Long, straight and flat roads, nearly 40 degrees Celsius; here and there a Maya ruin and a colorful Cenote to cool down. Yes, this is cycling in Yucatan, Mexico!
This is something different; the roads are endless and on both sides our view (if there is any) is blocked by bushes; it’s boring actually, but we get our ‘cycling satisfaction’ from high speed cycling and long daily distances. The sun is burning hot and the water in our bottles has almost reached boiling point, when I drop some of it on my head it’s hotter than most showers we’ve had recently.. my mouth is dry and my tongue feels like a thick piece of dead meat. We cycle from cool drink to cool drink and loose all our body fluids through our pores; no need for peeing here!
Outside of Valladolid we found an amazing place to cool down: the Cenotes of X’Keken and Samula. A Cenote is some kind of collapsed cave filled with the deepest blue-emerald colored water which is fed by underground rivers. There are actually a couple of thousand of these Cenotes here in Yucatan and they are truly amazing. Some have hundreds of kilometers of cave systems with deep potholes filled with water. You can dive here, but we decide a swim is good enough. 😉 It’s kind of spooky to swim here with ‘nothing’ beneath you. We came early and are the only visitors, we have the amazing caves to ourselves and take a dive in the cool waters. There are these little fish that nibble our toes and lots and lots of catfish swimming around us. The color is so awesome, lit by a tiny hole on top of the cave; heaven!
The Maya ruins of Tulum and Chitzen Itza
While the temples of Tikal were hidden in the jungle, Tulum and Chitzen Itza are well excavated and full of tourists. Tulum doesn’t have a huge pyramid-like temple, but it’s situated right at the coast and we enjoy great views over the colorful Caribean here. Chitzen Itza is one of the ‘new seven wonders of the world’ and although we know it will be crowded with visitors, it’s a must see. To beat the crowd we are at the gate as soon as the National Park opens and, it’s amazing, but we have the place almost to ourselves for about an hour. Chitzen Itza, now a UNESCO site, was once a very important Maya town back in the days and there is a lot to see here: the largest playground, various temples and houses.. all very interesting, but the center piece it the Kukulcan Temple. Right in the middle on a large grassy area, no tourists yet, so we have time to take a few pictures and enjoy the view.