A quick hour bus ride from Playa Del Carmen took us to Tulum. This is a place which has two attractions – the amazing beaches and also some Mayan ruins. A little bit of history about the Maya civilization, these are a people who initially established their civilization in Central America about 2000 BC, thrived most notably in 250 AD to 900 AD, and then slowly abandoned their cities until they were scattered by the Spanish colonists. They had a fully developed written language and numbering system that uses runes and symbols, which I got to see for myself everywhere carved into stone.
What a beautiful place for a settlement.
Looking down to the sea below.
In the area there are a few freshwater ponds called Cenotes that are really nice to swim in.
It’s so great to relax at a place like this! That night we went to the supermarket and bought loads of food, then took it back to the hotel and cooked it on their barbeque. One of the blokes on the trip knew how to cook Latin American style food so it was pretty authentic with lots of guacamole, pico de gallo, tortillas, and so on. All in all, Mexican food rocks! Perhaps you can get sick of corn and black beans so often though, but I thought it was great.
So the next day we hopped on a public bus and drove down to the nearest ferry terminal, and caught a combination of ferry and speedboat to get to the island of Caye Caulker (Caye is pronounced “key”) which is part of Belize. Belize was a British colony so this is actually the only country in Central America where most people speak English as well as Spanish, and a weird combination of both .. Spanglish.
Caye Caulker is a fairly small island, you can walk the length of it in about half an hour, and the width in about 10 minutes. There are lots of 3 star hotels and bungalows and cabins and such, a few small supermarkets, plenty of houses for both locals and retired ex-pats, and even a school for kids. Then there’s the usual collection of pubs and restaurants serving up fresh seafood and delicious cocktails.
We were only staying here 2 nights, so for our one full day we wanted to make the most of it. The options were simple: if you had a diving certification then you were expected to want to go to the famous “Blue Hole” of Belize which is basically a sink hole in the middle of the sea where you can go hundreds of metres down and see the most amazing aquatic life. If, like me, you didn’t have a certification then you took the easy option of going on a day cruise to the reef to snorkel and drink rum punch and swim.
The most interesting stuff is underwater of course, and thanks to my fancy waterproof camera I could record it for you. Here’s me with a stingray that had its stinger removed or otherwise it is unavailable at this time.
We swam out into the deeper water and I did some skin diving down to about 10 meters which is the limit for my camera. Here’s a dangerous looking spotted eagle ray.
Me down with a turtle! :D
All in all a great day to say the least! It was one of the highlights of the trip. The next day we were heading to mainland Belize.