Yucatan – Part I

Yucatan – Part I

We arrived at our hotel at 6 on a Sunday evening and found our arrival spoiled by the discovery that my Nikon camera had been stolen en-route from San Pedro in Belize. To cut a long story short: I have reported the theft to the police and registered my claim with our insurers. And my backup camera was not taken. Or the laptop on which I am writing this; it was in the rucksack with the Nikon but was in a slip case which looks remarkably like a brown paper envelope full of boring documents.

Our hotel was unlike any we had been in on our travels. It was an all-inclusive resort hotel. The price includes everything – accommodation, all meals, drinks, gym, pool. The only drinks you needed to pay for (or rather, charge to the room for later payment) was bottles of wine with your meal. And the house wine – by the glass – was free. So what looks very expensive at first glance becomes much more reasonable.

It is on the coast with all the usual – white sand, blue sea, waving coconut palms etc.

The beach at our hotel

The beach at our hotel

I even had my own dusky maiden.

Chris at the beach

Chris at the beach

Besides the beach there is a very large swimming pool which is slightly warmer than the sea at 33°C. It is good for lounging around.

The swimming pool at our hotel

The swimming pool at our hotel

It also serves as a training place for scuba diving and Chris took advantage of this to get a basic diving qualification. (She also had sessions in the sea.)

Chris and her diving instructor finishing a lesson at the pool

Chris and her diving instructor finishing a lesson at the pool

She also did some recreational swimming at the pool.

Chris at the pool

Chris at the Pool

The rooms were very good. The best bit was the Towel Sculpture which greeted us when we returned to the room after breakfast. The guy who did our room was a master!

For some reason the hotel had got it into its head that we were a honeymoon couple – I don’t know why – but they gave us their usual welcome!

The decorated door to our room

The decorated door to our room

The ambiance of the hotels was Mayan but on a vast scale, best shown in the roof of one of the restaurants.

The roof of one of the restaurants

The roof of one of the restaurants

Not very far from the resort was the Mayan archaeological site of Tulum. This is the only major one which was on the coast.

View of the Tulum ruins

View of the Tulum ruins

Not only is it an archaeological site, it is also a nature reserve, and so there are lots of beasties about.

Iguana in the Tulum Ruins

Iguana in the Tulum Ruins. Note the fossils in the limestone.

The place is built right on the edge of the sea.

Tulum's cliff-top ruins

Tulum's cliff-top ruins

What I find amazing is that the Spaniards, sailing past, were reminded of Seville when they saw Tulum. But still, when they landed, treated the Maya as savages and heretics. The church gave them some excuses as they could not decide whether the natives were actually human – were they descended from Adam and Eve? Adam was Old World and this was the New World. And if you did not want to go back that far, were they descended from Noah?

The church, as ever, was willing to give you the answer you wanted. Eventually it was decided that they were probably human, but still savages and heretics. Descent from Adam and Noah was, presumably, accepted, even if the logistics were not explained.

One of the Tulum ruins

One of the Tulum ruins

One of the beaches at the ruins is off-limits as it is important for sea-turtles. You can see their tracks on the sand and the places where they have laid their eggs.

Beach with turtle tracks and egg-laying sites

Beach with turtle tracks and egg-laying sites

However some of the beaches are still available for humans, and they are very welcome as Tulum is hot and sticky.

Tulum from the sea

Tulum from the sea

As you can tell we enjoyed our stay on the Mayan Riviera and decided to go back there for our final week in Mexico. In the meantime we have come to Merida from where we will look at more Mayan sites. And we will go to Palenque and Chichen Itza before we leave.

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