The blending of reverence for an ancient
culture, the beauty of nature, and, at the
same time, the relentlessness of nature
as it tries to take the city back are truly
wonderful and not to be missed. The
houses and temples have flowering trees
growing around them, and at this one spot
just beside the entrance tunnel, the smell
on this day was divinely sweet but very
soft, almost like a whisper in the wind.
The local signs are in both English as
well as Spanish, and guides are available
for a fee. You can learn about the ancient
gods and the architecture from them, as
well as some of the culture of the people.
You also get to feel like Indiana Jones—if
you are like me, you watched the movies as
a child and wanted so badly to go traipsing
through ancient ruins in tropical places.
Well, Tulum is your chance. You get to feel
like Indy, but without any Nazis trying to
After returning to the resort, we again
went out in search of turtles, and let me say,
jackpot! We saw literally a dozen within the
first 20 minutes or so. The key to seeing and
appreciating the turtles and their natural
behavior is to be passive. Only swim with
your fins, gently flicking them to keep your
body from moving too much. Also, because
the desire to touch one will be so strong,
I recommend folding your hands behind
your back to prevent yourself from doing
so. It is illegal to touch the turtles, as they
are protected. Besides, you don’t want to
inadvertently harm them.
Just hover gently over them as they
munch on turtle grass. Do not try to chase
them, do not try to feed them, and do not
try to touch them. Just hang out, and you
can watch them as long as you like. Three
species can be seen in the area, but we only
saw the green and hawksbill turtles, which
will nest in the area at the right time of year.
There were some remoras Echeneis naucrates
hanging out on both the backs and bellies of
turtles, some of which were actually longer
than the turtles themselves.
The majesty of the sea turtles is somewhat
diminished when you watch them eat.
Graceful swimmers, yes—graceful eaters,
not so much. They do take on a cute aspect
when you watch them eat, though. They
munch on grass like a cow or goat does
on land. The Akumal Ecological Center is
worth visiting if you have the chance, as it
provides information about the turtles and
Tankah Tres, a freshwater cenote, is home to sailfin mollies, guppies, and cichlids.
A temple at the central plaza of the ruins of the Mayan city Tulum; once a place for sacred rituals,
the temple is home today to various species of iguanas and birds.
how the mangroves, turtle grass, reef, and sea. Though the pass can be seen if you are
open ocean fit together as an ecosystem. We willing and able to cave-dive, it can also be
found the turtles so interesting that we spent thoroughly enjoyed by the casual snorkeler
the entire following day observing their as well. The freshwater portion is home to
behavior as well. many livebearers; both guppies and sailfin
mollies can be seen in the roots of the many
mangroves. Cichlids are the denizens of the
darker and deeper sections of the lagoon.
The coolest thing about Tankah Tres is
that, within 50 yards of one another, you
have fish that fill the same roles in fresh
Into the Abyss
We went to Tankah Tres the next
morning, a beautiful freshwater cenote (a
sinkhole containing ground water), which
passes under the road before going out to
Tropical Fish Hobbyist www.tfhmagazine.com