Cancun 2020 Day 2 – Chichen Itza sunrise tour, Ik Kil Cenote, Marlin beach and flight to Lima

Day 2 started early, like 4am to be precise. Got out of bed and prepared myself before heading downstairs to meet up, supposedly at 430am. I didn’t see anyone around and couldn’t remember where the meeting place was until the receptionist brought me to the place for tea and asked me to wait for the staff who had only just arrived and were busy preparing breakfast.

Restaurant for the meet up

It was a simple meal consisting of a pastry and coffee but it was enough for me. I was the earliest and while I sat there busy with my phone jotting down my memory of yesterday, people were started to come down from their rooms to this meet up location. Soon the guide was organizing and separating the people into groups and then we were on our way into the Chichen Itza grounds, through the special entrance connected to the resort a short walk away.

My pastry in a cup of coffee
Tickets into the Chichen Itza site

There was a senior couple where the wife was wheelchair bound and the husband was trying his best to push her around. There was a certain section of the road where it got really difficult to push as the rocks on the ground were too big and obstructing the wheelchair. This was made worse by the fact that there weren’t any lights and it was difficult to see. They were on the verge of giving up but we tried to help them as best as we could, like providing light and helping them move the wheelchair. With personal this experience, I preach to everyone who wants to travel to do so while they are still fit if not it would be a struggle for both the person and their travel partner.

Entrance at the resort
Follow the sign

The fun thing about this guide was he was able to present the facts in an amusing way and I learnt a lot from this tour. One thing was that whatever was portrayed in the movies were in fact misconstrued due to misinterpretation of the wall carvings! Mayans were portrayed to offer human sacrifices and chop off heads at the top of the temples but that was not really true according to the guide. There was also demonstrations of the acoustics capability (like echo that mimics the sound of the kukulkan bird when clapping in front of El Castillo) and astronomical powers of the Mayan people as many of the buildings there had been designed to meet the various sun events. The facts were further reinforced with photos shown on an IPad. Lastly, being an avid photographer himself, he provided the lights to make the photography in the dark looked fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed the sunrise tour.

Before the break of dawn
Where we stood for photos
A cenote underneath the pyramid?
A little bit more light
Rack of skulls carvings to scare invaders
Silhouette of a dragon mouth
Explanations of carvings on walls at ball court
Panoramic view of sunrise
With more light
Lighted up

The tour took place in the main site where the temples and the ball court were. There were other ruins around but it was more for ourselves to roam around to see. There was the observatory that my room had a view of, which became out of bounds for all visitors due to recent graffiti act carried out on the walls. However I managed to sneak pass the guard as it was still early and catch a glimpse of what’s there. However, I forgotten what was the meet up time and stupidly walked out of that section to check with the guide. Then when I tried to walk back to that section, I was prevented from going through.

Panoramic view of the area where the observatory was
Other smaller pyramid and ruin
El Castillo – walking back observatory
Pathways around the area
A hut
Inside the hut
Another temple ruins
Cenote at Chichen Itza

Made a phone call back to Singapore to connect with my son who was supposedly about to sleep. Managed to show him the Mayan pyramid as I bade him good night.

Bade few of the tour mates good bye and paid the guide 120pesos of tips as I thought he was great and even got his contacts just so that I can share these with people who were interested.

The good thing about starting early was that there was still a good amount of time available in the morning and the guide suggested that I visit Ik Kil cenote as I wanted initially and to get there early (like once-it-opens-at-9am-early) to avoid the crowds. Therefore I went to the cafe back at the resort to get a pastry and an Americano for 57 pesos, before returning to the room to get ready. Brought along the towel just in case and drove less than 10mins to Ik Kil cenote.

Retail shops at the resort
Bought myself a sourvenir
Tu Uk Cafe at the resort
Pastries for breakfast, please!
My breakfast

The cenote had a gate and going through it, I realised the place had turned into a compound of sorts, with carparks and big changing rooms with showers and lockers for rent. There were safety vests available for rental too. Carpark was free and a road marshal was guiding the first few cars into the spaces. I went ahead to pay the 80pesos for entrance fee and then proceeded to the lockers to rent one at 30pesos, where I was given a wrist band with a locker key. Kept all my valuables into the locker and just brought along my phone. I couldn’t find towels rental but didn’t care much anyway so just proceeded to a required shower first before climbing the spiral stairways down to the waters.

Entrance to Ik Kil Cenote
Ik Kil tickets counter
Ik Kil sign
Huge compound!
Directions to the cenote
Locker rental
Got my keys and band
Seating area near the lockers
Shower before entering cenote

Once I entered the cave, I could already feel the chills of the cold air, much like what you would expect from the cave. Plus the shower before was quite cold too, this made me already feel cold even before going into the water. Upon reaching the bottom, there were already quite a number of people there, and people were already jumping off from a flight on stairs into the waters. I watched a bit before taking my move – climbed down the stairs into the cold water. An initial cold struck me but quickly my body adapted to it and it felt nice swimming in the fresh spring water of the cenote. The water wasn’t clear though and thus I couldn’t see too far into the water except my own legs. In fact I couldn’t see much as I have left my glasses and my phone in between my slippers on land.

View from the top
At the cenote, people jumping off from the left!
Flight of stairs to get to the cenote

I got out after moving along in the water for a while and just did a bit of people watching. The problem with solo traveling was that you would need help sometimes to take photos of you doing stuff. I contemplated first if I should do the leap into the water and second if someone could video that for me on my phone. Eventually, after waiting like forever, I left my glasses and phone again and proceeded to the jump off from the location where everyone was jumping from. There was a lifeguard there in control of the human access and after a quick intro and some tips on posture from him, I stepped off the edge and was plunging down into the water. In that split second of G force followed immediately with waters gushing into the nose, I felt the familiar cold hitting my body again. I quickly recovered, swimming up to the surface. However there was no video evidence to prove this deed and memory would only be best remembered by myself only.

Last photo before leaving

I stayed to people watch a bit more before snapping some last photos and heading out to change out into dry shorts. Drove back to the resort and went straight into the bathtub to bath. There was still some time compared to my initial itinerary and thus I made the best out of the tub with the view.

By 1130, I have checked out and was on my return journey back to Cancun. First was a gas top up at the town of Piste with 400pesos that filled my quarter full tank. The pump assistant was well versed in what the tourists always wanted to check due to the massive amount of scams warnings online. He showed me the amount entered and showed the resetting of the previous volume before proceeding with top up. I paid with a 500 peso note and getting the change was easy.

Driving back was same as the previous days of driving into Chichen Itza. The tolls were same as with 80pesos upon entering the highway and nearer to Cancun, 328pesos. I saw there were 2 times where the police were stationed along the road to probably catch speeding vehicles and on this stretch to Cancun, there were more road works that turned the 2 lanes to 1, compared to the road in the opposite direction. But this wasn’t a big deal anyhow as I blasted my music over the speakers throughout the 2hr15mins journey to the Cancun downtown.

The GPS brought me to the restaurant Chila Y Quil where TripAdvisor reviewers had recommended them for serving awesome Chilaquiles, where one IG traveler (@wetravelmexico) had recommended that I should try these local dishes. So there I was parking the car at the available carpark just outside the restaurant and entered the local restaurant that had really warm and friendly waitresses.

After sitting down, the waitress helped me with the menu, explaining the dish and how I wanted it. Went for the biggest size and her recommendation of pork slices without spice and Jamaica drink. When the food came, it was a point of no return as I dug in and finished everything. It was really good! I paid 120pesos including tips. On my way out, while I took some photos of the place, I was asked to take photos together with the waitresses which I gladly did, a selfie with them. Shared the photo with them by sending the photo thru their restaurant Facebook page. Was good fun!

On the outside of the restaurant!
Inside the restaurant
Chilaquiles – yummy!
The warm ladies of Chila Y Quil
Restaurant location

I was still having the idea of visiting the beach and was in a better attire than previously. So I punched in Playa Marlin. After entering the hotel zone, I was again worried that I couldn’t find a car park and so I just parked at the multi storey carpark at the Plaza La Isla mall. Then I walked the remaining distance to the beach, the nearer I got there the more I regretted as I realised there were better parking options.

Giantic Mexico Flag
Plaza La Isla

I entered the small road and as I looked at the map on the phone, I was suddenly hit in the head. The sharp pain ripped through my skull and as I touched my forehead, there was blood. I quickly took out some wet tissues to clean up and applied compression to stop the bleeding. With the throbbing pain, I stood up slowly to see what attacked me and found that I had walked straight into a thick branch that was same level as my height! I was ultra pissed but moved on anyway; thankfully was just a small superficial cut. The beach entrance was not too far away and upon entering, I was again greeted with the beautiful view of the crashing turquoise waters! This time I got close to the waters to enjoy the view and the sand in my toes and the cold but impactful waves upon my legs. I was already thinking of a revisit to this beautiful beach.

Entrance of Playa Marlin
Beautiful beach
Perfect weather and not too rough waves
Panoramic view of Playa Marlin
Another panoramic view away from the view

Didn’t spend too long there since I had a flight to catch and so went to the shower facilities there to wash away sand on the legs before I trekked back to the carpark. Along the way, I stopped at the Fashion Harbour which carried the high end brands, to take a photo of the lagoon and then used the restroom at the mall to clean up and throw away my bloodied tissue. A quick walk around showed that the mall was pretty massive with lots of retail choices and there was even an aquarium there.

High end brands at Fashion Harbour
Many branded retail stores
Not many people around though
Fashion Harbour
Panoramic view of the lagoon from the Fashion Harbour

Paid my carpark fees of 20pesos and I was on my way back to Easy Way car rental. I remembered there was a gas station near the rental company and drove there to top up with 250pesos to get it back to the original level when I took over the car and drove that few meters back. Upon arrival, the return was done very efficiently and even though I was half an hour overdue, they didn’t charge me more. Got on the shuttle back to the airport and we bade farewell to each other.

Cancun airport

Check in at Aeromexico where I was given both my tickets all the way to Lima (transit at Mexico City). I proceeded straight to the gates, passing through the Xray inspection quickly. Spent some time window shopping and spent my remaining 207pesos on a pen, both to serve as a pen for me to fill up any immigration forms and then later as a gift to be given to K when I returned back to Singapore. The pen had a really cute Mexican doll with funny eyes dressed in Mexican costume on its end.

Check in counters
Colorful massive duty free shops
Retail shops
At the gate

I was still feeling full from the lunch, probably due to the expanding tacos so I went to the gate to sit after strolling along the entire length of shops and waited there for the call to board.

The staff informed about the full flight and asked passengers to check in excess luggage for if not, they had to prepare to pay if caught. To be safe I checked with the staff if it’s ok to bring my backpack which was positively acknowledged.

The boarding took a while with so many people boarding. The plane became airborne only at 8pm. I was feeling really fatigue, probably due to the jet lag hitting me and so slept for the front portion of the flight. Woke up in the middle just as they were serving peanuts and drinks and then I spent the remaining time, jotting the events that happened.

On board Aeromexico

Soon thousands of twinkling lights of Mexico City came into sight as the plane made the final approach. The plane landed and I disembarked and proceeded onwards to the transit. Once there, I tried to look for my flight on the board but couldn’t find it anywhere. Went to ask the information counter and was informed that it would be at gate 60 (they also explained that the board may not be updated), which was quite a distance away.

Mexico City view from the plane
Transit through Mexico City
Mexico City airport
My destination was not on the board!

Since I managed to get an upgrade to business through a bid, I tried to access the Salones Premier lounge. However the receptionist told me that my ticket did not allow me any access for free but if I would like, it would cost me 22USD. I wasn’t keen on spending any money since there wasn’t a real motivation for food (plus I’m still kinda bloated).

Salones Premier Lounge

I went to the loo and while sitting inside the cubicle which had a box of used toilet paper next to the toilet bowl. I can’t help but think if this was going to be hygienic for users of the toilet, especially when these get filled. Also didn’t realized that there were still many countries that seemingly looked developed but still having sanitary pipe chokage issues due to toilet paper…

Returned to the gate 60 to plug into one of the free phone chargers so as to ensure my phone got enough juice to last till I get to Cusco the next day night.

Charging stations a blessing!

Soon it was time to board and while the staff was saying something over the speakers, I didn’t understand what he said. So I just stood there and wait for the time to board. And because I had scored the upgrade, I was one of the first to board. (Story continues in Day 3)

Different queue lanes for different section boarding