Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Mayan Ruins of Tulum

The Mayan ruins of Tulum are situated on dramatic cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The site was once a port for the city of Coba, being the entry point for land and sea tradings. The port was most active between the 13th and 15th centuries, and it's demise was most likely caused by the Old World diseases brought in by the Spanish settlers.

What really sets this site apart from other ruin sites I have seen in Mexico (Coba, Chichen Itza, Teotihuacan) is it's setting. The site is relatively small, my mom and I walked around the whole site in 1.5 hours or less, but the view are spectacular. I could picture the ships coming in with copper, feathers, textiles, and salt. 

We took the colectivo there and a taxi back. The colectivo is a shared public transportation option, ie this van. It cost 3 U.S. dollars to go to the Tulum ruins site, and significantly more to take a taxi back!

Templo Dios del Viento - Gods of Wind Temple
Templo Dios del Viento - Gods of Wind Temple
This beach is protected for sea turtles to lay their eggs!
Pyramid El Castillo - The Castle
Pyramid El Castillo - The Castle, the iguana
Pyramid El Castillo - The Castle
Loving these palm tree vibes.
The Great Palace in the background.
Temple of the Frescos

The Abandoned Resort (the funniest scary movie)

My mom and I really enjoyed walking around the abandoned and broken down resorts on the beach near our hotel. So we wanted to capture it on film and also honor my wonderful brother Savva because he is our movie making inspiration!

Enjoy the part where my mom does or says anything...

Friday, June 12, 2015

The One with the Cenote and the Turtles

While in Mexico, my mom and I went on a half day tour to swim in a cenote and later to swim with sea turtles. We were taken to Cenote Caracol, which was lit up pretty and somewhat Disneyland-esque and snorkeled/swam around the chilly waters checking out the stalactites all around.

A cenote (see-no-tay) is a groundwater pool which was opened up by the collapse of the limestone around it. The name 'cenote' means sacred well, because in times of droughts, the Mayans used the cenotes as a water source, and they also believed the cenotes were a portal to speak with the gods.

Cenote Caracol

After the pretty, dark cenote and it's chilly waters, we went to sunny Akumal to snorkel in the warm waters and search for green sea turtles. I was able to get away from the group and follow a couple of turtles on my own - what a magical experience!
-They swim so much faster than I imagined.
-The underwater sand is covered in sea grass, which the turtles munch on all day.
-The turtles lay their eggs between June and October, and at that time many areas of the beaches on the coast are closed off to protect the turtles and the eggs.
-What is really remarkable is that the female turtles lay their eggs in exactly the same place they themselves were born!

Tip: You can actually swim with the turtles in Akumal for free or cheap. The beach is busy with sunbathers and swimmers, just grab/rent a snorkel set and head out. You don't even have to go very deep!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Caribbean Sea - Xpu-Ha - Tulum - Mexico

Us gals.
This March, my mom was kind enough to take us on a trip to the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea in Mexico for 5 nights and 6 days. We stayed at Catalonia Royal Tulum, an adults-only all inclusive resort in Xpu-Ha (Shpoo-ha), close to Tulum. With life taking a turn for the new and unknown, this trip came at a good time to pause and reflect in a relatively quiet place.

Blue on blue on blue. It was very windy by the water,
so we moved to the pool.
My take on all-inclusive resorts is that they are great for people like my hard-workin', bread-winnin' mother who is tired and achy all over. Sitting on the beach in a warm place and being taken care of is perfect when she feels that way. Of course I was the annoying daughter who was frustrated that we weren't eating authentic Mexican cuisine and were isolated from reality. But at the end of the day, there is a time and place for all vacations: adventure or leisure, there are many options. I should not complain - I got a lot of vitamin D, swam in the warm waters, used the gym, and got enough sleep on a regular basis. I also read the very depressing The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (her daughter's name was Quintana Roo, we were staying in the Mexican State Quintana Roo) and would recommend it to anyone going through loss.

Also, I was so incredibly lucky because my very good friend Frank and his very lovely girlfriend Morgan were staying in Tulum around the same time! Through the power of technology/wifi/email and colectivo I was able to meet them for dinner on my first night! And through the power of serendipity, my mom and I ran into them on a beach on their last day. Oh happy day!!

Anyway here are some photos of the gorgeous beach and surroundings that I was able to inundate myself with that week.

Dinner at la Zebra
Boating after dinner.
Mama <3
Abandoned, destroyed hotel. We filmed a HORROR short film here, I will upload it soon.
My beautiful mom's birthday dinner on the beach!