Packing it all in

Trip Start Apr 23, 2009
Trip End May 23, 2009

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Where I stayed
The Airport, Terminal 2

Flag of Mexico  ,
Friday, May 22, 2009

The alarm went off at 7 a.m. and I did NOT want to get up. I need a vacation away from my vacation. It was the last day of our month long trip and we were on a mad dash to squeeze as much into the day as possible. Off to the Gran Cenote, 3.7 km away from Tulum town. Luckily we caught a colectivo headed towards Valladolid that gave us a lift to an ATM and hitchhiked the remainder of the way in the back of a pickup truck.

We were the first ones there at 8 a.m. The sun wasn't out from the clouds and it was looking slightly gloomy on top of which the 100 pesos entrance fee made us reconsider. What the heck I thought, we were here, we got up early, we might as well as go in. Good choice, great choice. The caverns are huge and there are multiple pools and caverns for us to discover. Fish and turtles inhabited the waters along with water lilies and all manner of vegetation. Stacey negotiated a 40 pesos rate for just a face mask and snorkel and we all took turns peaking at the scenery underneath the crystal clear water which none of us could get enough. When the sunlight filtered through the clouds, the cavern walls twinkled. A thousands little sparkles on our skin.

The day was getting long and I wanted to start heading out but Stacey decided to stay a bit longer. The taxi drivers at the entrance wanted 50 pesos to get back into Tulum town and cars wouldn't stop for hitchhikers. I walked the whole 5 km back to El Crucero and got there about the same time as Stacey did in a taxi. We showered, had a lunch of guacamole (again) and caught the 1 p.m. ADO bus to Cancun leaving direct from the little terminal in front of the hotel for 82 pesos.

Playa del Carmen was the first stop the bus made followed by Cancun's' ADO terminal at 3:30 p.m. We had just enough time to negotiate a 40 pesos lift to Punta Juarez in a taxi and catch the UltraMer fast ferry 4 p.m. departure for Isla Mujeres. The fare was only 35 pesos and had departures every half an hour. On the 15 minute trip to there we debated on getting scooters, bikes or even a golf cart. The island wasn't like Caye Caulker in any form. From the get go you can feel that it is geared towards mass tourism. Private properties dotted the beach front so that only Playa Norte was left for the public and the rocky shores along the Caribbean side of the island was open for swimming. We spotted GoMar from the docks that did golf cart rentals and plopped down 180 pesos per hour for a cart. As we off roaded into the sand and took road bumps full speed ahead, we thought it was money very well spent.

It took all of 1 hour to drive around the entire island. We stopped at Playa Norte and watched the sunset over the ocean. It was time to bid adieu to Mexico. Off the ferry, McDonalds beckoned me and I couldn't resist the pull of a chicken sandwich. No more tortillas, no more queso, no more frijoles and from now on I'll tip toe gently around the guacamole. My Mexican food craving had been cured. Outside the pier, a colectivo bound for the ADO station was waiting for passengers. The taxi driver saw where we were headed and automatically offered us 30 for the trip. Right....we were doing pretty good on spending all our pesos in Mexico, 15 pesos per person was a bit too rich for us, 5 pesos for a little wait was perfect.

LP recommended Restaurant 100% Natural and Stacey was intrigued to try the vegetarian friendly menu. A bit of a let down really. The food was overly greasy and the smoothie same as any other place. Worst of all, no fresh mangoes. We went back to the ADO terminal and got tickets on the Aeroporto Express bus which left every 30 minutes for terminal 2 until 10 p.m. then came every once an hour until 11:45 p.m. and tried to come up with something to do in the meanwhile. Stacey went to the convenience store and filled up on Chokies while I catnapped. It was going to be a long night at the airport.
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