Caribbean México

21st June 2011

The ruins at Tulum [3] may be modest but the setting on a cliff above the ocean, grand. It was occupied between 1200 AD and 1521 AD, at the end of the Mayan civilization. On borrowed bikes from the hotel we peddled out early to avoid the heat and the hordes.


Around Tulum there are many cenotes, sections of caves that have collapsed leaving behind round sinkholes filled with clear, cool water. No need for a mask and snorkel, the water is crystal clear and the underwater wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites is clearly visible. The Maya believed cenotes to be entrances to the underworld.


Bypassing the “planned paradise” resorts of Cancún, we took the fast ferry out to Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) [4] on a rainy, windy day. After 2 days the weather improved and we were able to head northeast into the open sea, an hour in a small boat doing 20 knots, to snorkel with the whale sharks. Scarcely able to believe it, a school of about 200, average length 10 meters, circled around our boat. Into the deep ocean we went, nervous as the gentle giants approached within a meter of us, mouths wide open, cleaner fish attached to their gills. It was an incredible experience. Back on board the sea was getting rougher with a choppy meter high swell – everyone threw up.


Ruins of Tulum overlooking the Caribbean

Tulum was a major Maya port - large boats ventured as far south as Honduras

Tulum Temple - the crooked angles are deliberate, not the result of 2000 years weathering

There are still mosaics on the inside walls

Pretty black and blue bird at the site

Iguanas are all over the Tulum ruins

A little bird

Long tailed bird

Orange flowers

We rode bikes to the beach

Cenote Grande

Little birds eating limestone in the cenote

The water is so clear ...

... you can see the stalactites under the water

Fishing boats at Cancún

Margaritas on the beach at Isla Mujeres

Frigate bird likes this light pole

The Whale Sharks are bigger than the boat

Someone´s photo underwater

Post swim ceviche - just what we needed after throwing up