Monday, August 23, 2010

Caribbean Cruise - Day 5 - Costa Maya, Mexico

On the fifth day of our cruise, the port was Costa Maya, Mexico. Jeff and I had booked an all-day excursion, so we didn't have the option of lounging around all morning like we had the day before.

We had breakfast on our balcony at 7am and were off the ship by 8am to catch our tour bus. I liked Costa Maya almost immediately. The port was really small - there was only room for one ship at the pier, so it couldn't be too crowded. There was a small village nearby that looked really cute. It felt very remote and pristine.

Jeff and I had signed up for a tour of some Mayan ruins - Kohunlich and Dzibanche. Even from the remote port, it took two hours of driving into the jungle to get to the first location - Kohunlich. But it was worth it.

Kohunlich was a big Mayan town with some very tall stepped pyramid-like structures as well as some smaller foundations of houses. There was plenty to see, and you were free to climb to the top of the pyramids and to explore everything.

Dzibanche was about 30 minutes drive from Kohunlich, and was also very cool. It was deeper in the jungle - Kohunlich had been in a sort of clearing. In some ways, the jungle-y aspect of Dzibanche was really cool - it looked really tropical and felt like a hidden city. There were howler monkeys in the area that kept yelling or growling (I don't even know what to call it - they make the craziest sound - it almost sounded like there was a stadium full of people cheering nearby - here's a clip that's pretty accurate. On hearing it again, I'm also realizing that it sounds a lot like the smoke monster on Lost. Crazy.) The main downside to being in the jungle was that the bugs were out in full force, and I got pretty bitten up by the mosquitoes.

The bus was air-conditioned, but only sort-of, so it was not a particularly comfortable ride home. The tour guide decided to make a pit stop and pick up beers ($2 each) from a local store. (The store name said it was a "Mini-Super," which I thought was an awesome combination of a mini-mart and a supermarket which seems to imply that it's just a normal-sized market - ironically, market being the only word they'd cut out of the name.)

When we got back we showered and went for a snack at the oceanview cafe (I had chocolate icecream with M&Ms). It was a bit late in the day to work out, and we'd gotten a fair amount of exercise climbing around the Mayan ruins, so we just relaxed and read in our room until dinner, ate, and went right back to laying around and reading.

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