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Old 07-07-2011   #16 (permalink)
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DAY 6 (Monday 20th June)

Monday was the day of our trip to Coba.
The trip involved Coba, visiting a Mayan family and a swim in a cenote.
I was very excited about seeing a bit more of Mexico, because so far we had spent all our time in the hotel, on the beach or in the tourist area of 5th Ave.

The only problem was, when we woke up it was raining!!!
It had been threatening to rain for the last couple of days and today it was going to rain non stop for most of the day.

We had breakfast and had to be at the lobby for 8am to be picked up by the coach.
The journey to Coba took 2 hours, but it didn't seem that long, as our guide spent most of the journey telling us a lot about the history of the area. He was actually a really good guide even though he was Italian and not Mexican. He had lived in Mexico for over 10 years and his wife and child were Mexican so he now considered himself Mexican and no longer Italian.

For those who don't know, Coba
is a large ruined city of the Pre-Columbian Maya civilisation, which is in Quintana Roo.

Once we arrived at Coba, we could not have felt any further away from the luxury of our hotel, especially when we went to the toilet and we had to request that the lady sat outside give us a few pieces of toilet roll if we needed it.
There was one sink between everyone (men and women) to wash your hands afterwards outside the toilets.

We all bought ponchos to keep us dry before we set off on our guided tour.

We walked straight to
the Nohoch Mul pyramid which is the main attraction at Coba. It is the only ancient pyramid in this part of Mexico that the public is still allowed to climb. (Which is why we went here instead of Chichen Itza)

Now on a typical sunny Mexican day, this is what Nohoch Mul would have looked like:

Today however, it looked like this:

It is 120 steps to the top of the pyramid and it is 42 metres high.
I knew I was going to climb to the top but I didn't think Rach would make it, especially in the rain.
Rach doesn't really like heights but she was straight up there like a woman on a mission.

It was a bit weird going up, as there didn't seem to be any organisation to it. There was a rope in the middle of the steps that people could use to hold as they climbed up or down, but instead of saying the right hand side for going up and the left hand side for coming down, it was basically just a free for all. So while you were busy concentrating on the steep steps, you'd suddenly look up and someone coming down was about to step on your head!!!

We both managed to make it up to the top surprisingly easy.

The guide had explained on the coach that the Yucutan peninsular was completely flat and that this pyramid was the highest structure in the whole area. This mean't that once we were at the top we could basically see everything for miles and miles.

There wasn't a lot to see though. It was basically just trees and trees and more trees. The guide didn't lie about it being flat though.

I think this is where they used to make human sacrifices.

Coming down was a lot more difficult than going up and I was too busy concentrating on taking photos that I nearly lost my footing and fell. It was time to put the camera away and concentrate!!!

After Nohoch Mul, we walked round the rest of the site and looked at the rest of the ruins.

The picture doesn't do it justice, but this moth was as big as both of my hands.

La Iglesia Pyramid

Whilst the guide was telling us about La Iglesia, I spotted a vulture landing in a tree above us.

After we finished looking round the ruins we went for lunch which was included with the day.

After lunch we were back in the coach and on the way to meet the Mayan families.

On the journey Rach took some photos of the streets we drove through.
I'm not sure why but I love these photos.

It felt like we were seeing some of the real Mexico, rather than the 5 star tourist world we had been living in for the past week.

When we arrived at the location where we would meet the Mayan families, it was just basically a dirt track in the jungle.

We arrived at the first property, which was basically just a hut, but I loved how they had the freedom of the wild. The washing was hung up amongst the trees and the kids were just running round free without a care in the world.

I thought about where I lived in England, and there was no way a 3 year old child could just run around safely outside my house.
To me this way of life looked like what I would see on TV when they were showing how people in the third world lived, but these people have everything they need to live right there in the jungle. These are not poor people, and you could see that by the huge smiles on their faces.

There were 11 kids in this family and 2 parents. All 13 of them lived in a hut no bigger than my front room at home!!!

The guide had told us that we were not allowed to give them money or buy any crafts off them as it would upset the balance in the community. There were 23 families in this particular community, and only 2 of them were part of the tour.

The mother showed us how she made tortillas, which was one of the ways she was able to make money.

There was a tiny kitten sleeping right next to the fire where the tortillas were being cooked.

We then walked across the way to visit the second family.

The second family had a much bigger house, and they also had some mod cons such as a singer sowing machine.

They even had a TV and a CD player which were powed by solar panels outside.

The lady at this house showed us how she made hammocks.

They had a well right outside the house which contained the clearest water you could imagine.

When we headed back to the coach, all the children from the two families followed our guide.

We soon discovered why.
He gave them all cakes and various other treats to take home with them.
You've never seen such happy kids.

Rach took this photo from the coach as we were driving off.

After the Mayan families we were on our way to swim in the cenote.
I had been hoping it was an underground cenote which I had heard so much about, but this one was out in the open.

There was about 20 people on the coach, but only 3 of us went in for a swim.
I was so refreshing in there and I had read that a swim in a cenote can take 10 years off you, so there was no way I wasn't going in :-)

After the cenote, we went to a shop were we could buy crafts made by the Mayan families. We were told that this way, they were able to share the money fairly amongst all the families.

We bought a carved wooden Mayan mask, which now sits proudly on the wall in our hall just by the front door.

It was now back on the coach for the trip home.
We had been so busy we hadn't even noticed the rain had finally stopped.

On the way back we couldn't help but notice that the army were out and about quite a bit. I'm guessing that this is just precautionary measures, but it is a little bit weird to see guys driving round with machine guns whilst on holiday!!

Last edited by phuqertrfc; 07-10-2011 at 06:05 PM..
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Old 07-07-2011   #17 (permalink)
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We eventually got back to the hotel where we were greeted by our latest animal towel friend.
It was another pterodactyl, or maybe it was the same one as yesterday?
Either way it obviously had another date, as it had more flowers with it.

It was already quite late, so I only got an hour or so down by the pool and then it was back to shower and get ready for our meal at the Brazilian restaurant Botafogo.

This was a bit of a mad dining experience.
The starter was a buffet style, consisting of salads, soups, cheeses and tortillas etc.

Then came the main course. This involved a plate with some veg and some fries, and the waiter would bring the meat out on these huge skewers.
Now I've dined at restaurants similar to this before, but here the meats just kept coming.

Firstly the waiter arrived with a skewer full of sausages, and you could have as many of them as you wanted.
I was unaware how many meat courses where still to come, so I had 3 sausages, which I have to say were the nicest sausages I have ever eaten.

Then he arrived with a different type of sausage on a skewer, followed by chicken I think, and then pork, and the something else, followed by something else etc etc.....

I was completely stuffed, but still they kept coming.
I thought that I couldn't eat anymore, but then they brought out the ribeye steak and I couldn't say no.

Surely that was it!!!
No, here he comes again and this time it is filet steak, so I had to give that a try as well.

Now I'm no foodie, but I do know that the filet steak is the headliner of any meal, so surely that was it now.

I was wrong again. He then brought out some kind of pineapple thing on a skewer and this time I was defeated.
I managed one mouthfull but that was it.

I don't remember if I had pudding or not, but I can't imagine I would have turned it down :-)

After the meal, we went out to watch the the entertainment show, which was the movie night. It was basically a dance act, doing dance routines based on movies such as The Matrix and Dirty Dancing etc.

We were so stuffed we had planned to call it a night and sleep the food off, but the show was really good so we stayed out and watched it with a few drinks.

At the end of the show the animacion team mentioned that they were all going to Coco Bongo straight afterwards and with quite a few drinks in us, we decided to go with them.

I didn't have any money with me, so I went back to the room to get it, but when we got back to the lobby, they had already left.
We decided to order a cab and make our own way there.

Once we arrived we found out how expensive it was to get in!!
I quickly realised I hadn't brought nearly enough cash with me. I could afford to get us in, but wouldn't have any money left for drinks.

We decided to get a cab back to the hotel, get some more cash and then go back out again.

We did just that, and by the time I returned to the cab, Rach had befriended a Spanish couple who couldn't speak a word of English, but she had somehow arranged for us to share the cab.

We went back to Coco Bongo where we discovered our trip back was a complete waste of time as drinks were included in the entrance price!!!!

Anyway, if we hadn't gone back we wouldn't have our new best friends who we couldn't actually speak to as we didn't speak Spanish and they didn't speak English.

We got tickets through our hotel guy, and missed out on all the queues.

Once in, we got a drink and joined the rest of our hotel guests on the balcony and watched the show.

It turns out Coco Bongo is more of a show than a night club.
But it was a pretty amazing experience anyway.

I was on the rum and coke, and after tipping the waiter when he got me my first drink, he kept coming back with 2 rum and cokes every 10 minutes.
They were going down really well, and in no time at all I was pretty wasted.

We ended up leaving at 2am, which is about an hour before the show finishes, but we were both drunk and really tired.

We got our 4th cab of the night!!! back to the hotel and crashed out on the bed.

Unbelievably, Rach was up at 5:30am taking pictures of the sunrise, but more about that tomorrow.

So that was day 6, in which we climbed Coba, visited a Mayan family, swam in a Cenote to lose 10 years, ate so much meat at Botafogo I put the 10 years back on, and went to Coco Bongo and got smashed on rum and coke!!!

Much busier day than the previous one.

Stay tuned for day 7, which will be known as recovery day :-)
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Old 07-08-2011   #18 (permalink)
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I love your photos - just sayin.......
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Old 07-08-2011   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks Shammy.
We had about 1500 photos by the end of the holiday!!!

Such a beautiful place with such vibrant colours.
I was stopping every 2 minutes to take another photo of something.
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Old 07-08-2011   #20 (permalink)
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Great trip report....keep it coming! Lovin' the photos too!

We're off back to the Iberostar (just a couple of 'doors' down from where you were....10 weeks 4 days and counting...can't wait!
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Old 07-08-2011   #21 (permalink)
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I'm loving your trip report! The pictures are gorgeous and so are the two of you. More, please!
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Old 07-08-2011   #22 (permalink)
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DAY 7 (Tuesday 21st June)

By the time we got home from Coco Bongo and got to bed it was probably gone 3am.
I fell asleep and didn't get up until 6 hours later.
I was surprised when I checked my camera later that day to find some pictures of a sun rise!!!
I quizzed Rach about it and it turns out she got up at 5:30am and sat on the balcony watching the sunrise and taking photos of it.

I love this picture she got with the lone bird flying over the ocean.

After all that food and drink last night, we were both feeling a little dodgy.
Nothing that pancakes and syrup for breakfast couldn't sort out :-)

The sun was back out today!
The grey clouds had gone and the blue skies were back.
Nothing to do but get a couple of beds round the pool and spend the day relaxing.

Rach relaxing on one of the sunbeds built into the pool

The Infinity Pool

This Is The Life

View of Our Upper Balcony From My Sun Lounger (Ours was the one on the right)

Rach At The Pool Bar

Spending all day round the pool, I was able to finish my book today, and make a start on my next one "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac.

We had some lunch and decided to head on down to the beach.

Looking Back Towards The Hotel From The Beach

After a full day lounging around doing nothing, we had a shower and got ready for our meal at the Mexican restaurant "Agave".


The Mexican restaurant was really nice.
It was a buffet for starters which was pretty much the same as the Brazilian restaurant the night before.
For the main course I had chicken, beef and shrimp tacos which were lovely, and I can't remember what I had for desert.

That evening the hotel grounds looked particularly nice as the sun went down.

The entertainment tonight was the Las Vegas dancing show.
We didn't really fancy it and we were both still tired from the night before, so after a few cocktails we headed back to the room.

So that was day 7 when we didn't do very much other than what we had come to Mexico for.....sun, sea and sand.

We were both very excited though, because the following day we were going to Dolphin Discovery to swim with Manatees, Sharks, Stingrays and Dolphins......

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Old 07-08-2011   #23 (permalink)
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DAY 8 (Wednesday 22nd June)

We had to be up really early this morning as we were getting picked up at 7:50am to go to Dolphin Discovery. (We did manage to squeeze breakfast in at the hotel before we left)

Dolphin Discovery is set in a place called Puerto Aventuras.
I'm not sure if it was houses or holiday homes or hotels, but it looked like a really upmarket place set around a marina, and smack bang in the middle, amongst all the millionaires yachts, is Dolphin Discovery.

The Manatees Pool

It was probably the hottest day of the holiday so far. The sun didn't stop shining all day.
After we had signed in and put our stuff in the lockers, we went to the bar area for breakfast. We didn't know we were getting breakfast here which is why we'd eaten at the hotel before we left, but it would have been rude not to have eaten it. (Food was definitely the main theme of our holiday)

After breakfast we went to get our life jackets, and then we met our guide.
We spent nearly an hour learning about how they look after the dolphins and how they train them and play with them etc.

After all that, we went to see the manatees.
We basically got into the pool with about 4 or 5 manatees. 3 adults and 2 kids.
One of the manatees (called Romeo) swam over and the guide showed us how they ate with no teeth which was really weird, and we got the chance to feed them lettuce which they apparently go through 50 pounds of every day.

What I find weird is that a creature that lives in the sea, somehow ends up with lettuce as its main source of food. Maybe that is one of the reasons they are an endangered species??

Rach & Romeo

Ok, I'm starting to get jealous now!!

After we had fed the manatees we got 10 minutes with snorkeling gear to go and swim with them.
That was amazing, because they would come over and swim alongside you and if you had lettuce they would do everything to get it off you.
If you didn't let them have it, they would drag you under with them!!!

After the manatees, we headed over to the dolphins.

One of the best bits with the dolphins was the foot push.
You basically just lie flat in the water and 2 of them come up behind you and push you with their noses on the sole of your feet.
You get to such a speed that you start lifting out of the water.

This was amazing

I had always wanted to do this

After the dolphins, we went to swim with the sharks and stingrays.
We all got in the water with our snorkeling gear and went looking for them.
The water was murky and deep, so at first we saw nothing, then after a while we would eventually see the floor beneath us move.
The stingrays were huge and you could only see them when they actually moved.

Still no sharks though.
Then I saw a fish about a foot long, and I thought that maybe that was the shark. I know you can get small sharks for home aquariums and I thought maybe that is what these were.

But then I saw a shadow near to the fence that split the marina. I swam over and there was a proper shark, about 2 metres long and looking dangerously like jaws!!...and then another one but this one was swimming about!!!

It was an amazing experience to be in the water with such incredible creatures.

When we got out of the water, the guide took a fish out of his bag and cut it in half and threw it in. Suddenly, loads of small fish came to the surface and started ripping the fish apart....the guide then informed us, we'd also been swimming with piranhas!!!!

After the shark experience we had an hour or so to have our free lunch, see the photos and have a look around the marina.

We ended up spending a fortune on buying an album with all the pictures in, which also included a CD with all 85 pics of Rach and I, and the dolphins (and Romeo).

We had lunch and then went for a look round.
Puerto Aventuras was a lovely place and I would love to come back one day and stay there.

I even made another new friend.

The minibus came and picked us up and took us back to the hotel, where I was shocked to find that there were no new towel dinosaurs waiting for us!!!

It was still fairly early and it was such a beautiful day, so we decided to go down to the beach for the rest of the afternoon.

The wildlife was out in force around the hotel today.

I saw this little fella in the grass near the pool. I think it is called an Agouti.

This bird was caught having a bath in the afternoon sun

When we got down to the beach, we were pleasantly surprised to see that there was a wedding taking place.

With us only just recently getting married, we are still at that stage were we are fixated with weddings and we sat on the beach and watched this one all the way through.

What a lovely setting for a wedding.

With the wedding, the hotel must have been in celebratory mood as they had set up a champagne display in the plaza area.

We were eating at the buffet tonight, so we headed back to the room and showered and got ready for........Circus Night!

We sat outside at Don Manolos and ate our evening meal with a lovely view across the plaza over to the entertainment area.

After food, we went and sat out in the plaza and had a few bottles of XX, which was fast becoming my favourite beer.

Notice the clowns in the background :-)

We eventually made our way across to the entertainment area to watch the show.
Just to highlight how good the service was, we had ordered a couple of drinks but whilst we waited for them, the show started. We figured we'd just move to the entertainment area and order some more drinks, but a couple of minutes after sitting in our new seats, the waitress found us and gave us our drinks.
I'm not sure how she knew who we where, because the guy who takes the order is not the same as the one who brings you your drinks.
It was little touches like this that I loved about the hotel. Even though there were hundreds of guests there, they always remember what you usually order, and they always remember your face.

Anyway, the circus show was really good, and as is usually the case, when you are enjoying the show, the drinks go down a lot easier. I'd finished with the beer and was now on the cocktails.
Rach was on the margaritas, but she was now having them on the rocks rather than with the crushed ice. They seemed to be a lot stronger that way.

After the show, we had a few more drinks and then went back to the room.

We decided to just have a few drinks in bed and see if there were any films on TV we could watch.
We ended up watching a strange combination of films....the beginning of Halloween, followed by the end of Falling Down, followed by the middle of Superbad.
At some point we fell asleep and that was the end of day 8.

The day in which we swam with dolphins, we saw a wedding on the beach, we got to go to the circus, and Rach kissed a manatee called Romeo right in front of me.

Stay tuned for tomorrow whern we have a BBQ on the beach and go to Bad Boys to watch The Nasty B astards perform.....

Last edited by phuqertrfc; 07-10-2011 at 06:16 AM..
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Old 07-08-2011   #24 (permalink)
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Since I don't think you've seen what the beach at this hotel used to look like, I thought I'd show you.....

Your photo:

What it used to look like (big difference! ):

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Old 07-09-2011   #25 (permalink)
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Wow Shammy, the difference is amazing!!!

Much bigger beach now.
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Old 07-10-2011   #26 (permalink)
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DAY 9 (Thursday 23rd June)

We woke up on the Thursday knowing we only had 2 full days left in Mexico :-(
Oh, how I wished we had booked for the fortnight instead of just 10 days!!!

We spent the day just enjoying the hotel.
Usual buffet for breakfast followed by the pool and beach for the day.
We had a BBQ on the beach for lunch which was a little bit different.

We decided with it being Thursday we would go to Bad Boys beach bar for a few drinks and to watch the live music.
We went back to the room a little bit earlier and got ready to go out.

When we got back to the room, we met the pterodactyl's girlfriend for the first time.

She was beautiful. He'd done really well for a towel dinosaur :-)

We showered got changed and headed to the lobby to get a taxi to 5th Ave.

Before we went to Bad Boys, we did our gift shopping for the folks back home.
For all the shops on 5th Ave, we managed to get everything in one souvenir store and then headed down to the beach to find Bad Boys.

By the time we got there the band were already playing and the place was full. We got a table out on the beach, ordered some drinks and started to enjoy the atmosphere.

We both wish we had come here earlier in the holiday as the atmosphere was a lot different from the hotel.
As nice as the hotel was, the evenings were a bit lacking in atmosphere. Lounge singers and saxaphone players are not really our thing, but here on the beach on 5th Ave, it seemed to be a lot more up our street.

The band were really good and it just seemed to be a lot livelier.
We would have loved to have just stayed out that night and ate at Bad Boys and then go out and experience all the different bars on 5th Ave, but I'd spent all my cash on the the gifts and we didn't have a bank card with us!!!

Oh well, we'd just have to enjoy the band, have a few drinks and then head back about 9ish and eat at the hotel.

An Interesting Way To Serve Drinks

My Strawberry Daiquiri

One of the things I loved about the beach here was the sites you would see.
These 3 just randomly walked past as if it was the most natural thing in the world to be walking along the beach dressed as a mariachi with an instrument.


After the band finished, we headed back along the beach to our hotel.
It was very different walking along the beach at night.
Pitch black in some places, and in others lit up by the lights from the beach properties or hotels.

We walked past one hotel and they had a number of tables on the beach, with couples dining by the ocean. It looked very romantic.
I wish our hotel had of offered that, as it would have been a nice touch on our honeymoon.

Anyway, we got back to the hotel and went for food at Don Manolo's and then had a few drinks in the bar.
We didn't bother with the show tonight which was the Mexicano show.

We eventually made our way back up to the room and called it a night. Tomorrow would be out last full day in Mexico which was a depressing thought to go to sleep with :-(

So that was day 9 in which we had a beach BBQ and watched the Nasty B astards at Bad Boys beach bar.

Stay tuned for our last day in Mexico when we enjoy coconuts on the beach and go to the final speciality restaurant, Yashima.
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Old 07-10-2011   #27 (permalink)
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Just want to thank you for taking the time to do your trip report. Love all your pictures!!!!

I believe Fusion is the hotel that you mentioned with all the tables set up on the beach.
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Old 07-11-2011   #28 (permalink)
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What a great trip report beautiful pictures and what a cute couple you 2 are

Looking forward to the rest of your report
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Old 07-11-2011   #29 (permalink)
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Thank you - really great report!

I try to "eat healthy" too at breakfast - but when you see all the selections - diet? What diet?
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Old 07-11-2011   #30 (permalink)
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I know!!! Everyday straight after breakfast I'd say to myself, "tomorrow morning just have fruit or cereal", but then the next morning it would be the same again!!!!
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