With our finals submitted, the OU in Puebla crew excitedly boarded the plane from Puebla to Cancún for our final group trip. We arrived in Cancún and were whisked away by buses to our resort. The path from the airport to the zona hotelera was sparse and forested, but once we crossed the bridge to resort town, huge white towers stretched on as far as the eye could see. After an hour of waiting, we were checked in and headed down to the beach. I had been told that the waves in Cancún were calmer, the waters shallower. This was anything but the truth. Maybe it was because of the time of year, but the waves were coming crashing down forcefully and a strong current was dragging out to sea. Still, the beach was pretty, and I enjoyed walking along the beach. As the sun began to set, we entered the resort once more. We were staying in the Royal Solaris, and it was very beautiful. It had a sprawling complex of multi-leveled pools. Also, it was “all-inclusive.” This meant that we could go and eat whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. Unfortunately, the food was not good.
The next day we spent the morning in the lagoon on the other side of the hotel strip where we kayaked and some people sailed on a boat. The waters here were calmer and we were able to paddle right by some really cool water birds resting on wooden poles. After this fun excursion, we spent the rest of the day on the beach. Not wanting to end up burnt, I alternated time out in the sun with relaxing in the shade and playing some beach volleyball. Since starting college, volleyball has been one of my favorite sports to play. Sand volleyball with the ocean right there is even better. It was a very nice day on the beach.
The next morning we left bright and early to go visit an archeological site. We were all taking an archeology class that semester from an OU professor and had been visiting various sites throughout the semester. This would be the first and only Maya site we visited as a class. I had been to another Maya site called Tikal during my times in Guatemala. The site we were visiting was called Cobá and was located about 2.5 hours away from Cancún. We drove past Playa del Carmen and Tulum to get there. The site was small but interesting. Supposedly, it has one of the tallest Maya pyramids that exist. The site also had a couple of very cool ball courts and long sacbe (Maya roads). It was very cool seeing the similarities between this site and Tikal like the limestone buildings and sacbe. It made me feel like I was back in Tikal. Climbing the pyramid here in Cobá was also really cool. When we got to the top, we were able to look out over the forest canopy and see other structures peeking through the treetops. After eating some pollo pibil in an adjacent restaurant, we headed back to the resort.
The final night we made a reservation in the fancy (but included) restaurant of the resort. The food was much better here, and I enjoyed a nice steak. It was a great last celebration together. The next morning we woke up at 4 AM to head to the airport for our flight back to Puebla.
Cancún was interesting. It’s very different than Puebla ecologically and culturally. Cancún has tourism down to an art and that is what it runs on. The endless line of resorts is impressive and unsettling all at once. When people come here and never leave the resort, are they really seeing Mexico? The great thing about Cancún is that there is so many great things to experience nearby from several Maya sites to beachside towns. I’m glad that we were able to venture out a little and see a bit more.