The Yucatán Peninsula

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“I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand, 
Life is good today, Life is good today.” Song “Toes” by Zac Brown Band

The Yucatan Peninsula: Situated between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the Yucatan Peninsula comprises three Mexican states of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo.

From Palenque we drove northeast to Escárcega, then to Campeche on the Gulf of Mexico. We drove through the big city of Merida and crossed over to Valladolid where we swam in an underground lake. From there we headed to Cancun – a famous vacation destination. We drove the Boulevard Kukulkan to the huge shopping centres and the hotel zone. There were some great looking hotels, resorts, restaurants but too big and busy for us. So we headed to Playa del Carmen – still very touristy and expensive – but we really enjoyed the white sand beaches and turquoise waters on the Caribbean coast. We also experienced the night life in Playa del Carmen. There was also a rain storm with lightning & thunder. It was wild, but we had an excuse to stay longer at the yummie French Bakery “Chez Celine”. We slowly moved down the Caribbean coast to Tulum. This is where we snorkeled for the 1st time. And finally to Chetumal, where we spend the last 2 nights camping in Mexico before we entered into Belize.

The picturesque city of Campeche

The capital of Campeche State, this colonial city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. One glance explains why: the cobblestone streets, meticulously restored pastel-colored facades of row upon row of Spanish Colonial buildings and intact stone walls of the old city (built to repel the pirates that plundered the city in the 17th and 18th centuries) render the entire town postcard-perfect.

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Laundry in Mexico

Doing laundry in Mexico is so easy and cheap….:-)

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look for a “lavanderia”. They will weigh (see blue basket) your dirty laundry at the entrance and the next day….

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….et voilà. you get it back washed, dried, nicely folded and packed in a plastic bag

“Cenote” in Valladolid

There are literally thousands of cenotes in Yucatan. Cenotes are underwater sinkholes formed when limestone caves collapse, revealing these underground pools. We spend the night in the large parking lot of Cenote Cabana Suytun in Valladolid. At the bar of the restaurant we met Louis, a pleasant Mayan man. It was wonderful and interesting to learn about his culture and learn some Mayan words. He was also interested in our culture and so we spend hours sharing – and all this with little Spanish knowledge:-). He is extremely busy with 2 jobs (works at night at the bar during the day he handcrafts Piñatas), only sleeps 1-2 hours at home and only a few hours when it’s quite at the bar (bar is open 24 hours). Religion is a big part of their daily life (every day they practise religion for 2 hours. We don’t know how when he has time to see his 3 little kids. His dream is to have his proper Piñatas factory and would like to offer safe working places to his peers. May his dream come true!

The next morning we visited the cenote and WOW…. how amazing. Spectacular cenote, crystal clear water with rays of sunlight filtering through the small hole in the roof. The mystical music in the background added to the experience.

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Cenote Suytun. The word Suytun is Maya and means: “Suy” = Centro (centre) “tun” = piedad (stone)

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A first time experience for us to swim in an underground lake

Living the dream along The Caribbean Sea

The Mayan Riviera includes the Caribbean coastal area from Cancun south to Tulum.

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truly a “Blue Vision”

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We camped in the parking lot of this resort right on the beach (a huge advantage for us because our car doesn’t look like a camper

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Living the Dream at XPU-HA Campgrounds a little south of Playa del Carmen

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Fantastic campground – this was the most expensive one but well worth it

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…with good coffee from Chiapas on the beach

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at this campground we met great people from Canada

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Evening entertainment in Playa del Carmen

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the Portal Maya Sculpture with the beach and turquoise waters of the sea in the background! The monument, standing over 50 feet high, portrays a man and a woman, being pushed upwards by a spiral of wind and water, and holding hands. All around the spirals, the sculpture includes depictions of other elements important to the area including a jaguar, shells, people from the past and present, and two rings from the Mayan ball game

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Maya warriors/dancers – Portal Maya Sculpture – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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rythmic performance

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big warrior

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the big & little warrior

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Drummers

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oh là là…..

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oh là là….

Tulum & first time snorkelling

For the longest time I had no interest in snorkelling or diving. I thought that water is not my element and I also have a huge respect (even a little scared). But that day I was curious, the opportunity so close and I decided to give it a try. I was a bit nervous but the guide assured me that he would explain me everything and also swim with me and make sure I am alright. I guess everybody knows that Ivan did not need to be convinced:-) After a quick tour along the ruins in Tulum we stopped where the water was very shallow and clear. Wow, we are at the 2nd longest reef in the world. Gear mounted and instructions given we jumped into the water. Oh gosh…I immediately forgot all the worries and enjoyed this new world. All these colours, fishes, plants…. I was so wrong about the idea of snorkelling and glad I finally did it. Now I understand why people are so fascinated about this underwater world. I would have never thought that I would enjoy it so much. Another thing that is so interesting on this trip is, that I discover so many new things about myself.

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The beach just south of Tulum

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The Tulum archaeological site, seen from the boat

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OK, I agree that the combination of ruins and sandy beaches is unique, but it was good enough to see them from the boat

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gear mounted and ready to go

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they are waiting for me….

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Am I ready to do this?

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thanks to our guide and his crew

Chetumal – last destination in Mexico

The last two nights we stayed at the beautiful Yax-Ha Resort in Chetumal and got everything ready for the crossing into Belize.

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Yax-Ha Resort in Chetumal

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4 thoughts on “The Yucatán Peninsula

  1. Enjoying your journey with you from afar, and your pictures are so amazing, seen only a few with your toes in the water & not too many with your ass in the sand. Lol
    That’s a gret song.

  2. Fantastic photos Fabienne. It is definitely a beautiful & picturesque part of Mexico. Safe travels. Carole y Rod

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