January 26, 2009

Like Xel Ha, this is an eco park.  Yes, it draws tourists but I wouldn’t call it “touristy” the way theme parks in the US are.  There are plenty of animals to see in habitats designed to look natural.  If I had a choice between Xel Ha and Xcaret, I think I would choose Xcaret.  A lot of the same activities are available but Xcaret’s evening show is what really makes it worthwhile.

The gift shop was weirdcool.  It even had a mine shaft and an area where birds were hatching.



I got sucked in to wandering around looking at the animals but there really weren’t any that were more exotic than what you can see in the US.  I feel like I wasted my time there doing that.  I would have liked to do the snuba, or sea trek, or ride out to the snorkling spot.  Of course, those all cost additional money.  I also missed the House of Whispers, Cemetary, and Village.

This guy is just cool.


There were castle bathrooms =O


I did love seeing the sea turtles ❤


These guys were huge!  I wish I had something to show the scale. 4 feet at least.



I’m not sure if it’s good or bad…


…that when they released the sharks, the sharps came right back =O




Though it was pretty cold (again) for water activities.  We ended up doing all the walking just so we’d warm up enough for the underground river to be more tempting than terrifying.  I wish I had had a wet suit!  The underground river was cool but it was built up to be way more than what it was.  I didn’t see ANY fish.  I also was under the impression that it was totally underground and you had a headlamp and all but no, most of the passages open up to the outside so it’s not real dark.

Once you get to the area where the cave opens up to a river, you see a few fish.  The lagoon was much more interesting.  There were some silver fish with a rainbow line across them and real skinny fish that hung by the surface.

The sun began to set and lights were lit to lead the way to the night show.  We passed by a horse show ): (I’m afraid of horses!!).  A lady wanted to get her picture taken beneath the lanterns, she was very excited but she got right in front of us and then apologized, all flustered.  I don’t know what language she spoke but it’s always interesting to communicate with people only through gestures and emotions.


Walk past the pre-show…



We got a candle when we walked in and once most people were seated, fire was passed around.  It was weird.  I can’t imagine that happening in the US with all the lawsuit and fire safety issues.  It was kind of worrying but also beautiful.


The show itself was quite long and very elaborate especially with the costumes and dances.  It was kind of a pageant of Mexican history, starting with the Mayans and moving up to Cancun the party town.  I wish they had done something Day of the Dead related.



While everything they did was impressive, I loved the Mayan stuff best.  The headdresses were spectacular, the drum beat gets into your heart’s rhythm, and the ball game!

I love the ball game not only that, but then they played hockey with fireballs O_O


Riviera Maya – Swimming with Dolphins

January 25, 2009

This was totally the fulfillment of a dream. But next time I’m fulfilling a dream I hope I’m not freezing.  In both New Zealand and Mexico, I ended up getting rained on nearly the entire two weeks.  You wouldn’t think it’d matter in the water but it gets cold!

We arranged it at Xel Ha and it is so worth it to get the full experience.  However, expect it to be ridiculously expensive.  I mean, ridiculously.  Go into it expecting to pay $300.  Yeah, the actual dolphin experience is about $100 but they take pictures and a DVD and of course you’re going to want that.  Asking price?  $200.  Two.  HundredUSDollars.   D:  I just about had a heart attack when I heard that.  Very, very luckily, my mom decided to splurge.  We got a package of 16 pictures and the DVD which ended up being roughly $180.  Which is still like holycrap!wtf especially after I heard so much how things were way cheaper in Mexico.  Wow.  So uh, please, please make it worth it by enjoying these pictures.

First they showed us a video.  It said this facility had one of the highest rates of survival for dolphins born in captivity.  Dolphins do not like to be touched on their blowholes or their private areas but if they roll over you can pet their belly ^^

All the dolphins had Mayan names.  Kinam  was the one that spent the most time with us and her name means respect.  We learned about some veterinary procedures like checking stomach contents by sticking a tube down the dolphins throat and then sucking on the other end.  With your mouth.  Ew.


Kinam swam around us and we did several commands–usually not having any idea what the commands meant.  Like slapping the water means ‘please splash me!’  Saying “ahh” got Kinam to make those squeaky dolphin noises.  Very cool.




We were in a group of six and there were a bunch of other groups scattered around the dolphin pool interacting with other dolphins.  We each got individual time with Kinam but it was pretty much just photo ops.  Still, it was neat.

You can’t help but laugh when they kiss you.  It’s just such an odd feeling to be bumped but that mouth, especially since they’re just about silent when they move.  They look kinda creepy in profile though =O




It’s amazing to be so close to such a huge bizarrely shaped creature compared to say, a domesticated dog.  I kept thinking of the stories I’ve heard of dolphin rescues, how they come up real close when they’re playing at Tybee’s beach, and how like dogs they can sense/smell/etc things like sickness and pregnancy.

I’ve touched dolphins and whales before, way back at Sea World so I knew they aren’t slimy.  The texture is more like rubber.

They told us to get in a line and say “Ay Caramba” ^_~


The Foot Push is the real selling point of the more expensive experience.  You lay in the water and two dolphins come up behind you and  push you through–no matter how much you weigh!  It’s worth it to watch the video just for this.


The DVD they gave us is nice… if it wasn’t so freaking expensive.  I really don’t think we got the money’s worth there.  It’s not even a recording of the full time we were there, it’s just 10 minutes.  All the posing (and mishaps during it) aren’t on there, just the Foot Pushes, circle, a few commands and lots and lots of time petting Kinam.  I liked petting her, I did, but it’s not that exciting to watch and honestly it was SO COLD that I started to get tired of it even when we were there.  I wanted to be doing something more active than waiting for her to come close enough to touch.  Again, would have helped if it wasn’t freeeeeeeeeziiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnngg…..


March 5, 2007

The road around Coromandel is kind of terrifying.  It’s narrow and drops right into the water.  Narrow enough that when I’d look out the window, I couldn’t see the road, all I could see was water.  For the next few days I ended up jerking away from nightmares that we fell into the water.

We stopped partway for the awesome monster tree.




Hanging from the tree was an ET fetus D: Creepy!

Did I mention the drive was breathtaking?


With a webpage like this you expect Coromandel to be a booming city.  It’s not.  It’s a little place with a couple restaurants, an i-site and…I’m not sure if we found a grocery store.  I expected 309 to be a highway with tons of exits.  It’s not, it’s a dirt road.  However, it is still pretty kickass (or more kickass).

Waiau Waterworks made it all worth while. There’s a sign there that says “poke it, it might do something cool.”  I’m a geek when it comes to machinery that’s simple enough for me to understand and everything at this place is mechanical, mostly hydromechanical, from a music box to squirting bikes. I had a blast and would do it again.

There were also weird sculptures everywhere.

Men at Work

Danger: Men at Work

  • Get in there!Get in there!
  • Witches get high tech

    Witches get high tech

    And a cafe with very friendly birds and neat tables.


    Change your center of gravity and it spins you!

    Change your center of gravity and it spins you!

    Air bikes go round and round, up and down

    Air bikes go round and round, up and down

    I wish I had more pictures of the gadgets but we were too busy playing 😉

    Shell art!  There was one I wish I’d bought, not this but a driftwood frame with shells and and and ;_;


    I think we would have enjoyed Coromandel more if we had planned more specific activities to do there.  We went in expecting that kind of thing to be easy to find but everything was so spread out you really have to know what you want to do and where it is.  We were also hoping to have a beach day but it was rainy again.  Notably there are places on some of the beaches where you can dig your own hot spring.