Kissed by a dolphin at the place ‘Where water is born’

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Is swimming with dolphins in your bucket list? What about snorkeling among hundreds of multicolored fish, aquatic zip lining, or admiring different species of flora and fauna in their natural habitat?

On Thursday, August 6th, hubby and I joined a tour group to visit the Xel-Há Park, an ecological water theme park touted as Riviera Maya’s natural aquarium. Xel-Há, pronounced as ‘shel-ha’, is a Mayan word which in Mayan languages means “Where water is born.’ According to legend, Maya gods joined their wisdom, illusions and love for beauty, to create a place that would bring together the best of nature in one place, and that place was called Xel-Há. 

Swimming with dolphins

Individual Encounter with Dolphins

Group Encounter with Dolphins

Aquatic Ziplining

Path to Consciousness

Yachting escapes aboard the Seahorse, in pictures

Hubby and I woke up early today to watch the morning sun as it was lazily waking up in the horizon. The view from the pool deck was breathtaking.

On Wednesday, August 5th, my husband and I had a spectacular cruise alongside the shoreline of Cancun and the Nipchupte Lagoon. 

The picturesque shoreline of the hotel zone as viewed from the yacht was exhilarating. We capped the day by watching the sunset along the sparkling Nipchupte Lagoon.

Just how blue is the ocean surrounding Isla Mujeres?

On Tuesday, August 4th, my husband and I had a spectacular day sailing from Cancun to Isla Mujeres aboard a catamaran. 

With us are a group of 21 tourists and six crew. The sail boat departed from the port of our hotel around 9:00 in the morning. We were warmly welcomed by the friendly staff. As soon as we stepped onto the sail-powered 70 foot catamaran, the bar opened. 

Snorkeling at the Coral Reef

Part of the tour is snorkeling in Cancun’s barrier reef, of which four from our group availed of the activity.

Touring Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, is located eight miles across the Bahia de Mujeres from Cancun. It is five miles long and half a mile wide, at its widest point. The downtown area is just four by six blocks.

As soon as we docked at the touristy downtown of the island, we hired a taxi to tour us around the tourist destinations for $30 plus tips. Hubby and I went with kababayans, Mr. & Mrs. Bactin, as  we made stops at the Casa Caracol, Mayan Temple for goddess Ixchel, Tortugas Marinas de Quintana Roo, and the site for swimming with shark.

Instead of exploring the downtown shops, the four of us opted to take a dip near the island’s North beach to get a relief from the 80-degree temperature and high humidity.

Did I mention beautiful sandy white beach with clean and crystal clear water? The beach remind me of Siargao’s Daku Island. I also overheard from one of the beach goers that down further is a nude beach. But we had no time to explore that part of the island.

Lunch buffet was at Icebar Mexico Isla Mujeres. On our way back to Cancun, our boat cruised near the beautiful beach front homes by some of Mexico’s famous celebrities, so we were told.

The tour was another memorable experience in our Cancun visit.

Is Sunset World really where amazing moments are born?

What are some fun and meaningful ways to celebrate a 27th wedding anniversary? Our children and niece may have thought, “What about gifting mom and dad an all inclusive, all-expense paid one week romantic getaway in Cancun?” And that’s exactly what they did!

Our suite, which is located at the 8th floor of the hotel, has a balcony which offers a charming view of the Caribbean’s turquoise blue sea. At night, the calming sound of the ocean lulls us to sleep. 

As Sunset World Premier Elite members, we also have access to the Sunset Marina Resort and Yacht Club, a Mediterranean-style resort which claims to provide a peaceful and relaxing respite for couples and families, alike.

Together with Carlo Pintor, our resort associate, my husband and I had a sumptuous buffet breakfast and a guided tour at the Marina.

So, does Sunset World really offer amazing moments for its members? So far, it’s a yes for us! And we have not even visited yet the famous Sunset Fishermen and Hacienda Tres Rios luxury resorts.  But there is always a next time. 

Exploring the Mayan ruins of the gods and a ‘sacred well’

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What are some fun and meaningful ways to celebrate a 27th wedding anniversary? Our children and niece may have thought, “What about gifting mom and dad an all inclusive, all-expense paid one week romantic getaway?” And that’s exactly what they did!

On Monday, August 3rd, we explored two of Mexico’s amazing treasures – the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and the Ik-Kil Cenote.

By bus, it took us about 2.5 hours to reach Chichen Itza from Cancun. As our tour group entered the ruins, it suddenly rained. “It’s a blessing from the gods,” quipped Orlando, our tour guide, who announced that it has not rained there for a long time. Still, Chichen Itza, which means “at the mouth of the well of Itza,”  sweltered with scorching heat and high humidity. 

Orlando then directed us to converge around the 90-foot tall Temple of Kukulkan – the heart of the ruins and Chichen Itza’s most important ceremonial structure. The pyramid is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is named after one of Maya’s supreme gods, Kukulkan – a feathered serpent bird.

And then we all heard it – an echo that sounded like a Quetzal bird call as we clapped in unison at the foot of the West side face of “El Castillo.” We did it again at the North side and the same chirping sound could clearly be heard. Interestingly, though, the ‘chirping echo’ does not work in the East and South side faces of the pyramid. I stood at the foot of the castle in awe, while recalling the Mayan’s human sacrifices as seen in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. 

The magnificent ‘chirping’ pyramid is said to have been built during the 11th to 13th centuries on the foundations of previous temples. It is also claimed that the architecture of the four-sided structure is situated to mark the solstices and equinoxes. Each face of the Temple of Kukulkan has a stairway with 91 steps, which, together with the shared step of the platform at the top, add up to 365, the number of days in a year. 

The Mayans are credited for creating a ‘sophisticated set of calendars even more exact than our own and that culminates with the alignment of our sun and the Milky Way Galaxy – a 26,000 year cycle.’ They also created the number 0! In fact, the Mayan civilization is known to have practiced the most complex cultures in the Western Hemisphere until 900 A.D. 

It was indeed amazing to see one of the world history lessons come alive! 

But our tour did not end there. Cesar, our driver, whisked us to the amazing Ik- Kil Cenote, a  deep natural pit under a jungle-framed sky where ‘vines form wild cathedral walls leading up to shafts of sunlight.’  Swimming in the crisp mineral-rich pool of pristine waters provided us with the much needed relief to the scorching heat of Chichen Itza.

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Ik-Kil Cenote, one of the estimated 7000 cenotes in Mexico, is formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock. It is about 25 meters beneath the surface easily accessible via a stairway that is carved into limestone rock. The pool itself is about 60 meters in diameter and 35 meters deep, where small black fishes can be seen frolicking under the turquoise waters. Cenotes, which means sacred well, were revered by the Mayans as portals to commune with the gods.

Indeed, today’s visit to the Mayan ruins and the Ik-Kil Cenote are culturally-enriched packets of fun, spiritual, and enriching vacation experience from which we, as a couple, may draw the strength from should we encounter some un-intended bumps and detours in our journey.