Birding in the Area
Favorite thing: Puerto Morelos is a 10 minute drive from the Jardin Botanico which opens at 8:00 am. We wandered the Jardin twice and were rewarded with some good birding: Yucatan Jay, Green Jay, Brown Jay, Indigo Bunting, Yucatan Vireo, Northern Parula, Northern (Lousiana?) Waterthrush, Black Cowled, Orange and Altimira Orioles, Summer Tanager, White Eyed Vireo and more . . . (including that monster in the photo to the right).
(91 x 4) + 1 = 365
Favorite thing: The Pyramid at Chichen Itza is an amazing structure. I found it fascinating that each side of the pyramid has 91 steps! (Of course, in climbing the Pyramid, the number seemed closer to 1209.) Add the platform at the top, and that makes a total of 365 steps, one step for every day of the year. This number could not have occurred by happenstance. The Mayans had a strong connection to astronomy, as was evidenced by many of their structures.
There is further evidence that the Mayans studied astronomy. The Pyramid is postioned so perfectly that it is perfectly aligned with the sun on the spring and autumn equinoxes. On those days, the sun creates a shadow that gives an illusion of a snake running up and down the Pyramid. Many people visit Chichen Itza on each equinox to witness this strange phenomenon.
Fondest memory: The Pyramid and other structures at Chichen Itza were abandoned by the Mayan civilization in the 1500s. Shortly after that, the Spanish invaders used the site as a military location. In subsequent centuries, Chichen Itza was completely ignored until the 1900s, when excavation crews came in. We saw a picture of the Pyramid from the early 1900s showing it completely covered by plants and weeds. The ongoing restoration effort that is taking place is truly astounding.
It's a jungle out there
Favorite thing: The Yucatan peninsula is abundant with rain forests and jungles. Chichen Itza is located right in the middle of a jungle. This picture was taken from the top of the Pyramid in Chichen Itza. You'll get a very eerie feeling as you gaze out over the tops of other temples peeking out over the top of the jungle canopy. It feels all the more eerie when you think about how human sacrifice was a common occurrence at these temples.
It kind of reminded me of Orlando with those mega-hotels that peek over the tops of the trees. Thank goodness Disneyworld and MGM offer a milder form of entertainment.
Overabundance of machine guns
Favorite thing: This is not a favorite thing, but VT has no "Scariest Thing" heading.
About a block from our vacation rental was a house that was at all times guarded by several men carrying machine guns. On Day 2 of our stay, some roadwork was done on the highway by men dressed in fatigues who were moving some road cones around - again carrying machine guns. Then there was the time (see warnings) when some men with machine guns tried to stop our car.
Men wielding machine guns were all over the place. Mind your Ps and Qs in Puerto Morelos. You certainly didn't want to *** anyone off by making a wrong turn!
La Joya del Caribe
Favorite thing: Puero Morelos used to be known as La Joya del Caribe - the jewel of the Caribbean. This at least before hurricane Wilma arrived.
Puerto Morelos is a quiet community with a long wonderful beach. It's about 20 minutes south of Cancun and it's inhabited by local fishermen; many wealthy Mexicans have their second home here, too. Used to have, actually.
Fondest memory: The sea is perfectly turquoise and the reef is veryt near the coast, making it a wonderful and protected marine park. It's also very calm, especially when it's choppy in Playa del CArmen and points south.
And the atmosphere is so relaxed and laid back.
Keep in Touch!
Favorite thing: There were three Internet Cafe's when we were there. This one was the least expensive.
Because our older son couldn't come with us the first week, we needed to keep in touch with him to help with his travel arrangements. E-mail was convenient, but not always reliable (he didn't always check his).