Week 79 – Riviera Maya

It was quite hot in Miami last week but it was even hotter when I arrived in Cancun. I had this crazy idea: to cycle the 35km from Cancun airport to Vidanta Resort, strapping by Brompton suitcase on my rear rack. Fortunately my friend Andrei came to pick me up, probably for the better: that suitcase is really big.

The next day I cycled to Tulum. The road to Tulum was flat with a wide shoulder so it was a pleasant ride, except for the heat and the humidity. It took me less than four hours to reach Tulum. I went to the beach right away to cool off but there was sea grass everywhere, signs not to swim where boats came to shore – which is everywhere – and the sun was too harsh. I left and came back around 5pm in hopes of milder sun but before I knew it clouds covered the skies. I consoled myself with a generous portion of ice cream.

The next morning I visited the ruins. Sightseeing took me 15 min, after which I finally had a swim. I started cycling back just after noon, with temperatures reaching 32°C. Cycling was a bit taxing on my body and I made frequent stops. I was watching grey clouds growing over the horizon and as I was closing in on my destination, I was caught by a thunderstorm and had to find refuge in a road shack.

Thanks to Andrei, I saw a performance of Joyá. It’s been running for four years but it was the first time I got to see this fun little show with its ever changing cast.

After a string of mishaps I arrived at Chichen Itza two hours later than planned. The crowd began to thicken and the temperature began to rise. I spent there marginally more time than at Tulum Ruins: after seeing Teotihuacán and Tikal I knew I would be disappointed but I learned about Chichen Itza in the school and wanted to see it with my own eyes. Now I’ve seen it. Moving on. Needless to say I didn’t cycle there (over 200km), not because it was impossible but because it was impractical.

On his day off Andrei took me to a small beach somewhere between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. There was a restaurant serving seafood with tables dispersed under palm trees. Between our appetizer and main dish, we snorkeled and collected 10 conch shells with mollusks. It made for a good salad once we came back home. During our short stop in Playa del Carmen, we were offered cocaine twice right on the promenade.

On the last day I finally made it to Cozumel. I cycled around the the whole island. The best part – it was on a dedicated bike path, most of it along the sea shore. The color of the water was amazing: from turquoise to dark blue. When it got too hot I stopped for a quick swim. All and all it was very nice day.

The week quickly came to an end. Although it wasn’t a relaxing vacation per se, I feel rested.

This week in numbers:

323 km – distance cycled
7.6 – million people visited Riviera Maya in 2017
91 – steps on each side El Castillo pyramid in Chichen Itzá
19 km – separates Cozumel and the mainland