We haven't been to Tulum since our first trip in April 2005. We saw the ruins back then (I limped my way all over the park) and haven't felt the need to return. This trip, though, we felt adventurous. We were after new snorkeling locations. We first stopped at Aktun Chen, we were swayed by their "Uncrowded Park" advertisement. However, when we got there we were dismayed by the prices. You pay per activity, it was going to cost $30 US each just to snorkel. It was the same price with or without equipment. That's more than double the cost at Yal-ku. No gracias.
It wasn't a total loss, we saw this pretty guy sunbathing in the middle of the road. We called him, Raul.
We decided to continue down Hwy 307 to see what else we might find. We stopped at Cenote Cristal, admission ($50 pesos) includes access to Cenote Escondido across the street. Cristal is easily accessible; it's a short path to the cenote. There are several picnic areas and a couple hammocks. Much of the cenote is exposed to the sun, this means that algae is inevitable. There was plenty. I find the fresh water to be too chilly; so I don't swim in the cenotes. Frank enjoys them. Cristal has a ledge to jump off of, a group from NY joined us shortly after we arrived; he took the plunge. Frank swam all around, but there wasn't an abundance of fish so we didn't stay too long.
Escondido is deep in the jungle. I would not want to walk on foot. From the parking lot, it's short trek to cenote. It's dense with vegetation, so the water is a bit cooler and more clear. There were more fish and Frank was very impressed with the caves. He tried to convince me to come in to see for myself, but I'm too much of a cold water wuss.
We ventured further to Kanlum Lagoon. We had no clue what was there, besides a lake so we decided to check it out. We paid $40 pesos and drove to the parking area. Odd thing was there wasn't another person in sight. We wandered down the path and found a rickety pier that stretched into the most calm lake I've ever laid eyes on. Part of the lake is sectioned off, I assume it's due to the depth, 85 meters. Sinkhole, perhaps? The lake was in full sun (burn alert!) and it had a very eerie feel. We decided to go, after, having a look around.
Driving back, I reminisced how hwy 307 used to be like this as soon as you left Cancun. Now, through Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras it has freeway with exit ramps. I kinda miss pulling to the right to make left hand turns.
My memory is fuzzy, but Tulum seemed to have grown; it was really bustling. When we got to the Sea, it stunk terribly. I'm not sure why that was, but it awful. We thought we'd stop for lunch, but it was just too crowded.
On to Puerto Aventuras!