Receive discounts on GVI programs for life!

We are very excited to announce the launch of the GVI Membership! It will give you unprecedented access to discounted spots on a range of GVI programs, updated every single month, at up to 40% off! Sign in and know more about here!

GVI Marine Training kit

Please click here to access the online GVI Marine training kit

If you are coming for four weeks click
here to find the training tool that will help you learning your juvenile fish!

Study on the go! Click here for a Caribbean fish id guide application for iphones, ipads and ipods!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

After the mayan challenge- the long weekend!

After the Mayan challenge and after 5 weeks through, you will be rewarded with a long weekend – 3
full days (hurray I hear you shouting).

So what can you do except the usual drinking marathon? (now, now – don’t say it doesn’t happen!) Our base went to Tulum. It’s about 3 and half hours from base. If you are here in the main season, you can get the ADO bus from Mahahual directly to Tulum or if you are here in low season, you get collectivo

to Limones and ADO bus to Tulum. If you have time between the two busses, go check on the Mayan ruin in Limones. You can’t miss it, it’s on the main road and it’s between two private houses. You can’t get in or climb it but still have a look instead of getting bored waiting for bus (and it’s not far, only 5 min walk from the bus stop).

When you get to Tulum, you have many options where to stay - 5 stars resort, with beautiful cabañas, costing around 100 USD  a night or like us in hostel. Some of us stayed in Costa del Sol have tiny breakfast. The other half stayed in Chilam Baham with no breakfast but hot

showers, TV and Wi-Fi that didn’t work (typical). Under our hostel was internet shop Savana (very cheap) and you can sand stuff home from here via DHL or USB (very, very expensive).

You can do three things in Tulum. You can dive cenotes or see the ruins. I haven’t dive cenotes as I’m going to do it after 10 weeks here but those folks from the base who did, they came back with their faces lighten up and happy and were non-stop talking how amazing it was that you want to get up and go and do it.

There are many dive companies, so choose wisely. They’ve been using Mot Mot (next to Savana
internet shop) and they didn’t complain one bit. Next to the dive shop you can find bakery, so you
can have freshly baked croissants with freshly brewed coffee or hot chocolate there. (hm, can still
taste it).

If you want to do ruins, you have two options. There are Tulum ruins – the only Mayan ruins on beach. They are very touristy so be prepared for all of that. The other ruins you can visit are Coba ruins. They are 42 km north of Tulum and the easy way to get there is by bus (46 pesos one way). It takes about 45 minutes and the ADO buses are very comfy. Once there, we paid 51 pesos for entry (all national monuments cost same – well so far they do).

Coba ruins are separated into 3 groups. You are only allowed to climb 1 of the temples and have two

ball courts.

They lie in jungle and it’s hot so water and sunscreen are essential (had neither of those). It’s quite
amazing how the nature claims the ruins, with tree’ roots growing around them and sometimes
through them. After seeing the first group which is by the entrance, you can either hire a bike for 35 pesos or walk or be biked there by bike taxi. To next group is only about 1 km. We biked all the way  to the end passing several buildings till we reached the main temple. It’s 42 m high and apparently
highest in the Northern Yucatan Peninsula. You can climb this one. Take a deep breath and GO.

If you huffing and puffing don’t worry as I was as well and I wasn’t the only one. It’s a part of the
experience (at least I think it is). Once you there, take in the view. It’s amazing, above those trees,
seeing a lake in further corner. Climbing down is hard, it’s scary, so be careful. If you forget the drink
like us, some clever person has built a shack with refreshment there, so enjoy. From there we biked
another kilometre to another group. This one is full of stelas – high stones on which Mayan wrote
messages. Some of them are well preserved and you can see images on them (not sure what they
mean though).

We finished our tour just to be told that our bus left 10 minutes earlier so for 300 pesos you can get
taxi back to Tulum, directly to your hostel (don’t take it I say – it’s a bargain).

So there you go, that’s what you can do on your days off. Also some people went to Cancun, Playa and Cozumel and even few went down to Belize to dive the Blue Hole. If you planning to do that be ready to travel a lot. Your options are open as long as you have fun.

Back on base for me it was after week, I felt like home. Missed the place, it’s like a home to us (well
at least to me – yep, bit emotional here).

Last week we’ve also taken part in beach clean, done some TEFL teaching, trying to organise a play
for local school. Small things like take makes you feel great, like you really are doing something for
the community. And that’s what we are here for.