We arrived pretty late so Joe and Dani dropped me off in the cafeteria area with the bags while they split up to look for a hotel. Turns out that not only is it a holiday (being near Easter) but there was also a soccer tournament going on all week. All the hotels were booked. However, Dani came back from her expedition with a room because a guy that owns one of the hotels told her she wouldn't be able to find a place but he had a friend with a guest house that we could stay in. It worked out really well.

The next morning we were trying to pull money out of the atm and none of our cards would work, including Dani's. We called our respective banks and continued to have problems. We were going to head to cenotes that were a bit out of town but since we weren't sure on our money situation, we started with Cenote Zaci, which is located basically downtown. We didn't expect much but it was actually pretty neat. Joe jumped off from pretty high up which got everyone's attention and encouraged a few others to do the same. We swam around a bit then headed back to the room to see if the banks had our cards figured out yet. Ours worked so we were feeling a bit better about the money situation.

Dani decided she should really go to Chichen Itza. We put her on a bus while we took a taxi to a couple cenotes outside of town. Our cenotes were pretty but a bit of a let down, plus pretty confusing. Our cab driver dropped us off at a back entrance or something so a lady asked for our tickets and we didn't have them but then we didn't know where to get them. We eventually figured it out. We just checked out the first one but swam in the second one.

We met Dani back in the cafeteria. She had quite the experience. Who knew she was heading to Chichen Itza on the most important day of the year, the spring equinox! There were people that had probably planned that trip for months and she just went on a whim. :) The reason it's such a big deal is because the shape and orientation of the main temple creates a serpent on the side at sunset on that day. Dani said the grass around that temple was completely packed and the line to get a ticket to even get in was crazy long. It took her about an hour jut to get in the park. However she was able to see everything else pretty easily and quickly since everyone was in the center.

She left a little early to be sure she could get on the bus so she wouldn't have seen it, but it was cloudy, so no one got to see it. The bus was crazy though. She got on the last bus and was the within the last 5 people on. She had to stand for the entire 45 minute drive squished up next to people. She said she was glad she went though.

That night there was a ceremony of sorts in the road next to the town center. We watched that for a bit then found a yummy dinner. The waited made guacamole right in front of us using 1.5 avocados! There were also quite a few vendors set up in the town square that we checked out before heading to sleep.

Cenote Zaci in the center of town.

One of the cenotes. We didn't bother swimming in this one.

The other one was packed with people swimming.

The church at the center of Valladolid

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Snorkel Trip 
We started trying to figure out Joe and Dani's last few days. We decided to get Dani a (hopefully) good snorkeling experience and take her out on a snorkeling tour. We found a company that was leaving in 10 minutes so headed out. The first part was great. Lots of fish and lots of coral. After her experience yesterday, Dani really enjoyed that part of the trip. From there we continued to the southern tip of the isle where we were supposed to get food then snorkel at the underwater statues. Instead, we were shuffled off that boat into a different one and left right away. We figured out a bit later that it was because the weather was getting bad and a storm a was coming.

We got to the site and there were some snorkelers around still. Everything was pretty deep and the waves were getting pretty big. There was also some confusion with the guide, so the second part definitely didn't seem worth it. It started raining as we were getting out of the water. By the time we got back to the place where we were to eat it started pouring. We ate some food then decided to just take a cab back instead of riding back on the wet boat.

It was an ordeal to get changed into dry clothes since we checked out of the hotel, but we figured it out and bought ferry tickets. Our plan being to head to Vallodolid this evening. The ferry was packed! It's a holiday for Mexicans so there were so many that were headed back off the island after their weekend vacation. We're now on the bus on our way. Hopefully it's not too much trouble finding a place once we arrive.

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Southern Isla Mujeres  
We chilled out for most of the morning because we wanted to be in the water a bit later today. Our plan was to do the southern part of the island. That included a turtle hatchery, a sculpture garden and some snorkeling. The turtle hatchery was pretty cute and fun. It's pretty small so didn't take long. Afterwards we started walking farther South instead of getting a taxi. We found a place to stop and get a drink and kill a little time (and sun). We did eventually make it to the sculpture garden where we walked around a bit. They're all metal sculptures that are rusting away from the salt air. There was also a path that went down closer to the water. That was almost cooler than sculptures themselves.

After another short break from the sun for a drink, we went to a nearby place where we could snorkel. The water ended up being really rough so we did see some fish but it was really stressful and ended up scaring Dani pretty well. We then got back to the hotel where we found some super yummy Italian food before heading to sleep.

Tortugranja. A turtle farm/sanctuary where turtles have a safe place to lay eggs.

The southern tip of the island where there are a bunch of large, metal sculptures.

The walkway around the southern tip.

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Isla Mujeres  
Because we've been keeping pretty busy, we decided to mostly take a break day. We had gotten burned in Tulum walking around the ruins so we wanted to try and stay out of the sun at the hottest part of the day. We wandered around on and off throughout the day. An hour before sunset we did go snorkeling in a pretty awesome bay. The water was calm and there were quite a few fish around.

After snorkeling, we had an amazing dinner at Lola Valentina's. Hibiscus empanadas, cactus tacos, jerk platter (it was veggies and tofu in a yummy sauce) and veggie chorizo potato balls. During dinner, Dani had a cockroach crawl up her that got all the way to her chest. That was pretty creepy.

After dinner and some street food desserts, Dani wanted to go salsa dancing. There was a place near our hotel that had a dance floor and live music. I went with and someone did ask her to dance, so she was pretty excited. While I was watching her, someone asked me as well. I tried to say no, I couldn't dance, but that didn't work. I attempted to not make a fool of myself for a song then hid in a corner so no one would ask me again. Dani danced again and had fun. She then taught me the basics, which was pretty awesome.

Pretty coast.

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Leaving Tulum  
We had the car until noon and the room until noon so we drove the car to get a quick breakfast. My food never came and we needed to get going. While Joe was trying to find something else for me to eat Dani grabbed the key because she apparently wanted to start the car to get it cooled off before we got in. Unfortunately, we didn't realize that was her plan and she doesn't know how to drive a manual. She reached over the passenger side to turn it on. Joe had it in first without the e-brake on (which is normal when not on a hill) and since it's a cheap car, it actually let her start it without the clutch in. Whoops. It started, moved over the curb and hit the sign in front of the car. Dani jumped back in the car and pulled the e-brake so it didn't end up in traffic. There was a little dent in the front, but nothing too bad.

After shaking that incident off, we headed to Don Ojos Cenote. It is definitely a popular cave diving spot but it's pretty awesome to swim around with goggles also. Watching the lights from the divers in the cave was awesome and let us see more of the underwater portion of the cave than we would have otherwise seen. Once we were done, Joe dropped Dani and me off at the hotel so we could get packed up and checked out while he returned the car. There were no issues with the return so that's good. We found a yummy lunch and then hopped on the bus to get to Isla Mujerus.

Upon arriving, we looked around for a hotel. The one Joe had in mind was a bit pricey so he went to look around some. We ended up back where we started though. We found some yummy Thai food for dinner and then crashed.

One part of Dos Ojos. It was pretty big and very pretty.

So many divers. It was neat to be able to see farther into the caves underwater because of the divers' flashlights. This photo isn't great since you can't really hold still floating in water, but I thought the lights looked neat.

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