Next stop: Playa Del Carmen and the Humble Bumble Hostel. Okay - you caught me - I chose it for the name...
Playa is an hour north of Tulum. So a quick bus ride has gotten us there. We are throughly enjoying the Caribbean coast of Mexico. The temperatures here are much warmer and the people are a lot nicer.
Our last couple of days in Tulum were incredible. Once Justine recovered, we managed to get to the Tulum Ruins. Unfortunately, all the bikes were booked for the day. But the guy working reception assured us that the beach was a short 2km walk away and that the ruins was only 1.5km past that.
The beach was at least 4kms away. When we finally found it, we were exceptionally grateful for the sea breeze and a bit of a paddle. The ruins were another 2.5kms from there. By the time we made it, a couple of blisters had appeared on Justine's feet. If any of you reading this ever come to Tulum - always get a bike, and don't do long walks in your havis!
I wouldn't say the beach was as pretty as some of the glorious ones we have in Tasmania... But the sand was near white and the water was definitely inviting (and probably warmer than tassie), so I'll give it an 8 out of 10.
The Tulum Mayan ruins were super cool. It was clearly a little community once upon a time. You could see carvings of their Gods on the exterior. As well as some wells that were apparently Cenotes, back in the day. The work that goes into building these temples astounds me. It's not like your regular garden bond brick laying. But I imagine it's more like breaking apart the rocks and playing mix and match until you get a good fit. Then ta-da a temple!
The following day we found a group tour that would take us to the Cenotes. For those playing at home, a Cenote is kind of like a spring. As most of the land here is limestone, the water is filtered through that and there appears to be fresh water springs all around the place. They can be as small as a wee pond. Or as large as lake. I was told there are around 7000 but only a limited amount that you can access. Many of them join up by underwater caves and they are often explored by cave divers. Luckily for Justine and I - we were on the tour with all our wonderful new friends. The tour guide, Linda. Somehow we scored a private tour. Win!
We went to five different Cenotes. The first was quite small and covered with waterlilies. We canoed around this one. Justine's dragon boating abilities and my rowing abilities didn't go together too well... But eventually, after we had bounced off the bank a few times and a few choice swear words were said, we sorted ourselves out and were canoeing like a boss.
The second was like a swimming pool inside a cave. We got on a flying fox and dropped from about five metres in the water. Given my fear of heights, I was pretty proud I managed to do it with only a little squeal. Justine and I were pumped, so we went again. The second time round, Justine decided to do a bomb... But oooohhh that "slap" noise when she hit the water. It made me cringe. She's said I can post a photo of the bruises on the back of her thighs later...
Third Cenote we snorkelled around. And it had those creepy fish that eat your dead skin in there. As well as cute little bats in the cave above us.
The fourth was a massive one, that looked like a lake. There were three zip lines that took you across and down the full length. Was brilliant fun zooming along them. And we had a Mayan "brake" which was a bit of timber you hooked over the wire and pulled down on to slow down. I missed that memo the first time and went flying into the 5ft tall Mayan bloke. Luckily he took it well (and was stronger than he looked). We had a good laugh about it.
Finally, we swam with some cute turtles in the last Cenote. I highly recommend to anyone - visit the Cenotes! An incredibly natural and stunning masterpiece!
And today, we have arrived in Playa Del Carmen. That wasn't without a bit of a drama. All packed up and ready to go. Justine put her backpack on and I was doing the same. I unzipped my straps... And what did I find - a small pile of maggots and ants! I'm not gonna pretend I was totally fine with it. There was a definite squeal. Justine says it's karma for telling you all about her big night out and posting a photo. But I reckon she planted them... Anyway - the next fifteen minutes consisted of me running around my backpack saying "eew" with a wad of toilet paper trying to ensure I got all the ants and maggots off before I had to put the bag on my back.
Justine's admirer (Alphonso) has decided to come and meet us in Playa. So, while they catch up, I am going to completely clean out my bag and make sure I'm maggot free (I might hose it down with antibacterial - other suggestions welcome)!