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Vacation Journal
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Jan 26, 2012 - Day 6

By: JoeRocket2 (View Profile)
Date: 4/3/2012

Today is the day that Joe and I are going to spend the day on the mainland. We get up early as we need to pick up our rental car and get the day started. I am wide awake on the ferry ride over and ready to go… Joe is not so much of a morning person and is starting to wake up slowly.

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Once arriving at Gran Puerto, we catch a cab to the Wal-Mart parking lot where the rental car agency is located. We are surprised to discover that the rental car office is a very small, mobile cube type office with a window A/C unit. I am slightly worried now, but it is a Hertz… so how bad could it be. After filling out the paperwork and getting set with the car, we decide to pick up some snacks from Wal-Mart for the road. Purchases in hand, we get into the car and start getting settled when we realize that not only does it have A/C as we had requested, but it also has a radio….which is a real luxury for us with these cheap rentals!

We decide to start driving south to a ruin site that is inland from Puerto Morales (according to the map). Once in Puerto Morales, we have a bit of difficulty finding the road that heads west into the jungle. After some ineffective communication at a convenience store with my very limited Spanish and their limited English… we decide to start driving down the main road and happen upon a tourist who gives us better directions. We are finally on the correct road, which is dirt and getting more potholed as we progress… no problem though we don’t have far to go… or so we thought. We get to an area where the road forks and we decide to stay to the left as it looks to be much more traveled. A little farther ahead we come to another fork in the road and again follow the side appearing to be more traveled….it is not nearly as obvious this time. The road continues to deteriorate rapidly as we go, and after noticing more and more forks in the road going the opposite direction, we are really starting to get nervous about being able to find our way back out of the scrub and decide to turn around. We decide we will attempt this ruin site some other time, as it can also be reached from the north instead of coming up from the south as we did. Although it is a longer drive, we might actually find the ruins that way!

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Back on the main highway again, we continue driving south towards Tulum. We have another ruin site on our list just south of Tulum, and that one should be easier to find based on map as it is right off the highway. We successfully locate the ruins known as Muyil, and once there, discover it is larger than we thought it might be. It has a fairly good size Castillo (Castle) and several other buildings…well worth the easy walk through.

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After walking around the ruins and climbing the Castillo, Joe and I are finding ourselves hungry and make our way into Tulum to look for something to eat. While driving around town sightseeing and scouting out a place for lunch, we run across a couple trucks with animals in them promoting the upcoming circus.

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We decide to park and walk down main street to hone in on our target…..the fantastic smells coming from Pollos Asados y Carnitas Mendez draw us to their grill....everything looks & smells wonderful. We share half of an asado chicken dinner which comes with tortillas, rice, cabbage, onions and tomatoes and also get two Manzanita sols for around $6.00 US. It is so flavorful and delicious and it really hits the spot!


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After filling up on chicken, we start driving back north towards Cancun. Our next destination is the El Meco ruins and the peninsula north of Puerto Juarez. We have never been north of Puerto Juarez and arrive at the ruins sooner than expected, we decide to keep driving a little further north to check out Isla Blanca and then visit the ruins on the way back. The road starts out nicely paved and slowly degrades until it turns to dirt with lots of ruts and potholes to avoid. Early on we are following a couple of small motorcycles, but as the road gets worse we come to a roundabout….the motorcycles shoot thru a lineup of orange traffic cones onto a freshly paved, 4 lane highway and leave us in the dust. The newly paved road sits right next to the dirt road, but you cannot access it with a car until they are completely finished….we were so jealous of the bikes! It takes us a lot longer to reach the end than we thought it would… but it was very cool once we got there. The beach that you walk out on seems so untouched… and you could see the north end of Isla Mujeres when looking to the south of where we were standing. We notice several kite board kites in the sky on the opposite side of the point and remembered seeing a sign for a place specializing in kite boarding along the road on the way up. The long trip to the end was definitely worth the trip, but looking at the time we better start back. We arrive back at the El Meco ruins and realize that they are only open until 5 pm and it is now 5:20… oh well, another ruin site to visit later, at least this one is so close it will be easy to visit another time.

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Driving into Puerto Juarez, we see several cute places to eat along the beach and decide that it might be good spot to stop and grab some dinner. We come across Palapa pizza….it sounds really good to both of us. While placing our order, we notice that the chef has on a Milagro’s Pizza Isla Mujeres shirt. I ask him about it and it turns out he is the former owner of Milagro’s pizza. So I mention that we just loved his garlic knots in the past… and as it so happens, they are also offered here. Several are included with our small pizza and they are just as tasty as we remembered! The pizza really hits the spot as well. Sitting on their patio offers a scenic view of Isla Mujeres from an angle that you don’t normally see from the ferry dock. As we finish our dinner looking out over the peaceful water, we watch the island coming to life for the night as lights are turned on creating a spectacular display.

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Once our bellies are full and the sun has set, we head back into Cancun to return the car to the rental location and catch a cab back to Gran Puerto. Back on the island, we make a beeline for Miguels and arrive in time for 2 x 1’s, just as the party is heating up.

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After a long day, we still look like we enjoyed ourselves in this shot. We finally make our way back to the hotel and the bed that has been beckoning us for several hours.

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