After some serious route and timings debate we eventually decided that we will have to come back to the Yucatan penninsula another time to truly appreciate all it has to offer. We have therefore skipped a few hundred kilometres and some key destinations and come straight to Mahahual on the Caribbean coast for dive school. A lovely little coastal resort…or it was our first day, today it is a totally different place due to a floating block of flats that has pulled in for the day. A cruise ship capable pier was built a few years back which can hold up to 3 ships. Rumor has it a 2nd dock is to be built at the south end of town which will probably wipe out the business of lower key travelers like us. I’m sure the bars and restaurants won’t mind that as they already have menus in dollars or pesos, and yes, the dollar menus are extensively (in some places) more costly. But places like our dive school lose out…people who buy all inclusive day passes to a ‘beach club’ get drunk and don’t dive. And yes, I’m on a bit of a rant because I’ve been kicked off the sunbed I was on all yesterday because a boat is in and I’m ‘not allowed’ to just buy a couple of drinks and chill! Rant over!
Suffice to say, I survived the lack of sunbed and am pleased to say Rich qualified with ease. Great to relax for a few beers with his instructor and a couple of the dive masters from Chile at the end of 3 days. Unsurprisingly, the eagle rays that Rich saw on most of his qualifying dives disappeared into the great blue yonder as soon as I got in to the water, but plenty of live coral and a beautiful turtle made for an easy couple of dives to get back in the rhythm.
Although missing out on various places, we decided Tulum and diving a ceynote wasn’t optional so less than 18 hours after he qualified we hit Dos Ojes ceynote. Ceynotes seem to be fairly unique to this part of the world…crystal clear water filling caverns full of stalactites and stalagmites. Apparently what makes a cavern not a cave(in diving terms as you need specific qualifications for cave diving) is having more than one entry / exit point and the influx of light. I can write happily that for the majority of the dive there was no influx of light!
Tulum has an absolutely stunning beach which we strolled along early morning to get to the ruins (including some Indiana Jones style adventuring to get from the beach to the path…not as straight forward as we thought), which were also stunning.
From here we moved quickly onto Lake Bacalar. How this is not at the top of tourist destinations in Quintana Roo I do not know. A huge sandy bottomed freshwater lake of the most stunning blues with chilled out lodges and campsites scattered along the shore line. We could have stayed for days! Did I mention freshwater? Happy Anderson!
From here we head to Belize… fridge emptied-ish, paperwork readied and fingers crossed!
Rich – after the exhausting drive to Palenque, and its sogginess, arriving at Mahahual and the Caribbean coast was bliss. We stopped by the dive shop that night so I could make a start on the required reading. Well worth it as by 11am the next day I was kitted up and in the water ready for my 1st dive. Eagle rays and a turtle on the first dive – I assume it’s always like this!! 🙂 Diving in the morning, relaxing by afternoon – I could get used to this.
I must give credit to all the staff at Mar Adentro Diving, particularly Paco, who were fantastic and couldn’t have made it easier. It seems I have become hooked on another expensive hobby…..
The cenote dive was fantastic, and has made me realise I need more dives to work on my buoyancy. Well if I must I am sure we can find somewhere in Belize.
Mexico, has been amazing, so much more than expected and an absolute joy. We’ve met many great people, eatern excellent food, partaken of the occasional drink and seen some spectacular scenery. I think it is safe to day we will be back. Adios Mexico, mucho gracias!