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Tulum

November 25th, 2011

P1040242

I was lucky when I left my hotel right next to Chichen Itza and waited for my bus to Valladolid. I only waited for 5 minutes when the hourly bus was coming. From Valladolid (40 minutes later and 20 pesos less in my pocket) I bought a ticket to Tulum (around 100 pesos), but the next one left in two hours time. So I hoped to find some cafe to spend my time. I followed two guys who seemed to know where to go. They entered a juice store and I also thought that a good idea.

I talked to the guys from Scotland and time went by fast. They also brought me to the main square where I could have had my coffee until I left for my bus. Although they both went to Isla de Mujeres I would see one of them in Tulum again coincidentally, just before I would leave for my next destination.

City of Tulum

It took around 3h to get to Tulum and from the small bus station it was just 100m to the hostel ‘The Weary Traveler’. I was surprised of the digital system they used. Everything was controlled by computers. You registered yourself and a key contained all your information. With that you were able to choose your breakfast, get a free bus ticket to the beach and order something from the bar. If you leave your passport instead of a deposit, then you can order easily from the bar without any cash. The pay day would come when you check out. The price for a dorm started at 130 pesos, going down through discounts with every day you stay longer. Single rooms were available for 350 pesos.

When you chose your breakfast, e.g. eggs and toast, you actually received a real egg instead of an already cooked one. That you have to do yourself. The same when you order a hamburger in the evening, you only get the ingredients … the meat will be roasted by yourself.

The hostel is very good for meeting people. There are all kinds of people and it should be easy to find someone to get along with. I found two guys from Canada and one from Argentina. It was fun to hang out with them and I hope our paths will cross again, maybe in Guatemala!

The free bus shuttle, which runs twice a day is a good thing. I walked once to the beach which took me around 90 minutes. It’s easy to spend a whole day on the beach, which has not so strong waves so that you were able to swim. Right next to the (last) beach are the ruins of Tulum. I visited them and was surprised when I went through the tunnel in the thick wall and found myself seemingly in a different place, like Alice in wonderland. Coming from a jungle like place, everything was neat as a golf court. The ruins just lay there around and mostly couldn’t be entered. Since the ruins were directly on the coast you had a really nice view. The beach inside this area however wasn’t that great and overall crowded with people.

Cabanas could be rented if you want to stay directly at the beach. There are really expensive ones, but as I heard,  the cheapest one con be found right next to the entrance of the ruins. There a little hut starts from 300/500 pesos (without/with bathroom).

The city of Tulum offers several nice places to eat and drink. At night some bars help for the night life, some days more and some days less. Sometimes there was almost nothing going on without any reason as it seemed.

Cobá

Not having enough of ruins I went one day to Cobá, which is around an hour away from Tulum. For 42 pesos you can hop an one of the buses (you should leave at 9, 10 or 11am) and walk a few hundreds meter to entrance of the ruins. The last bus back to Tulum was at 3:10pm but you always can get a taxi for around 300 pesos, which is worth if you can share it with some people.

I met there three other guys, one from Germany as well and two girls coming from Spain and Italy. We sticked together exploring the ruins of Cobá. They all went pretty fast since we also had to cover big distances, because the several ruins often lay a kilometer away. I would have spent more time if I would have been on my own and would have gone some side paths probably, but I felt being acompanied was better and so the following day was determined from my decision.

Around three hours later we left the ruins, tired from walking 5km. Bikes also could be rent which is a good idea for these distances. We took a taxi back and had some food. With Laura, the girl originally from Madrid, I also went to the beach for the last hours of the sun. The fresh water did good to recover from the sweating in the jungle. We also met up for the following day to do some snorkling in Akumal, which I probably wouldn’t have done just on my own, but more and more people I met talked about this place and so …

Akumal & Grand Cenote

… we went. I rented a snorkling gear without the fin for 25 pesos in a nearby diving shop and we took a colectivo towards Playa del Carmen, where we got off half way in Akumal. We first missed the public beach access and almost walked to a lagoon, which also seemed to be nice, but quite expensive (100 pesos). We accessed the beach through some souvenir shops and looked for a shady place.

After a short while Laura gave a sign to me of something interesting to see. When I reached her I also saw a huge turtle (almost a meter in size) eating gras from the ground. It was one of several that I saw. Some where acompanied by some fish and it was fun to follow them. Around the reef were a lot of other species to find. Laura even saw a Manta Ray or Eagle Ray, while I couldn’t even find her 😉 every snorkler looked kind of the same.

In the early afternoon we left for Tulum again to rent a bike for the rest of the day (65 pesos, normally 80 pesos for a full day). We went to the Grand Cenote around 4km away. It was hot and we were happy when we finally reached the place. A guy asked for 100 pesos as the entrance fee. We paid the high price and got into the cool water.

In this cave there also were some divers and it was exciting to watch them while snorkeling. I felt like being in a movie, watching James Bond trying to find his way out 😉 It was a nice place to be and to explore. When we left the cold cenote the temperature also got moderate and the way back was comfortable.

It’s been a great day and after a nice tasty dinner very close to my hostel, Laura and I said good bye and I finally knew where to move on to the next day … Bacalar!


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