Tulum, or the one where I never had my camera

5th-8th November 2015

The rain continues. As we arrived in our colectivo in Tulum, the heavens opened again and made sure we arrived nice and damp at the hostel. It’s another busy and fun one this time round, with a great set up of beds in the dorms meaning that everyone has their own little nook with a  curtain, so even though there are lots of people in each dorm you get a bit more privacy than elsewhere. It’s also super English speaking, with many of the guests from Australia/USA/Canada, so it’s been easy for us to meet people.

Cosy dorm setup
Cosy dorm setup

Which is good, because a great portion of the time we have been rained in, with the rain meaning the wifi is down, so chatting has been a lot of what we’ve done. When we’ve ventured out into the rain, the roads easily turn into canals with ankle deep water you need to wade through, and loud crashes of thunder from an unknown distance.

Rained into the restaurant...
Rained into the restaurant…

Tulum itself is a small town, with a touristy strip and jungle, cenotes, and ruins all in close range. The prices are less eye-watering than in Playa but still hefty in the centre so we’ve again been doing some wandering in the rain to save our pennies. As this was the last stop pre-Belize we didn’t want to be getting out any unecessary pesos. Instead of going out to bars in the evenings, there have been plenty of people to hang out with in the hostel so we’ve tended to just do that, and have met lots of interesting travellers.

When we had a break in the rain we quickly rushed out so that we could actually do the things nearby we’d been planning in. These were:

The Tulum ruins

Having seen these online when planning our trip, I knew that they were meant to be amazing. Tulum was originally a Mayan town, contemporary to Chichen Itza, which stood on a hill right next to the seafront, looking over the ocean. This means you get an amazing meeting of jungle (full of brightly coloured birds, iguanas, and a coati which looked a bit like a raccoon), white beach, turquoise sea, and ancient ruins.

My only photograph on my camera at the ruins before it ran out of battery
My only photograph on my camera at the ruins before it ran out of battery
Rav's camera to the rescue
Rav’s camera to the rescue

The site was pretty busy – it is a popular day trip from nearby Playa or the posh Riviera Maya hotels – but possibly less so than it gets on a really sunny day. The views were still impressive even though it was very windy and still spitting rain a little. Annoyingly my camera ran out of battery without warning after taking one photo, so I had to rely on Rav for pictures. We did enjoy our wander around though, and it was probably the first time that I did really feel like we were starting to be properly in jungle territory

Gentle sea breeze
Gentle sea breeze
One of many selfies with the castillo of varying levels of success
One of many selfies with the castillo of varying levels of success

Cenote visit 3

On our second full day, it seemed like the weather was back on our side, and we decided to visit some cenotes. The Tulum area is absolutely full of them, some arranged into eco theme parks and some just accessible individually. It was hard to choose given that there are so many pros and cons all over the Internet, but we decided to go for Dos Ojos which was a set of two nearby cenotes a short colectivo ride away, popular with scuba divers due to its underground cave systems. I forgot my camera so once again I was pictureless for this. Tulum did not go well documented…

Picture unrelated
Picture unrelated

When we got off the colectivo we bought our tickets doe the cenotes (way more expensive than where we’d been before, presumably as the area is so much more touristy), and set off down the path. The path was SO LONG. The cenotes were right in the jungle so you had to walk down a (thankfully wide) dirt path with jungle to either side of you, with the midday sun beating down and mozzies visibly landing on and biting you so you had to stay vigilant the whole walk. By the time we got to the end if the road we were seriously ready to get in the water.

The path looked like this (nb not actual path)
The path looked like this (nb not actual path)

Again unlike the previous cenotes, these were pretty busy. We were glad we went though as they were also pretty different. Rather than large chambers with holes in the ceiling/completely uncovered at the top, these were more dark caves, lit by side entrances and the lights of the scuba divers below. We’d rented some snorkel gear from the hostel which we shared, and the view was pretty cool underwater – endless caverns, underwater pathways, and so on. It did make us want to learn to scuba dive a bit, but that is a serious expense and we did enjoy our swim anyway.

Lit rom beneath by scuba divers
Lit rom beneath by scuba divers

Annoyingly we had to then walk back along the bitey jungle road and by the end of the walk we had been eaten by mosquitos again. Just can’t beat our first cenote.

Still pretty cool
Still pretty cool

I’m leaving this as a short one as I’m writing it a few days after and the rest of the time blurs a bit into one (mainly having a good time hanging out in the hostel as it was raining). We got a good bit of rest, ready to move on afterwards. Tulum was our last proper stop in Mexico, and after that we hopped on an ADO to Chetumal, ready to get a water taxi to Caye Caulker in Belize, where we are as I write this! It’s a great place, so I’ll be writing about here soon 🙂

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