Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tulum: trials & tribulations (Nov 13 & 14)

The night we slept in Luis' house in Puerto Morelos I found an old Lonely Planet and read an entry about Cenote Dos Ojos. We had agreed that we would make that our main attraction in terms of cenotes. Now, standing before the guide, we were wondering what exactly would be good enough to warrant a $300 pesos entry fee each. But we said we would, so we did. And it was remarkable!

Dos Ojos is a series of cave cenotes that are connected by underwater passages (like all cenotes, except that the current is very mild and the caverns are close so you are able to snorkel and/or dive between these ones). The stalactites and stalagmites have lost their sense of time and direction over decades; some hang suspended in the ceiling, some dip into the water, and some poke out from the depths. It's incredible to see them through the torchlight and chase the little silver fishies around them. Blue light glows where divers have been swallowed in adjacent caves. It's another world.

The wind beat us to Tulum and by the time we get to a campsite we are having a pretty grouchy time setting up the tent in the wind and the sand. But these are the "perks" of camping on the beach. And it is next to the ruins, which in themselves are not that impressive although the setting on the cliff overlooking the ocean is very cool. Little Vinko faces off against the big bad world when we learn that the beach we came to swim at to see the ruins from the water is closed to the public.

The other "perk" of camping on the beach next to the ruins is that it turned out to be a prime spot for some pirateering. One of the main reasons why we forked out $150 pesos to sleep in our own tent on a patch of sand is that the owner told us that the beaches are not safe and that their place is secure. So when Vinko's first mumbled words to me the next morning was "Baby, why is this open?", we both bolted upright to find our tent flap open, pants and toiletries bag outside the tent, and wallet gone! But it was only one of the 6 stashes of cash (what's that saying again about eggs in a basket?), the stash was a bit depleted, and the looter had the decency to leave the ATM card and drivers' licence in the driveway. So it was a lesson learnt, but at least not a tragic one. For the special price of $100 USD we learned where we will and will not be sleeping in the future.


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