Day 27: Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

Sun. 9th September 2012

Fishing boats on the beach at Playa del PescadoresAs in Cuba, we really want to get a bit of a flavour of the  real Mexico. It is no more in Playa del Carmen (even though the Starbucks was much appreciated) than in Cancun. So we thought we would head on 60km or so down the peninsula to Tulum. As with PdC, we wanted to have at least one nights accommodation booked to take a little of the pressure off when arriving in a new town.

All of the main ‘bargain rooms in hotels’ sites cover Tulum and so as ever the choice is picking something that is good but not expensive. In PdC we achieved that latter, and whilst the Hotel Copa had a certain quirky charm, it had definitely seen better days and the air conditioning produced noise and warm air but not cold air. So we pushed the boat out and splashed out US$48 for a room in a small hotel in Tulum not really knowing what we were letting ourselves in for.

Our room in Tulum - Pretty much perfectAs it turns out we struck gold – Hotel Lo Nuestra Petit took a little finding as it is in a backstreet in town, but when we go into the little interior courtyard and met by the owner Miroslava (Polish / Mexican) we could hardly believe our luck. The room is very simple but beautifully done in terracotta and white with brightly coloured Mexican fabrics. We immediately commenced negotiations to extend our stay for a further 2 nights.

Miroslava wasn’t backwards in coming forwards and she immediately gave us quite a long list (and a sketch map) of things to do whilst we were here. She really doesn’t like the “gringo” American tourists and the theme-parks that they frequent. Whether it is the Disneyfication of the local culture or whether it is because of the prices – or both – I’m not entirely sure, but she was very keen that we avoided the tours and saw the sights under our own steam.

After grabbing a bite of lunch in town – I am developing a taste for tacos (the authentic ones are nothing like the Old El Paso kits) – we got in a local taxi and headed down to the recommended beach, Playa del Pescadores.

Playa del Pescadores with Mayan lighthouse in the background

The fishing boats on the beach showed how it got its name, but what was really striking was the absolutely picture perfect Caribbean beach view – fine white sand with waves gently breaking and the sea showing all sorts of shades of green, turquoise and blue. Even better, you could just see the ruins of the old Mayan lighthouse in the distance.

Mayan ruins at TulumThe Mayan ruins at Tulum are reasonably well known and definitely on the must see list as we were here, and so after enjoying the beach and having a paddle, we then walked back up to the coast road and headed along to the entrance to the ruins.

The ruins are of the buildings that supported a Mayan community. Surprisingly it dates back only to around 1100AD – one of the last Mayan cities to be abandoned. The Descending God (that's why he's upside down!)Sadly, whilst most of the buildings still seemed to be standing, most of the engraving and statues had been eroded and so it was quite hard to see the hieroglyphs. We were able to spot the ‘Descending God’ engraving – apparently, this is one of the most important figures for Mayans.

Overall, we were reminded of the ruins of Salamis in Northern Cyprus but which we found more impressive (and they are certainly older dating back to Roman times). We had hoped for more ‘wow’ from our Mayan ruins – lets hope that as we see more (and understand more) we appreciate them more.

We were pretty scorched by the time we got back to our hotel – and definitely glad that the air conditioning was working!

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3 Responses to Day 27: Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

  1. Dave says:

    PS – One of the challenges that I have set myself for our trip is to take a photo that I would rate as 5-star. I have taken a handfull of photos that I have rated as 4-stars before, but never one I would say was top rate.

    I think I might have just fulfilled the challenge with my photo of the boats on the beach. Click on the picture for a bigger version and let me know what you think. (Janet says she will give it 4.5 stars!)


    • Chris says:

      That is an awesome photo, when I started reading, I just assumed you took it off a tourist website somewhere! Its a bit cliche though, fishing boats on a beach…

      P.S. Further to my previous comment (again I don’t know how much you’re keeping up with these things) Murray actually did it! In typical easy style, in 5 sets after being 2 sets up, haha!

    • Jerry Lyle says:

      Just caught up with you. That’s definitely a “5” shot, nice one. The adventure has been a great read; Cuba is like a time capsule that will change very rapidly once the old guard go.

      I look forward to reading the next part of adventure.


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