Mexico (4)

Tulum, Mexico pt 3


Mexico's aquifer system is unique and exciting because of its topography. There are so many cave swimming holes where you can snorkel into the caves. I'm not brave enough to try cave scuba diving, although many people here do that. The cave system is much more open and large than in Florida allowing for numerous long dives between the cenotes. It's incredible. At Parque Dos Ojos we swam into several large cave chambers and one of them was completely enclosed and had an opening where bats would fly in and out. There were 4k bats inside the cave. It was nice to swim into the caves and see the bats. Seeing the underwater caves is also amazing because the visibility in the cenotes is so clear and the water is so fresh. They gave us flashlights as part of tour and we could see further into the cave. It all comes from rainwater apparently, so the water is crystal clear like in the photos. You can see everything very visibly. There were no obstructions. I was amazed by the caves underwater because the chambers are so huge. There were large stalagmites and its really awe inspiring. I also went to a few other very interesting cenotes that were very picturesque and beautiful. The cenote Nichte Ha was one such cenote where the photographs were incredible and the underwater scene was also amazing. There were many large fish swimming around and it seems the habitat is well maintained for the lotuses and scenery to be beautiful. Although many people visit there to take a dip it seems as though the cenote itself was very alive. There was also a large cave opening to swim into as well and some divers came up from within the cave at one point. Peering into the depts of the cave system was really amazing. I was surprised how far I could see without a flashlight. 



Tulum, Mexico pt 2


I have been finding local life to be nice in the village of Tulum. People are amiable, and in the neighborhoods, there is a close-knit feel where there are animals running around and kids, people's doors are open, and there are people around. It's nice and very different from the sort of closed-off neighborhoods of San Diego or Las Vegas, where people are more independent. You might see your neighbors outside sometimes but the space is so much more distant it seems. I have been enjoying the local tacos and taking the collectivo vans around, which are the cheap minivan-style "buses" that run people from Tulum to Playa del Carmen. So far I have been able to go anywhere I have wanted in the collectivo. 

Snorkeling at Gran Cenote and then at Akumal presented some exciting experiences. Gran cenote is another part of Mexico's excellent underwater cave system. It's very different from the natural springs I experienced in Florida, also frequented by scuba divers. These caves are more visible, and you could easily peer deeper into dark chambers and be entirely swimming through and within caves with bats in them. It's incredible, scary, and creepy, adding to the fun.

The coral reef system at Akumal is lovely. Since it is a national park, they cater to groups of tourists, but I chose a solo route. The solo route led me to nearly three hours of exploring coral reefs alone. Swimming up to giant brain corals with numerous multicolored fish. I saw an octopus. I saw a whole school of cuttlefish. I can't even name everything I saw. 

Ya Kul was a nearby lagoon that I walked to that is the breeding ground for many fish. I saw many species I did not see at Akumal, including a parrotfish that was half my size, was rainbow-colored from head to tail and had green spots. It was one of the most beautiful fish I had ever seen. Otherwise, Ya Kul is mostly boulders on the bottom with no reefs, which makes for an adventure just swimming around and seeing the schools of fish. Apparently it takes a few trips to see all the different kinds since they come out at different times of the day. 

Needed an underwater camera for my snorkeling adventures to share the beauty. Something to consider next time. 


Tulum and Cozumel, Mexico


First few days in Mexico were really incredible. Aside from the stress of packing everything I own and putting it into storage, selling my car, and otherwise checking out of the US and into Mexico, once I got to Mexico I had a fairly easy time. This is the first stop in a 6 month long experience of living in Central and South America.

Since I arrived on NYE, and got off my flight at 8pm, it did take me nearly four hours to make it to my AirBnB which was about an hour away.

The next day, on the New Years day, I went snorkeling in the Mesoamerican reef, which is second to the Great Barrier reef. I was on the island of Cozumel for just half a day. The boat had to travel nearly an hour to get to our snorkel spot. It was beautiful. I saw many amazing coral reefs, with tropical fish. We also went to one part of the beach that had giant sea stars and I was really zoned in on the stars for about a half an hour and then a huge 5ft stingray swam by and it looked amazing. We also went to one place to have some snacks and the stingrays started to swim around us. They were eating some of the ceviche that the local guides had prepared for everyone. I guess stingrays like ceviche. 

Then I arrived in Tulum and the first week mainly I spent working from home and settling in. I have been eating local foods and tacos every day. Otherwise, I'm still trying to keep my workout schedule and go to dance classes in the evenings. On Saturday, I went to a couple of cenotes or natural springs nearby. I had an incredible time overall. There is so much to do in the Yucatan that it's pretty overwhelming. I could live here for a whole year, and even if I went out every weekend probably would not see everything in Yucatan. 

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