Exploring The Yucatan: My First Taste Of Mexico
This March I spent four days in Cancun, Mexico. It was a bit of a spontaneous trip. I was originally supposed to be on a ten day cruise of the caribbean but plans changed and I decided to meet my friend Laura in Mexico instead.
Are we being scammed?
On arriving at our hostel in Cancun, my friend Laura and I decided to check out the area and see if we could book a tour to Chichen Itza. Our hostel offered tours but the guy at reception spoke little to no English and we couldn’t figure out a date, price or leaving time. We wandered into a hotel just down the road, and they assured us we could do a tour the following morning. It would cost $45USD and the tour lasted around 10-12 hours with breakfast and lunch included. We both thought this was a great deal so we paid and left.
When getting back to the hostel, I had a google and saw tons of bad reviews for this company. We only really wanted a bus to Chichen Itza, the rest we were not fussed about. Wondering whether or not we’d just been scammed, we hoped for the best and went along with it anyway.
The next morning our bus showed up outside the hotel. It’s not a scam!
We stop at a mall that’s yet to open, check in for our tour and get breakfast.
Drinks were available throughout the bus journey, including beer and tequila. Welcome to Mexico.
We passed through some pretty poor towns throughout the Yucatan. Houses with no windows. Nobody seemed to own a car. All advertisements were painted on the sides of walls. We were not in Cancun any more. While it was interesting to see this part of Mexico, it also puts into perspective how lucky we really are.
An Underground Grotto
Our first stop on this tour was visiting a Cenote. Pronounced sen-o-tay.
“A cenote (English: /sɪˈnoʊti/ or /sɛˈnoʊteɪ/; American Spanish: [seˈnote]) is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath”
This part of our tour was completely owned by the tour company. It was in the middle of nowhere, we had zero cell signal.
Here we were taken on a small tour within the grounds, Tequila tasting, followed by what I can only describe at Mayan fortune telling. This part of the tour seemed to be a way to convince you to buy souvenirs.
Basically, you choose a rock carving, give it to the Mayan man and he’ll tell your future. It was cool to watch but I wasn’t buying it.
I got changed into my bikini, grabbed a life jacket and headed on down into the Cenote.
It was beautiful; I’d never seen anything like it in my life. The water was crystal clear, and refreshing. I’m going to be boring, and say I didn’t actually get in the water. I had every intention to, but my hair?
We did dip our feet in however. That counts right?
An Encounter With A Native
There we were enjoying this amazing sight before us.
Laura turns to me and says, “Something just bit me”
I shake it off and tell her it was nothing.
She looks shocked, “It bit me again”
I look and can’t see anything. She takes the life vest off and throws it on the ground. From underneath, a big scorpion emerges. I’ve never seen a wild scorpion in my life, how scary!
Laura tells me her finger is going numb, so we go to the tour guide and he gives her garlic to rub on it. Needless to say, she survived.
Lunch was provided by the tour. You can find out about this in my food series blog here
Seventh Wonder Of The World
It was back on the bus again, beer and tequila flowing as usual (how were we not drunk?) A couple hours later we arrived at Chichen Itza.
With no shade in Chichen Itza, I was melting. It was so very hot. I tried to look on the positive side and think of it as preparing me for working in the Florida summer ahead of me.
Chichen Itza was beautiful, we learned about its history, how it was found and the architectural design.
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, and although spoke good English it was hard to follow his train of thought.
Long Road Home
We boarded the bus for our return journey home. The problem was, neither of us took down the name of the hotel we’d gotten picked up at. It was a short walk from our hostel, and because we’d booked with that hotel they would have to drop us off there.
We tried to tell them our names, because surely that would match whatever the hotel says on their sheet of paper? But this seemed far too difficult. We randomly stopped along the highway and half the bus got into a smaller mini van. We were supposed to be in this mini-van because another couple of girls who got the tour at the same hotel were getting in. But alas, there was no more room. So our return journey home took the longest. I was so tired I actually felt relief at going back to Hostel Mundo Mia.
Seeing a seventh wonder of the world sure was exhausting, but oh so worth it. The history and tourist nerd inside me was having a grand time. Mexico had me falling in love with it after one day.
Have you ever had an encounter with a scorpion? Visited a wonder of the world?
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