We reluctantly left Belize, and ventured back in Mexico in preparation for our flight home. We covered a lot of ground and saw a great number of spectacular sites.
Tulum – After a somewhat bizarre border experience in Mexico when they refused to issue us with another re-entry card (which would cause us issues later), we headed back north to Tulum. This time we made sure we visited the Mayan ruins there. The ruins were not overly spectacular in themselves, but the location right on the cliffs overlooking the beach made them. It is hard to compare them with the other Mayan ruins we went to as a consequence. We then made the most of the wonderfully quiet beach, and played like children in the powerful waves. From my limited experience, I think a traveller going to this part of the world should skip Cancun and Playa del Carmen, and head towards Tulum. It has a ‘natural’ quality to it, which I particularly enjoyed.
Merida – The day of the Champions League final. Ben (a Football fan and German) and myself were on edge to get to Merida to settle down in a bar in time for the game. We made good progress across the Yucatan despite a routine roadside check by the police. Thankfully we made it to Merida in plenty of time and settled down in a lovely bar, cradling a few large beers. Life doesn’t get much better than that. After the emotional rollercoaster of the game, we explored the cathedral, which I have to admit is one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen. It had all the latin qualities, mixed with the adhering colonial architectural style. Our rest of our time here was spent exploring the historic streets and main square. It was nice to be amongst more history. Unfortunately we only had one night here.
Chicxulub – To get between Merida and Chitchen Itza, we took a slightly random route and stopped in many random places. The first of these was Chicxulub, or perhaps more famously known as the place the asteroid hit that spelt the beginning of the end for the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. To tell the truth there wasn’t exactly much here, apart from what can only be described as an unpolished beach. Very atmospheric though. And this was the site of perhaps one of the weirdest things that has ever happened to myself. I was sitting, happily writing my journal, when I suddenly glanced up to find a red cloth doll had washed up at my feet. It was clearly homemade, and had black thread and copper wire wrapped around it. Who knows if it had some sinister purpose, or was just a play thing, but it certainly was very strange.
As we headed east out of the time, we stumbled across flocks of flamingoes, minding their own business in the shallow waters. Very rewarding to see flamingoes in the wild. It was made even more atmospheric by the colourful palette of colours offered by the nearby salt pans.
Chitchen Itza – It took much of the day to get here as we travelled, often aimlessly, through the Mexican Countryside. Luckily we had accommodation near the ruins so we headed for some well earnt rest. The next morning we got up early to head into Chitchen Itza as the gates opened. This was certainly a great move. We had almost 3 hours of relatively quiet conditions before the masses from Cancun arrived. Even though the actual ruins have a bit of a hands off feel to them, it is undeniably impressive. Not sure it warrants quite the praise it so often receives.
Valladolid – This is a very atmospheric old city between Chitchen Itza and Cancun. I suppose it was quite similar to Merida in some ways, but it was a little quieter and smaller. Worth a stop for sure.
Cancun – And then we returned to the chaos of Cancun. here we met up again with Kat and her friend. We all shared an apartment right on the beach. Unfortunately the weather was a bit indifferent, but nevertheless enjoyable.
As we left Cancun, there was a small issue with the lack of entry card that the authorities should have supplied upon re-entry. Everything worked out fine, but make sure you get a copy!
This trip was for me a resounding success. For 3 nations to combine so effectively, and compliment each other so well, to form a strong and organised group, was a real achievement. It’s certainly a very special area of the world, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go there.