Mitch and his driver picked us up at the hotel this morning at 8:00. Mitch is from Canada and came to Mexico about 20 years ago. He has a company now, taking people to show them around Tulum and the areas of Playa del Carmen and Cancun; introducing them to the unique sights of the area. Our first stop today was to visit the Mayan ruins in Tulum. We met Alex, who was our tour guide at the site. Alex knew a lot of interesting facts about how the Mayans lived. We learned that the ruins in Tulum are post-classical, whereas the ruins in Uxmal were classical. These ruins were right on the edge of the ocean and so were especially beautiful and very different from the desert-like setting of Uxmal.
These ruins were very different from Uxmal. The faces of the rocks were not carved as extravagantly as were those in Uxmal, and because of all the moisture from the ocean, the ruins were not as well preserved, however, you could definitely see how the structure of the civilization was designed. There were a lot of palm trees and lush vegetation around the ruins. We walked along the edge of the ruins and looked down at the ocean, trying to imagine what it would have been like to live here.
After visiting the ruins in Tulum, Mitch took us to swim and snorkel in a cenote. It was refreshing and fun, but this cent was not as beautiful as were the ones we swam in near Sotuto, near Merida. We went off to have lunch at the beach and the most wonderful surprise awaited us! We parked the van and walked a bit towards the ocean. The sand beneath our feet was white and so soft...almost like flour. As we walked through palm trees, the sea appeared in front of us. The color was indescribable. The blues and greens of the ocean water were clear and you could tell by the color of the water that it was shallow for quite a distance. Mitch pointed out the Barrier Reef, explaining to us that they protected the Mayans from intruders. He explained about how the Spanish came to the Yucatan Peninsula and explored the coasts. We had time to swim in the warm waters and jump through the waves. It was a heavenly experience and the water was like something we had never seen before. We spent time swimming, laying in the hammocks around the property and then had lunch. Mitch had made us a chicken lunch with guacamole, chips and salsa and lots of fresh fruit. It was the best lunch ever, mostly because it was near the beautiful ocean. We stayed there for a couple of hours and then went to visit another cent.
Our second cenote of the day was a bit different as there were several men scuba diving there. Apparently there was a cave deep below the surface and divers went far back into the cave exploring. Many of us went swimming around snorkeling and some of us jumped and dove off of the cliffs there. This day will long be remembered because of the sheer beauty of the ocean. We all got sunburned that day, and I for one think it was well worth it!