Chichen Itza, Ik Kil (Cenote), and Speaking Three Languages Along the Way Through the Yucatan, Mexico (Mexico, Part 2)

So Mexico, right?

Is that where we left off?

Ah, yes.  The Dreams Resort in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico.  Caribbean blue sea, some clouds, lots of sun.  Some coconut flavored treats (lots of that).

Now, I last told you that I went down to Quintana Roo, Mexico, to sort of escape work, cell phones, and email.  And I did.  So, that part was a success.  But it wasn’t all just a bunch of lying around.

While I was there, I decided to take a side trip.  I met a travel person who sold me on a trip to the amazing ruins of Chichen Itza.  Chichen Itza is a great Mayan ruin in the Yucatan dating from 600 C.E. to 1200 C.E.  I’m sure lots of amazing things happened there.  Unfortunately, the English-speaking guide we had was miserable.  He effectively managed, within 5 minutes of starting the tour, to alienate all of us (the Spanish-led and German-led tours were better, fortunately, for our friends on the tour bus).  I have never met a guide who believed that he and his wealth of book knowledge was the main attraction.  In essence, we saw nothing, but were treated to an hour of his ramblings and ill temper.  Yeah, we could have walked away, but y’know?  We were polite.  Oh, by the way, at the end of the tour, he told us that he depends on our generosity for his living.  As I was rooting in my bag for a tip, I heard him say to a woman on the tour, “You and I must have a different definition of ‘generosity.'”  Well, I won’t tell you what her husband said next, but suffice it to say, he was not happy.

So, I basically had an hour and a half free to explore on my own…not exactly the experience I wanted, but I was happy to have the opportunity to at least set my feet on the site.  The place is beautiful…sprawling.  So much to see.  So many people.  The pic just below is the famous pyramid.

My favorite building, however, was the observatory.  It was strange to see that round tower amidst all the right-angled buildings.

After Chichen Itza, it was off to Ik Kil, a cenote in the Yucatan.  Essentially, Ik Kil is a sink hole filled with water.  It is open to the sky and there are some fish swimming around.  I wasn’t actually going to swim there, but a friend I met on the tour climbed out of the water, came up to me, and said, “If you don’t swim, you’ll regret it.”

Ok.

So, I jumped in.  The water was cold, but refreshing.  It was raining in the outside world, so the water came splashing in from the top, and trickled down the vines.  I just floated on my back and let the water wash over me (and on one occasion, the fish touch me).  It was quite the experience.  Yeah, it was strange knowing that there was 130 feet of water below me, but I soldiered on in the spirit of the great ocean explorers (not really), and had quite an experience.

The rest of the day was spent at various stops, but Chichen Itza and Ik Kil were the highlights.  We did have a nice buffet lunch, too.  That always makes me happy.  I had to have an orange Fanta for old times sake.  How can you not love neon orange soda?  I practically lived on the stuff years ago on other travels abroad.

I met some very interesting people on this tour, some of whom seemed to have some important messages to share with me about life and the journey ahead.  If nothing else, the trip to Mexico was worth it just to have spent time on this tour and to get some new perspectives.  One person in the van spoke English, Spanish, and German, and I also have been known to dabble in German, so there you have it.  I traveled all the way to Cancun to meet a person from South America with whom I spent the day speaking three languages.

Yes, travel can be interesting and exciting!

So, here’s my advice for today.  If you go to Cancun and you want to take a side trip, don’t go with the first offer you get.  Chances are, people will try to sell you a tour by telling you how bad others’ tours are.  Me?  Well, I heard the pitch by one tour company in the Dreams Resort.  $119.  A bit high.  Then, another tour company offered the same thing for $76.  Same tour.  Same trip.  Same stops.  Same everything.  No hard sell.  Better energy.  Sold me on how great his particular tour was.  The bottom line?  Listen to your gut.  Don’t jump on the first offer.  And stick to your instincts.

Much like you did when you booked a trip alone to Mexico in the first place.

More on the Mexico vacation soon.

[Author’s note: this writer received no incentives regarding any resort or products in this post]

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