Tag Archives: Chichen Itza

The Berrigans do Cancun

Christine’s story:

It has been a very busy couple of weeks since I dropped Dave off at the airport.  Rita arrived just an hour after Dave’s departure. We hopped in the van and went back to my favourite beach at Xpu-Ha.  We settled in for a few days where Rita relaxed and recovered from regular life back at home. We were treated to a lovely lunch at the restaurant complete with drinks at the fun bar swings.  Thanks Marg!

Rita enjoying the swingers bar

Rita enjoying the swingers bar

Hanging out at the beach

Hanging out at the beach

We took a couple of day trips from here: to Tulum to see the Mayan ruins, Akumal to snorkel with the sea turtles, Yal Kul Lagoon to snorkel alongside a gazillion fish, Puerto Morelis to do some shopping.

Exploring the Tulum ruins

Exploring the Tulum ruins

Akumal snorkel practice

Akumal snorkel practice

On the last night before my parents arrived for their slight overlap with Rita, we decided to treat ourselves with a night at an all-inclusive hotel on Cancun beach to see how the other half live! I got a good deal on the internet. We eventually got checked in and then took advantage of all the amenities.  It was a fun day!

Living it up in Cancun

Living it up in Cancun

Enjoying the swim up bars

Enjoying the swim up bars

Rita and I picked our parents up at the airport Tuesday then went to Acamaya Reef Resort in Puerto Morelis where there is camping and little bungalows to rent.  It worked out great.  During the overlap we enjoyed the beach, did a bit of shopping on a trip into Playa del Carmen and had a great last supper for Rita’s departure.

Puerto Morelos beach

Puerto Morelos beach

The Berrigans in Cancun

The Berrigans in Cancun

Once we dropped Rita off at the airport we drove inland and west a couple of hours. I knew my mom and dad were wanting to see some Mayan ruins so figured Chichen Itza would be a good place to start. We stayed a couple of nights near the ruins in a cute little town called Valladolid.  It had a great central plaza, lots of good restaurants and a cool vibe.  I dropped them off at the ruins the next day (Dave and I had already seen them) and did some much needed tidying of Ginger while I waited.  Thankfully we got there early enough to avoid most of the big buses and by noon we were back on the road.  We decided to find the Ek Balam ruins that weren’t too far away and after a horrendous road made it to the entrance.  It seemed like it was less excavated than other ruins and would identify a pile of rocks and trees as something of significance.  However, it was much quieter than the other ruin sites and with hardly any vendors.

Cute plaza in Valladolid

Cute plaza in Valladolid

Ek Balam ruins

Ek Balam ruins

We made our way back to the coast and stayed in Playa del Carmen for a couple of nights.  We were planning on going back to my favourite beach at Xpu-Ha but when we went to check in it turned into a disaster!  The room I had sorted out for my parents we found out was unfit and just plain inadequate, especially for the high price they wanted.  And while we were trying to sort that out didn’t my mom get bit by a mean beach dog!  It just wasn’t our day! So we packed it in and went back to Playa del Carmen.  We sorted out my mom’s travel insurance before heading to Hospiten Hospital.  It was a quiet Sunday night and everyone there was friendly and helpful. Of course she got an injection for Rabies prevention and we would have to return in 24 hours for another one, with a final injection in a week back home.  A couple hours and a few hundred dollars later we were out of there and back at a hotel.

The next day we made preparations for Dave’s return!  We decided going back to Acamaya Reef Resort in Puerto Morelis was the best, and safest, idea.  I picked him up that night and he was surprisingly chipper for being in the air for the last 30 hours.  I was so happy he was back!

Dave arriving back to Mexico

Dave arriving back to Mexico

I have to admit it was a bit stressful manning the van all on my own (well with the help of my guests too!).  I never realized just how much Dave did and how much we shared responsibility!  I did OK with the driving but have decided I’m a much better passenger and navigator.

Tuesday, the day after Dave’s arrival, we went back to get my mom’s Rabies shot and then continued on back to Akumal to see the Sea Turtles.  The water was a bit choppier this time but we managed to see a few turtles.  The next day was spent relaxing and vegging on the beach and then we walked into town for a nice pizza dinner.

Our plan for the final night was to get a hotel room in Cancun to enjoy the beach and scene there.  I again found a great deal for an all-inclusive that was too good to pass up.  We checked in around noon and enjoyed all the amenities.  The beach was beautiful and we even managed to get beachfront rooms.  A great finale to my parents trip!  Thanks a lot for coming!

The view from our Cancun hotel balcony

The view from our Cancun hotel balcony

Dave and I are currently back at Xpu-Ha beach.  Enjoying it and avoiding the dogs!  We plan on getting a move on to Belize very shortly.

Daves Story:

I had an uneventful, but very long trip back to Melbourne, with three flights and over 30 hours of travel. Thankfully my parents were waiting at the airport and quickly had me home for a shower and a couple of hours nap before a couple of well deserved drinks in the spa.

My great friends Ben and Emily had very kindly arranged a get together at their place for the Saturday night, which was fantastic and allowed me to have some great food and a few beers with some of my oldest and closest friends.

The next week I kept myself busy catching up with friends and enjoying some Australian food, beers and wines that I had been missing. I also managed a trip down to Torquay to catch up with my younger brother and his lovely girlfriend which was very enjoyable.

Oh, and any spare time I managed to find was spent trying to find, buy or otherwise acquire a long list of essentials that we had been unable to find in Mexico.

My second weekend in town was the wedding weekend, which was the main reason I travelled from Mexico back to Melbourne. This was my older brothers wedding, as well as the first wedding for any of the Moore clan, so no chance I was going to miss it.

Giving my ´Dr Seuss´reading at the wedding

Giving my ´Dr Seuss´reading at the wedding

The wedding was fantastic, and everything went as planned. Both Steve and Sue had huge grins on their faces all day, and it was great to see how truly happy they make each other.

Just Married!

Just Married!

Congratulations Guys!

The happy couple

The happy couple

Overall my trip home was a great opportunity to catch up with a lot of friends and family that I otherwise would not have done except for the wedding. It was also a great chance to get back into ‘normal’ life and society after travelling for 9 months as this really reminded me to appreciate the time we have for our travels, and to truly make the most of the remaining travel time we have.

Mum with her boys

Mum with her boys

Unfortunately my travels back to Mexico were not uneventful, as I was seated next to vomit boy on my long flight from Australia, but overall the travel was not too painful, and I even managed to get a few hours sleep here and there on the different flights.

The beautiful Christine was waiting for me this time, and soon had me ‘home’ in Ginger with a shower and comfy bed ready.

 

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A quick Cancun update

A very easy driving week

We left Chichen Itza and drove towards Cancun stopping only at the prison outside Valladolid to pick up a hammock. They are all double weave, great quality and made on site by the prisoners. It can take up to a couple of months to make one huge one! But I guess they do have a bit of time…

Christine testing out the new hammock

We drove right into Cancun and onto the little spit of land/sand where all the fancy hotels are located. Parked Ginger on the street and found a public access to the beach. Beautiful! So different than the Pacific Coast with the spectacular turquoise colour here. Also different in temperature – definitely a few degrees chillier, though we aren’t complaining!

The main beach in Cancun

We checked out a couple of camping options on the highway heading south away from Cancun. The Paa Mul campsite just a little bit south of Playa del Carmen did the trick for the night. It had a nice pool and restaurant/bar but it was like we were camping in the parking lot. After a night at the bar listening to the permanent resident RV’ers try and do Karaoke we decided to look for more options. And we were so happy we did! We stumbled upon La Playa Beach Club while checking out a spot next door. Nothing fancy and bare basic amenities but it has power and water and is on the most gorgeous, pristine beach.

Ginger-Lee all set up for relaxing!

We are hunkered down here for a total of 5 or more days most likely. The longest stop in one place since we left Halifax! Dave left on Wednesday and is now back in Melbourne for his brother’s wedding and to catch up with family and friends. Christine’s sister Rita also arrived into Cancun on Wednesday for 9 days. And the latest news is that Christine’s parents will be joining the party to keep Christine company and for a bit of an escape from the Nova Scotia winter.

The beach and bar where Christine and Rita will be forced to spend the start of the week….

 

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Back to the Atlantic

This weeks travels!

We drove just north of Acapulco City and found the Acapulco Trailer Park. We were one of only 2 campers (one permanent) and got to set up close to the beach. The waves were beautiful, huge and loud and definitely not swim-able. Sadly the pool was being painted as well – oh well.

Our main mission in Acapulco was to see the famous cliff divers! Acapulco was the original tourist resort place in Mexico and had all kinds of famous people coming as long ago as the 50’s. However this boom really only lasted until the 70’s due to overdevelopment and oh yes raw sewage polluting their beaches. This is all since cleaned up, and they’re trying to get back the tourists. The biggest attraction, since 1934, are the guys that dive off the La Quebrada cliffs. Probably about 15 divers walk down the steps through the crowds on the viewing areas and dive into the water below. They then climb 25-35m on the rock face opposite this little inlet of water. They bless themselves on the little shrine on top and then take the tumble into the water. Really amazing to see especially with the tiny and shallow body of water they have to jump into with all the waves and variables. Of course just as we were to take lots of pictures we realised that something had happened to our SD card a nd our camera was not able to work – grrrrr. You’ll have to settle for an Internet pic instead!

Cliff divers of Acapulco

The next day, November 9th, we got on the road a bit late as we had to buy our new SD card. We continued south along the coast to Puerto Escondido, a big surfing and party town. Unfortunately we got into town after dark and the 3 campgrounds we had mapped out were either awful, closed or not able to accommodate us. It was a hoppin’ Friday night on the waterfront so we parked and went to find some dinner. We wandered the streets and checked things out, including a loud beach concert. We then parked Ginger in front of a hotel in a well lit area on a quieter area of the main street and went to sleep. Our first, non Walmart, boondock!

On Saturday we spoiled ourselves with pancakes and coffee in a nice cafe, and then watched some of the surfing competition going on. Puerto Escondido was definitely a young surfers hangout.

A surfer catches a wave (and a very hungover boy on the beach, still sleeping off the night before)

Another competition surfer

The main boulevard in Puerto Escondido

We drove a couple of hours further south to Zipolite Beach. Here we found a beautiful RV campground, Ranchos Los Mangos, that was set inside a walled mango orchard and had great clean amenities, plus a pool! We immediately signed up for 2 nights! We also arranged for a much needed spa treatment for Ginger. Well, a guy with a bucket and a rag anyway…

Ginger looking all shiney and new

The beach was lovely although still quite rough and tumble. It is known in Mexico as the only real nude beach even though nudity in Mexico is illegal. Dave was looking forward to seeing the sights! Hee hee, just kidding. There were actually only a couple of nudies and they were secluded at the end of the beach. The whole little town has a hippie seventies kind of feel.

The beach at Zipolite

We found this friendly guy about 3m from the van

What Christine got after ordering a mixed fruit smoothie… something got lost in translation…

In the next town over there was a turtle sanctuary with quite a large live turtle display. We saw lots of big sea turtles and baby turtles, but of course someone (not naming anyone in particular!) forgot the camera so we had to use our iPhone. Not great pics but here are the best.

We sadly left the Pacific Ocean and now started to head overland towards the Atlantic. The last time we did this crossing it took three weeks from Halifax to Vancouver. Down here you can do it in about 8hrs of driving. We overnighted at the Hogar Infantile which was pretty much midway. It’s an orphanage that also has a few RV spots set up. No money is accepted but you can donate through their website, which we promptly did. There was a french family also camping there in a Winnebago with their 5 kids, ages 2-13! They are traveling for a couple of years and also hope to reach Argentina as an end point. Amazing or crazy, we’re not sure!

We made it to the Gulf of Mexico the next day! We had scouted out on the internet a good campground in Isla Aguada. Unfortunately another long driving day made us arrive after dark and we weren’t overly impressed with the place. We were the only RV’ers there and the beach was only ok. In the morning we checked out the waterfront and then got back on the road.

Exploring around Isla Aguada

A couple of hours driving and we arrived at our first Mayan ruins – Uxmal [oosh-mal]! Our plan was to camp in their little camping area right at the gate of the ruins so we could see it by day and night. We got our hiking boots on and explored.

The pyramid at Uxmal

Exploring Uxmal

We came back to the van for dinner and then went back for the sound and light show. It was very impressive and all, but due to our idiotic inability to understand spanish we only stayed for half the show.

The light show at Uxmal

On Thursday we had another real short drive into the city of Merida, which is supposed to be the cultural capital of the Yucatan Peninsula. We wanted to stay close to the Grande Plaza in the centre so we got a hotel room.

The main plaza in Merida

Our main criteria for picking a place was that it had to have nice secure parking so we wouldn’t have to worry about the van. We spent the afternoon and evening exploring the city square and the markets and had some good food. But we both agree we’re not the best at being tourists in cities and decided that one night in town was enough, so headed on to the next Mayan sight of Chicken Schnitzel today.

The crowds at Chichen Itza (and the main temple)

This was a very impressive city ruin, but unfortunately within easy driving distance of Cancun, which meant it was jam packed with international tourists. This was quite novel for us, after having traveled the last few weeks with very few other tourists. It was good reminder for us that we don’t like other people – only joking!

The ball court at Chichen Itza – see the hoops on the walls!

Dave exploring

Where’s Dave?

The Observatory

This week we have also passed 20,000km driven since leaving Halifax (20,805km actually) – not bad for 108 days on the road.

We are now camped in front of a hotel near the ruins, and plan to be back on the beach by lunch time tomorrow. The Atlantic this time! Oh, that’s after we pick up some hammocks on the way.

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