Monday 20th-Wednesday 22nd June 2016: Cancun

There is nothing ‘organic’ about Cancun. It’s a planned city designed explicitly for tourism, with the ‘hotel zone’ along a narrow spit of white sandy beaches, and then the ‘real’ city where all the people who work in the hotel zone actually live.

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Instead of staying in the ‘Zona Hotelera’ – the bit lined with all-inclusive resort hotels – we opted to stay in Cancun town itself in an ‘Eco Hotel’ which at least tries to offset some of the environmental impact of mass tourism by being as energy- and water-efficient as possible:

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The Eco Hotel ‘El Rey del Caribe’ feels as if it’s in the jungle, even though it’s only just off a main road in Cancun.

A few two/three storey buildings set around a pool and courtyard, it is very relaxed and relaxing. So much so that on the first night I had a massage, and woke up on the massage table with a glass of water placed next to me, having clearly dozed off for a good half-an-hour after the end of the treatment!

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But first, food! Quesadillas and cold beers in a little bar/shack next to the supermarket did the job nicely:

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The reason for staying in Cancun at all rather than heading south to the quieter/classier beaches or inland for the culture was to dive on MUSA – the largest underwater sculpture park in the world. The concept and much of the creation is that of Jason DeCaires, a British diver and artist.

Scuba Diving Cancun were our outfit of choice mainly because of the quick and courteous communications we received compared to some of the other dive shops we contacted, and it was a good call – a private instructor was no problem for a small extra cost (always a good idea when it’s a while since you last dived) and the kit was all in good repair. Alongside a family group of six (plus two instructors) and two younger guys from Bristol doing their SSSI qualification with another instruction we headed out in ‘Taurus’, their dive boat to the MUSA site about 35 minutes off Cancun, next to the Isla de las Mujeres. Here are some photos:

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Sea Turtle!
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Oh!
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Ummm… trying not to get too close…

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