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Friday, March 16, 2018

12 Days of Xmas: Road Trippin Mexico (Valladolid, Tulum)

Tulum Beach Oasis

Day 1 - Arrival (Road Trip: Cancun to Valladolid)
Day 2 - Cenotes X'kekén y Samula & Christmas Eve at Zazil Tunich
Day 3 - Feliz Navidad! Chichen Itza
Day 4 - Ek Balam & X'Canche
Day 5 - Coba & 3 Cenotes (Road Trip: Valladolid to Tulum)
Day 6 - Edventure Tours: XTreme Jungle Adventures
Day 7 - Mexico Kan Tour: Sian Kaan Biosphere & Muyil
Day 8 - Cabana's La Luna BEACH day!
Day 9 - New Year's Eve
Day 10 - Dawn of 2018: Sunrise at Tulum Ruins
Day 11 - Beach Day
Day 12 - Departure (Road Trip: Tulum to Cancun)

7 Wonders of the World Chichen Itza

For this trip to Mexico, we were feeling more adventurous and wanted to rent a car.  We were a bit nervous having read many tales of woe ranging the gamut from gas station scams, police shakedowns, and rental hassles. But, guess what? Renting a car was the best decision! We will definitely do it again when we return. It's really easy peasy both to rent the car and to drive in Mexico. The freedom and flexibility to do things on your own really makes visiting the popular sights top-notch!

Pre-trip Planning

After spending the holidays on Isla Mujeres and then getting the $800 travel voucher from Southwest Airlines (read all about it on our Isla Mujeres trip report), well, it was a sign - back to Mexico! I immediately booked us to return for the following Christmas/New Year holiday, but this time to explore more areas.

We definitely wanted beach time and decided upon Tulum.  I was looking for somewhere inland that would give us access to sights a little more off the beaten path.  I had never heard of Valladolid before it was recommended to us, but with a little research I felt myself drawn to this town. We finalized our itinerary of 4 nights in Valladolid (Hotel Posada San Juan - booked using with plans to move to Tulum (La Luna Cabanas - booked directly with the hotel) for 7 nights. 

I rented a vehicle with Avant RentACar going for the largest SUV available - Jeep Patriot. Our 11 day rental charge was $825 + $15/day insurance + taxes $158.40 for a total = $1148.40USD. They were very responsive to my questions via email and we reconfirmed the details just before travel. They did not require any deposit or pre-payment. 

A few weeks before our trip, I completed the immigration forms online. Printed 2-sided copies for each of us and folded it on the crease. 3 days before departure, I completed the customs form online and printed it.

We purchased a few maps and a couple books off Amazon and got ourselves all excited learning about the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico as we counted down the days.

Then, all that was left to do was pack! We are carry-on only, but it sure was a tight squeeze since we brought full-face snorkel masks and our own life vests. I wanted the flexibility in case we found ourselves adventuring alone in uncharted waters. Having our own vests/masks proved very convenient as we got to bypass renting them at each of the many cenotes.

Ready, let's go! FINALLY, it was time to say adios to winter woes!

Day 1 - Arrival (Cancun to Valladolid)

Peak holiday travel out of Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) was an absolute dream getting through the security checkpoints. The lines flowed swiftly and we got through it all in record-breaking time. Soon, we found ourselves settled comfortably on the Southwest Airlines direct flight to Cancun.

Upon arrival, we passed easily and quickly through Passport Control and Customs/Immigration.  Recently, Cancun International Airport has opened a new terminal, Terminal 4.  Our first priority was to find an ATM to get some pesos.  If you are planning to use the toll road (cuota), then you should be aware that they ONLY take pesos.  No foreign currency.  No credit cards.  Well, we found the ATM sign in Terminal 4, but no ATM.  It might be installed now.  We were a bit panicked because we THEN realized that I forgot the PIN on my debit card and we had no way to access it. No way to get cash. So, a bit out of sorts, we went to meet our contact for the rental car.  Avant had emailed very specific instructions for finding their agent and we were relieved to find him waiting in the designated spot. Caitlin, being 11, wanted to take over. She busted out her English/Spanish  translation book and started practicing her Spanish by asking for the whereabouts of a money exchange.

On the way to the rental car office, our agent pointed us to a Money Exchange on the opposite side of the road.  Hahahahaha, the whole van (there were 2 other couples in the shuttle) including us burst into laughter as we said "All we have to do is manage a U-turn, what can go wrong?" hahahahaha. 

Without any issues, we acquired our rental car from Avant and we were off. I won't bore you with the details, but we did manage to get some pesos. The GPS on my phone worked perfectly with the downloaded Google map and we were able to get turn-by-turn directions all the way to our destination in Valladolid. Not that there were many turns as it's pretty much a straight shot down a boring as heck toll road. 

Rob so serious as he gets acclimated to driving in Mexico.

Boring road, but non-eventful in a good way!

The toll road is kind of pricey at 285 pesos, but it is much shorter and bypasses all the traffic of passing through the little towns. It is definitely boring. Depending on your budget, time constraints and comfort level, you have options to take the cuota or the free road.  Rob and the kids liked that we headed directly to our destination with the ease of the cuota.

Beautiful colonial architecture and pastel colors in Valladolid

We made it! This roadtrippin was so far so good getting us in under 2 hours to the Spanish colonial town in the center of the Yucatán peninsula.  We only got stopped at one police checkpoint.  The first one (and I guess each of them, really) are a little bit daunting, but MAINLY due to all the stories that we have heard. Do we smile and wave shouting "HOLA" while offering snacks? Or, do we stare straight ahead not making eye-contact clutching the steering wheel with knuckle-baring tension? We decided for something in the middle - a bit of a friendly nod and a wave back after being waved through. So, pretty much acting like normal humans ought to act hahahahahaha. Let me reassure you with at least one tale of "no worries, no woes". We had 0 problems whatsoever with any police/military driving to various places every single day for 12 days passing thru a gazillion checkpoints (some manned, some not).

Rolling into Valladolid proper!

Wow! Valladolid, we knew immediately this was a good decision.  All the structures are so colorful and the streets are a great stroll. This town was built by the Spanish on a Maya ceremonial site.  First impressions? It's gorgeous here and the vibe is laid-back casual.

We easily found our accommodations La Posada San Juan and parked right out front. Oh yeah, this will do. It's an easy walk to the main square of town.  We loved the quiet location for the delightful strolls! The small boutique hotel has a pool in a lovely enclosed courtyard setting. There's an honor system for drinks and we immediately helped ourselves to a couple cold beers - this is our traditional "official" start of every trip. That first cold local beer :)    

Let's see this town! After the requisite pool time, we were ready to go explore.

We were a bit tired from our 5am wake-up, but Valladolid is just that easy to get around by foot, so we decided to make our way to an early dinner at El Meson del Marques.  This restaurant was recommended to us by the hotel (and comes highly recommended by many contributors on TripAdvisor). On point, it was an awesome "Welcome to Mexico" dinner of regional food in a beautiful courtyard setting. 

Of course, we followed up dinner with dessert from the night market in the park. Marquesitas are a traditional street food that resemble something between a crepe and a thin waffle. You watch them made fresh and then select from various sweet fillings.  The girls filled theirs with nutella and strawberries. 

We finished our walk with a visit to the stunning 16th century Cathedral of San Gervasio. 

As you can see from our pics, Valladolid is calm and pedestrian-friendly. We strolled the town with no worries about safety.

There's a hammock in our room and Caitlin has claimed it for the night. 

Goodnight, first night from Valladolid.

Day 2 - Christmas Eve - Zazil Tunich

We naturally woke at the crack of dawn, but rather than sit around waiting for breakfast, we headed out for a morning stroll down the the most popular and colorful street in Valladolid - Calzada de los Frailes or Calle 41A.  In olden times, this street was used by the friars to travel between downtown and the Convent de San Bernardino de Siena.  So much gorgeous architecture in this charming colonial town!

Timeline of Mustache Styles

We just absolutely loved exploring these streets!

Tummies were growling, so we headed back to the hotel for the complimentary breakfast. It's a simple but delightful help-yourself spread of fruits, breads, cereals, etc. Then, you get to request made-to-order hot breakfast (also complimentary). We loved the Mexican combo of eggs, beans, and hot tortillas. Yummy! 

We were keen to see a cenote and map in hand, we loaded into the car. Much to Rob's chagrin, I had a hand-drawn map for "fun".  Hahahahaha, he quickly abandoned it after I took us in a full circle right back to the front of the hotel.  Oops.  Anyways, we made it the short 9.5 km distance in about 15 minutes using the (less fun) downloaded Google map on my phone.

We swam in our first cenote! In case you were wondering how to cool off being nowhere near the beach, you will soon discover the awesomeness of cenotes, which are natural sinkholes, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. You go underground into a dark cave to access them!! 

X'keken is very close to Valladolid making it the perfect 1st cenote. This property actually has 2 cenotes (not connected, but very near each other) - Cenote X'keken and Cenote Samula.  With plenty of parking, this is a large facility and we noticed vendors beginning to set up along the huge marketplace - they must get large group tours? Anyways, we were surprised that they take credit cards for the tickets, so we saved our pesos. You can purchase for either or both cenotes.  Honestly, I don't know why you wouldn't want to go to both of them as they are both incredible. It's 125 pesos for adults, 80 for kids to see both cenotes.  The staff is super friendly.  After taking our souvenir pics, we were appointed a guide who took us down into the first cenote X'keken. 

Wow! Just, wow! Repeat, wow!  The water is a stunning blue and tree roots are growing down to the water. When the sun's rays hit the water, it's a magical sight to behold. These are the worst photos ever taken and nowhere capture the true beauty. My gosh, swimming in them was AMAZING!

Our guide had said goodbye after taking us down into the cenote, leaving us at our leisure. There were a couple other people when we arrived and a few other people passed through afterwards, but we found ourselves having the cenote ENTIRELY to ourselves for some of the time.  Such an incredible moment enjoying it privately! After enjoyable swimming time, we eventually gathered ourselves and made our way out to go see the 2nd cenote.  On the way, we couldn't resist stopping at this cave, a dry cenote.

With some guidance from the friendly vendors, we found the 2nd cenote Samula. This one was much deeper and larger!

We stood there on the platform just staring for the longest time at the sunlight beaming down.

Of course, we had to go find the massive hole that provides the light into the cenote. Super cool!

On our way out, we purchased our souvenir photos. We noticed more people streaming in and could see it definitely getting busier as we left. It was getting closer to lunchtime and we didn't see any buses yet, but I can imagine it gets uncomfortably crowded later.

On the way back to town, we hit the gas station for the first time. I had relayed the scams I read about and Caitlin was keen to watch the guy reset the pump as Rob pulled a specific amount of pesos for the fill. Hahahahaha, nice to see they heeded my warnings, but it was not necessary and getting gas was pretty uneventful (this time and every time). Oh wait, except the very last time - stay tuned because it's not what you think.

Refueled and back into Valladolid proper, we had worked up quite an appetite.  It was pretty busy around the main square, so we decided to just park anywhere we could and then look for a place to eat.

We found ourselves in a cute little corner restaurant Las Campanas. Chips and salsa were brought out to the table absolutely winning this hungry crew over. Then, the drinks came :) and it was a sealed deal before we even got our meal.

The queso was TO-DIE-FOR delicious! It was hands-down the best queso I've ever had in my life. 

For some reason, we couldn't resist ordering a huge lunch even though we had plans for an early Christmas Eve dinner.

We stuffed ourselves silly and then returned to the hotel for a quick relax before our 2:30 pickup time for a very special experience.

On this Christmas Eve, lifetime memories were made. 

Some background first - 8 years ago this family learned of a piece of land sitting on a cenote that was formed over one million years ago. It was completely overgrown and filled with rocks. They had grown up sharing a love for cave/cenote exploration. They bought the property and immediately began clearing it and building some platforms for safe entry. Earlier just this year, they opened Zazil Tunich. The Zazil Tunich experience is not just a tour.  It is a journey.

Since it would be night, we arrange for a transport to pick us up. This was a very good decision! Once we arrived, we were welcomed and invited to relax in the hammocks while the family readied for us. We were joined by only one other couple making it a very personal and intimate experience.  

I want to assure you this is not some touristy gimmick.  What you will come away with from your time at Zazil Tunich is soul-changing if your mind is open.  THIS is why we travel.  I am still absorbing how warmly we were welcomed into a way of life, a way of belief, and a way of connecting with nature.  

Before entering the Maya Underworld, we must first ask permission.  This Maya shaman blessed us so we could enter Zazil Tunich's cave to Xibalba.  After participating in the traditional Maya ceremony, we entered the Maya Underworld enveloping ourselves in the tranquility, mysticism, and awe at nature's creation. Caves and cenotes were holy places in Maya mythology and considered gateways to the home of the gods. 

You must pass the 9 levels of Maya Underworld to gain access to these sacred waters.

Our adventure took us into the depths of the cave along a path past stunning stalactites and stalagmites as we journeyed deep into Xibalba ("place of fear", the Maya Underworld).  As we explored the formations, we learned about Maya mythology and the history of this nature's playground formed millions of years ago that has shaped ancient beliefs and imprinted civilization with today's rich Maya culture.

We crossed the Beso Maya (Maya Kiss) formed by the capricious tilt of a giant stalagmite. You go through in pairs and must work harmoniously to clear the passage.

Wait. Is that a kayak? Oh, yes. That moment when you nearly burst from anticipation.

At level 7 of the Maya Underworld, we participated in a purification ceremony before descending the final two levels to enter the cenote waters. 

We swam in the shallow crystal clear waters of the sacred cenote. One more time for those in the back, WE SWAM IN THIS CENOTE!! The water appears jagged and full of rock formations, but that is all cave reflection. Surprisingly, the cenote floor is actually flat and very similar to beachscape.  Completely smooth! It is shallow for a large portion making it a most enjoyable swim, especially for not-a-strong-swimmer me. The bottom is not muddy at all.  It has a sandy texture much like a beach.  

Our guide (the owner's nephew) left us during our private swim. It was absolutely amazing to be alone in this cave. Truly, an unforgettable experience! We even explored the mouth of the cave in the back. The family has not been able to safely explore far into it yet, so they advised us not to enter it. Peeking in, it appears to go forever and was just a little spooky for our imaginations run wild.

After swimming, we were retrieved by our guide and continued towards the exit. Found plenty of bats hanging out on the ceiling near the exit.

Finally, we emerged from the Mayan Underworld and rejoined the surface world.

Afterwards, we were treated to a delicious home-cooked meal at the family's casa located right on the property.  It was just our family for this add-on.  We felt warmly welcomed and relaxed in the setting.

We even got to help make the tortillas with the grandma! 

Hearts soared with this memorable Christmas Eve experience. Meet our new friends that make up the Zazil Tunich family.

As for booking this incredible experience, we used WhatsApp (the number is listed on TripAdvisor) to communicate with Armando (and lots of GoogleTranslate) and then paid our booking directly on his website at with Paypal. We did the Noches De Xibalba Plus tour, which includes the delicious home cooked dinner at the casa. We also took the convenience of adding prepaid transportation.

Day 3 - Feliz Navidad! Chichen Itza

Yesss to this 💯✔️Bucket List ♨️🔝👍7 Wonders of the World!!! Feliz Navidad from Chichen Itza, one of the 7 Wonders of the World!!! Merry Christmas at this incredible destination for the WIN!

Chichen Itza is the largest of the archaeological cities of Maya civilization in Mexico. This city thrived from around 600 A.D. to the 1200s. A special Christmas Day memory was made this year as we explored the ancient city with a hired guide and learned fascinating history. 

It is super easy to drive to Chichen Itza.  We used our downloaded Google map and easily found the large parking lot.  We had left the hotel early to arrive shortly after it opened.  There was already a line for tickets, but it was not too bad at all.  While Rob went to get the tickets, I took the kids off to the side to inquire about getting a guide.  There is a counter where you make your request with accommodations for multiple languages.  We paid our fee (900 pesos) and introduced ourselves to Santiago.  He took one look at us and went off to get coffee - hahahahahaha.  Rob successfully joined us with the tickets and we entered Chichen Itza.  Wow! 

The most famous structure is the pyramid temple called El Castillo. This glorious step pyramid demonstrates the accuracy and importance of Maya astronomy. The ancient city was abandoned during the 1400s and reclaimed by the jungle until it was rediscovered in the 1800s. Just last year, a 3rd pyramid was found hidden deep within it (in the 1930s, one inner pyramid was already revealed) and is believed to be the original structure! Can you believe it is built on top of a cenote (natural sinkhole in limestone formations). Real evidence exists that human sacrifices were conducted in Chichen Itza - decapitation and heart extraction being the most common methods. We saw depictions in ancient carvings. That's just a smidgen of the things we learned about this incredible ancient city. 

We really lucked out getting Santiago as our guide.  His vast knowledge is incredible.  And, he is certainly a subject matter expert as he is an educated archaeologist who participated in uncovering and identifying these very sights at Chichen Itza!  He was also GREAT with the kids keeping their rapt attention for the duration of our entire visit!

Eliciting groans from the kids - hahahahaha!

JLo filmed a dance sequence in her music video "I'm Into You" here in these columns. Do you recognize it?

Ancient tic-tac-toe :)

Head in the serpent. We are such tourists! Hahahahaha.

I'll say it again - I don't know how anybody can come here and not get a guide.  The history of the people and the details of the architecture made this an absolute top-notch experience for the whole family.  We came away with incredible respect for the past and the brilliance of the people.  

Superb carvings have withstood weather and time.  Our guide explained the images depicted and pointed out details that we otherwise would never have noticed.

Ball game arena.  Check out that impossible hoop!

Steps for spectators to reach the top for viewing the ball game.

This is definitely a well deserved title holder of one of the 7 Wonders of the World! Don't let anyone sway you to skip this sight when visiting the Yucatan peninsula. Seriously, I can't believe I've ready many travel blogs and reviews telling people that Chichen Itza is an overrated, overcrowded tourist trap.  Those opinions are either by people who didn't get a guide (so had no idea what they were even looking at) and/or poorly planned their visit with unrealistic expectations.  Go at peak time, expect peak crowds.  Get there early and you will have the experience that we very much enjoyed.

There was definitely a massive crowd lined up to enter Chichen Itza when we exited. Chichen Itza is still worth your visit even if you can't avoid this later arrival time as the site is massive.  Once you pass the entrance, people begin to spread further apart and as long as you don't have the expectation that you will get pictures empty of other people, you will enjoy learning about the incredible structures before you.  

We were delighted with our decision for an early morning arrival. But now, it was time for FOOD as we had worked up quite the appetite. We decided to celebrate our fantastic Chichen Itza experience by eating lunch at the onsite restaurant. 

Yes, pasta!

The food was DELICIOUS! It was higher priced as was expected being onsite with Chichen Itza, but we really enjoyed it. Plus, it was super convenient. Unfortunately for our wallets, it is right next to the gift shop. We couldn't resist purchasing a couple (ok, many) books on Chichen Itza.

After Chichen Itza, we wanted a cenote reward but we wanted to get off the beaten path to avoid the crowds that head towards Cenote Ik Kil (we actually had tried to go to the cenote first, but it was not yet opened at our early arrival). We could only imagine the crowds leaving the spacious Chichen Itza to squeeze into one very popular cenote, so we were prepared with a Plan B. I'm going to tell you about a very similar, but much better alternative to Ik Kil that you can have all to yourself! 

Google map in hand, we drove down THE sketchiest road on earth - picture massive swarms of vultures and through a landfill with monster-sized mounds of trash. That alone was quite a sight, but doesn't even begin to describe the rocky conditions of the "road". I don't have any pics because I was too busy begging Rob to keep going. He was so freaked out that we were going to get stuck (or end up swallowed whole by the dump site) (or get attacked and eaten alive by the vultures)! 

Anyways, the road (going at the speed of snail) (what seemed like eternity) opened onto the property of a beautiful hacienda with the most inviting archway. Ahhh, we had arrived at Hacienda Lorenzo de Oxman.

Rob was still grumbling with misgivings, but I ignored him and rolled down my window to the attendant.  I didn't understand completely, but proceeded to pay for a full package fee for cenote/pool/food&drink against Rob's wishes as he was still traumatize from the journey here. I was, clearly, all in on this mission of mine.  Hahahahaha. Trust me, I told him. Guess what? 

We found ourselves in an oasis!! Caitlin had a blast jumping into the gorgeous cenote a gazillion times! I enjoyed my coconut tequila after all the hard work of getting us here (hahahaha). We all got a good swim in the cenote and then chillaxed at the pool. 

Swing & Drop!

Guess who was the last one out of the cenote? Mr. Skeptical, himself.  He then proceeded to explore the entire ranch property while we relaxed at the pool. 

Friendly resident bunny!

By the way, we had actually missed the direct turn (with signage) into the property (you could see the main road down it) which took us on the "scenic" route, but all good as we had a good laugh. I asked Rob to exit back out the same way so I could get a video for you guys, but he refused. Hahahaha.

The package turned out to be a good deal as a credit was applied to our food/drink bill. You could hang out here the entire day bouncing back and forth from the cenote to the pool and just relaxing around the beautiful property.  And, no crowds! 

On the way back to town, we spotted this old steam engine.  This one is for you, grandpa!

Back at La Posada, we relaxed at the pool into the evening before going out to a late dinner. It was a bit later than we usually eat, so we had a couple of fussy kids compounded by a bit of a wait to get seated in our restaurant of choice El Atrio del Mayab (right next to San Gervacio). But, everybody felt spirits pick up again after we found ourselves seated in a beautiful garden setting having a delicious meal.  We gave cheers to a wonderful Merry Christmas back in Mexico. 

Day 4 - Ek Balam & XCanche

We were awestruck by the enormous elaborate Acropolis pyramid, located inside the Maya site of Ek Balam after driving miles through the surrounding jungle. Ek Balam ("Black Jaguar") was a city thriving 600-900 AD. It was abandoned by the Mayas and swallowed by the jungle. 

With an early morning start, we found our way to Ek Balam using Google Maps without any problems.  There is plenty of free parking within a surrounding market.  A couple kids from one of the market stands came over and offered to "watch" our car.  We weren't worried about the car whatsoever, but I guess Rob was feeling pretty generous because whatever he handed over caused the widest grins I've ever seen.

We got our tickets for Ek Balam and made plans to return to the car to grab our snorkel/vests/towels afterwards to go to the cenote.    

Check out the arch!

A real treat at Ek Balam is not just seeing the ruins from the outside, you can even access the interior of some of the structures!

We didn't get a guide (I know, I know), but instead let Caitlin and Molly roam the ruins of the ancient city. They had a blast! They loved bouncing all around the sights taking in the views from all angles.  It's a compact sight, so easy to let the kids roam to their heart's content.  

The site of these ruins is near Chichen Itza, but it gets far less visitors as it's slightly off the beaten path.  We had big feels roaming and imagined ourselves early explorers discovering these Maya treasures.  Can you see the ginormous pyramid structure in the far background of the pic above? 

A much smaller ball court than at Chichen Itza, but this one was great fun because we were able scramble about on the platform imagining ourselves players in the "do-or-die" ball game that was vital to Maya life.

We climbed the 106 steps of the Acropolis to the top where the king and his family once lived, with a 360-view of unbroken horizons. One more time - WE CLIMBED A PYRAMID! That view - wow! 

Unlike the popular ruins sites Chichen Itza and Tulum, you can climb the great Acropolis pyramid here at Ek Balam.  Make sure you stop halfway up and carefully slide across to view the exterior plaster of the tomb of the ancient king Ukit Kan Le'k Tok', who ruled from the height <- see what I did there hahahaha of the thriving city from 770 AD.  This pyramid is the biggest in terms of volume (Coba is the tallest) in the Yucatan peninsula and even taller than Chichen Itza.  106 steps you can do it!  The stretching panoramic view at the top is worth it.

Yessss! Made it to the top of the pyramid and this pic captures all of our big feels accomplishment where we enjoyed the spectacular views.  It's higher than it looks.

Bottoms down, pause to look! That's our safety tip for getting down a pyramid. Good to see that my crew followed mom's sensible instructions as they each absorbed this amazing experience. Look at those Ek Balam ruins hidden in the jungle inviting you to unleash your inner Indiana Jones.

Safely back on the ground, we took a moment near the pyramid sitting in the shade to simply reflect.

As we made our way to exit Ek Balam, we started to see a trickle of more people arriving. The parking lot was certainly more full as we went to the car to retrieve our gear for swimming in the cenote X'Canche. I worried as all these people would be heading over to the cenote next. Hahahahaha, I worried for nothing. It's as if NOBODY knows about the cenote even though there are bicycle taxis and a ticket stand right there at the entrance of Ek Balam to take you there.  Maybe people just don't bother? Well, sure made it a real treat for us.

In fact, we were so lucky to find ourselves the ONLY people in the gorgeous X'Canche, which we got to via the hired bike taxis (highly recommend - it's a long walk otherwise). There wasn't ANYBODY here - not even a lifeguard. So of course, in we went! Every one of these cenotes has been so amazing! I swear, I'm addicted to exploring them. Will you come join us?

Going back, we sure were happy we hired the bike taxis?  On the way out, we stopped at the market place and got some souvenir necklaces with our sign of the Maya calendar zodiac.  The shopkeepers were really nice explaining the moon cycle and corresponding 13 months Tzolk'in calendar and how it differs from the Haab calendar (19 signs) that we used to look up our signs.  They even kindly gifted us with a descriptive book to go along with our purchase.

Now, it was time to figure out some lunch :) so we headed back towards Valladolid. We had heard about a cenote right in the center of town Cenote Zaci, so thought we would cross it off of our list and eat lunch there, too. 

We must have been spoiled at this point because we thought it looked too busy hahahaha look at the HUGE crowd, so yeah, spoiled by wholly empty cenotes. After a quick pass-through of the restaurant, we decided to move on for something less touristy.

We drove around the streets of Valladolid until we found a place that looked inviting for lunch. Found a place and then parked nearby. Why is everybody yelling at us, we wondered? Oh, looks like we parked on a street that has been taken over by all the "resting" taxi cabs in Valladolid. Didn't see any signs, but they were claiming it. Oops, so we moved the car further down the street past them and walked back. Lunch was fantastic! The restaurant appears to also be a hotel, but we didn't see anybody else except us so don't know for sure.  The food was so good and the staff were very friendly.  I wish I could remember the name.  It's on a corner and there's a tiny rectangle pool/fountain in a little courtyard.  If you can find it, you are in for a real treat!

After lunch, we returned to La Posada to relax by the pool.  It was our last night, so we also had to pack and ready ourselves for Part 2 of the Road Trip.  We remarked on how we definitely want to return to Valladolid.  This hotel is an absolute GEM and for our last night, we ordered carry-out from a nearby restaurant and had it delivered.  The staff at the hotel set everything up poolside for us to have our lovely dinner.  Can't wait to return and stay here again!

Day 5 - Coba & 3 Cenotes (Valladolid to Tulum)

Pyramid Climbing & Swimming in 3 Cenotes Road Trip! We left Valladolid and headed to the coast today (5th day) stopping midway to see the Maya ruins of Coba "Waters Stirred by Wind", an ancient city hidden in the jungle situated between two crocodile-infested lagoons. 

Coba was super easy to drive to and we got here shortly after the opening hour.  We knew that there was a pyramid here that you can climb, so we wanted to get to it ahead of the crowds.  But, we definitely wanted to get the full experience and understand the history of the structures at Coba.  At the gate, we discussed our options with the staff and heeded their recommendations.

We hired a walking guide for the near set of ruins (a must in my opinion to appreciate the history and culture, some people come just to climb the pyramid and that really doesn't make sense to me) and then hired guided bicycle taxis to go to the all the further ruins including the highest pyramid in the Yucatán peninsula (120 steps, 42 meters, Chichen Itza is 91 steps, 30 meters, Ek Balam 106 steps is taller than Chichen Itza by a meter). 

It is estimated a sizable population lived here by the 1st century growing to 50,000 inhabitants in this area of 80 square km. and the largest network of stone causeways in the ancient Maya world first settled 50 BC and 100 AD (wow - wrap your head around that one). 

Coba is absolutely incredible and we were impressed by how expansive it is spread all over the jungle.  Only a small portion has been properly excavated, but there's enough to imagine a large city full of life and activity in times past.  

A tunnel cut right through this structure La Iglesia (The Church). Our guide told us about the belief of purification found here and then we entered the passageway with open minds.  As we emerged on the other side, we felt the energy of the stones transform us.  Lifting us.  THIS is why we travel.

After we completed our exploration of the near ruins, we said goodbye to our walking guide and met up with our guides for the bicycle portion to the far ruins.  These guys work hard!  They jokingly told us Coba is their gym. Maybe if I had a Coba back home, then I could be more successful getting myself to the "gym". Hahahaha.

We never could have seen so much without the help of these guys. The ruins are spread out great distances.  Our guides let us know in advance that they would first take us past the ruins quickly to reach the big pyramid to beat the crowds and then we would backtrack more slowly and stop at each ruin.  We thought this was a fantastic plan especially since we weren't doing the pedaling (nor walking). 

We got big thrills reaching the top of Nohoch Mul pyramid! The view was incredible and the descent exhilarating. We didn't use a single band-aid! 

We were up top so long that a crowd line had formed on the descent. Nobody was climbing up, so we took to the other side where it was empty.  It was as much fun scrambling down as it had been coming up!

At this point, we were super glad for our bicycle taxis as we continued making our way more slowly around the sites.  Our bicycle guides stayed with the bikes at each ruin in a designated parking area, but describe each structure before we went to check it out on our own.

It's incredible to imagine the effort to get from one of the "mounds" of stones below to the restored structure. There are mounds all over the jungle just waiting to be put back together into their original form.

As we made our way out after exploring all the sights, there was a massive amount of people just arriving.  Lots of tourists pedaling themselves on rented bikes as well as swarms of groups walking.  We were thankful for the skills of our bike guides as they navigated against the flow of the crowd.  Whew, we had to dodge a few that really had no business being on a bike! I can't even imagine the crowd that must form at the big pyramid.  Anyways, we made sure to tip our guides very well!

Back at the car, we wasted no time heading to the nearby set of 3 cenotes. Our timing was perfect for having them near all to ourselves. After purchasing tickets for all 3 at the toll booth on the main road, we drove to each one turning the adventure into an Amazing Race challenge to find each and explore. 

This was an absolute blast! They are not all that far from each other and getting to each one was really fun.  There is signage for each one along the way, so don't worry about finding them.  We had no idea what to expect and the build-up of excitement left us in giggles.  All 3 cenotes are underground caves with no roof openings. Are you claustrophobic? 

Choo-Ha was first and my favorite with shallow waters and a lot of stalactites.  We did a quick rinse under the showers to remove sunscreen before heading down the opening. 

We spent the most time at this cenote since the few other people that were here left and we had it entirely to ourselves. It was super cool exploring the sides of the cave and all the hanging stalactites.

Next, we drove a very short distance to Tamcach-Ha.  It has a long spiral staircase (going up was harder haha) and jumping platforms that Caitlin and Rob jumped a gazillion times. 

Finally, we ended at Multun-Ha which was the farthest.  It was a big hit with clear waters for snorkeling. Wow - it looks bottomless! 

By this time, we had worked up quite an appetite, so decided to lunch in Coba before continuing our road trip to Tulum.  There are a LOT of options, so we kind of just found one that had easy parking out front.  

We must have been ravenous because I did not take any other pics, but I do remember good drinks, good food.

Coba had always been on my list, but I never made it before on any previous trips because of the distance from the beach. It has been great getting to see more of Mexico having our own car. It's really no big deal to drive here. Changing locations really allowed us to see some cool new sights.  Thank goodness for GPS!

As we left Valladolid, Yucatán and continued our road trip through Mexico ending at the coast, we changed time zones and crossed into a different state to arrive at Tulum, Quintana Roo.  The beach road in Tulum was super busy with everybody from town heading to the beach.  There are so many quirky eye-catching boutique hotels, restaurants, and bars.  We were very careful to keep a lookout for our hotel as it would be very difficult to turn around.  Thankfully, the hotel has parking! 

We have set ourselves directly on the beach in Tulum and it is an OASIS! The stuff of dreams, we are staying in a 2-level bungalow on the beach. Kids have their own quarters upstairs - yessss for the separation! If you can't stand the thought of touching sand, there is a HUGE wraparound deck with hammocks. I'm a toes in the sand kind of girl. Do I save you a seat on the deck or down below next to me? By the way, the marguerita de jalapeño is AMAZING. Come have one!

Complimentary welcome drink!

Oh my gosh, pinch me! This bungalow is BEACH FRONT. It is mere steps to the water.  It's full of Robinson Crusoe vibes.  Toes in the sand, fresh coconuts in hand.  Yeah, Vitamin Sea, you and me!  

I was worried because I had heard that the waves at Tulum can be rough, but it's actually fine because it is shallow for a great distance and there is little pull dragging you back out to sea. Whew - this is great for not-a-strong-swimmer me! The kids are having no trouble at all in the water.  The waves are fun enough to knock them down (if they choose), but they can easily navigate upright.

Sun setting. My favorite time of day on the beach.

Sunset on Tulum Beach

Talk about good timing! La Luna has an all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner every Wednesday. It was so darn delicious!

Goodnight, Tulum Beach. This is an awesome beach town.  Such a cool laid-back vibe. We took a peek out front at the beach road and it was still crazy busy, but no wonder.  This is paradise!

Day 6 - Edventure Tours: XTreme Adventures

I woke naturally at 5am and walked out the door to witness the sunrise. It's so calm listening to the waves lap the shore. The palm leaves blow gently in the morning breeze. My soul nourishes as my pulse slows.


Leaving barely time for a quick inhale of breakfast, our Edventure Tours shuttle arrived to pick us up at the lobby at 8am to take us to the main office (nearby at Tulum Ruins).  

Wow, this operation is run TOP-NOTCH.  There's a lot of competent staff taking care of all the details for whatever tour you have booked.  

We were booked for the Ultimate Edventure XTreme (highly recommend)! They provided tons breakfast snack bars and water while we waited to get checked-in and sized for our gear.  We also settled our final payment balance and received our pre-purchased bio-friendly sunscreen.  

Pre-Zip - We are so excited!

Before long, we had our guide for the day and properly sized wetsuits/snorkel gear.  I'm so glad I opted for the wet suit after seeing how comfy they were for the kids. Off we gooooooo!

Cruisin in Style!

They weren't kidding when they called it Xtreme! Rob had a blast driving our ATV through the jungle the whole day. 

We ziplined through the jungle canopy (9 zips and 5 connecting bridges) and then we each conquered the optional rock climb and rappel. 

It was hard climbing the rock wall, but no way was I not making it to the top after watching my 11-year old pass me. Sheer pride is a great motivator. Hahahahaha

I admit I was scared coming down the rappel. There's something about leaning straight back over an edge that goes against my core. This place is great about making it so that all ages can participate safely. The little one used a different rope, so that she didn't have to slide it down herself (that's why she's not wearing the gloves). She still got the fun of coming down the wall! Caitlin was able to do it "real" like the adults.

I thought the most amazing part of the tour was snorkeling the underground river and cave cenotes. There were some tight spots where I found myself all alone and freaked out a little, but I managed - so proud of our little Molly!  You gotta keep your head down low in some of those spaces. 

We used up some bandaids.  I had a mishap when I slipped backward off this platform and fell into the abyss of a cave getting stuck (I'm convinced a sea monster grabbed my leg and pulled me under) and required both Rob and the guide to free me. It's a wonder I didn't get a serious injury, but just a little bruised on my ankle. Then once we were above ground, I tripped over a rock right in front of Rob and the guide. We joked that I was becoming the guide's stress factor. Miraculously, after a cerveza (beer) I regained my better sense of balance. 

The grilled authentic Mayan style lunch was delicious and we welcomed the chilled beer.  Refueled with energy, we then went to Akumal to swim with the sea turtles.  

Before we got to the water, there was a problem with the tour at the ticket booth and the guide (he was also our photographer) could not accompany us into the water.  We were directed to the surrounding protected perimeter where you are allowed to swim.  We were told by someone to look for a crowd because that meant that there was a turtle.  It bothered me that people surrounded the turtles and got too close to them.  Molly and I also weren't comfortable with the current of the water and we returned to the beach shortly.  Soon, our entire group collected back on the and we happily moved on.  Later, Edventure Tours refunded not only our $50 deposits, but also credited back to us $70 for the sea turtle experience.  They even said that we could re-do the tour properly if we desired.  I thought this was a kind gesture on their part and we appreciated their efforts to please us.  

Saving the best for last, the kids LOVED snorkeling the lagoon aquarium and seeing all the various kinds of fish. Glassy clear waters reveal a natural aquarium of so many different fish.  We had a blast exploring the calm shallow waters for sea turtles, tropical fish, and manta rays.  That turquoise water though!

Oh my, what strange creatures lurk in Yal-Ku Lagoon! It's not easy gathering snorkeling kids for a family selfie, but we managed to squeeze them between us for a split second. Hahahahahaha.

We were just a small group of 8 people total and the whole tour was well operated by our driver and guides. I'm so glad I hired the photo package putting my camera away and simply enjoying the adrenaline-filled adventure. Whew - it was a full day that left our hearts soaring!

Do you think he had fun? :)

I'd say this was good first full day in Tulum, Mexico. Oh yeah!
But wait, then I had the best meal of our entire trip.  We opted to eat at La Luna's restaurant.  The kids ate first and then returned to the bungalow.  Rob and I were able to then enjoy a quieter slower-paced meal.  

This grilled seafood platter is for 1 person. No joke. We shared it. It's bigger than it looks. Don't worry. We had no problems devouring the ENTIRE delicious feast. There is a chef-made spicy dipping sauce that is to-die-for and paired perfectly with the succulent and perfectly grilled spread of lobster, shrimp, and fish.

Woo hoo to living it up on a kid-free (sort of) date night in Tulum!

Day 7 - MexicoKanTour: Sian Kaan Biosphere & Muyil

Amazing experience in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere - the highlight being that we rode the O.G. of all lazy rivers! 

We had pre-booked a private tour with Mexico Kan Tours (VIP Sian Ka'an - Muyil).  They have a longer tour that goes to Punta Allen, but we were super keen to see the ruins in the jungle and especially to do the lazy float in the river.  My gosh, this turned out to be the BEST decision EVER and has left us with lasting memories of an incredible experience.  

Our tour did not start until 1pm, so we enjoyed a relaxing morning on the beach.

Facing Forward

To my Right

To my Left

Monkey on the Beach

Promptly at 1pm, our shuttle from Mexico Kan Tours arrived with our private eco-guide (Pluma) for the day.  They used a comfy van and it was just our family, Pluma, and the driver.

We first had a short drive to the archeological site of Muyil located in the northern part of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere reserve. These are ruins of an ancient Maya trading post in an incredibly diverse semi-deciduous forest. Pluma knew about EVERY plant and wildlife. Good thing because we saw plenty of things you don't ever want to touch. Seriously, my friends, don't touch ANYTHING in the jungle.

The ruins are discovered as these mounds of stones. I wouldn't even know where to begin. Amazing restoration efforts.

I'm amazed that they are able to piece it back together. Let me tell you something to look for at these ruins. Look closely at the pic below. Do you see what looks like a white line of ants on the front stone wall? That line is used to mark what was original (found as-is still standing) and what was restored above it.  We learned this at Chichen Itza from our guide Santiago and the kids looked for it on every structure at all the ruins.

Pluma told us about a tree that will destroy you if you touch it. Then, he told Molly to go stand next to it and find the "sister" tree that has the antidote.  The look on her face...hahahahaha.

The most dominant structure is this 17 meter tall pyramid, El Castillo. We imagined ourselves one of the earliest inhabitants of the Maya city as we walked the ancient sac be, or white roads, deep into the jungle passing mysterious ruins to arrive at this dramatic pyramid.

Behind this pyramid is the hidden path that leads you to where you enter an amazing trail into the biosphere reserve.

This was a great hike on a boardwalk through the jungle where Pluma continued to quench our thirst for jungle survival knowledge.  We could totally survive out here.  Hahahaha, no we couldn't.  

The observation tower gave us our first look of the wetlands and lagoons in the distance.  It was a blast to climb straight up the ladder steps all the way to the top platform.  It's just a tiny platform and you can't pass on the ladders, so only a limited number of people can go up at a time.  The views are worth it!

We eventually emerged from the jungle at the edge of the Muyil lagoon. This is where you get on a boat.  There was time before our boat, so it was the perfect opportunity to have lunch while we waited.  Pluma provided a delicious picnic lunch of fresh ingredients.  Afterwards, he engaged the kids with his personal collection of wildlife artifacts.  He is a natural teacher!

From the dock of Muyil lagoon, we took a boat across through the channel connecting the 2 lagoons to arrive at the beginning of the natural lazy river.  We had an INCREDIBLE floating experience in the crystal clear pluvial water on its way to the Caribbean. 

After getting off the boat (we left our shoes and belongings), we first checked out trading post ruins at the canal's edge.

At last, it was time to enter the waters. The kids were hesitant and appeared more cautious than usual.  It took some coaxing to get them into the water (a lot of coaxing for the little one), but we finally all were IN.

It was so peaceful floating for over 30 minutes surrounded by mangroves, orchids, bromeliads, and cacti. We absorbed nature's energy as the birds sang to us and the wind blew kisses over the fields of saw grass. 

Is it croc o'clock? Floating in the mangroves of the Sian Ka'an biosphere was a definite highlight of our time in Tulum. These wetlands are thriving with rich flora and fauna making this nature's playground a Maya treasure. A UNESCO World Heritage sight, Sian Ka'an is a protected reserve of more than 1.2 million acres of estuaries, reefs, cenotes and wetlands. I don't know how we avoided becoming croc snack in this O.G. of lazy rivers, but we lived to breathe sighs of relief (thanks to Pluma).

Sunset delights! Talk about perfect timing.  We pulled ourselves out of the waters of the ancient Maya-carved trading canal onto the boardwalk to hike back to the boat. Our boat captain was so sweet meeting us at the boardwalk where we emerged with our towels and shoes. 

If you stay in the canal, you can float another hour and 45 minutes to reach the sea.  We had a fantastic boardwalk hike as the sun was setting over this incredible landscape. 

Not done yet, our boat captain took a narrow channel and went hi-speed through the curves much to the delight of Caitlin and Molly - Mexican roller coaster! 

Pluma has studied with local Mayan villages and has such vast knowledge of the jungle and this eco-system making this an incredible learning experience. The kids loved him and he really bonded with them. The positive vibes and energy will be everlasting.

Even on the drive back to the hotel, Pluma (and the driver) kept the children's attention.  Pluma had a treasure bag of full of natural artifacts that we passed around in the van and guessed answers to trivia questions about wildlife.  We learned so much from Pluma and are better people having met him.  We look forward to returning to Tulum and continuing our life adventures with him.  

Day 8 - Cabana's La Luna BEACH day!

For sure, I was required to dedicate an entire day to the beach.  No problem as Tulum made it oh so easy.

Caitlin opted to get beach braids again this year. Molly decided to pass as she has a more sensitive scalp and didn't want to endure the tugging.

What's more awesome than a double rainbow?! As if the beach view alone wasn't beyond heart soaring vibes. We watched mesmerized as this double rainbow magically popped up out of nowhere. Must have been created by a pink unicorn as there was no rain.

We decided to get wild and crazy and actually leave the hotel for dinner. Hahahahaha. We didn't get very far. We landed at a nearby GEM of a place with this awesome roof deck and views of the setting sun.

We would have explored more along the beach road, but it was too crazy busy with cars and bikes. Good thing we are staying at an oasis :)

Day 9 - New Year's Eve

Our previous beach day was sooo good, that we abandoned all intended plans and enjoyed another lazy day at the beach. There were a bunch of cenotes that we had wanted to go explore, but those will have to wait until next time. 

We knew that no way were we venturing out for New Year's Eve, so made reservations for the celebration dinner hosted by La Luna.

New Year's Eve was quiet, but enjoyable. We were satisfied with our decision to stay in and have a lovely dinner.  The food was unusual and we enjoyed trying the unfamiliar dishes.

Feliz año nuevo! Happy 2018 from Tulum, Mexico 

Day 10 - Dawn of the 2018 Sunrise Tulum Ruins

Happy New Year 2018! We didn't make it to midnight, but we did welcome the dawn of the new year with a stunning sunrise hitting Tulum Ruins for adventure and coastal cliff views. Hello, 2018! 

The Tulum ruins have been overlooking the Caribbean Sea since as early as 564 A.D. (the earliest date found inscribed on a stele). The walled city was the only Maya settlement located on the beach of the Caribbean and served as an active trading port. The 3-walled ruins sit on a patch of rocky coastline facing the rising sun. We welcomed the dawn of the new year arriving here just after sunrise January 1st 2018. Incredible fresh start experience with a "we'll always have Tulum" memory.

Funny story.  We left super early to beat the crowds.  As we were driving down Tulum's beach road towards the ruins, we remarked on how busy it was already.  All these people must have the same plans. All these young people.  Wow, their energy.  To have stayed up for New Year's eve and then to be up so early to go see the ruins.   Darn, it's going to be so crowded.  Wait.  They are still in their party clothes and makeup. Wait.  They are rolling out of the beach clubs.  Hahahahahaha, we realized these people haven't even gone to bed yet from New Year's eve.  They were actually leaving Tulum.  Whew! When we got to Tulum ruins, it was practically empty.  We easily parked and walked through the market area and then down the straight road.  There's a tram you can take, but the walk is only about 10 minutes. 

We decided to do a self-guided walk of the Tulum ruins using a map we found at the website of EverythingPlayaDelCarmen. They are a great resource for all things in the entire Yucatan Peninsula.  I had printed their map ahead of time, which includes a suggested route and numbered focal points of interest.  Caitlin and Molly had great fun being our guides!

Comparing Notes

Following the map, we explored the first gate, but exited back out and entered at the second gate taking the path along the side of the ruins overlooking stunning views of the ocean!

Having the ruins all to ourselves, we roamed in delight. Such a special experience.  It's not a large sight, but we imagined a vibrant city of people eager to trade their goods filling the lanes and buildings in times past.  

This beautiful beach is a protected area for the turtles. There is another beach that is accessible for swimming.

If you can tear yourself away from the view, take the wooden steps down to access the gorgeous beach.

We enjoyed exploring all the ruins and backtracked to make sure we didn't miss anything.  There is signage at each that describes the structures in detail.

After leaving the ruins, we enjoyed a bit of a Mexican street art scavenger hunt on the exit through the market. 

Back to our beach bungalow, it's surfs up to cool down (and maybe a little "hair of the dog"). Hard to believe our vacation is coming to an end. Is it chilly back home? Friends back home reported a balmy 23 degrees. Brrrr, unbearable!

Day 11 - Beach Day

This would normally be our departure day to return home. But, after getting stuck in Mexico last year with our flights cancelled, I came up with the genius idea to build a "stuck" day into our plans. So, folks, this is the current situation. We are "stuck" in Mexico.

No Complaints!

This is what "stuck" in Mexico looks like...

I had an extremely difficult day.  

Packing, I realized I had lost my shoes. Boy, it sure was going to be painful returning home in flip-flops. And, pants. The thought of wearing pants, ugh!  We arranged with the hotel for a packed breakfast since we would be leaving early in the morning for the final Part 3 of our Road Trip.  We emptied the car and properly pack everything back into the suitcases.  Miraculously, we made everything fit.
Day 12 - Departure (Tulum to Cancun)

Talk about a bittersweet day. Leaving this oasis was HARD. 

We hit the road with our packed car.  La Luna was so kind as to pack us a takeaway breakfast.  Check out the cute roadside coffee in this converted vehicle - so cool!  It was an easy drive out of Tulum following the 307 towards the airport.

We gave ourselves extra time so that even when we hit a bit of traffic coming into Cancun, we had no worries.  We were returning the rental car to the same place as we had received it, so we knew exactly where to go.  We filled the gas tank at the Pemex that is right next to the airport.  Do you remember back at the beginning of our trip when I described the first time we got gas and indicated that we had one hiccup?  Well, we requested our specific amount (500 pesos of gas as we had been doing all along).  The attendant filled it up and collected our money.  What do you think happened? Scam?  Nope.  WE were the problem.  I had mistaken the 50 for a 500.  It was our last and only bill in pesos.  Oh geez, this was so embarrassing.  We explained our mistake and then tried to figure out if there was an ATM on premise or nearby.  We absolutely didn't want to use a credit card at the gas station.  Finally, I told Rob to ask if they would take U.S. dollars.  Whew, they said YESSSS!!!!  I told Rob I don't care what they charge, just give it to them and take it as a loss.  They actually charged a fair exchange rate of $28.  We gave them $30 and told them to keep the change.  So, there you have it.  We have nothing negative to report with any of our driving experience in Mexico including the gas stations.

Just thought I would throw in a beach pic in case your stress levels were high from worry for our outcome. Hahahaha. 

Anyways, we returned the car with no problems. The attendant pointed out a minor scratch on the front bumper that we didn't notice when we picked up the car, but we were pretty sure we didn't put it there. It was minor enough that we said it was probably already there. Didn't matter though as we had the additional insurance that covered us with 0 deductible.  They shuttled us to the airport and we were surprised to see it not busy at all.  Smooth sailing through checking-in and all the way to the gate.  We even enjoyed a nice bite at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant before boarding. 

Safe and sound, we made it home.  Now, have we convinced you to road trip Mexico?  Will you explore Valladolid to Tulum?  We'd love to hear about your travels!  

Up Next: Road Trippin Italy and Cruisin Spain

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