What a mess!
The heat and humidity hit us hard right after leaving the plane. Looks like our bodies adjusted back to dry climate and forgot how it was in South-East Asia. The boys complain but me and Wojtek were missing tropical weather. Cancun looks like a mass-tourism trap so we leave it as soon as possible on a bus bound for Tulum.
Based on the Internet Tulum was supposed to be a quiet eco-focused town. I am wondering where is the “eco” part, most probably only on Instagram. No sign of eco-approach on the streets. Tons of trash quickly rotting in the heat. The road to our place leads through endless construction sites. Tulum tries to catch up with Playa del Carmen and Cancun and construction of new apartments and hotels is in full swing. At least this is how it looks. The sand on the beach is beautiful – white and soft like flour. The sky like painted-blue but… there is a thick layer of sargassum covering the water and the sand. A dozen of men try to clean it up but this is a Sisyphean job. Sargassum rots and stinks like hell. A smell of a dead fish mixed with rotten eggs. After one hour we have enough and leave Playa Paraiso (!). The disappointment is huge – this is not what we expected. Local people say the issue has been going on for a few years now but it is quite extreme this year. Some also say there are places where the beach crews keep it under control but I have no desire to explore this further anymore.
The town has a bike road, many small cafes and Mexican food steals our hearts and stomachs immediately (especially after terrible food experience of the US). There are many animals too – beautiful birds and huge iguanas. We also meet a snake, a coati and two tarantulas (I would have happily skipped these last encounter).
We also went to dive in cenotes and this is a not-of-this-world experience. The Pit has a small entrance hidden in the bush. The dive is in normal (sweet) water for the first 10 meters, then sweet water mixes with saltwater creating a strange layer which looks like hot air. Then at 30 meters there is a white layer of gas which looks like milk or cotton wool (hydrogen sulfide they say). This is a result of fermentation of whatever fell into the cenote. Black tree trunks emerging from this white fog look amazing and leave quite an impression, same as the light beams from the surface. We go down to almost 40 meters and this is my personal record. It was great fun.
Bacalar, south of Tulum and close to Belize is even less crowded. I was considering a trip to Blue Hole for a while but in the end we felt too lazy to do it. The lagoon is soaked in the sun and turns into this mind-blowind shade of blue. Our skin starts to burn quickly despite alredy spending a year sunbathing almost all the time, so we charge our batteries, getting ready for more strenous days to come.