Cancun Trip Report: Day 5, Valladolid and Dzitnup

Day 5, cont.

We continued to Chichen Itza on a much less potholed rode, and stopped in Valladolid. It’s a pretty little town with a very old church, that was unfortunately closed. There are lots of women selling embroidered things around the town square.

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After a quick stop, we continued on to the Cenote Dzitnup, another thing my friend Alicia said not to miss. Cenotes (se-no-tay) are like sink holes and there are tons of them on the Yucatan peninsula – some undergroud. Dzitnup (dzit-noop) is an underground one that has crystal clear water in it – and you can swim there! I didn’t take pictures – at least they didn’t come out. But there is a picture on this
website.

Alicia warned me about the children who run up to your car when you pull it (and follow the signs, don’t believe what the kids tell you. Dzitnup is to
the left, not to the right) – so we were prepared. After we gave them pesos and managed not to run any of them over, we parked and had to pay more pesos for them to “watch our car”. The little girl who asked so so cute, I felt bad not giving her a peso to do it – plus, who knows what they do to cars you don’t pay them to watch!

There were a few others there – and a party of German tourists, so we didn’t feel uncomfortable being there. Alicia said that there weren’t many
tourists there when she was there. Anyhow – you go down these rock steps and into this big cave, which is supposed to be lit with electric lights.
They were not working when we were there – which made for a cool candle-lit ambiance – but didn’t show off the color of the water.

We had changed in the bathroom and so just left our clothes and our stuff and climbed into the water, which was cold, but very clear. There were
ropes in the water and if you stood on one, like a tightrope and were still and looked down, it looked like you were in the air looking down because you could see the bottom!

We were a little concerned about leaving our stuff, but there was nothing else to do with it and we didn’t think we should leave it in the trunk of
the car.

On the way down, I bought a little embroidered hankerchief from a little boy – it was pretty. I didn’t have any more change left, having given it
away, so I gave him a 20 peso note (2 dollars) for a 10 peso handkerchief. The bossiest of the little girls tried to get me to buy her stuff, but I wanted the one with the little green bird on it. She kept shoving the little boy away from him. I hope she didn’t take his money!

Oh wait, my only picture!

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Anyway – it was a neat thing to see. And refreshing after Coba.

Then we traveled onward towards Chichen Itza. We had made reservations at Hacienda Chichen – and it was seriously the nicest place I’ve ever stayed. We had the “honeymoon suite” and it was only $138 a night. And there were kissing towel swans on the bed. And flowers all over the place! THe
Hacienda Chichen is made of small bungalows that at one point were used by the archeologists excavating Chichen Itza. They renovated it later and now
it’s a gorgeously landscaped hotel. And it’s only a 5 minute walk from the ruins. We ate dinner at the Hacienda (the food is excellent though the
portions are small) and were serenade by a great mariachi band. Eat outside if you can. And the coconut ice cream is the best thing ever.

After dinner, we went to the light show at the ruins – you can buy your ticket for just the light show, telling them you are coming back to the ruins the next day. So you pay less the next day. The light show, or Luz y Sonido is very cool. But get the headphones with the English translation
or you will be bored silly. It’s 40 minutes of pretty lights on the Castillo and music and a narrative that dramatizes some of the history of Chichen Itza. It’s also a good introduction to what the major features of the site are.

It just so happened that that night was a total lunar eclipse also, so we got to see the moon being eclipsed over the pyramid. It was so cool!

After that, we sat by the pool at the hotel to watch the rest of the eclipse, bringing with us the sour cream and onion Pringles from the mini-bar and a coke. They were expensive but worth every penny.

We took a ton of pics of Hacienda Chichen – the hotel we stayed in at Chichen Itza. It is a 5 minute walk from the ruins and just lovely. The grounds are gorgeous and the little bungalows so cute. For $139, it was nicer than any hotel I’ve ever stayed in. There were toilet paper flowers, towel swans, and lots of flowers. It was almost too pretty to mess up by living there!

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If these links break, here is the Flickr set:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/maggie42/sets/72157615268999137/

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