Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Tulum – Days 159 to 162

We were slightly shocked when we got to 'The Weary Traveler Hostal' as we had obviously blanked the cost from our mind. $40 US being more than we want to pay, but this is still an extension of Cancun and Playa del Carmen prices and restaurants, but with people's convincing themselves they are seeing real Mexico! They are not. 

A temple built on top of a cenote
Our room wasn't ready so we dumped the bags and headed off to the Tulum ruins (yes more ruins, though I shall shortly be reaching ruin saturation) hottest part of the day, but a good sea breeze made it just about bearable. What was not bearable was the concession stands and the whole money grabbing feel. Just under £4.00 for one scoop of Hagan Daaz, or even the regular artisan icecream, as opposed to £1.50 in town, there was also a Starbucks, and other proper restaurants. 
Our trip from Cancun into Belize
We were invited to breakfast by the Dreams resort lady, taxi each way, breakfast and $100 for our time.....but how much time? Life's too short! Oh and the tourist information trying to sell us a joint ticket for the ruins and Los Ojos cenote, normally $50 to get in, we can get you in for $35, real cost..... $10!

Here's the cenote underneath
Guarded by this fella!
The taxi back had miraculously gone from 70 peso to 100 peso, so we walked away, crossed the road and hopped into a collectivo for half the price. With Brian fit to burst something to eat and drink was called for and the collectivo dropped us just by a sandwich bar, great sandwich, sensible price and when he couldn't fit all the drink out of the blender into the cup he brought them both over, and said drink, so he could top up rather than waste it. Went a long way to restore our faith in human nature.

Back to the cool of our room and expensive AC only to find it was the worlds oldest and noisiest AC. Well it will drown out the noise of partying kids, except I just couldn't leave it on, it was just too loud!

Tullum ruins is a pleasant Maya port site with great views out to sea. This beach is closed at the moment as turtles use it for nesting
The temple with most engravings still showing
Just round the corner we'd seen a small restaurant, great advertising, exquisite ribs and fabulous burgers, cooked on the BBQ sounded great. Should perhaps have had a suspicion when they had no beer, but he explained that the old m.anager had run the place into the ground and they'd only been reopened a short while. No worries though, if you want to bring your own beer in, so I popped to the shop. The couple behind us finally got served after B had nearly been smoked out, by the chef frantically wafting at the BBQ with a menu. 
This is how iguanas do it! Bit of a porno photo!
They sent it back to try to get it cooked through! Ours finally arrived. I sent it back to be cooked through. A family of four arrived, I managed to catch the fathers eye as he walked past and give him a subtle shake of the head, they left. 2/3 of our meal came back the last few ribs just cooking for a little longer! They were tasty, but the side dishes were stone cold by now. The last of the meat came out, still very pink, so I hacked it about a bit, hoping we weren't going to get Montezumas revenge. The very sweet guy came back and I said we are just not paying for all of this. We decided 3/4 he came back and explained he was only helping his friend out, who he had spoken to, and he would take 1/2. What a disaster, but no ill effects and he was very apologetic. We walked past the following night to see the chef, waiter and a third man, sitting at our table eating take out pizza!

Don't know what it is, but its very pretty
The beach accessible from the ruins was a bit crowded, so we didn't bother
Sunday, after a great breakfast, omelette or pancakes you cook yourself toast, cereal, coffee, and all sitting at one long table, we decided to leave the attractions knowing it would be busy, so we drifted around booking a snorkelling trip for Monday, and printing out bits and pieces to hopefully facilitate our border crossing, keep everything crossed. In theory there is no exit fee for Mexico, because we flew in the tourism tax was included in the flight tickets, this however often seems irrelevant to the border guard who once they have your passport in hand won't let you pass without a payment straight into their pocket! We also have heard about problems getting into Belize, Louise the house owner never made it, they want you to have an accommodation booking and proof of leaving. The first we have, the second we don't, can't buy the bus ticket in advance, but hopefully the accommodation booking for Guatemala and the cruise prove we are moving on!

Its only a squirrel, but he was so photogenic!
The Weary Traveler Hostel
We met a great girl, a German, Steph who has traveled extensively on her own, with her favourite trip being Iran where she hitch hiked around, never seemed to pay for food or lodging as people just wanted to provide for her and had an amazing time. She has been diving and is actually on our bus south, though she is not doing the same border crossing as us, she has taken the expensive boat option, but she only has two weeks before she's back at work. We will hopefully catch up with her on Caye Caulker though and will compare notes.

Arriving at the first of the Dos Ojos cenotes
The snorkelling trip worked out really well for us, it was just us and the guide, we were collected from the hostal and negotiated the price from 950 peso to 650, we worked out it would cost us the best part of 500 peso to do it on our own, which wouldn't then have included the wetsuit, guide or tuna sandwich! Without the guide we also wouldn't have been able to do the tunnel between the second eye (dos Ojos being two eyes) and the bat cave. We really enjoyed it, the clarity of the water, being able to see fish, the divers below us and the now submerged rock formations was a great experience.

A map showing the Dos Ojos cenotes layout
The first cenote
Back to the hostal to move out of our room, into one with only one double bed, well we only need one and we were being joined by Roxanne and Darrel, who due to Darrels shoulder problems really appreciate two! They made good time and turned up as I was frantically trying to finish my book, to take advantage of the book exchange, and B was sorting through lots of blurry underwater photographs. 

Jackie goes for a snorkel
I was hoping to go to the beach, but apparently it was too windy, so we went for a little drive, up to the ruins where they couldn't believe the commercialisation since they were here a few years ago, and then down the road to the beach which turned out to have lots of very expensive hotels and restaurants down it. How the other half live! The small bit of actual beach we saw was indeed very windy, but it was interesting. It also enabled us to take advantage of the last free bank withdrawal, no more Santander branches in Central America. What do we want lots of Pesos for? Actually we don't but, amazingly both in Cancun and in Tulum we managed to get better than the published exchange rate for Peso to dollars which I've read are widely taken in Belize. Not often we feel we've made a profit from money exchange!

Arriving at the second cenote
We had a lovely dinner with R&D before all heading off to pack, they fly home today from Cancun. So we are now carrying a few extras, three tins of tuna, crisps, Apple's, shampoo, a sharp knife, a small towel, kitchen towel and we had sandwiches for the bus!

Was hoping to sleep on the bus after writing this as I was awake a lot in the night fretting about the border crossing but sadly the screaming baby is right behind me!

A bit blurry as I couldn't use flash, but the lights below are from divers. Ahead you can see stalactites sticking down into the water
An underwater stalactite formed before the area was flooded. Lights below from divers

A shallow bit before entering the connecting tunnel to the bat cave. Will Bruce Wayne be in there?

Entering the tunnel. Lots of stalactites

I think thats Jackie in amongst the stalactites

Bats in the bat cave. The light is the only opening to the sky

From where we came and where we go back

Arriving back to daylight, very large stalactite ahead!

Fish and light as we approach the landing stage

Breakfast this morning with Roxanne and Darrel
This is the communal outdoor eating area and kitchen at the bottom at the Weary Traveler Hostel
And the swimming pool that we didn't use
Saying goodbye to Darrel and Roxanne with their slightly dented (under the front valance) rental car

No comments:

Post a Comment