Once Upon A Time in the Yucatán
Hi I’m still here! This is an overdue post about my family trip to the Yucatán Peninsula! We spent the beginning of July there and I’ve been back since the 4th, but immediately after returning I started my summer class, and that same day I struck a sudden high fever. I was so sick that I couldn’t get out of my bed for more than two days straight. People probably thought that I came down with some terrifying food poisoning since I was in Mexico. I was scared I had some contagious Mexican disease, though I didn’t even get one mosquito bite. It seems like somehow in the warm tropical weather I caught a really bad case of the flu. It took a week for me to be able to make it through a whole day and only yesterday was I able to speak again.
I’m doing a lot better now though so I’m catching up on my life! 🙂 Most of these photos were taken on my DSLR but some are from my phone – still trying to jump back on Instagram but failing.
On the first day, we flew to Cancún and our hotel was The Royal Caribbean, which is an Americanized resort with a private beach! I’ve never seen beaches this beautiful in the USA before.
Because it was late afternoon, we just hung out on the beach and took a lot of selfies. I’m getting my parents into the hang of taking selfies just for fun, and they are trying to catch up on the culture as well. This photo though, is taken by my dad as a selfie because I don’t trust his camera skills.
We had a room with a view of the ocean, and it was a suite which means for the first time on a family trip I had my own room – I got the living room to myself! Living that close to the ocean meant the temperatures were nice and cool once the sun went down, but it was loud listening to the high tides at night.
On the second day, we took a bus three hours inland to Chichén Itzá, a famous tourist destination in the middle of the jungle. We first stopped by the Hubiku Cenote, which is a natural sinkhole in a cave, and was also a nice natural air conditioning.
Most of the fellow tourists went swimming but I
was afraid the water would be cold was more interested in the Mayan village the cenote is located in. There was a Maya boy taking photos with the tourists and he definitely had a great time scaring me with his weapons.
The little Mayan huts from back in the day are so cute! They provide amazing shade from the sun – it’s completely dark inside there.
The main attraction though, is the Temple of Kukulkan. This is one of the seven wonders of the world! Because somehow, in a world without technology, the Mayans were able to build this temple to align with the sun at the equinox. Twice a year at the equinoxes, the sunset casts a dark shadow on the left side of the temple, exactly outlining its shape. How did the Mayans calculate that?
If you’ve seen The Road to El Dorado you might be familiar with this ring. It’s like the Mayan version of basketball! Pok-a-tok is a ball game similar to basketball where you shoot a rubber ball through these rings. The winning team has the “privilege” of being sacrificed to the gods.
After our tour, we stopped by Valladolid on the way home. Valladolid is a Spanish colonial town that still looks like it is in the 1700s. There’s a majestic cathedral in the middle of the town as well! I think I would have liked to stay here for a day to explore a colonial life.
The third day we stayed in Cancún because we were so exhausted by the heat and the walking. So we just spent the day shopping at one of the beachside malls. They had a lot of American brands that were about 5x as expensive as they are here, so we mainly stuck to trying tacos and beers, both of which are super cheap. I tried a daiquiri for the first time and have a new favorite cocktail! We screamed when we found a worm in our Mezcal tequila, only to learn it is supposed to be bug juice. No thanks.
On the last day, we went on another Mayan ruins tour, this time in Tulum, which is by the sea. The tour guide said this place was kind of like a vacation destination for the upperclass Mayans but I didn’t catch the rest because I was too busy staring at the view!
A city overlooking the sea? That’s just amazing! It must have been nice to be a Maya if you get to live somewhere this beautiful.
Everyone just wanted to go swimming to get away from the heat. It was really hard to get good photos of the cliff and ocean because the waves were so strong, so I just took it from the cliff.
There are also lots of these lizards everywhere, and I don’t know how they aren’t annoyed by humans trying to take their photos while they’re just trying to sunbathe. I also wish I had seen more wildlife but I guess we really do scare them all away.
I didn’t go swimming, but that might have been a mistake because the waves were strong enough to soak me and I didn’t have a change of clothes. I bought a new dress and changed before leaving on the heavily-aired conditioned bus, but maybe that’s how I got sick.
Have you been to Mexico?