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Yucatán, Mexico - Jan 2014




Trip Report.


A five hour flight from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada (-27c) to Cancun (+25c)


From Cancun we took a 25 minute taxi to the ferry terminal, for a ride to the small Island of Mujeres.  We stayed for four days at the Maria's Kan Kin mini hotel, at the South end of the Island. Unfortunately it rained most of the time, sad.  however we did get to visit most of the Island with our rented golf cart.  We really enjoyed visiting the Turtle Rehab Farm, Pirate Mundaca's abandoned estate, with its eerie collection of beautiful crumbling buildings and arches, set amongst an acreage of jungle.  We also walked the pedestrian only street downtown, called 'Hidalgo', with a nice lunch break at 'Rolandi's' restaurant.


Returned by ferry to Cancun, we then picked up our rental car and headed inland for a three day stay at the Hacienda Chichen Itzá resort.  Of course we had to have lunch on the way, in the our favourite place in the town of Valladolid, El Meson del Marques ~ meals to remember!  The Hacienda Chichen Itzá resort is located right in the jungle near Chichen Itzá.  Having visited the Chichen Itzá ruins three time before, we chose to drive around the back roads to visit some of the other lesser known sites.  We went to the Cenote Yokdzonot, run by a local women's cooperative, which is rarely visited and in a truly beautiful setting.  The same day we also went to the small ruins of Yaxuna followed by a trip to Aké to see their ruins and working sisal (hennequin) factory, which is spectacularly set in a old abandoned hacienda.


One of the great things about staying at the Hacienda, besides the 1st class food & accommodation, is the fact the jungle is literally right there, untamed with small foot paths to many ruins that most people never see.  The jungle teems with birds, plants, fireflies and reptiles and you go to sleep to the sounds of frogs croaking and awake to birds singing. This hacienda is where the archaeologists stayed in the early 1900 hundreds to uncover the Chichen Itzá archaeological zone.


After a wonderful breakfast at the Hacienda, we drove the back roads North East to the town of Tizimin, for a lunch break and then onto the ferry terminal at Chiquila on the North coast.  We parked the car there for a week and then took the 20 minute ferry ride to the small Island of Isla Holbox, for a seven day stay at the Mawimbi Resort.  This was our second time at this wonderful resort, located right on the beach.  They truly have some of the best staff anywhere.  It had just finished raining for about 5 days, so many of the sand covered streets became mini lakes that the golf carts and people had to manoeuvre around.  Ah, Island life!


While on Holbox we took a private boat over to the uninhabited Island of Punta Mosquito.  It is a protected reserve, with a spectacular beach with hundreds of varieties of seashells and pristinely turquoise water surrounding it.  On our way back we were lucky enough to see some sleeping flamingos enjoying an afternoon nap.  Another visit everyone should do is a visit to the local animal shelter on Isla where a young vet and volunteers look after injured birds and animals.  The morning we were there we saw 2 young orphaned raccoons (I got to cuddle one baby) and pelicans with broken wings (who get to live out their lives here) and injured and stray dogs and cats.  There is no funding from the Mexican government for these places, so please make a donation to any shelter you visit instead of supporting exploited animals used for tourism.


Islá Holbox never disappoints with it's friendly people, beautiful beaches, sunsets, and family run, superb restaurants.  You will not find a brand name chain store or franchise here on this island yet.


After a week on Holbox we returned to the mainland and drove South-East down to Akumal and again stayed at the Akumal Beach Resort, for our last two weeks in the Yucatan.  We did a number of small side trips to Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Adventuras.  We did a long "discovery" drive, driving the jungle road from the main highway south of Tulum, to the boat dock at Playón.  We hoped to be able to pick up a ride with a fishing boat over to Punta Allen for a nice lunch.  However this was not to be, as no one was around.  So it was a Coke and a bag of chips on the dock and then a 2.5 hours drive back to the highway!  We did finally get a good photo of the beautiful Blue Morpho butterfly though!  We have seen them for years, but they are very hard to photograph, as they are almost always flying.  Finally we also have documented with photos, some of the truly original jungle "house markers" along the highways throughout the Yucatán.


Another day trip was about 1.5 hours South of Akumal, to the main modern Mayan city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto.  This city is steeped in Mayan history and is rarely visited by tourists, even though it has a nice museum and an intriguing market.  This included a local shaman/witch-doctor with his Voodoo doll and snake!  On the way back we stopped by Tulum and walked the amazing North end beach near the Mezzanine (Thai) restaurant.  Of course we enjoyed some of their appetizers and fresh Passion fruit margaritas.


For more trip reports and pictures of our previous journeys in the Yucatán click > here.