Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cancun

Cancun, Nov. 2014


Ever since we had our baby Megan a couple years ago, we've been unable to go on vacation just the 2 of us.  We finally were able to do it.  Liz's Mom watched her while we went to Cancun.  Years ago we went on a cruise that stopped at Cozumel.  From there we took a day excursion to a place called XCaret.  We really enjoyed it and so decided to go there again, this time staying in a hotel so as to be able to do more things in the area.
We found a good Cancun tour company that we got a good deal on excursions and hotel.  The hotel where we stayed (Salvia) was in the hotel zone, which is on a strip of narrow land with the ocean on one side and a lagoon on the other (off the mainland).  Our room was right on the beach.  There were a couple of downsides like being next to a late night dance club whose sound kept us up a bit of the night.  Other then that, it was a decent place.

XCaret


Our first day we went to XCaret which is just a little over an hour south of Cancun.  It's called an eco-archeological park that combines jungle, animals, Mayan history, beach stuff and Mexican history and culture stuff.  In the morning we did things such as wandering around underground tunnels.  That brought us to an enclosed butterfly area where we walked among them.  We also saw jaguars, turtles, sting rays and dolphins.  While taking a picture next to a macaw, it tried to nibble Liz's ear.
For lunch we went to a Mexican buffet. There were a variety of different dishes besides the traditional tacos, rice, and beans. Liz tried some fried cactus but didn't care too much for the texture. After lunch we swam in the underground river.  When we came last time, this was what we really liked most.

Now they've taken the one river and divided it up into three - one mostly underground, one mostly not and the last about half of both.  We only had time to do one section, we did the underground section.  It was neat, but we preferred the one river it used to be.


We then went to the beach area where we relaxed on some hammocks for a few minutes.  There was also a shallow area that we could snorkel.  We tried it, but the water was so murky that we couldn't see much.
When it got dark there was a 2 hour cultural song and dance presentation.  It started out with people playing the ancient Mayan ball game where using their hips they hit the ball back and forth and try to hit the ball through sideways hoops high up the sides of the court.  Next they played a game that looked like flaming hockey.



They did presentations that showed parts of Mexican history, like when the Spaniards came, the Catholic missionaries converting the natives to Christianity, the establishing of the railroad.  They also did songs and dances that different parts of Mexico are known for.



Cancun

The next 2 days we stayed in Cancun.  We went to a flea market downtown called Mercado 28.  walking by each tiny shop the owners would continuously try and call you into their shops to buy something.  It got annoying after a while.
We spent some time at the beach.  Near our hotel there is a sea wall that blocks most of the waves and makes an area that is pretty calm.  The water in that area was very clear.  While we were in that water some fish came and wanted to make friends with us.  Also they nibbled on us a couple times.




We also spent some time playing in the waves.
We had put on sunscreen, but we still managed to get pretty bad sunburns.  Somehow we never manage to go to a beach without getting burned.


XPlor

Our last day we went to an adventure park called XPlor.  The first thing you notice is that half the park is underground.  The entrance / ticketing area and more are caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites.  They give you helmets to wear the whole day.

The first activity we did was ziplining.  There are 2 routes.  The first route you went up very high towers and zipped to another tower, which you in turn climbed up and zipped to another tower.  That route you were quite high above the trees.  It took Liz a couple of zips to feel comfortable being so high up.  The last part of the route you zip through a waterfall into water in a cave.  That was pretty cool.
The second route wasn't as high (close to the tree tops).  There was also more water things along the route.  There was even a waterslide that you go down.  Very awesome.

We then went and did ATVs.  You get to drive on trails through the jungle.  At times the trails take you through underground tunnels.

After lunch we went to to do the rafts.

You sit on these 2-seat rafts, attach paddles to your hands and navigate underground caves.



It was pretty cool, though the people in front of us couldn't figure out how to control their raft.  They kept getting stuck sideways, which stopped us.  The people behind us kept running into us while we were waiting for the people in front of us.

The last activity we did was a cave swim.  It was a little bit different from the XCaret swim in that this was completely undeground and in more natural caves (with stalactites and stalagmites).

There were also sharp rocks that you occasionally stepped on or rubbed against.










Other Thoughts


Liz enjoyed the food quite a lot.  She tried Mexican mole for the first time, which she liked.  She had lots of fruits and native foods. Close to our hotel there was a restaurant called Le'Natura specializing in healthy foods. The breakfast menu was pretty good. Liz loved the fresh squeezed lemonade, carrot juice and freshly made salsa and guacamole. At one point she ordered coconut juice, expecting it to come in a glass.  Instead, they gave her a green bowling-ball sized coconut, with the top cut off and a straw in it, she thought it was neat.  For me, let's just say that while some were okay, some of their hamburgers where quite far from the type of burger I enjoy at home.
Cancun is billed as a place where all the locals know serviceable English, but it was good that both of us know Spanish.  We spoke more Spanish than English while we were down there.

It was a fun vacation, hard to come home to normal life.

2 comments:

B said...

Sounds like a really great vacation! The xplor sounded especially amazing.

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