Venturing to the Yucatán

How beautiful is this sunrise? I loved waking up to the sound of the ocean and the sunrise coming through our window. It was perfect! When you are in paradise it's better to let the sun be your wake up call. We woke up early on our second day to take a tour to the Yucatán. I recommend booking tours once you get down there because mostly likely more will be included. For our tour to Chichén Itzáit cost about 1950 pesos ($130 USD per person), which seems like a lot but it included getting to the ruins, snacks, swimming in a cenote, touring Valladolid and dinner and return trip back to our hotel. It is a full day excursion so plan accordingly.  On the tour, there was only six of us therefore it was nice and intimate. The drive to Chichén was about 2 hours, but we were able to see and learn a lot from our tour guide about the Yucatân area and the history of the Mayan people.  

The designs on one of the platforms at Chichén Itzáit.

Me with our lovely tour guide, Alberto.

Grand Ballcourt from El Castillo (Has anyone else seen the Road to El Derado? It's sad that that is my reference to what this was when I saw it)

Kukulcán pyramid, which apparently many people visit at the time of the Spring Equinox (which happened to be a few days after we visited it) because of a special attraction: on the northwest corner of the pyramid a shadows depicts an appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase.

When visiting the park, I would suggest getting there as early as possible. It gets packed around Noon, which was about the time we finished up in the park. We were there for about two hours, and there was a lot to see. There is a Sacred Cenote that the Mayans used for sacrifice. You cannot swim in this one! Many vendors selling handmade dresses, jewelry, pottery, carvings and more! This is a great place to buy any of these items that you want to take back home. 

Afterwards, we drove about 45 minutes to visit the Cenote Yokdzonot. I should explain what a cenote is first...there are thousands of miles of underground, water-filled caves interconnected by rivers underneath the Yucatán peninsula. When the roof of one of these caves collapses, it produces a sinkhole or natural well, filled with fresh water. Many of them are used as water sources for a lot of the Mayan villages around the Yucatán. It was beautiful! There was a bathroom area, where you can shower and change before you enter the cenote (it is recommended that you wash off any sunscreen before you enter). We headed down the stairs to reach the cenote.

Now, I have to admit I was a bit scared. I love swimming and I enjoy swimming in pools, but oceans are different story for me. I do not like swimming in large bodies of water where I cannot see the bottom (at least I learned this about me when I saw the cenote). I did not get in at first, but seeing my friends enjoy themselves made me change my mind. My body hated it, but I am glad I went in and had the experience, but believe me I was in just as quickly as I was out. Plus there was a group of scuba divers filming a travel commercial there, therefore we could not swim to long. There is a restaurant attached to the cenote, which allowed us to do a quick lunch before heading back into the van and driving to Valladolid.

We finally reached Valladolid, and our first stop was at Hotel El Meson del Marques, which has a wonderful restaurant. The woman in the picture above is making flour tortillas from scratch. My dish of orange chicken fell off the bone quite well was very savory and it was wrapped in a banana leaf. It was delicious and there was nothing left on my plate this time.

We enjoyed some dessert and then our guide let us walk around the city. You can definitely feel the Spanish influences around the city and the pop of color made each building stand out in their own way. My friend and I wanted a traditional Mayan Mexican embroidered blouse (she got a dress) and we found a lovely woman who was making them in her shop. She and her mother quickly hemmed a dress for my friend and helped me pick out a blouse which I love (you can see me wearing it pictures below)! I received many compliments from people in town who loved how it looked on me, and I cannot wait to wear it in the summertime.

Loved going to this grainery shop to see all the different dried pepper and spices. 

We finally headed back to Tulum around 4:00pm in the afternoon. It took us about a hour and half, and we were exhausted after we reached home. I think some of us took a nap and laid out on the beach, and watched the sun go down with a Corona in our hands, and just felt happy that we were here. We were definitely asleep by 9:00pm though!

This was only Day Two...still more to share this week!! Stay tuned!

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