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XCARET


(Pronounced s-kar-ay)
QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO


OVERLOOKING THE DOLPHIN POOL, DOCK, AND
SNORKEL, SWIMMING AREA OF XCARET.

Author's note:
All material on this website is covered by copyrite, `02/05.
Copy, in whole, or in part, without express permission of the author is illegal.

On my first morning in Cancun I began exploring, walking the streets, keeping my eye open for a travel agency that would book me a tour of Cuba.

Within a few blocks I met Cesar. He was basking in the sun, in front of his place of employment, waiting for a tourist.

The agency he worked for doesn't handle trips to Cuba. However, he did sell me a trip for the next day.

2002 May 9 Thursday 8:00 AM . I awoke to the sound of a hammer hitting a chisel against ceramic tile on the floor directly above my head. Actually I was already awake and wondering when he was going to start. Anticipating him I had awoken at seven with the help of the usual Mexican alarm clock, steel shutters rolling up in front of the neighbouring shops.

Packing my swimsuit and some other stuff, I went around the corner. Behind my hotel, in the market called, `Market 28', is a street vendor who sells `barbacoasĒ. Tasty little tortias, two, one on top of the other and covered with chopped beef. At $5 each they make a hearty breakfast.

Cutting up the street, I wandered a few blocks until I found the Holiday Inn where I was supposed to meet the bus.

I had forgotten something, so I found a shorter way back to my hotel and then found an even shorter way back to the Holiday Inn and was there by 9 AM.

I sat across the street on a park bench with some cab drivers. An old lady came shuffling down the street and they urged her to get out of the middle of the street and guided her to the curb. Then they started to take up a collection. They were very pleased when I threw in some change.

By 9:40 no big bus had been through so I asked at the hotel and was told someone had been inside looking for me. As I wasn't staying at that hotel I didn't think it would be proper to wait inside and I thought for sure, sitting outside, I would be able to see a big bus.

I caught a taxi to my travel agent and Cesar phoned ahead. The taxi took me out to the Hotel Zone to the `Plaza Fiestas' which is a large store full of souvenirs. The cab driver went in. When he came out he said they were waiting for me. I tried to pay him but he said they had paid him.

Inside, paper work was exchanged and I was taken out back to a small van, then brought back inside. Later I was taken out to another small van in which sat, Deloris, a lady from Denver, Colorado, USA. The van took us out, onto the highway, to a wide spot where we waited for the big bus.

The only vacant seats on the bus were in the middle of the back. I sat beside Deloris who sat beside Kristina who was from Calgary, Alberta, Canada but living in Vancouver, B. C. Canada. On the other side of me were a couple from Calgary.

I learned that Kristina had gotten on the bus at Plaza Fiesta and that the bus hadn't stopped anywhere before it picked us up. Deloris and I couldn't understand why we hadn't just waited at Plaza Fiesta for the big bus.

A pleasant bus ride for nearly an hour took us to Xcaret. We went past a place of construction where they are building a new hotel on the beach. The `Playa Mayan' will have more rooms than any hotel in Las Vegas.

At Xcaret the guide gave us our instructions for the day and showed us where to go for various events.

MANUEL

MANUEL, OUR GUIDE FOR THE DAY,
DESCRIBES THE ATTRACTIONS
AND HOW TO GET THE MOST FOR OUR PESO
GILA
MOAT

A MOAT AND A HIGH WALL
SURROUNDS THE MONKEY AREA
RUINS

ANCIENT MAYAN RUINS

He showed us the underground stream but told us to do the reef snorkel first. The reason for this was that if you rent the snorkel and fins from the `underground' you have to turn them in and then rent new ones for the coral reef. However if you rent from the `coral reef' they are good for the whole day so you can use them in the underground river before you turn them in. And you get to keep the snorkel as, for hygienic reasons, they don't re-rent them.

DOLPHIN POOL

A MAINTENANCE WORKER REPAIRS THE DOLPHIN AREA.
ON THE FAR SIDE IS THE DOCK FOR THE REEF TOUR BOAT.
TO THE LEFT IS THE SWIMMING, SNORKELLING AREA
REEF BOAT

AFTER MANUEL TAKES YOU ON A SHORT TOUR OF THE SITE
THE BUS LOAD DIVIDES INTO DIFFERENT GROUPS.
SOME JOIN OTHERS FROM OTHER BUSSES TO GO ON THIS BOAT,
TO THE REEF, FOR SNORKELLING
DELORIS

ABOARD THE BOAT TO THE REEF
KRISTINA

DELORIS (L), KRISTINA (R)

Walking back from the reef trip we visited the turtle farm where they raise turtles which will be released into the ocean when they are old enough.

LAS TORTUGAS

CROC

WALKING TO THE TURTLE PONDS WE SAW THIS CROCODILE
ROPE

WALKING TO THE TURTLE PONDS WE SAW THIS POND.
NOTICE THE ROPE IN THE LOWER CORNER.
THE OBJECT IS TO SEE HOW FAR YOU CAN WALK ON IT
BEFORE FALLING INTO THE POND.
NO, IT IS NOT THE SAME POND AS THE ONE WITH THE CROC
TURTLE POND
DON'T FEED THE TURTLES

ACTUALLY, WE FOUND OUT LATER, THIS IS A NO, NO.
DO NOT TOUCH.
YOU CAN EASILY LOSE A FINGER TO THESE BIG FELLAS
BABY TURTLES

TORTUGA BEBES

Walking back from the underground river we visited the jaguar compound.

(Looking down a cenote.)
CENOTES ARE HOLES IN THE GROUND THAT LEAD TO WATER.
THEY ARE VERY COMMON THROUGHOUT THE MAYAN PENINSULA
(Looking down a cenote at the underground water.)
THIS CENOTE GOES TO THE UNDERWATER CANAL
IN WHICH WE WENT SNORKELLING.
BETWEEN CENOTES IT CAN GET VERY DARK

We all met at a restaurant for supper. Our meal was not included in our trip but some tours do include a buffet dinner. We had walked by the buffet near the Jaguar compound, it sure looked good.

Our supper was excellent. It was served under a large thatched roof which bordered a paddock where actresses were rehearsing horses for the evenings performance.

(Restaurant interior.)
RESTAURANT
(Restaurant interior.)
(Lady on horse outside restaurant.)
HORSE PADDOCK
(Lady on horse outside restaurant.)

After supper we went to the auditorium as our trip included the night show.

THE EVENING SHOW

KINGS MEET

THE SHOW STARTS WELL BEFORE DARK
NOTICE THE ACTION, IN THE CENTER, NEAR THE ROOF.
ON THE FLOOR, TWO KINGS, OR LEADERS OF TRIBES,
MEET TO DECIDE WHICH TEAM WILL KICK-OFF
FLAMING HOCKEY

SIMILAR TO FLOOR HOCKEY EXCEPT,
THE BALL IS ON FIRE
CANDLE LIGHT

FOR PART OF THE PERFORMANCE
MEMBERS OF THE AUDIENCE ARE GIVEN CANDLES
DANCERS

MANY NUMBERS ARE PERFORMED
FROM TRADITIONAL TO MODERN
STILTS

THE STILTS ARE VERY TALL,
BUT THE DANCERS ARE VERY GRACEFUL
GIANTS

THOUGH THE ONES ON STILTS ARE TALL,
THE GIANTS ARE TALLER

MUSICIANS

DANCERS
WHAT'S COOKING

A WESTERN HOE DOWN OR SQUARE DANCE,
BUT CHECK THE BACKGROUND,
UPPER RIGHT CORNER, A VENDOR, SELLING COTTON CANDY.
BELOW HIM A VENDOR SELLING BALLOONS
BESIDE HIM A LADY COOKING TORTILLAS.
RIGHT FRONT, A MAN SCRUBBING THE FLOOR.
A LADY WITH A PAIL.
THESE PEOPLE MOVE ABOUT AND ARE PRESENT DURING SEVERAL ACTS
GRANDE FINALE

If you have the time, book a tour that includes this. It is well worth it.

By the time the bus got us back to our hotels it was nearly midnight. It is a long day so travel light, carry a jacket for the evening, bring lots of water, or money, to buy as you go, and enjoy.

Cesar sold me the tour for $550 which is less than the posted price but, later, other vendors offered it to me for less.

You can book this trip almost anywhere. Whatever the asking price, offer one or two hundred less and start bargaining from there. Whatever you pay for it, it is worth it.

END

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