Well we both decided that we could not come this far and not see Chichen Itza – so today was the day. After much research we decided to take a tour, rather than go it alone. We chose Grayline Tours and for the most part were pleased. They picked us up in a small van from the Cancun Ferry Dock at 7:40 so we had to take the 7:00 ferry over from Isla. It was a nice surprise to find that there is free wi-fii on the ferry so we were able to catch up with the family from our phones on the way over and back! From the van we were taken to the meeting point and the large bus. The bus ride was pleasant and included soft drinks, water and a video showing the discovery of Chichen Itza. When we arrived we had a quick continental breakfast of fruit and breads and then we were off for our guided tour of Chichen Itza. Our tour guide was of Mayan descent and was very knowledgeable and entertaining. He wanted us to stay together and avoid the vendors and warned us about the Mayan dollar trick – they shout “only $1” and then when they get you hooked they announce that it is a Mayan dollar (which there is no such thing) and then make up an “exchange rate.” Well it was a very hot and humid day and I knew I was going to be miserable without a hat so I stopped and bought a pink Chichen Itza hat – after we caught up the tour guide once again admonished everyone to stay together – I am sure for my benefit! Well catching our first glimpse of El Castillo reminded me of seeing the ocean for the first time – no matter how many pictures or videos you see of it, nothing quite prepares you for the majesty and grandeur you are faced with when you see it in person.
My husband is a real history buff so he was in heaven seeing the ruins and learning about so many of the fascinating aspects of this ancient civilization.
For anyone who has never been to Chichen Itza I would highly recommend going – we will definitely try to see one of the other ruins on our next trip! After the guided tour we went back to the Mayaland Hotel for lunch and then we had paid for a horseback ride excursion into the jungle. I really wanted to see the jungle and hopefully a monkey on this trip and since we did not want to leave the island for another day we decided this was a perfect way to do both, even though it did cut into our free time at Chichen Itza. We had to rush through lunch to meet the guide for our horseback tour. Our guide, Jose, was a very authentic looking vaquero who spoke very little English and even though we speak very little Spanish we all managed to communicate. We were the only two on the horseback excursion and we were soon riding off into the jungle on our horses. The brush was pretty dry in the beginning and between that and the heat and my lunch gurgling around in my stomach with every step of the horse, I was soon beginning to wonder if we had made a big mistake. It wasn’t long however, before a spider monkey ran across the path and up onto a hill. That made my day! After about 30 min. or so we got off the horses and tied them up and followed Jose down into the jungle by walking backwards down a very steep incline only holding onto a branch that served as a railing. It was very difficult and the heat once again began to get to me and I began to feel very dizzy and ended up plopping down in the middle of the hill in a pile of dry leaves. The guide was nearly at the bottom and I told my husband to just keep going and I would catch up. After a few minutes I heard my husband “ooh-ing and aah-ing” and decided that since this was the one thing I really wanted to see I better get myself going. Somehow I managed to make it down and boy was it worth it. We were in the middle of what looked like it could be the set for a “Tarzan” movie complete with huge trees with giant green leaves and hanging vines. We took tons of pictures and although we didn’t actually see any animals we did see the holes where many of them (including an animal similar to a jaguar) live.
It was amazing and we were thrilled we had decided to go on this excursion, although I was not thrilled about having to climb back up the steep, steep hill! After several stops to rest I finally made it out and we were once again saddled up and headed back. We saw many species of birds and some moreMayan ruins. As great as it was, I was happy to be back at the hotel and able to cool off and change back into shorts just in time for the bus ride back to Cancun. The ride was uneventful and we dozed much of the time. It was certainly nice to be able to sleep and not have to worry about anything – including stopping at any of the checkpoints! We were taken back to the van that was to take us to the ferry dock and it was in this van that we encountered our first mosquito of the day! We made it through the jungle without any bites but got eaten alive in the van by one pesky mosquito! I was thrilled when we got out of the van and saw the ferry that was to take us back to Isla – I felt like I do when I am coming home after a long day of work. As great as the day was, we could not wait to return to our beloved Island!!!
As we were waiting to board the ferry I noticed a little black bug on my leg. I brushed it off, but it did not budge. Upon closer look I realized it was a tick! Luckily, I managed to get it out before it had completely burrowed under my skin and I remembered that pile of dry leaves I plopped down in when I was feeling faint climbing down into the jungle. After hiking with dogs my whole life, I should have known better than that!
Well we were soon back on the ferry to Isla once again being serenaded by the guitarist and looking at the full moon over the ocean. While at Chichen Itza we had purchased a Mayan Calendar date of our wedding day (I know, I know – very gimmicky!) and we learned that our wedding day occurred on a full moon – so it seemed fitting that our trip to Chichen also landed on a full moon.
After getting back to Isla, although we were starving, we were too tired and dirty and grungy to do anything but head back to the hotel so we grabbed a taxi back to the Avalon. After showering and changing, I discovered another yet tick on my leg – this one I was barely able to get out. I was very nervous about the tick situation so we did a careful check of my whole body to make sure there were no more. Then I nicknamed myself “Casa del Ticks in Chick”. Well we were a little rejuvenated and so we walked back to the waterfront and headed for BallyHoo. I had heard about their breaded fish tacos and great atmosphere. It was 9:00 when we got there and sat down and although they closed at 9 they still took us in! It was very peaceful to sit there and watch the boats and see the ferry going back and forth. We ordered our daily dose of guacamole and Fred ordered fish and chips
and I ordered the fish tacos.
I was expecting little chunks of breaded fish and was surprised when I got one big breaded piece of fish inside each taco. It was exactly like the fish and chips except inside a tortilla. I am not a fan of tartar sauce and certainly do not want it on my tacos! I wiped off the tartar sauce and replaced it with Salsa from a jar – definitely not our best meal, but the atmosphere was very nice and relaxing – great after an exhausting day.
Of course we had to walk into town and head for the marquesita cart and Cool Ice Cream. On the way home I fed my friends – I had taken to bringing leftover pork (from the Kilo!) for the doggies and cheese for the kitties. After being off the island for the day, we especially enjoyed our evening time on the balcony, being lulled into a complete state of relaxation by the crashing waves.
So after our exhausting day, we had a lazy relaxing morning! We really didn’t know where we wanted to eat breakfast, only that we were starving! We walked down Hidalgo and “followed our nose” once again and once again we were not disappointed. We ended up at Bucannero’s.
Although they have some seating outside, we were taken to a nice little table inside right by an open window overlooking the street.
It was wonderful and quickly became one of our favorite restaurants. We both ordered the juevos divorciados.
The eggs were marvelous, but I began to wonder if it was the smartest thing to order when we were on our anniversary trip! I said to my husband, “Okay, on the count of 3 we have to say which one we like better – red, or green, and then that will tell if we are going to get divorced or not.” So on the count of three I said “red” and you guessed it, Fred said “green!” We both laughed and my husband said that is was perfect though because that meant he could eat the green and I could eat the red – kind of like Jack Sprat and his wife! After that we strolled around town a little and did a little shopping. Not wanting to have to walk back into town for lunch, we decided to stop at the Public Market and pick up some tortillas so we could eat some more of our “Kilo” for lunch. We also bought a tomato, some peppers, and some cilantro – yum, yum!!! homemade pico de gallo!!!! We sat out on our balcony and enjoyed a relaxing and very delicious lunch with the best view on the island.
It was then time to get ready for our drift snorkel. The day before we had reserved a snorkel trip with Sea Hawk Divers – who conveniently leave right from the Avalon Bridge rather than downtown. We donned all of our snorkel gear and swim shirts, etc. and headed off on the boat to El Farito. The snorkeling was great and we really enjoyed seeing the reef and much more variety of fish than we had seen around the Avalon or at Garrafon. I know it’s not Cozumel, but for us it was great.
The only downside – and it was a big downside - is that our boat Captain had put us with another group that was quite a bit ahead of us and was both he and the guide in the water were yelling at us to keep up. It was definitely not a “drift snorkel” as we were swimming as fast as we could the whole time to keep up and we were unable to take many pictures. In fact, one of the times the Captain was yelling at me, my husband saw a barracuda and I missed it. It would have been a great snorkel trip if we had indeed been able to “drift”. When we returned to the Dive Shop I expressed my concerns to the owner and I was very impressed with his customer service as he offered to take us on another snorkel trip free of charge. We were not sure if we would take him up on it, but we were very pleased that they offered. After that, it was a nice short walk to our villa for showers and sunset time on the beach. We then headed into town for dinner. It seemed as if we stopped at every restaurant in Isla looking at their menu, but I guess I was just in one of those moods – nothing seemed that appealing and I could not seem to make a decision. Finally, we stopped at El Patio Caribbean Grill and were enticed in by the sign that read
It was so cute – sand on the ground, twinkling lights on trees, musicians playing, and the smell of the amazing smoker - we were hooked!
We sat down and ordered our obligatory guacamole and margaritas.
The atmosphere was just amazing – I took off my sandals and wiggled my toys in the sand! I ordered chicken marinated in limon y cilantro
and Fred ordered a mixed kabob of chicken, steak, and shrimp.
The food was amazing and had an incredible smokey flavor and this became another one of our favorite restaurants even though it was not originally on our list of must go-tos. Of course we ended the evening with marquesitas, Cool, feeding our friends, and a long and relaxing visit to the balcony.