Monday, 7 May 2012

Day 7: Tulum ruins

Tulum is by far the most beautiful white sanded beach I have ever seen. A busy day is lying in a hammock, with the sea breeze in your face, waves breaking a few meters away and wandering if you should have a beer or mojito. We thought Absolute Paradise; until we went to the ruins.

After watching the most spectacular sunrise, we went to see the Tulum ruins just north of the cabana/hotel beach strip. A bit too far to walk, taxis are an option, but the best way is definitely by bike. There are numerous places that rent bikes for the day. We went to the hotel literally next door, Playa Azul (which I highly recommend for breakfast!), and rented two beach cruisers for US$10 pp for 24h. The cycle is about 15 mins but we followed the bike path to the city which added another 20 mins onto our journey. Just keep going straight when you reach the grand hotel of Adonis and you’ll find the ruins no problem. Another benefit of taking the bike is you do not have to either pay for a lift on a tractor train or walk the extra 300m from the entrance of the park to the entrance of the ruins in the blazing sun (we felt rather superior cycling past everyone). Entrance to the park is 57 pesos and you can get a small info map if you ask for it, just as good as any guide. To be blunt (or uncultured) the main section of the ruins are really quite boring, with no big temples or pyramids etc, and yet Tulum is the most memorable, spectacular and awe inspiring archeological site. Why? 

The Beach! You walk through the ruins over parched yellow grass and dusty paths with the sun blazing on the back of your neck with no water in sight until the path leads you to an unassuming cliff. At this point the contrast from an arid thirsty landscape to that of the most glorious blue ocean with unspoiled bleached white sand is difficult to capture even in photos. It takes minute to climb down the scorching hot steps and plunge yourself, head first into the azure! Nothing I have experienced before or after can compete with that feeling of unadulterated refreshment! Imagine walking in the Sahara desert for a day in blistering heat, wearing a heavy woolen poncho, and suddenly arriving at an oasis where someone hands you an ice cold drink in a frosted glass… well, this was even better!

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