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Excursioning in Mexico

Our excursion was so much fun! We snorkeled in Yalku Lagoon in Akumal before heading further south into Estrella Park near Tulum. There, we enjoyed an awesome lunch, ATV riding, a swim in an extremely chilly cenote, and (some of us) ziplined.

El Cenote

I was a little nervous about the water parts of our trip because I almost always refuse to swim in cold water. Luckily, the lagoon was an amazing temperature. I hopped right in and dunked my face with no problem. The cavern, unfortunately, was not the same. I had previously been in an open cenote, which is essentially a sinkhole. This one, however, was still closed, meaning it never saw sunlight and was a truly frigid temperature.

It was absolutely beautiful. It was a cavern complete with stalactites, stalagmites, fruit bats, blind catfish, and the clearest, chilliest water. Okay, it wasn't as cold as Crater Lake, but it was still too cold to ever be comfortable. We took turns having our pictures taken on a knee-deep platform before fully getting in the water.

Is that a twinkle in my eye or am I literally crying because the water is so cold?

Craig and I were second to last, which means I had ten pairs of eyes on me for my standard too-cold-water dance. We walked to the edge of the platform and our guide told us to get in and swim over to the group. Craig made the transition immediately, though not without a shiver, and I literally shook my head at the guide. I wanted to ask "Do I have to?" but we were supposed to be quiet so as to not wake the bats. Some of the group found my hesitation amusing, and the peer pressure was the only reason I made it in. As everyone who has ever seen me enter a cold body of water can attest, it is not a quick process.

Ultimately, even though it was freezing, the cave was super cool. It was my favorite part of the trip, along with my spider monkey photo shoot. The water was just crystal clear. While I'd seen similar cave structures in Carlsbad Caverns and Wind Cave National Park (post forthcoming), I'd never had the opportunity to swim in one and get so up close and personal. It was very, very cool.

La Tirolesa

I had a great time ziplining. Unfortunately, Craig prefers to keep his feet on solid ground. I was fine with him leaving, I mean, who needs to be stressed out on vacation? But I jokingly asked, you're going to leave me to zipline alone? His response: "Without hesitation." LOL.

He told our guide, Raul, that he'd give it a try, and he did give it his best shot. I think he made it three steps before bailing. Ultimately, he lounged on a hammock for an hour while I soared above the canopy.

A conversation with our guide, translated

Raul: Your friend, he went down?

Me: No, he never came up.

El Cuatrimoto

Finally, we got to drive ATVs through the jungle on muddy and pothole-ridden dirt trails. It was really fun despite not being as 'extreme' as the guide described. (He specifically said,"This isn't for babies." IDK, I think Luca would have loved it.)

Craig holding on for dear life as I drive one-handed.

We were third in a long line, and I was frustrated I couldn't go faster. I actually enjoyed being a passenger more, even though that meant going even slower. Craig was a little skittish on the throttle: at one point, we passed a sign that read "Slow Down" and I leaned forward and yelled, "That doesn't apply to you!"

Final Thoughts

It definitely wasn't the best time of year to go to Mexico. It was a little rainy and overcast. But I kind of preferred that to being assaulted by the sun. I also really preferred how empty it was. Nothing felt too packed, we had little trouble getting reservations, and I don't know that we waited in line anywhere.


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