A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: katiew

And finally, Isla Mujeres

sunny

From Valladolid I decided that I wanted to spend my last few days relaxing at the beach. I got the bus to Cancun but decided not to stay and went straight to Isla Mujeres, about a 20 minute boat ride away. After finding a hostel and having lunch I spent the rest of the day exploring the northern end of the island, around the main town and beach. The hostel itself even had its own private area of beach, but unfortunately it wasn't safe for swimming.

the next day I met a few people in the morning and we decided to go on a snorkelling trip. this was really good fun, we went out on a boat to 2 different snorkelling sites, where we saw loads of different types of fish and shellfish including barracuda, starfish and a huge sting ray. After the snorkelling we were taken to a place where you could swim with a shark, but it seemed really cruel to the shark the way it was kept in a tiny tank and constantly handled, so I didn't bother with that. We also went to a turtle hatchery where we saw several different types of turtles, including hundreds of baby ones. After that it was time for lunch. We were given a huge BBQed fish to share between the 5 of us, very tasty. Then we were taken back in to town and spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach until sunset.

Unfortunately the next day it was very windy, so we decided to hire bikes and cycle round the island. despite the island being relatively small and flat, the wind made cycling difficult but it was a good way to get around and see the rest of the island.

For my last day the weather had improved a little bit so I managed to do all the typical holiday things, went to the beach, went for a swim in the sea, a bit of souvenir shopping, had an ice-cream and lay in a hammock. I had met several other people who were flying home the next day so we went out for a nice meal to celebrate the end of our travels.

The next day I had to get up early to start my journey home. A boat to Cancun, to buses to the airport, a flight to New York, a flight to Dublin, a 12 hour delay and finally a flight to Glasgow. Altogether this took about 40 hours, so by the end of it I was very pleased to finally be home.

Posted by katiew 10:33 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Campeche, Merida and Valladolid

sunny 27 °C

From Palenque I went to the small colonial town of Campeche for 1 night. Unfortunatly I was there Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, when everything was closed so it was really quiet and there wasn't much to do. But it was a nice town and it was interesting to walk around the walls, which were built by the Spanish to protect the town from pirates.

On Monday afternoon I took a short bus ride to Merida, a bigger colonial town towards the coast. I spent the following day in the city. In the morning there was a free tour of the city visiting some of the historic buildings around the centre, including the cathedral which is though to be the oldest cathederal in all the Americas. I also saw the market, and the anthropology museum. In the evenings there were free music and dance performances in the plazas, these were good fun to watch and seem to provide as much entertainment for thelocals as the tourists. The following day I spent the morning in the city visiting the city museum and an art gallery, before getting the busto Vallodolid.

I arrived in Vallodolid late afternoon at the same time as all the day trips to the ruins of Chichen Itza. The main plaza was packed full of coachloads of tourists and people trying to sell the usual tourist junk (even inside the cathedral). But soon they all left and it became a nice place to be. I went to the small museum about the local history and had a nice meal by the plaza. The following day I went to see Chichen Itza. I arrived early and was able to see most of the site before all the huge tour groups turned up and took over the place. It was another interesting day, with several features that i hadn't seen at the other ruins I have visited. In the afternoon I went to see a cenote, a kind of underground lake that is common in the area because of the rock type. The one I saw, the cave had collapsed on one side so it was now half in the open.

Posted by katiew 15:53 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Palenque

sunny 28 °C

From San Cristobal I travelled to PAlenque to see more Mayan ruins. I had a really good day visiting the ruins and 2 waterfalls in the area. The ruins were really impressive, although not as big as the site at Tikal, I found it much more interesting. The buildings were more ornately decorated with glyphs that have been translated and thought to tell the history and important events of the site. There was also a really good museum containing the very impressive sarcophagus of the most important ruler of the area and many other artefacts that have been discovered. In the afternoon we visted the waterfall at Misol-ha and aguas azul, which was a really nice place for a walk and a swim.

There wasn't much to see in Palenque town itself, it only exists as a base for visitng the ruins but in the evenings there was good live music in the main square.

Posted by katiew 10:25 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Last but not least, Mexico

Oaxaca and San Cristobal

sunny 25 °C

I arrived in Oaxaca Friday morning after a very long bus journey. But for once it was a comfortable one, I went in a minibus instead of the standard public transport. For the first 10 hours it was less than half full and for the last 18 hours it was just me and the driver. But the last couple of hours on windy roads I was starting to feel sick so was glad when we finally arrived. Only problem was it wasn´t travel sick like I thought, I continued being sick for the next few days and spent most of the weekend in bed and unable to eat anything. Unfortunatly this meant I also missed most of the day of the dead celebrations which sounded really interesting. Around the town centre nd in most buildings people had made arches of marigolds and decorated them with other plants and offerings to welcome back the dead. All weekend in the evenings there were people walking around in fancy dress. I recovered enough to see some of the sights in the city. I really enjoyed the Santo Domingo Conevent, its museum and gardens. THe museum was excelent, a good chance to learn all about Mexican history and the culture of the different ethnic groups.

By Monday night I felt wel enough to get the overnight bus to San Cristobal. I arrived early in the morning and celebrated finally feeling better again by having a huge breakfast, my first meal for several days. I spent the day explring the city, another really nice place to spend a lot of time wandering around all the plazas, churches and buildings. I also went to the Na Bolam museum, about a tribe that live in the rain forest and were unaffected by the rest of the world until about 1950 when logging started in the area. Interesting to see how they are trying to maintain some of their traditions.

THe following day I went on a really interesting tour to 2 of the neibouring indigenous villages. We had an excellent guide who explained the different cultures and traditions. Visitng the church and finding out about their religion was interesting. The Spanish missionaries built a church but failed to convert the village to Christianity, instead they now have a religon which mixes Mayan beliefs with some aspects of Christianity. They pray to the normal Catholic saints using Mayan prayers. In the church there are no services or a priest, families can go to the church at any time and make offerings to the saints, incuding sacrificing chickens.

The following day I went on a oat trip through Sumidero canyon, a huge canyon which is over 1km deep in places. Very spectacular scenery and a good chance to see a bit of wildlife.

Posted by katiew 10:16 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Quetzeltenango

sunny

From Chichicastenango I got the bus to Quetzeltenango. There isn´t really a lot to see in the city. The main site seemed to be a very strange museum which had a bit of everything from Mayan pottery to old photocopiers, a stuffed siamese goat with 1 head and 2 bodies and a selection of fetuses (including human).

My reason for coming here was to do a bit of hiking in the surrouding hills. So the next day I went for a hike up Volcano Santa Maria, an extinct volcano not far from the town. It was a really good walk. We set off early in the morning and it was completly overcast but we soon climbed above the clouds and had some atmospheric views over the valley. The clouds then cleared so we could see everything below us. We stopped at the top for about an hour at a viewpoint overlooking Santaguito, a smaller volcano created the last time Santa Maria errupted. It is still active and errupts about once an hour. While we were there we were able to see 2 erruptions, with cloud of smoke coming out of the crater below us.

The next day I got a shuttle bus across the border to Oaxaca, Mexico.

Posted by katiew 16:37 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

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