Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mexico Vacation: Puerto Morelos in the Mayan Riviera, Part 2

Besides enjoying the amenities of the resort and biking or walking into the quaint town to sample the restaurants, shop, and listen to live music, we had two day-long adventures in Puerto Morelos. The first was a guided tour combining adventure activities (zip-line, rappelling, kayaking, and swimming in a cenoté) run by Mayan natives, a Yucatan hot lunch, and a tour of the Mayan ruins at Coba. The first photograph shows me on a zip line, and the second shows the cenoté we climbed down into and swam in. Cenotés are limestone caves whose rock ceilings have partially collapsed, creating sinkholes and allowing light and tourists to come in.

The third photograph shows me climbing up the Nohoch Mul Pyramid, the only Mayan pyramid that tourists in the Yucatan peninsula are still allowed to climb. The fourth photo shows Neil and I on top of the pyramid, and the fifth shows me and other tourists tentatively working our way back down while holding onto the rope. It’s a LOT scarier going down! It’s estimated that Coba had at least 50,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Our second adventure was a trip we took on our own to the town of Akumal (about 2 hours drive south) to snorkel in Yal-ku lagoon, a beautiful brackish water lagoon with lots of fish. The facility includes a garden studded with artistic statues. The sixth and seventh photographs show different parts of the lagoon, the eighth one shows some fish, and the last two photos were taken at the La Buena Vida beach bar and restaurant overlooking Half Moon Bay.

This trip acquainted us with the Mexican transportation system. We took a taxi to the local bus station and bought tickets to Akumal. After waiting over an hour with still no bus (which were supposed to come every 45 minutes), the station manager put us aboard another bus going further south and asked the driver to drop us at Akumal. On the return trip we tried colectivos, large vans that pick up and drop off Mexican workers and tourists along the side of the highway. We took one from Akumal to Playa del Carmen and another from there to Puerto Morelos. The return trip was faster and more interesting (Mexican gangsta rap on the video screen!).

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