Playa del USA and Chichen Itzzzzaaaahhhhh!

Playa del Carmen Travel Blog

 › entry 13 of 21 › view all entries
Walking around the main street.

Our afternoon shuttle from Tulum did not take too long to get to Playa del Carmen.  Arriving at the bus terminal we walked to the hostel along the main street in awe of all the people, shops, restaurants and flashing lights.  The contrast to Tulum was incredible... in Tulum there was no one around, very few tourists and very few backpackers, with minimal development, basic restaurants and beautiful beaches.  Playa del Carmen on the other hand is very much geared for the American tourist with the smell of money in the air, with brand names, jewellery shops and food every where!

We opted to stay at Hostel Playa which was back from the main street, but near the Walmart!  Oh my goodness that was an experience in itself.

Walmart!
.. so huge... so much choice... spent 4 hours in there on our first trip!  The hostel wasn't too bad... had everything you needed... the bathrooms were immaculate and the showers were fabulous.  You couldn't get a private room here for love or money, as it seemed there were many long term stayers at this hostel...

On our first full day we just walked around the shops marveling at all the wealth, particularly after all the relative poverty we'd witnessed over the past few weeks.  That evening we ate at a restaurant called "A 100% Natural", and I only wish I had my camera with me... we sat outside next to the fountain covered in fresh fruit and veg... I had the most amazing salad here - especially after trying to avoid such things as salads during most of my travels to date because of the increased risk of stomach bugs.

Al in Walmart... with the vodka and coke!

Poor Maree was still sick so we took it easy for a day and then went with her to the doctors to see if they could sort her out.  The doc prescribed her with loads of medicines to combat viral and bacterial stomach bug issues, noting to her that it was a really common occurrence in foreign travelers.  So with prescriptions in hand we went back to... Walmart!  Even writing... Walmart... is exciting... yes... sad... I realise... but after travelling in countries were you had to search high and low for something as simple as body wash, finding a shop that had everything under the sun was just plan amazing.  

With drugs in hand, picnic lunch ready and the sun shining, we made our way down to the beach.  We found a spot near a palm tree in front of one of the many holiday complexes, and enjoyed the afternoon reading and relaxing in the sunshine.

Me at the beach.
  The beach was nothing like Tulum though, with hotels and complexes along the full length of the beach, in the late afternoon you lost the sunshine to the high rise buildings.  There also was not much free beach area as most of it was earmarked for cafes and restaurants with sun lounges... I feel I may have been spoilt! :)

Heading back to the hostel I found a scorpion on the footpath, which we thought was dead... that is until Al tried to step on it and it ran away!

One of the evenings we decided to eat in, and as it turned out so had almost everyone else staying at the hostel.  So with the kitchen rush hour under full swing we waited our turn... with vodka and coke in hand.  While we drank we prepared the veg for the pasta, and once a couple of cookers became free we got the pasta on the boil and the veggies on the stir-fry.

Close up of Fred.
  The result - a very yummy veg pasta.  Al and I ended the evening almost finishing the bottle of vodka as poor Maree took an early night... At almost midnight and nearly the bottle gone we decided to call it a night, which I am sure Maree was grateful for because Al had been back and forth checking on her, so finally she could get some uninterrupted sleep.

The following evening we went out for dinner on the main road.  We went to a bar/restaurant with live music and what I thought would be cheap cocktails, but unfortunately turned out not to be so.  The "live entertainment" was entertaining, and by that I mean the drunk ladies who kept getting up to dance... but the food was fairly average and the band okay.  When we got back to the hostel it seemed everyone was going salsa dancing, but seeing as we had a bus bright and early to Piste, we opted to stay in.

Walking around Piste.

Piste was the town which we intended to stay in order to get down to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza.  For future reference... don't bother!  It was stinking hot and nothing to do... we arrived, got off the bus and walked a million miles to the one and only listed hostel to find it not open!  The three of us just could not believe it.  We then had to go on a mission to find somewhere else, and Maree opted to go on the reconnaissance and found a room with a bathroom and tv.

The main temple.
  Once checked in we got a cab back up the road to Chichen Itza as we only wanted to spend one night in Piste. 

We spent the afternoon in Chichen Itza with a guide, which did actually make it quite worthwhile - the guide was very informative and chatty.  As is typical of the Mayan ruins he spoke of how the temples were built in alignment with the stars, using sundials to capture the summer and winter solstices.  The main astrological draw card for Chichen Itza is it's main temple with the snake heads and shadow bodies that show during the solstices and attract thousands and thousands of visitors each year.

We had some time to kill as with your ticket you could join the light show in the evening, so we wondered around the markets... which is where I impulse purchased a ceramic Mayan mask.

The light show... main temple.
.. my folks and siblings will tell you I have a history of buying big heavy things that I then have to carry cross continents... I don't know why I do it... but this was just the beginning!  We also visited the cenote, which turned out to be a big whole in the ground... after our amazing cenote diving it just didn't compare.

The evening light show... which we waited around for... was a little on the average side of things.  Essentially it was a history of the ruins in Spanish set to lights, i.e. the different ruins lit up in different colours with the audio occasionally going "Chichen Itzzzzaaaahhhh".... then again... "Chichen Itzzzzaaaahhhh".

patirkc_AAA says:
Cool post! Fred looks like he's imprinted on the pavement, lol. Hope you enjoyed yoru stay in Playa del Carmen!
Posted on: Nov 06, 2015
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walmart!
Walmart!
Al in Walmart... with the vodka an…
Al in Walmart... with the vodka a…
Me at the beach.
Me at the beach.
Close up of Fred.
Close up of Fred.
Walking around Piste.
Walking around Piste.
The main temple.
The main temple.
The light show... main temple.
The light show... main temple.
Walking around Playa del Carmen.
Walking around Playa del Carmen.
There was a school march/fair the …
There was a school march/fair the…
Maree getting ready for the veg pa…
Maree getting ready for the veg p…
Me getting ready for the veg pasta.
Me getting ready for the veg pasta.
Walking to the beach.
Walking to the beach.
Walking to the beach.
Walking to the beach.
The lovely beach at Playa del Carm…
The lovely beach at Playa del Car…
Al sitting under a palm tree.
Al sitting under a palm tree.
The beach at Playa del Carmen...
The beach at Playa del Carmen...
A boat of the beach at Playa del C…
A boat of the beach at Playa del …
My scorpian Fred.
My scorpian Fred.
Close up of Fred.
Close up of Fred.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street - T…
Walking around the main street - …
Close up of the figurines on the t…
Close up of the figurines on the …
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street - l…
Walking around the main street - …
Al with one of the lucha libre mas…
Al with one of the lucha libre ma…
Walking around the main street - l…
Walking around the main street - …
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Walking around the main street.
Heading out for dinner - Maree and…
Heading out for dinner - Maree an…
The bar and the band.
The bar and the band.
The light decorations at the bar.
The light decorations at the bar.
Me with my not so cheap 2-4-1 cock…
Me with my not so cheap 2-4-1 coc…
The menu at the bar/restaurant.
The menu at the bar/restaurant.
Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza.
First sight of the main temple in …
First sight of the main temple in…
Main temple in Chichen Itaz.
Main temple in Chichen Itaz.
Walking to the ball court.  Essent…
Walking to the ball court. Essen…
A snake head at the entrance to th…
A snake head at the entrance to t…
One of the rings for the ball cour…
One of the rings for the ball cou…
Close up of the ring.
Close up of the ring.
Carvings depicting the battle of g…
Carvings depicting the battle of …
A Mayan with a club in his hand.
A Mayan with a club in his hand.
A Mayan with no head, and coming f…
A Mayan with no head, and coming …
A skull.
A skull.
A Mayan beheading another, who app…
A Mayan beheading another, who ap…
Me standing in the ball court.
Me standing in the ball court.
An iguana at Chichen Itaz.
An iguana at Chichen Itaz.
The wall of skulls with the main t…
The wall of skulls with the main …
A close p of the wall of skulls.
A close p of the wall of skulls.
The platform of eagles and jaguars…
The platform of eagles and jaguar…
Carvings of a jaguar and an eagle …
Carvings of a jaguar and an eagle…
Main temple at Chichen Itza.
Main temple at Chichen Itza.
Me with the main temple.
Me with the main temple.
The main temple.
The main temple.
Some of the other ruins around Chi…
Some of the other ruins around Ch…
The main temple.
The main temple.
The main temple.
The main temple.
Me with the main temple.
Me with the main temple.
Main temple with the snake head.
Main temple with the snake head.
Theyve done more excavation aroun…
They've done more excavation arou…
Some of the other ruins around Chi…
Some of the other ruins around Ch…
Close up of a leaning figure at th…
Close up of a leaning figure at t…
Our guide showing us what the ruin…
Our guide showing us what the rui…
Some of the other ruins around Chi…
Some of the other ruins around Ch…
These masks appear often on the ru…
These masks appear often on the r…
Some of the other ruins around Chi…
Some of the other ruins around Ch…
Some of the other ruins around Chi…
Some of the other ruins around Ch…
Another of the rain g-d masks - th…
Another of the rain g-d masks - t…
More ruins around Chichen Itza.
More ruins around Chichen Itza.
Some of the local markets in Chich…
Some of the local markets in Chic…
Some of the local markets in Chich…
Some of the local markets in Chic…
The Sagrado Cenote.
The Sagrado Cenote.
The Sagrado Cenote.
The Sagrado Cenote.
The light show... main temple.
The light show... main temple.
The light show... ball court.
The light show... ball court.
The light show... main temple, sna…
The light show... main temple, sn…
The light show... snake shadow.
The light show... snake shadow.
The light show... main temple.
The light show... main temple.
The light show... main temple, sna…
The light show... main temple, sn…