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  Part II Christmas Vacation, 2000 - Pictures from Yucatán Penisula, Mexico
 Part I - Cancun, Chichen Itza, Coba, Cozumel, Merida
 Part II - Izamal, Tulum, Uxmal, Xcalak 
  Izamal view all
This town is most famous for its yellow stucco buildings and a visit from the Pope in 1993. We stopped in Izamal en route to Merida, spending about three hours. Driving was not difficult (contrary to Lonely Planet's opinion). The road to Tizimin from the toll road is clearly marked. If you are going to continue on to Merida from Tizimin, just follow the signs. It was in this stretch we encountered the largest topes (speed bumps) seen in all of Mexico. We had to drive across these at an angle in order not to high center our car.
tizimin01 tizimin02 tizimin03 tizimin04
  Tulum view all
These ruins are a favorite destination for Cancun day trippers, but don't let that deter you, as the ruins are worth a visit given the spectacular setting of such well preserved ruins nestled into the Caribean coastline. Tip: if you happen to be here during a rainstorm you can take cover in caves on the right side of the main beach. As with all Mexican government run sights, admission is free on Sundays.
tulum01 tulum02 tulum03 tulum04 tulum05 tulum06 tulum07 tulum08 tulum09
  Uxmal view all
Here you will find some of the Yucatan's best ruins, but not visited by hoards of tourists. There are some excellent hotels in this area. I recommend using one of these hotels as your home base, and taking day trips to other surrounding ruins, caves, and Merida. This way you will also be able to see the sound and light show at Uxmal.
uxmal01 uxmal02 uxmal03 uxmal04 uxmal05 uxmal06 uxmal07
  Xcalak view all
As long as you stay at Hotel Tierra Maya you will have an extraordinary experience in Xcalak. If you are most comfortable as a wrist banded tourist, and being herded around on buses, Xcalak is not for you. If you are a somewhat adventerous traveler, like to avoid the resort crowds, and enjoy empty beaches, be sure to visit Xcalak. Once you make it through the five hour drive from Cancun and the dusty towns, Hotel Tierra Maya is like a dream. It is a fully self contained, thoughtfully appointed hotel, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The owners and staff were the most friendly of any we met on our entire trip and do everything they can to help you feel at home. Their full service restaurant feels like going to a friend's house for dinner. All the meals are prepared by hand, and it was the only place we did not have to worry about getting sick from eating the food. Things to do at Xcalak include doing nothing (laying in a hammock watching the birds and noticing the colors of the water change), bicycling into town on one of the hotel's bikes, boat trips into Belize and Chetumal Bay, snorkelling, diving, sea kayaking, and shell collecting (see photo of my fountain made from Xcalak shells). Our best snorkelling on the entire trip was on the reef in front of Tierra Maya (as you can see from the underwater camera photos). It was much better than anything we saw in Cozumel. In summary, for a traveler who wants to get away from everything and enjoy Carribean life as it was meant to be, Xcalak is the place. Of all the places pictured here, Xcalak was by far my personal favorite.
xcalak01 xcalak02 xcalak03 xcalak04 xcalak05 xcalak06 xcalak07 xcalak08 xcalak10 xcalak11 xcalak12 xcalak13 xcalak14 xcalak15 xcalak16 xcalak17 The people of Tierra Maya - Maria, Tom, Yamira, Ditmar xcalak19 xcalak20 xcalak21 xcalak22 xcalak23 xcalak24 xcalak25 xcalak26 xcalak27 uwater01 uwater02 uwater03 uwater04 uwater05 uwater06 uwater07 uwater08 uwater09 uwater10 Kayaking in front of Tierra Maya - near the reef Shell fountain from Xcalak - all shells found on Xcalak beach
  Airplane view all
What a difference just a few hours flight can make. The warm Yucatan, with Cancun in the background, is separated from the snowy Mississippi River near St. Louis by only a three hour flight.
Yucatan, Mexico St. Louis, USA
 Part I - Cancun, Chichen Itza, Coba, Cozumel, Merida 

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