Mayan Adventure – Day 3

I started off my day with a kundalini yoga class at the Tao wellness centre.  The centre itself is beautiful, sent amongst the trees in a tranquil spot.  There are salt water lap pools, a workout room and a multi purpose room for yoga, fitness classes etc.

Exercise RoomWellness Centre1Salt Pool1Lap Pool1

Kundalini is a little more low key than I generally go for but mellow was my new word of the day.  We spent much of the class breathing deeply and gently stretching and exercising our spines.  The instructor had a very heavy spanish accent and she kept exhorting the class to “Fuck It”.  This was precisely the attitude I was hoping for but it is uncommon language for your average yogi.  It wasn’t until halfway through that I realized she was actually asking us to “focus”.  Both options were fine by me.

It was my first day off campus and I had signed up for a cenote tour with a local tour operator called Lahabna at the recommendation of Trip Advisor.  A cenote is is a natural sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath.  Often they feature freshwater as a top layer and saltwater bottoms, and the labyrinthine underwater caves can strech for miles underground and sometimes connect to the sea. In this neck of the woods cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings.  I hoped I wouldn’t be one of them.

The owner/operator of Lahabna is a gentleman named Sergio who has done extensive exploration in the area.  I am not rated to cave dive so I had opted for the zip line and snorkel tour.  We started out being loaded into a minibus and driven to a freshwater lake over where we spent the first part of the tour and then on to an open cenote for a swim.  The weather was perfect and the lake water was crystal clear.  There were two zip lines, the first of which took a relatively easy pace and could be experienced several times, then a second line which was faster and about twice as long that landed on the canoe docks.

Zip Line view Lake Zip Line 2 CanoesZip line 3

From there we walked a short distance to an open water cenote for a swim.  In a fit of stupidity I had forgotten to bring a towel so I opted to watch my snorkel mates swim while I sunned myself.  Again, the water was clear as glass and I am told refreshingly cool.

Lake 2 Swimming in open cenote

After about an hour we were escorted back to the minibus and taken to the centre for some fresh fruit and guacamole.  The next leg involved getting back in to the bus for a twenty minute drive down the most rutted bumpy road I have been on in ages.  I feared for the van’s suspension.  It was like travelling around in a popcorn popper.  We finally reached the cenote, shaken not stirred and descended down some steps to the dock.  The mouth of the cave was dimly lit and intimidating.  We were told that this cave was linked to hundreds of others and armed with a few flashlights we stepped in.

The atmosphere in a cenote is an otherworldly one.  Stalactites and stalagmites, formed when the cave was above ground stud the rooms.  There were bats and blind fish and I suspect several things that go bump in the night.  Without light you are cast in to utter darkness and as the caves are not linear you never know where the bottom is or where the next cavern will lead.  We paddled around for about 40 minutes and marvelled at this strange place.  I was very glad for my wetsuit as the water was chilly and the atmosphere made it more so.

I did not bring a waterproof camera so these cenote pictures are courtesy of google images, but they are very similar to the one I was in.

cenote1 Cenote2 Cenote3 Cenote 4

It was absolute fascinating.  I highly recommend it if you get the chance.

I drove back to my little house to change then headed in to Playa del Carmen for dinner at Plank.  It was recommended to me by Betty, the charming property manager at Tao who had told me about the yoga class.

Plank is located on a pretty little street just off the main strip (Quinta).  The only problem was I had never been to Playa del Carmen, the main strip or the pretty little street before and now I was navigating in the dark in a sudden blinding rain storm. I managed to find my way in to town and down to the main drag and with the help of several kind and I suspect rather bemused locals I found my way to the restaurant and bang on time no less.

PlankPlayadelCarmenrestaurant_zpsac830796 gI_128660_plank-playa-del-carmen-mexico

Plank features dishes cooked over high heat on either a slab of Himalayan salt or a cedar board.  I was given a free appetizer featuring a cedar baked flatbread with three dips: a hummus with the consistency of pudding, cumin heavy and delicious, a sweet roasted tomato relish and a poblano and corn based crema.  I thought the latter would be my least favourite but after it was gone I considered licking the bowl.


My main was sesame crusted tuna with a side of mixed vegetables grilled in a cedar wrap.  The tuna had the texture of butter and I was told to eat it quickly lest it continue to cook on its salt rock bed.  I did not need to be told twice.

Seared tuna Veggies

After this lovely meal and a brief walkabout I headed home, triumphant in my navigational success. I felt like Ponce de Leon in a white VW Classico.  I fell into bed and dreamed of what adventure would be next.

One Response to “Mayan Adventure – Day 3”

  1. Hush says:

    I’m getting out my pointy sticks… -20º here tonight.

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