Day 21 -The Gnarly Xelha Adventure
Time for fun in every way.
PART 1 - Getting There
Prior to our Tulum trip, we deliberated over our next available options, as we had gotten ourselves into a bit of a bind. We were supposed to visit our first and only tourist attraction the following day, Hel-ha, which costed about $150 for the two of us. We wanted to get the whole experience in, as this was the most expensive venture on the trip, thus far. First off, we found out that we couldn't bring our luggage to the park, so we had to come up with a solution as to where we were going to put our things. We are not talking about a small mess of luggage, mind you; my bag is the size of a dead body, with broken wheels, and our backpacks were filled to the brim with electronics. I remembered that I had purchased a room at a hostel in Tulum for that night, which was about 15 minutes south of Hel-ha, so we were hoping to head there first to see if we could leave everything there. It's also a little sketch leaving your whole life's worth with someone you didn't know. Another problem, is that we had to go from the ferry to a new kind of transportation called a "Collectivo", to take us to Tulum; it's very cheap van service that we found out about from our friends in Finland. We had nothing to go on, as to where these things picked you up, or how they worked, but we knew they were cheaper than the bus. We had also never been to Tulum before, so it would take some time to find our bearings there, and find a way to get to and from the park. We were in for a day of crazy timing, and lots of transportation again. I told Nick that we had to get our butts out of there early to figure all this out, or we'd easily lose the day.
So we woke up in the morning at about 6am, which was pretty early for us, to catch the first ferry out of Cozumel. We packed up all of our crap, and flew out the door. I was freaking out, because the ferries leave every hour, and it appeared that we were too late for the first boat. However, the weather was so stormy and windy, they decided to wait for things to calm down before taking off. This never happened, as it felt like a hurricane was coming; the wind was crazy, and the docked boat were swaying all over. We were starting to wonder if we'd ever make it off the island. Eventually they loaded us on one anyway, and we headed off towards the bumpy sea.
The boat ride was the most insane thing ever, as it felt like the 3 story ferry was going to tip. People were throwing up everywhere from sea sickness, and the crew was looking sick as well. I was so nervous, and could not relax; I kept thinking about those ferries that topple over in places like China, and contemplated my escape if something happened. Nick was totally fine, and was laughing at my pussy-like behavior. Eventually we spotted land, and I started to feel at ease. As the boat docked, the passengers, including myself, were only too anxious to get off the death trap.
Once we were off, we dragged our luggage all over town, trying to find the Collectivo pickup spot. We asked a few policia where it was, but they spoke so fast in Spanish, we could hardly understand. Yet, we finally found our destination, and tried to find a van that went to Tulum. A guy pointed us towards a vacant one, and we loaded up our things, along with 10 other locals. The ride there was similar to the one we had in PV. They kept loading more and more people in the van; it felt like we were cattle. We had no idea where we were going, and I had to try to look out the window, past all of the crammed in bodies, for the slight chance we'd pass our hostel, Maya Yoga. Luckily I knew what it looked like from the pictures online, and eventually spotted it. We hopped out, paid the driver 40 pesos, and quickly headed towards our place. The chick inside was totally cool, so we locked up our bags, and left them with her. We then had to take another Collectivo back towards the park, and prey we'd make it there.
PART 2 - Hel-ha
After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it to Hel-ha. Nick and I started to enter a beautiful tropic world of free food, open bar, and all of the activities that you could ask for. Right off the bat, we approached large pools of water where people were swimming with dolphins. It was kind of fun, yet a little sad, to see the dolphins doing jumps over them; we wondered how much they had to perform this stunt. After that, was a gigantic playground of teal blue lagoons, restaurants scattered everywhere, bars, snorkelers, and people laughing. We were so excited, we didn't know where to start.
The first thing that popped in our head, was the fact that we had been conserving our food intake, because of finances. So we immediately headed for the breakfast buffet, with the idea of gorging ourselves. The food was amazing, and we loaded our plates to the max. While at our table, Nick came up with the idea of logging down everything that we consumed, to see if we could surpass the cost of the entrance fee. This initiated a challenge for the rest of the day, to milk the place for all that we could. The next logical place after our meal was of course the bar; it was time for shots.
After throwing back some of their finest Tequila, we set out to explore the park. We knew we needed to work of the pounds of food we just ate, and the crazy buzz we had. The path around the park was lined with so many points of interest: a lighthouse, underground caves, an anteater hangout, a grotto, zip-lining, bike trails, an obstacle course, a matinee sanctuary, and tons of snorkeling. We soaked it all up, and did the activities with the least amount of people around. We snorkeled all over the bay, taking pictures of each other doing crazy shit underwater, with the people around us looked like they had no idea how to swim. In our minds, we felt like the rock-stars of the water world. When we tried to do the obstacle coarse, I ate it quickly, while Nick looked like a monkey hanging onto every rope. Once we were tired, and over being prunes in the water, we were off for food and lots more drinking.
By the time we were out of there, I was so hammered that I browned out during the van ride back. We arrived back at the hostel, where I proceeded to cry about nothing, and Nick had to put me to sleep. Too much Tequila for one day, and a lot of excitement for the both of us. At the end of it all, we figured we ate/drank about $160 worth or food and alcohol, and did a priceless amount of activities. We cam out swinging that day, and will never forget our trip there.