The abundance of wildlife at the resort was mind blowing. There would be
the typical squirrels, birds and insects, but I didn't expect to see
these adorable little mammals, kawatis, roaming the resort without a care. To me, kawatis look like the result of a red panda that mated with an ant-eater. As strange as that sounds, they were seriously the most adorable things that I had ever seen. These little guys travel in packs across the resort and usually graze on the lawns for food or rummage through the garbage cans. One was even so brave as to come almost close enough for me to touch. They had some serious claw business going on though so I maintained my distance mostly in fear of getting my eyeballs scratched out.
We also witnessed some crazy, next level, Discovery Channel business between a frog, snake and iguana. As my brother and I watched an iguana try to wrestle a frog that was being half-digested by a snake, Morgan Freeman's voice narrated the entire session in my head. It was strange but terrifyingly interesting at the same time to witness something like that happen in front of you.
Our fourth day was mostly spent roaming the shopping district of Mexico as well as beaching on Playa del Carmen. The crystal clear turquoise water was a dream to swim in, but I lost one of my favorite sunglasses to the devil snatch of a wave. Just kidding, I forgot to take them off before going for a swim so it was completely my own fault.
By the time the fifth day came around, we were ready for another excursion and off to Chichen Itza we went. Since Chichen Itza is one of the New7Wonders of the World, it's largely a tourist site that doesn't have as easy access as Tulum. There are many ruins surrounding the main building which you can tour and honestly you could easily get lost at the site. It's so large that there's enough space for vendors to set up shop to sell their wares. Unfortunately we were unable to climb the steps to the top of the temple as the government has now banned that. The steps had to be preserved for the amount of tourists stampeding up the steps actually force the monument to begin falling apart.
You pass by these vendors on your way in as you pass your gates, way before you even reach the main monument. The street vendors also have pretty simple but interesting tactics to lure tourists into purchasing their goods. The most popular being them yelling "One dollar! One dollar!" to anyone that passes. But, if you pay close attention to what they're saying, at the end of each sentence there is a muffled "off, off". So essentially they aren't selling anything for just one dollar, which makes sense because then they wouldn't make any money. But when you see beautifully colored T-shirts and souvenirs for one dollar, then you're looped in right? And the vendors can be quite aggressive once they see that you are relatively interested.
Another cool tactic were these little wooden instruments that made the sounds of a jaguar or mountain lion when you blow into them. The vendors' children would run around behind the trees or near tourists blowing into the toys making the cat calls. At first I thought that there were actually wild animals roaming the jungle, but I eventually noticed the sounds coming from the children.
Had there been some extra space in my luggage, I would have bought one of the vibrantly colored hammocks to bring home.
After spending roughly 4 hours walking through the ruins of Chichen Itza, our excursion ended with a trip to another cenote that was located inside its own resort. We were treated to a fresh lunch buffet and headed to the bathrooms to change into our swimsuits. The sink hole was a little different such that it wasn't under ground but exposed above top. It extended to a depth of roughly 150 metres and a staircase with platforms of varying heights were carved along the wall. Here we had the chance to go swimming in the fresh water and dive off of the platforms. Along the edge of the cenote were several little streams draining into the centre creating beautiful waterfalls. From the height that the water was falling, if you swam underneath it, it felt like a strongly pressured massage. Of my whole trip, swimming in this sinkhole was one of the most liberating and peaceful experiences.
The ride from our resort to Chichen Itza was roughly 3 hours in length so we stopped by a local city on the way back to take a quick 15 minute rest and stretch out our legs. As we were passing by the city, the sun was setting and it cast a beautiful orange glow the buildings.
It wasn't until close to 10 PM that we arrived back at our resort. We missed our dinner reservation but the day's adventures made up for that loss.
Labels: cenote, chichen itza, explore, family, mexico, sinkhole, summer, summer 2014, tour, tourist, travel, vacation