Sunday, May 8, 2016

Quintana Roo, April 2016

Another Mexican Photo Post, most of the pics are after the break. (All photos copyright D.W. Drang and the Cluemeter.)

So, all-inclusive resorts are pretty cool,the food was pretty good, just wander up to the beach bar and grab a mojito.  Or, you know, the staff comes by and brings you one in your cabana.

We were staying at a place just south of Puerto Morelos, which is between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (AKA the Great Mayan Reef) is just offshore; we were told repeatedly that Jacques Cousteau had called it the second best SCUBA Diving and snorkeling spot in the world.

We made plans to visit Chichen Itza, but the morning we were supposed to go we had some medical problems and so did not. Guess we'll have to go back. There are other Mayan sites as well. Didn't do any of those, either. Maybe if/when we go back...

"Look, honey, there's a cabana right outside our room!"
Turns out you can get sunburned while lying in your cabana drinking your mojito.



Our room was just up from the beach, next to the infinity pool.
This does not necessarily make for as quiet a vacation as one might want.

We did go snorkeling, of course.

I won't speak to Monsieur Cousteau's alleged statement about the relative value of this site versus others, based on one trip, but I enjoyed myself.
 

This is a sting ray. Not a great pic, sorry. Stay tuned for better!

Also, the sky is that weird plew color down there...
We also visited XCaret, an "eco-archaeological park". It features natural, cultural, and ethnic exhibits, and I was afraid it was going to be pretty cheesy. it wasn't, although its hard to describe an exhibit in which you float down an artificial underground river without it sounding, well, pretty cheesy.

We missed the Mayan ball game. (Sans sacrificing the captain of one of the teams. I always heard it was the captain of the losing side, but a few years ago someone started theorizing it was the winner, who would be more pleasing to the gods, or something...)

I was bobbing around in the artificial underground river, and unable to get a really good pic of the Mayan Jaguar Warrior...
Turns out that jaguar colorization is pretty good camouflage...
In addition to snorkeling, they have the "Sea Trek" thing.
The helmet is attached by a hose to a compressor on the surface.
Here we are going for a walk with the sting rays...
Facility was about 4 meters deep, with a walkway around the perimeter
and a bunch of rays, and other fish.
The divers, who are probably mostly life guards for the turistas,
had "Sting Ray and Shark Trainer" on their wet suits.
A sting ray's belly is silky smooth, the top side rougher.
The sting is removed from all these rays.
The Yucatan is also native habitat for manatees.
We didn't do the "swim with the manatees" tour, or whatever it's called...
The park is open until late, we didn't go until the day before we went home, though, and were tired enough we skipped a lot of the exhibits. So, I guess maybe if/when we go back, in addition to Chichen Itza we'll go back to catch the Mayan Ball Game, and give Mrs. Drang a chance to spend more time swapping technical pointers with the fiber artists at the Mayan Village crafts demonstration.

Plus, maybe the (real) jaguars and mountain lions will come out of the shade and be a little more photogenic. We left the aviary, as well, although we did see these guys:

We thought this was a quetzal. Looking at photos of them, maybe not.

And this guy is the rare Mexican Concretepecker...
The biggest problem with visiting the Yucatan Peninsula for us is the fact that getting there is an all-day affair. We were waiting at the ticket counter to check in at SEA when it opened, and arrived at the resort at about 7 PM, Eastern Time. Customs and Immigration at CUN took several hours; we made the mistake of arriving on Saturday, which is the major time share resort turnover day, and there were probably 7 other flights being processed at the same time.

We had been told that the resort we were staying at did not provide transportation, and to rent a car. Driving in this area was not a big deal, except that signage for the resort was missing at a critical point and we wound up driving around in circles for an hour or so, resulting in our late arrival. Pus, it turns out that the resort would have come and got us. Now we know--call the resort when making arrangements, to check these things.

We left the resort a week later at about 8:30, and arrived at home shortly before 10 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Customs and immigration at HOU was more efficient than in CUN, but to be fair, HOU is a bigger airport and they were not processing as many other flights. OTOH, the TSA checkpoint for international transfers does not do Pre-Check, which is slightly annoying, although again, it was not really busy enough for it to be horrible.

3 comments:

Old NFO said...

Looks good, but I'm staying out of Mexico for the foreseeable future!

D.W. Drang said...

Believe me, I researched it. Stay away from the border areas and you should be OK.
Police presence in the Yucatan is not as high as it was in Mazatlan, but they are taking no chances, either.

NotClauswitz said...

We were intending to go there in '89 when the hurricane (Gilbert?) hit Cozumel and made such a mess they had to rebuild everything, so we went to Guatemala to see Tikal and the pyramids instead. Not sure it was a great decision since Guatemala was having real problems. At one stopping-point, at the intersection of three country roads, there was a manned .30 M1919 on a tripod surrounded by sand-bags. Later we found-out that an American who ran a hotel in Flores and helped us change money was killed by "somebody"...