Monday, March 16, 2015

How we Get to Holbox-A Transportation Tale-Part 2

The Cancun airport has a distinctive smell, like an indoor hotel swimming pool but less potent. I wonder if this is purposeful, an attempt to switch newly arrived visitors' brains over to vacation mode.

We breeze through customs, get our passport stamps, and take a bathroom break. Since we have no luggage to pick up, the only thing left to do is to hit the airport ATM.

It is ALWAYS a good idea to research the ATM and credit card situation in your destination before you go.  We were extremely glad that we knew ahead of time that we should make sure we had all the money we needed prior to going to the island just in case the ATM on the island didn't work or ran out of cash.  If you travel a lot it is also helpful to have an account with a bank that reimburses any ATM fees accrued.

We exit out of the airport.  What's that bright light? Is that the sun? And what is that strange body sensation? I feel...yes I definitely think it is warmth. I feel warm. We are suddenly filled with energy even though we were hopelessly tired only moments ago.

The outside of the Cancun airport is the very definition of organized chaos.

There are people everywhere going this way and that and even more people helpfully pointing them in the direction that they need to go.  Luggage is gently placed into vans that are boarded by already margarita fueled vacationers thanks to Jimmy Buffet whose Margaritaville stand sits right outside the airport doors.  There is a sea of people holding up signs with names on them.  We know that one of the names should be ours, we just have to find it.

There was no point in renting a car for this trip. You can't take the car with you to the island. It is possible to take a bus from the Central bus station in Cancun to Chiquila (where the ferry is), but the bus tacks on more time since it makes extra stops along the way. We splurged and arranged for the Villas to organize our transportation.

We spot our last name and make awkward conversation with a very nice guy while we wait for David to pull the van around.

VAN #2- "That's it?" asks David when he looks around for the rest of our luggage.  David speaks very little English so I am happy that I studied up on my Spanish before the trip, especially when David asks in Spanish if we want to stop at any point to buy food, use the bathroom, etc...

Early into the two-and-a-half hour drive, David turns off of the road and into what at first seems like a dusty vacant lot.  We drive further across the lot and start making our way down a bumpy dirt road. The van stops and a person approaches the van window. David hands the person some money and we are permitted to pass. We continue to drive down the secluded bumpy road, sending little clouds of dust up as we go. We are clearly driving through someone's private property.  The dirt road finally ends and we come out onto a main road. David must know all of the best shortcuts.

The ride from Cancun to Chiquila is not the most scenic drive. It is mostly open road with trees and brush on either side. Occasionally we pass through a small town that breaks up the monotony, but I find myself nodding off throughout the ride.

We arrive in Chiquila. We are beyond weary at this point, but once David hands us our ferry tickets and we bid him farewell, we get a second shot of renewed vigor. We were looking forward to the ferry part of the trip ever since we started planning.

FERRY-The boat glides smoothly across the water. We are all smiles. There is nothing that says you are going to an island more than having to take a boat there.

There is a group of young backpackers on the ferry. I feel a little jealous but overall I am excited for them as I imagine that they are at the very beginning of what is surely an epic journey through Mexico, Central, and South America.

As we get ready to dock one of the backpackers picks up an instrument case with the name Sarah embroidered on the black material.  I wondered if he was just being chivalrous and was carrying the case for the girl with him, or was the instrument the case contained named Sarah, or did he just get a really good deal on a second hand many unanswered questions.

We hop off of the ferry, really we have to hop. They don't use the boarding ramp (they use the ramp for all of the other ferry trips we take) so we have to hop over the small gap between the ferry and the dock.

A line of golf cart taxis wait to take visitors to their various hotels.

Golf carts are the primary source of transportation on Holbox (motor bikes, peddle bikes, and walking being next in line).

One of the taxis is waiting specifically for us.

Golf Cart -"That's it?" asks the taxi driver as he slings our bags into the golf cart's luggage holder.

We zip along trying to take in as much of the island as we can from the back of the taxi.  I love the island's "car" golf cart wash.

We are dropped off at the lobby of Villas Paraiso Del Mar. Never was there such a welcome sight for two weary travelers as that lobby.

Flickering candles had been set up around the tropical open air lobby in anticipation of the ever darkening sky.

It made an impressive first impression that whispered,

"You are going to have an amazing time."

Check in is friendly, quick, and easy. By the time we are done a man carrying a tray approaches us and presents us with two glasses of fresh fruit juice. We are extremely grateful.

We carry the juice to our Villa and sip them while ogling our room.

Excitement fades into exhaustion and we are both suddenly just a bit grumpy.  We must resist the call of the room's cozy bed and get something to eat before we give up on food in favor of sleep. We  haven't eaten since the croissant sandwiches in Orlando.

It's dark and although we have an idea of where the main town area is, we don't know how long it will take to walk there or what the walk is like and frankly we are almost too tired to walk, so we eat dinner at the Villas' restaurant.  It is good, but I wouldn't suggest it as a first choice if you are staying on the island.

After dinner we finally fall into bed and let the sound of swaying palm trees sing us to sleep.

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