"Trip to Yucatan and Cancun, Mexico" Cancún Travelogue by csuresh
Cancún Travel Guide: 2,031 reviews and 4,113 photos
Having covered most of USA and part of Canada, we have been eyeing Mexico for a while. Cancun won over Mexico DF due to variety of reasons including the beach, beauty and facilities. Krithika was fully into Trip Advisor and I am fully into Virtual Tourist for help. Top 10 Cancun & the Yucatan book from Library also was excellent planner for us. Just before a week to our travel, Hurricane Rina scared us and the weather forecast was Thunderstorms, Evacuations, Shelter protection, Heavy Rain etc. As the travel day nears, Rina was dropped from Category 3 Hurricane to Tropical Depression for our relief. We started at 8:15am Oct 29th 2011 to airport and everything was excellent except heavy airplane turbulence once and sudden drop like a rollercoaster which kids in the plane made fun about. We were the only non-whites in the flight. I took video from the airplane of Cancun and its Hotel zone along with Colorful Caribbean Sea. In the Mexico, Luggage carts are free like India and no $4/$5 fee like US airports. Immigration was very simple and customs asked us to open the luggage to verify Samhita's liquid food items.
Once we came out of Customs, there were tour promoters wearing vailankanni school uniform dresses. We thought they were there to give us some useful information as one person called us to give HELP. It took few minutes to understand they are trying to sell some tours and also suggested me to change the resort we booked for another :-) We told sorry and came out. USA Transfers is the car company was very reliable and provided an excellent transfer to hotel (around 20 Kms) for USD $65 to and fro. Avalon Grand hotel's reception was like a big Indian bungalow house. Outside the hotel is the view of the Lagoon. Friendly Mexican hotel boys helped with luggage. From the room, we got a beautiful view of the turquoise/light green color Caribbean Sea beach. Floor was not carpeted and due to humidity outside it was wet many times. Seeing the beach multiple times that day brought in tsunami dreams in the night.
Day 2, we wanted to start our day with Walmart Super Mercado. We took the route bus just out of our hotel R2 for $10 Pesos each. They use the "$" sign and one should not get scared, as $1USD is equal to around $10 Mexican Pesos. We paid $1200 as hotel deposit and got confused about such a high amount been charged but later realized what it is. In Walmart, Tropical fruits were rich and colorful. We saw cactus (thorn removed) been sold for cooking or that is what it looked like. Also saw Dragon fruits available in Eastern countries. We did souvenir purchase of T-shirts, Key Chains, photos and more. We planned to visit Market 28 or Mercado Viente Ocho, but planned to return to hotel not wanting to carry load of our purchases. Taxi Driver charged $130 Pesos. When I asked him to reduce (as travel forums asked me to bargain which I am not good at :-) he told it is nothing in USD as I am coming from US. Evening with weather being excellent, we were fully in beach. We called Samhita as a crab as she ran towards beach whenever we took out our hold. Shashandra built sand castles in the beautiful white sand beach. Krithika assisted Shashandra and I had good exercise following Samhita. I remembered and concurred with the feeling Mr. Bean had on seeing Canne Beach in his holiday. Our speciality food that day was Fajita, Pizza and Queasidilla. Evening Easyway Rental company handed over our Nissan Tsuru car to us. We went around 13 Km to put petrol/gas ($10 Pesos or 1USD per litre). Later we came to know there is a petrol station just 3-4 Km away. I wanted to recheck our travel route to Chichen Itza next day and browsed Internet for $5 USD for 20 Minutes in the hotel.
Day 3, we left Cancun at 8:15 am. I and Krithika debated which way to start from Hotel as both ways lead to D180 Mexican toll road. (continued...)
Finally rightly we went wrong side, that made us view pot hole roads, bumpy speed breakers, traffic police hand diversions, traffic signal light for which green color looks always glowing. After an hour ride, we entered the expensive but excellent D180 toll road. Speed limit was 110 Km and my car had a struggle reaching that limit with normal accelerator/gas pedal press. It was more than 200Km ride and we paid $223 Pesos and $53 Pesos as tolls on the way. We reached Chichen Itza around noon. The local road was a typical old village road. Entrance ticket was around $166 pesos. On the Ruin premises, Lot of kids & men sell various items. They normally tell $1 which will first make them turn towards you and when you ask, they show an item that is $100 pesos. I bought an item for $100 pesos just getting confused of the exchange rate and regretted. Coming to the core part of our travel, we witnessed the amazing Chichen Itza pyramid "El Castillo". On the Spring and Autumn equinox, in the late afternoon, the northwest corner of the pyramid casts a series of triangular shadows against the western balustrade on the north side that evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase. Some have suggested the effect was an intentional design by the Maya builders to represent the feathered-serpent god Kukulcan. We visited various mayan ruins - El Caracol observatory was good. Other ruins are Sacred Cenote/Sagrado Cenote (bath), Temple of the Warriors (Los Guerreros temple), Group of one thousand columns (Mil Columnas), High Priests Grave, Lower Temple of Jaguars, Great Ball Court (Juego de Pelota). Chacmol is a famous statue above Los Guerreros. Prisoners and other humans were sacrificed on the stomach of this. That is depressing. We left the place, Weather was fine and warm but we were tired by the time completing the tour. Lot of items were sold like Mayan Masks, Pyramids, T-shirts, Wooden musical instruments, Jaguar whistles and the area was colorful. We had our late lunch at Hacienda Chichen. Our lunch table was amidst beautiful trees that are very scenic. At some angle, it reminded Madras Woodlands. We had Pasta and Burritos well decorated. Wanted to travel from Chichen Itza to Valladolid in local highway and it was more like Thiruvallur, Renigunta Chennai-Thirupathi road. Now and then Speed Breakers troubled us. We drove along Valladolid Main Square, St. Benardino Chappel, Central Squire before hitting back D180 toll road. I was exhausted that day for some reason and Krithika drove 100Kms. Reached back hotel around 9pm. Kids were co-operative as much as possible. It was a long day.
Day 4, we want to go to Isla Mujeres but it was raining from the start. We went first to Isla Mall claimed as biggest mall of Mexico. Mall has canals inside it like Venice. It had all the big & familiar shops as that of in US. We then went to Mercado 28 and bought more souvenirs. Area was like burma bazaar. We then went to Nature 100% restaurant. Food was nice and the type of food was same as the one we had earlier. Weather being dull and rainy, we used hotel facilities and entertained ourselves. Easyway rental car person came in the evening and collected the car back. It was USD $77 for two days with all insurance - good deal. Many scared us about Police stopping, but although we were on way of so many polices, none stopped us.
Day 5, we were ready to go back to USA. USA Transfers came exactly at 8:45am as told. We gave Adios to Cancun and Mexico.
Specialty of the place is everyone greeting friendly with Hola (Hi) and Buenos Dias (Good Morning). Every day and night, sound of waves from the Sea, a man carrying his 2 dogs at 6:30am, Sun rise, Fishing boat travelling in the morning, Crow like bird (but it is not crow) making sounds, other birds in group flying low just above the water, Lighted cruise ship crossing the sea at night, other daily routine made us remember the groundhog day movie, but it is still lively, memorable and will be a future want again and again.
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