Hidden pools of water
Time for some diving! It’s been a while.
A whole 4.5 months.
But this time a little different – the Mexican cenotes.
Cenotes (sinkhole) are natural pits of water, formed from the collapse of the surrounding limestone. There are around 6,000 of these little blue holes dotted around the Yucatan. Today, off to explore one of them – Dos Ojos (which means two eyes).
I arrived a bit early at the dive centre, but we soon headed off (the guide, another guest and me – a nice small group!) in the car for the 2 minute drive north. We arrived at 9am, still nice and quiet! After kitting up in the car park (and with a full length 5mm wetsuit on – eugh! 25 degree water! That’s a bit chilly), it was just a short walk down to the entrance.
The entrance wasn’t all that spectacular looking – just a small pool of water under a small overhanging section of rock, surrounded by a pretty jungle. But once you looked underwater, it was so pretty!!
The water was incredibly clear (freshwater) and very blue. We headed off down one of the routes and into the cavern. Most of the time we were totally enclosed, I didn’t think I was going to like it as I get rather claustrophobic. But on the contrary – I loved it!!
It was just so pretty everywhere! Stalactites and stalagmites, small fish zooming around and mini openings through the rocks letting in the bright blue light. We popped up into another outside area, before carrying on. After a quick break and change of tank (although I really didn’t need a new one!), we headed off down the other ‘branch’.
Down this one there were even more Stalactites, totally covering the walls. The route through was a lot narrower here. We popped up into a cave full of bats – and a small opening in the ceiling, letting a small ray of light in. The dives were fairly short, only 40 minutes, but it was great fun!
On the way out, there was a large grey and black iguana hanging out in the car park! I later found out these are actually totally common here (probably why I was the only person excited by it!!).
After a quick lunch, off to explore my first Mayan ruins – at Tulum. The ruins are 2km away from where I am staying and there is a specially built bicycle lane running parallel to the huge dual carriageway! Perfect! So I biked over.
The ride didn’t take too long – but it was boiling hot!! I wasn’t sure where to ‘park’ the bike, so locked it under a tree where some others had been parked. Then it was a 750m walk in the burning sun down large path to the entrance gate. Turns out I could have take the bike this last part too! Oh well.
The entrance fee was MX69 (£3.15) – not too bad! These Mayan ruins are thought to have been a port town and built in 1200. The fixed route takes you through a pretty jungle area – with iguanas at every turn!! And towards the main wall.
Once you pass through the small gate built into the wall, the whole land scape changes into a bright green lawn, interspersed with old grey, brick buildings. It was really pretty. The ruins are built right on the coast line – and you can walk all the way along, looking at the bright white beach, the bright blue gradient of the water, the green palms, grey rocks and the iguanas! It was so pretty. And so hot.
There was barely any shade and the whole area was very open. I enjoyed wandering around – and it really wasn’t too busy! Seems I timed it well as much of the tour groups were leaving when I arrived. Very much a ‘package holiday’ crowd around and mostly a lot lot older than me.
After wandering around for a while, I walked back and luckily found the bike where I had left it! And enjoyed the 2km ride back. I arrived back at the hotel at 3pm. Totally knackered. And after failing to find any icecream in 7-11 (7-11 is totally rubbish here – this clearly isn’t Thailand!!!), spend the rest of the afternoon having a lie down!!
Later that evening I headed out for dinner. My first Mexican meal! The main street was full of small little bars, restaurants and colourful tourist shops. I stayed safe and ordered a Mexican Classic – vegetable fajitas! What I ended up with….10 small flour fajita wraps, a huge bowl of home made nachos, 2 sauces and a massive plate of vegetables (tomatoes, green pepper, broccoli, mushrooms and cauliflower), a pile of rice and some more bits of vegetable!! Wow. After I had finished, it barely looked like I had touched it! I don’t normally eat in such ‘touristy’ restaurants – this one cost MX90 (£4), but there doesn’t seem to be the street food like you get in Asia.