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Mush & Alga's Adventure: Playa del Carmen
12-15-2009
We spent about a week at the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa all inclusive. We went to Chichen Itza, Chankanaab in Cozumel and the town of Playa del Carmen. Love the blue clear water.

Photo Posts from: Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen, Riveria Maya
Playa del Carmen, Riveria Maya
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Last 30 posts for: Playa del Carmen

Downtown Area of Playa del CarmenWednesday, September 19, 2012
Originally a small fishing village, Playa (as it is called) is a fairly large city that now caters to tourist.  As we walked the main streets of the downtown area we saw small vendors, hotels, brand name expensive shops, restaurants, and lots of booths set up to sell time shares.  They can be rude as you walk by, beware if you engage them, they don't like to take no for an answer......got old.  We learned quickly to keep walking as they yelled at us as we walked by....not a good tourist attraction.  The beach and ferry to Cozumel are close to the main downtown shopping area.

We went into Playa a couple of times.  There are lots of bars and nightclubs but by the end of the day we wanted to spend time enjoying the peace and quiet of the beach.....not party animals anymore (Mush has never been a party animal).  Our hotel was about 15 minutes from this downtown area.



Playa del Carmen, Riveria MayaWednesday, September 19, 2012

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Look how easily plants grow in the tropical weather....so pretty.

Chankanaab National ParkWednesday, September 19, 2012
Chankanaab National Park, a conservation area, is about ten minutes south of San Miguel, we went by taxi and the cost was low.  At Dolphin Discovery there are a variety of dolphin experiences available, for a price.   We went snorkeling just off the beach, using the parks equipment, and it was okay but not great.  After the fact, we discovered that a hurricane had destroyed on of the best reefs in the world a few years earlier.  We learned that if we had taken a short boat trip we would have seen a more beautiful reef.  Divers have been coming to Cozumel for years, it used to be considered one of the best dive locations in the world, I don't think it still is.  The park is beautiful, it's hard not to be with all the tropical plants and that awesome water.

There is a pool/pond area that is gorgeous, the water is so clear that we were able to photograph the fish in the water and see them clearly.  As always, there are iguana everywhere.  We spent a few hours enjoying the park and then went back to San Miguel to explore the city.


Cozumel - Chankanaab National Park 3Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Mush after snorkeling and seeing the park.....having fun.

Cozumel - Chankanaab National Park 2Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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So pretty and clear.

Cozumel-Chankanaab National ParkWednesday, September 19, 2012

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Looking at the cruise ships in Cozumel from the dolphin pen.

CozumelWednesday, September 19, 2012

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Waiting for the last ferry back to Playa del Carmen.....we got to see Cozumel after dark.

Cozumel - Boat Ride to the IslandWednesday, September 19, 2012

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Alan watching Playa del Carmen disappear as we head toward Cozumel.

Chichen ItzaWednesday, September 19, 2012
We had such a great day.  A tour bus picked us up at our hotel and we made the journey from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza by way of Valladolid.  It is a smaller town that doesn't cater to the tourists as much as Cancun or Playa del Carmen but we didn't get to stop so all our photos are from inside the bus.  The Mayan people tend to be small of stature and most that we met had sweet natures.  We did stop (I don't know where) for lunch and the waiters performed a traditional dance with a bottle on their heads.  Our next stop was the cenote which you can see below.

The history of Chichen Itza is vast and Wikipedia has a great short version if you want to learn more.  Wikipedia helped me identify the structures in our photos.  We did have guides but they moved quickly and it was hard to hear most of them, I learned the name of the structures while putting captions on the photos!

On what I call the back side of The Temple of Kukulkan aka El Castillo, are newly discovered ruins that are in the process of being discovered as we speak.  What you see in the photos was only uncovered about six months prior to our visit.  We were told that any mound you see is probably a building/ruin of some kind, they don't have the funds to excavate all the mounds.  You can just feel the history as you walk the grounds of Chichen Itza.  

The merchants sell their goods in various places on the grounds.  We were told to wait until the end of the day to buy as the prices would be cheaper.  We found that to be true.  I love the colors in the traditional blankets so I bought one.....I use it as a door cover into our exercise room.  We did meet the tiniest ninety year old woman who was selling her cross stitch items that she still makes....she looked very healthy and had all her mental abilities.  I want to be like her when I get old!

If you get the chance, go experience Chichen Itza, we felt like we were stepping back in time.....we treasure this journey.


Chichen Itza 6Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Las Monjas aka The Nunnery was actually a governmental palace.  La Iglesia aka The Church is to the left.

Chichen Itza 5Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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El Caracol ("The Snail")  is an observatory....makes us think twice about the abilities of the Mayan.

Chichen Itza 4 - Temple of Kukulkan aka El Castillo Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Overview of the newly discovered ruins on the back side of  Temple of Kukulkan aka El Castillo.

Chichen Itza 3Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Michelle in front of the Temple of Kukulkan aka El Castillo.

Chichen Itza - Great Ball Court 2Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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On the east side of the Great Ball Court, sits The Upper Temple of the Jaguar  where the priests and special people sat to watch the ball game.

Chichen Itza 1Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Seeing this pyramid for the first time just blows you away.  It's awesome.  Temple of Kukulkan aka El Castillo.

Chichen Itza - On The Way ThereWednesday, September 19, 2012

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The Hotel Maria de la Luz, Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico.  A large hotel.

Ik Kil CenoteWednesday, September 19, 2012
On our way to Chichen Itza, we stopped by Ik Kil, a beautiful cenote just outside of Piste which sits in the northern center of the Yucatan Peninsula and is part of the Ik Kil Archeological Park.  It was included in our bus tour that took us to Chichen Itza.  The cenote is about 85 feet below the ground and you can see the sky from below.  The vines reach down to the water....an awesome site....and that is how the vines get their water.  The site of the cenote has a restaurant, store, changing rooms and charming little cottages for rent.  The grounds are filled with all different colors of bougainvillea and Mush was in heaven!  I think there are Mayan ruins there too, be we didn't see them.  They have held the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in 2010 and 2011.....diving from the top is a long way down.  

Alan photographed a young couple that were on their honeymoon as they jumped off the diving rock, caught them in midair.  He found them and told them about the photo and they got so excited....we emailed the photo of their jump to them....an awesome honeymoon memory for them.  The cenote was fun and one of natures many gifts.

Ik Kil Cenote 4Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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People lined up waiting to dive into the cold water of the cenote.

Ik Kil Cenote 3Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Looking down into the cenote.

Ik Kil Cenote 2Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Great little cottages for rent, and they are close to the pyramids at Chichen Itza.

Ik Kil Cenote 1Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Mush loving on the bougainvillea again!

Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & SpaWednesday, September 19, 2012
We returned from our Carnival Cruise and missed the water so much that we were back in Mexico two weeks later!  We quickly discovered that cruise shore excursions are entirely too short to be able to explore each area that you visit.  We like to really experience the areas that we visit, so we booked a stay at the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa, an all inclusive hotel 15 minutes from downtown Play del Carmen.  We took taxis to get to and from the hotel, about $10 each way, renting a car wasn't necessary for short trips.  There are vans that will take you from the airport to the various hotels, fares are sometimes included in the room rates, sometimes they cost $40 to $50 each way, it's about a 45 minute trip from Cancun.

Our room was nice, large and clean.  The bed was comfy but our favorite spot was the balcony looking out toward the ocean.  We were not right on the beach but we could see it, now we try to get our rooms as close to the water as possible, we're learning!

We enjoyed our stay at the Caracol, all meals were included and the food was pretty good, not 5 star but good.  We found a little snack bar area  that had fresh guacamole, chips, sandwiches and we ate there a lot.  That's also where the Macaws ate (their own food, not ours) and it was fun to watch them as we ate.  The beach was beautiful and there are not words to describe the color of the water, it's mesmerizing!  Alan rode a jet ski in the ocean for the first time and his legs were shaking when he got off of it.  Thirty minutes on a jet ski in the ocean is enough for someone not 20!

We got up early every morning to watch the sunrises.  They were beautiful and the colors change every minute.  We have lots of photos for you to look at, hope you find a few that inspire you.   There are also lots of native animals running all around the resort, that was fun.



Caricol Hotel Sunrises 2Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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We got up early every morning to watch the sunrise.....it was worth it.....they were awesome.  Enjoy.

Caricol Hotel Sunrises 1Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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We got up early every morning to watch the sunrise.....it was worth it.....they were awesome.  Enjoy.

Caricol Hotel CrittersWednesday, September 19, 2012

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These Macaws were free to come and go....the hotel staff just gave them food....so pretty in their natural setting.

Caricol Hotel - Beach 2Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Do we look like we're having fun?  We are loving the beach and Mexico!

Caricol Hotel - Beach 1Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Great beach to relax and enjoy the ocean.

Caricol Hotel Our RoomWednesday, September 19, 2012

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The favorite part of our room....the balcony.

Caricol Hotel 2Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Such a beautiful flower from a tree on the grounds of the hotel.

Caricol Hotel 1Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Hotel lobby.

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