Cancun, Mexico, March 2008

Posted by on Mar 28, 2008

I’m not really big on taking vacations to tourist hot spots. Nor am I a beach guy. But sometimes you just have to do something out of the ordinary and what better time to spend a week in Cancun than on the heels of a long, cold winter in Utah? So in March, 2008, Audra and I set off for Cancun on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.

It’s so nice to leave weather like this knowing when you get off the plane it will be 80 degrees. This is shot through my window while waiting for the plane to take off.

Our first views of Mexico as we approached Cancun.

The flight was nice until we descended into Cancun and it got really bad, really fast. Nasty turbulence that made it feel like the plane was dropping 30 feet at a time during the descent. Fortunately we landed safely and were off to find out hotel. We got a shuttle straight to our hotel where we had booked an ‘ocean view’ room. When we got there we were pretty upset to find out they consider this to be an ocean view.

Naturally we complained and were moved into a much nicer room.

The night time view from our new balcony.

The next day we went walking around the hotel zone to see if we couldn’t round up some souvenirs (we suck at buying souvenirs so we were really trying on this trip). We also wanted to look into booking a trip out to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza and Tulum. As usual it was high pressure sales tactics from somewhat less that reputable street vendors and we ended up going back to the hotel and paying a bit extra to get it through someone we could actually hold accountable if it fell through. But a day or two later we were on a bus out to Chichen Itza.

It was interesting to see the part of Mexico that most Cancun tourists don’t see. Even if most of it was flying by through the bus window.

Chichen Itza was really cool but really crowded. I was sad that they don’t let you climb the stairs on the big pyramid anymore.

This big field was where they played a basketball like game. See the big stone hoop on its side? I guess the losers all got beheaded, pretty serious game.

If you look closely here you can see a guy holding his opponents head in one hand with his sword in the other. This was the punishment for losing the game.

The observatory. Pretty wild to think that these people actually constructed an observatory so long ago.

Audra and I striking our tourist pose.

After the ruins the bus stopped at a nearby cenote [se?note]. A cenote is basically a sink hole that connects to a network of underground rivers. They are common in and around the Yucatan Peninsula, likely because of the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs that landed out in the Caribbean Sea. When we got there there were a ton of people down swimming in it so I changed into my suit and headed in.

By the time we got down there most of the crowd had left. This is the view looking back out of the cenote.

And this is me jumping in. It was down right freaky looking at the water from up on that ledge. The water was very dark and you could see the black silhouettes of HUGE fish, catfish I think. It made me feel like I was going to get eaten alive.

After that the bus took us to eat at a restaurant that seems to only cater to the busloads of people going to Chichen Itza. The food was pretty good but I felt kind of weird having the local kids dance around with things on their heads to entertain us.

Waiting for the bus to leave.

The next day we stuck around the hotel and did the beach thing. It was fun to play in the waves and have free cocktails all day. I’m a fan of the all-inclusive resorts.

A double rainbow after an afternoon thunderstorm.

Sunset behind the hotel.

The next day we loaded another bus and went to Xelha [Shelha] and Tulum. Xelha is tourist HELL. The idea of snorkeling sounded great but it was not really worth it. There were thousands of people and very few fish or coral in the water. It was kind of cool to take the shuttle out to the river and float in it though.

Audra posing with a big iguana at Xelha.

For a $100 you too can swim with the dolphins. We passed, I felt kind of bad for the dolphins.

We skipped out on Xelha prety early and got a ride over to Tulum to see the ruins.

Leaving Tulum through it’s robust security wall.

After that we had another day or two of lounging around the hotel and it was time to go home. These types of vacations aren’t usually my cup of tea but looking back on them I’m always happy we went.

See the rest of the photos from this trip on Flickr.

Do you have questions or comments about this or any of my trip reports? Hit me up in the comments below or email me through my contact form.

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