I’ve just got back from a week’s holiday in Mexico with my good friend Tom. We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe resort near Akumal, on the Yucatan Peninsula, about 60 miles south of Cancun. The weather was fantastic all week, hot and sunny and only once started to rain as we were sitting in the aeroplane waiting to head back home.

Beach in Mexico

We ended up having quite an eventful trip …

We kicked things off with a pre-flight visit to Brixton Academy for A Taste of Chaos - a rock gig featuring Rise Against and The Used as headliners. Awesome gig and a great way to get things going. We followed this with a late night drive to Birmingham airport to catch an early morning charter flight to Cancun.

This would have worked out great if we hadn’t ended up with a ten hour plane delay. This messed up our plans to meet our travel rep and arrange excursions but thankfully in the end didn’t cost us too much holiday time. Just a bit of missed sleep.

We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum all-inclusive resort. All-Inclusive really did mean ALL - food, board and entertainment. The most money we paid for anything was for excursions out of the resort. Oh, and a present for my parents, of course!

If you have Google Earth, you can click this link to see exactly where we stayed.

Gran Bahia Principe Tulum

Although we spent plenty of time by the beach, the pool and in the sea, we also had a couple of day trips out to nearby places. I particularly enjoyed Xel-Ha Eco Park (pronounced Shell-Ha) where we snorkelled amongst the fish. I guess the Lonely Planet guide’s comments that is a bit artificial and that you could see the same animals in the wild locally for real are fair. However, it is very convenient to simply turn up and borrow their snorkelling equipment and it is a beautiful, natural and clean environment. Even to the point of a rigorously enforced ban on non-biodegradable sun screen.

Xel-Ha Eco Park

You can view the park in Google Earth here

I took this picture of a very obliging iguana at Xel-Ha. I got a couple of similar ones at our resort, too.


We combined our trip to Xel-Ha with a trip to see the Maya ruins at Tulum. Although the ruins are impressively photogenic, the visit was notable for our Mexican tour guide who appeared to be practicing for a role in a Hollywood movie. A really bad one.

Tulum Maya Ruins

You can see the ruins in Google Earth here

We had a much better guide for our trip to Chichen Itza. Still obsessed with the number seven, but replaced deep philosophical musings on the light/dark duality of life and death with tales of severed heads and gushing blood. Maybe not such an improvement after all?

Everybody photographs the main pyramid from the good (ie restored) side, so here is a picture I took from the back showing it in a more authentic state.

Chichen Itza Pyramid

Here is a Google Earth link for Chichen Itza, but disappointingly (for a self-proclaimed modern wonder of the world) it only shows up as a fuzzy blob.

The picture below shows the Cenote, a limestone sinkhole at Ik Kil. The water is about 40m deep and is a dark colour due to the depth and lack of light hitting the surface. I had a quick swim and although bearable, the water was pretty cold compared to the warm sea.

Ik Kil Cenote

Fortunately we had a smooth flight back, arriving at Birmingham airport half an hour ahead of schedule. The British weather was a bit of an (expected) shock to the system, but I’m getting used to it again.

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