiful courtyard for 450 pesos right next to the square. We went to the museum and had a lovely, albeit forced tour from a sweet old man named Pedro who patiently showed us all the artifacts and inspired art from mayan history. We learned that the Mayans were beekeepers and also had an amazing array of musical instruments which we got to play with. Lots of flutes and drums. Pedro showed us some old games the kids still play to this day and patiently repeated things when we needed him to.
Afterwards we had lunch and relaxed until it was time to go to the feria!!!! Tony had messaged a couchsurfer about things to do in Felipe and she told us the weekend was fair time. We made our way there and ogled all the food (lots of cut up hot dogs mixed with French fries and fried plantains), games, and people. Lots of stuff for sale too; everything from Tupperware to artwork. When we got to the end of the fairgrounds, we came upon a rodeo! It was free to enter so we went up to catch the last hour or so of the action. We sat up on the wall with the niños and watched the young men and rodeo clowns harass a young calf and be chased by a bull in that order. We chatted a bit with a man who sat next to us about how this place, this tranquility in Felipe is what Mexico is really like: the happenings at the border, the violence there, it simply does not exist away from that place. He welcomed us and of course, we talked a little about Trump. The whole world is simply watching and wondering what it all means. We have met quite a few Mexicanos who went to the USA to live for awhile and decided to come back home. They prefer it here. Other than intense heat, the quality of life is quite nice really. Relaxed, community/family oriented, friendly, great food.... What else is there?
We went back to the fair and I convinced Tony to go on the Twister ride... Definitely not regulated like other countries! Hahaha... We may have both suffered a bit of whiplash but it was fun anyways and we really liked how much fun everyone was having. 😝
We turned in for the night and left the next morning for Bacalar, still working on a plan to get to Punta Allen but starting to surrender to the road's plan for us. 😄Read more
Tony and I left Tulum with the intention of catching the collectivo to Punta Allen-only to be told multiple times that it was no longer running. We had our doubts about the taxi and collectivo drivers telling us the truth because gringos love conspiracy and it'd be easy to assume they just wanted us to spend the 700 pesos on the cab ride... but we confirmed it wasn't running with the owner of Serenidad in PA. (We also found out later on that day through the same source that the way to PA was a taxi to the entrance of Sian Ka'an Reserve for no more than 350 pesos, then a small boat for 250 pesos each which included luggage. Another option to skip the taxi portion and go cheaper was a shuttle from ITours in Tulum that leaves at 2/2:30pm everyday to the entrance of Sian Ka'an where the boats launch for 50 pesos a person). We will return to try it out and update in turn.
Alas we didn't have this information yet and had found some information that led us towards Felipe Carrilllo Puerto and a possible bus/boat to PA that way, so we hopped on a bus south. We decided to stop at the ruins in Muyil because it was in a beautiful corner of the Biosphere and offered our first official set of Mayan ruins to visit. The collectivo driver dropped us graciously at the front and we left our packs with the gentleman collecting 40 pesos a person for entrada.
The ruins were quite lovely and empty of people; we had skipped the ruins in Tulum due to a late start, there were just far too many people for our tastes. (We will return!) We enjoyed the feeling of having the place (almost) all to ourselves. There was even a lovely little path through the jungle (for an extra 50 pesos per person) to the laguna, where we found an awesome lookout tower and saw all around us the beautiful wilderness of the Sian Ka'an stretching as far as we could see without the touch of man to blur it even a bit. The expanse was a lovely little reminder of a jungle version of our mountain home. ☺
After we wandered las ruinas, we retrieved our packs and went across the street for some bebidas frías to sip and contemplate our next moves. We had read about a route online that involved a bus to Viage Chico from Felipe Carrillo Puerto, followed by a boat to Punta Allen...so we decided that we would head to Felipe and stay for the night in a truly Mexican town. (We discovered later that no bus goes to Viage Chico and a boat from there to PA would be thousands of pesos).
We discussed our mode of transport briefly (Tony wanting to hitchike and I preferring to take a collectivo) and after a bit of a rustle, we jumped on a colectivo and made our way to Felipe Carrillo Puerto, a town that quickly stole our hearts. (Spoiler alert!) 😜❤Read more
You might also know this place by the following names:
Felipe Carrillo Puerto