We’ve been in Mexico for a total of 3 days. The first two days were an adjustment period. Getting familiar with our surroundings, comprehending the currency exchange rate and figuring out the public transit system. We will not rent a car during our 30 days in Mexico. What deterred us initially from renting was the huge damage deposit of 2,500$USD. This cost seemed absurd from a Canadian standpoint but after experiencing the transport from Cancun airport to Playa Del Carmen, road signs seem to be suggestive speeds rather than mandatory. I don’t think I could handle being behind the wheel of a car. I’d be a nervous wreck! Friends have suggested taking the colectivo, it’s the local public transit here in Mexico. On the Riviera Maya, the long strip between Cancun and Tulum, they are white Mercedes vans that seat 12 people. Very efficient and very Mexican. Even our 16 year old son Tristan said he really liked the way they just seem to stop when you’re by the side of the road…”¿Te embarcas?” the driver says.
We were supposed to visit the sea turtles today but took too long to get ready. Just getting the kids out the door is a task in itself. By 10am we decided to shelve Akumal beach and agreed to visit a cenote ( Pron. Say-no-tay). The Cenote Cristalino had very good reviews online, seemed very close to our condo which is located in the gated community of Puerto Aventuras, so we had lunch and headed towards the colectivo that run up and down the 307 highway. The ride costed only 100$MXN for 5 people (roughly 6.50$CAD); the cost is per seat occupied. We thought after studying Google Maps that we had a short walk to the entrance. Upon arrival we noticed the entrance hut by the side of Highway 307. Entry for 2 adults, 1 student and 2 children came to 650$MXN = 42.50$CAD.
There were very few people swimming, a couple of Mexican señoritas, an American family and two German scuba divers. We lucked out. I’ve read that the Cenotes are very cool and refreshing. It felt like the lakes back home in Eastern Canada. Warm enough to swim but not too warm that you feel you’re swimming in bath water. Cenotes were considered sacred gateways to the underworld according to the Mayans. It’s not difficult to see why they came to such a conclusion. In a hot climate like Mexico, these are hidden gems. The ecosystem is a freshwater system of flora and fauna. Very delicate balance that can easily get ruined by ignorance and lack of care. It is crucial you wear biodegradable sunscreen and/or bug repellent before entering the water.
A ladder allows for a reluctant entry, but be warned within minutes you’ll feel nibbling at your toes. I didn’t realize how fearless these little fishes were. It made me hop out instantaneously. I was not expecting it! I sat on the edge immersing just my feet just to get acquainted to these small creatures. They came by the dozen. The suction felt like kittens’ tongues licking my toes. I eventually took the plunge and went for a swim with snorkel and mask. I swam through tangled partly submerged tree roots with schools of fish surrounding me, it felt like swimming in a natural aquarium. I also went through a cave, since the water was in the shade, it was a few degrees cooler with not so many fish than the sun exposed parts.
For thrill seekers, there’s a cliff of about 15ft where it’s safe to jump off from. Evan, our 12yr old did a cartwheel flip off the cliff. Some tourist even attempted a back flip. We truly enjoyed our afternoon at this location, an authentic Mexican paradise.