Water Enthusiast 2007 Trip Report, Part 2

Click here to read the first part of the trip to the Maya Riviera

Day eight we got up early to have our last breakfast in Akumal and to say goodbye to Denise, who opted not to join us on our side trip to the Mexican state of Yucatan. Our 2 vans and drivers arrived on time and helped us to load up the vans. Everyone was ready to go, and after a tearful adios for some of us, we climb into the vans to head inland.

First, we went south to Tulum and then took the Coba road inland. We made a quick rest stop in Coba and headed back to the road to Valladolid. At the state border, as is common, there was a military check-point. We were waved through with no problems. We made great time to Valladolid and we were allowed to do an early check-in at Meson de Marquez. This is a lovely old mansion that has been restored and expanded to make a wonderful hotel right on the square in the middle of Valladolid.

Valladolid is a wonderful colonial city, rich with history and architecture, not to mention some great shops and restaurants. We chose to have lunch at the hotel, which has a fabulous restaurant. Some of us relaxed for the afternoon while others headed to see Chichen Itza - one of the new 7 Wonders of the World - by day. They had a fabulous guide and came back with a wealth of Maya history and facts. The rest of us joined up with the group in time for the night show. The weather was perfect for the show and those who opted for headphones that translated the show enjoyed it more that those that watched sans device. The majority of the group said they enjoyed Chichen Itza more during the day and would not particularly recommend the night show. The stars were as amazing and beautiful as the lights off the ruins.

We stopped in at the Mayaland Hotel for a nightcap before heading back to the hotel for the evening. One of our vans had a flat tire, but since we were fortunate enough to have rented two vans, we simply squeezed into the one and headed home, leaving our other driver to change the tire. The two vans came in handy and allowed us the flexibility that enhanced the trip.

Day nine we got up and enjoyed breakfast at the hotel. The breakfast is included in the price and was delightful. The courtyard makes for the perfect setting anytime of day or night. After breakfast we said our goodbyes to Monique, John, Carol Lee and Lucy who were heading on to Cancun for their last night. The remaining people headed out in many different directions before meeting back for lunch. It was fun to hear what others had discovered. Some went to the old Convent and found the most beautiful street that they compared to Charleston's Rainbow Row. Others visited the local museums and churches and several spent their time combing the stores for some incredible finds.

We had heard about a restaurant named Playa Maya that was only about 6 blocks from the hotel. It was well worth the walk, though we were delighted that one of our drivers went to get the van for the ride back. The meal was truly amazing. It had the largest assortment of Maya cuisine: the food just kept coming. We all ate until we could not move, experiencing many foods for our first time and loving every bite. With drinks we all ate for about $10 USD. So, we decided that place was on the list for next year!

After lunch we headed to Izamal, the yellow city. We drove about an hour on the highway and then a short distance on some small country roads. Izamal pops up at you and is impressive with the bright yellow paint of the buildings. We parked in the main square and most of us opted to take the horse and carriage tour and visit some of the local artisans. We only had time enough to visit one jeweler and the hammock maker. We will spend more time seeking out these artisans when we return. The jewelers work was so impressive to the group that he ended up having to finish some pieces in front of us so we could purchase them.

Izamal is full of old history – it is a combination of Maya ruins and colonial architecture. We returned to the square and people visited the monastery, shops and the amazing museum. After a full day, half of the people decided to return to Valladolid for dinner. The rest of us wandered around a little more, bought some local tequila and Xtabentun, a regional honey liquor. We had a small bite to eat and a margarita at a local restaurant. When we finished we realized it was time for the Izamal Night show at the monastery and decided, since the evening was so nice, we would stay and check it out. We all opted for the headphones and were thoroughly delighted with the show. It was a wonderful mixture of music, story, pictures and colored lights, all shown on the monastery wall, there was a magical feel to sitting on the lawn on this infamous site and hearing the sounds of the jungle and music. We decided that it was a far better night show.

We headed back to Valladolid tired but pleased with our day. We all called it an early night since we wanted to get up and enjoy our breakfast, plus do a little last minute shopping before we left for the airport. Some of us stuck to these plans while others tried to sleep, but were overcome by laughter while reminiscing about the trip.

Our last morning we all noticed that they had been collecting supplies and taking donations for the flood victims. The flood in Mexico's state of Tabasco happened during this trip. We all contributed some money and Susan went and made the donation.

We made it to the airport, said goodbye to Alex, who was fortunate enough to be heading back to Akumal for an extended vacation. The remaining group got checked in and did some last minute shopping in the airport. Our departure was a little late but we arrived in Charlotte on time. We got through immigration and customs only to find our flight to Charleston was slightly delayed. As we sat in the airport, tired and wishing we were back on the beach in Akumal having a massage, many of us started planning our next trip.

If you would like more information about the 2008 trip please contact us.

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Chichén Itzá
Water Enthusiasts Group
Water Enthusiasts return to Akumal
Getting to Know Akumal 10/06
Pen Pals October 2006
Road trip to Yucatan from Quintana Roo.
Sian Ka'an October 2006
Summary Trip Report Water Enthusiasts 10/06
Tulum October 2006
Water Enthusiast 2007 Trip Report
Water Enthusiast planning 3rd trip November 10, 2008
Water Enthusiasts Itinerary 10/06
Water Enthusiasts misc photos 10/06
Xamach Dos
Xel Ha 10/06

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