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July 2001 Vol. 16, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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A vacation ... with diving

from the July, 2001 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The Yucatan Peninsula is a fine destination to combine diving and touring, which is why I rented a car to drive to Maya Ha. At the Cancun Airport, I picked up a car from Avis and headed a half hour south to the seaside village of Puerto Morelos, far from the commercialism of Cancun. With plenty of accommodations and a few good restaurants, its the perfect first-night venue (for info. go to www.visitpuertomorales.com). One may venture another half hour south to the commercialized Playa del Carmen to grab a ferry to Cozumel or sneak a peek at the topless sun worshipers or sip a cerveza in the beachside bar which provides a distinctive Riviera aura.

After Maya Ha, we drove a few hours to Chichen Itza, the most popular of Yucatans prolific Mayan ruins. An overnight in the beautiful Hotel Hacienda Chichen Itza ($100/night) inspires dreams of old Mexico, with its romantic courtyard and veranda restaurant. Its the perfect starting point for a guided tour (the hotel arranges a guide for $40) of the ruins and a visit to the spectacular evening light show and ceremony.

On to Merida, a charming colonial town, where Sunday afternoons the towns center is closed to automobiles so well-dressed residents may dance to Afro-Cuban music, and the rest of us can shop at hundreds of stalls, and watch free performances by local actors and musicians. The Hotel Caribe and the GranHotel are excellent colonial hotels, centrally located at reasonable rates.

We dropped our car at the Merida Airport, thanks to a good round-trip fair that had us arriving in Cancun and departing from Merida (or you can return to Cancun in less than three hours). Its easy enough to drive in the Yucatan. The residents are friendly, the roads good, and one can get by easily without speaking Spanish. All in all, a perfect setting for a ten-day trip half diving, half touring.

---- Ben Davison

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