While staying in Playa Del Carmen we decided to do a day trip to Cozumel. It was easy enough to hop on the ferry and get there in around an hour. When we arrived we then jumped on another little boat with a glass bottom and were taken to some nice spots to snorkel. Orlaith held onto a life jacket and got pulled around in the water like a celebrity dog (or something). Even though she had learnt how to swim pretty well by this point she still hadn't quite come around to the idea of putting on goggles and looking in the water.
After Rio Lagartos we did the most gruelling journey to Playa Del Carmen. The annoying thing is the two places are so close to each other but there is no road connecting them. Or if there is a road none of the bus companies used it. We spent about eight hours travelling in total and on the way I managed to leave Orlaith's backpack behind at one of our stops. It had all her toys and books in it, including all the new ones we had bought along the way. Major fail!
Rio Lagartos is a cute little fishing town about two hours from Valladolid on the northern side of the Yucatan Peninsula. It's charming in it's own little way however there are one or two things that I think are worth mentioning in case anyone is planning on going. The first, very important, thing is that the closest cash machine or bank is one hour away by bus or car. You cannot draw money anywhere in Rio Lagartos so if you come, come with cash! The other thing is you should have a strong stomach for the smell of fish if you plan on visiting as there is a constant whiff lingering in the air. OK, now onto the good stuff!
Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities covering at least five square kilometers and is listed as one of the 'New Seven Wonders of the World'. It was always top of my list to see while in Yucatan. There was a lot of walking and hardly any shade so it's not surprising they have lots of hat stalls outside.
There's a fair amount of information boards at Chichen Itza but I still would have liked to get a guide. There was a lot of looking at things and having no idea what they were. Many of the structures at Chichen Itza, including the large pyramid, El Castillo, used to be open for the public to climb and explore, but the majority of the structures were roped off by 2006.
Inside the archaeological grounds there are hundreds of stalls lined along walkways selling things from wooden masks to silver jewellery. What was really nice was people were actually making their stock there at the stall. Stall owners were sitting down embroidering their next dress or carving their next mask. It was so nice to see these hand made creations being created in front of your eyes.
After two weeks in Tulum we hopped on a bus to Valladolid which is the second biggest city in Yucatan state. We chose Valladolid because it's close to the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza and because it looked like an interesting little place to explore.
We spent two nights in Valladolid and by far my favourite thing was the food! After having sporadic success with food in Tulum this place was a dream. We didn't foreplan where we were going to eat and just stumbled into places we came across yet every meal was dreamy.
There was one day when Orlaith and I tagged along with Warren and his diving buddies to a couple of cenotes. We went to one called 'The Pit' which is generally for divers. It's 60 metres deep and let's these amazing shafts of lights down to the bottom of the cenote (google 'the pit cenote' to see some amazing photos of what I'm talking about, it's spectacular).
However, I didn't go down so I only have some pictures from the surface. Orlaith wasn't allowed to swim here because of the depth but she was content just hanging out on the platform chatting to all the divers getting ready. It was really cool being the only swimmer there and swimming in all the oxygen bubbles coming up from the divers deep under the water.