| I’ve heard it said that the corals reefs in the Caribbean Sea along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula are rated second only to those of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I’ve never been to the latter, but from my experience last week snorkeling in the balmy waters of the Caribbean, near Tulum, Mexico, it seems like the reefs there could be “second to none.” I can hardly believe all the beautiful fish I saw. The people I vacationed with, who are very experienced snorkelers, said it was the best experience “swimming with the fishes” that they had ever had anywhere. My body and soul felt so wonderful while traversing the crystal clear ocean waters, with all sorts of marine life thriving around me. The coral and marine flora colors ranged from deep purple to hot orange. The colors of the fishes ranged from glistening pearly white to jet black with neon lavender outlines. I even saw Nemo!
The resort I stayed at, the Eldorado Seaside Suites, was “all-inclusive” and served gourmet meals in which I heartily indulged with reckless abandon. The bars featured six new “cocktail specials” each day and resisting them proved fruitless. I should probably investigate checking into a combined “weight-loss and detox” facility at this point!
I give credit to the Mayan people for doing a very impressive job repairing their resorts after Hurricane Wilma last fall. It was apparent that most of the palm trees and other flora lining the grounds of the Eldorado were new plantings. My hotel room happened to be on the second floor, and a waiter told one of my friends that the storm sent sand to the top of most of the second-floor rooms on the property. My room was absolutely gorgeous and it was impossible to tell that a tropical storm had ravaged it only months earlier. A long pier that was destroyed had not yet been rebuilt, but otherwise structures seemed to be in order.
In terms of hospitality and service that you would expect at a top-notch facility, there are some little refinements that I believe will come with time. The resorts in that region 60 miles south of Cancun are mostly new…many just a year or two old. Other cultures are decades if not centuries ahead of the Mayans in the hospitality industry. The Mayans are learning and they are trying very hard, in my opinion, bless their sweet hearts. All the staff I encountered were very personable and I felt they tried their very best to provide a memorable vacation experience for their guests.
I’m so happy that I had a satisfying trip to the tropics. Now, it’s “back to reality” for me, staying indoors in close proximity to a blazing fireplace as the temperatures drop to sub-zero all around me in these Minnesota hinterlands. I viewed a flock of eight wild turkeys traipsing through my yard this morning, looking deceptively plump with their feathers all fluffed up in an attempt to survive the cold. All climates have their own miracles of nature, that’s for certain. But, I have to make a point to get back to swimming with the fishes again soon, somewhere.