Out on the Yucatan there are an array of Xparks (pronounced shparks) to entertain tourists. There's Xcaret, which is some kind of jungle adventure, Xplor which is an alleged underground cave wonderland and Xel-Ha, the "world's largest aquarium." We are not normally tourist park connoisseurs, but the website for Xel-Ha, and it's reviews online made it look pretty fun, so we set off for a day of being tourist park people.
Xel-Ha is a gorgeous water park (not the kind with water slides) set on the Caribbean Sea. It photographed very nicely.
Here we are, ready for a day of Xfun!
However, it soon became very apparent that Xel-Ha was the safest place on Earth. Too safe. Way too safe. Life jackets were required everywhere! Trying to ride an innertube down a fake river while wearing a giant life jacket is not fun. We ditched our tubes at the earliest possible opportunity, but even swimming in a giant life jacket is not easy. We spent the morning displeased to say the least...
The sea, where no one is allowed to swim, life jacket or not.
One of the major draws of Xel-Ha was its alleged awesome snorkeling. These were all the fish we saw all day. ALL DAY.
We swam into this cave, still no fish. By this time I was very frustrated and disappointed. Stupid Xel-Ha....
So we put our snorkels away, and decided to give up on seeing fish. That turned out to be the best decision we made all day, because then the day got more fun.
We encountered these rather territorial little animals while walking on a wild jungle path!
A cenote, crystal clear and calm. Que pretty!
Then we found this poorly placed rope swing (look at Eric nearly hitting the wall!). There were no life jackets sitting around, and no Xel-Ha enforcers to make us wear them, so we got to swing and swim freely for a little bit.
Such a lovely house, but no one is home!
More jungle beauty.
Hola senor! It seems he may have the best seat in the house!
More life jacket required fun! I stopped fighting it, and bobbed along the river. Still would have been better with no life jacket though.
Here we have the cliff of courage. We both jumped off, though I defied authority and removed my life jacket. I did not see how landing in the water after a 5 second free-fall with a life jacket choking me could possibly end well.
Then we did the tight rope walk. Still had to wear a life jacket. I promptly fell off this, but Eric made it all the way across! Wow, so balanced!!
Then we did the zip line! It was really fun, and very safe with the life jacket on. We went on it a bunch of times...maybe I'll try a real zip line in a jungle next. !!
Finally the time came to ditch our life jackets and head back out into the extremely dangerous real world. Goodbye Xel-Ha!
We continued south to yet another awesome Loco Gringo find, Casa Canciones on beautiful Soliman Bay, just outside of Tulum. We rented this house, so the beach, its palapa and all visible hammocks belonged to us and only us! Muahaha!
For dinner we headed down Tulum's beach road to Posada Margherita, a recommendation from a friend at work. It was so good...they make the pasta fresh to order...each order. Yum. While we were dining we realized that we were seated next to minor celebrity Busy Philipps, of TV, having dinner with her family. We played it cool, don't worry, and did not disturb her. I've never seen a celebrity out in public in the US, but apparently they're down here in Mexico just having dinner at the next table!