Huacachina is a unique village in Peru built around a small natural lagoon. An oasis in the Atacama desert surrounded by tall sand dunes that dwarf the village. Though there are a little over 100 people who permanently reside there this oasis has become a main stop for thousands of tourists and backpackers each year. The main attraction is the thrilling dune buggy and sandboarding activity offered. Feel the thrill of rollercoaster like drops over 30 meter tall sand dunes. Enjoy the gorgeous sunsets and the local restaurants around the palm-lined lagoon.
With courtesy of the Selina Miraflores hostel I had a nice 3+hr bike ride around Miraflores and Barranco area of Lima. The weather was perfect at 69 degF and clear blue skies. The cost at the hostel was $8 USD starting at 11:00am. Our guide was Luis and we had introductions for everyone in the group. There was a couple from Tel Aviv and one girl from Queens NY. After getting fitted for our bikes (I got a nice bike with gears) our first stop was at Kennedy Park nearby. Kennedy Park is named after John F Kennedy.
Cenote Maravilla is located in the Yucatan Jungle along the Rutas de Los Cenotes. It is a very large cenote, shaped like the bottom of an hourglass. Sunlight shines through the opening with instense beams of light. This cenote is popular with freedivers because of the beams of light and depth. A thick haze of hydrogen sulfide lies at the bottom glowing eerily and undulating.
Cenote Zapote is also known as Hell's Bells due to the unique bell shaped Speleothems. These bells are surrounding the underside of the cavern as it opens up from the entry point. The cenote is located along the Ruta de los Cenotes in the Yucatan, Mexico. Complete with hydrogen sulfide clouds, dead tree branches emerging from this mist, and large bells make this cenote one eerie dive.
The Mama Vina is a wreck of a shrimp or crab boat intentionally sunk in 1995.The wreck itself is not very big and lies at a depth of about 90ft. There is abundant marine life around the wreck. The wreck can be easily explored from the inside with enough space to move about. But watch out for the fire coral around the doors and windows!
Selvatica is a unique adventure ecopark in the Yucatan jungle. In this eco park, you can enjoy a circuit of zip lines, suspension bridges, ATVs and cenote swims. Unlike other parks, Selvatica does escorted services with a prior reservation in small groups.
One of the most popular cenote dives is the Dos Ojos cenote. Dos Ojos, which in Spanish translates to “Two Eyes” due to two sinkhole caverns connected. Dos Ojos cenote is not far from The Pit which is just a few km north of Tulum, Mexico. The Mayan world considered cenotes the entrance to the underworld called Xibalba and regarded them with reverence. I too hold these in reverence for their mystical charm.
Yal-Ku is a lagoon near Akumal where salt water meets fresh water. An ecosystem with mangroves, haloclines and salt water tropical fish. The water is shallow, with no waves and good visibility which makes this an ideal snorkeling spot. The fish think so too!
The Pit is a top bucket list item for me and many other divers. Some of my friends think this cenote is dark and scary while I see it as mysterious and surreal. I was very giddy after first glance of the pit from the surface. While gearing up my anticipation grew steadily unlike other dives I have done, this one was unique.
Blue Life in Playa Del Carmen is a dive shop located a couple blocks towards the beach from the end of Quinta Avenida. I reserved two reef dives ahead of time. To get there I just walked from my Airbnb and met my dive guide Pierre who will be my dive buddy as well. I meet two other divers from Houston that will be with us. We gear up and walk out with gear a couple blocks more to the shore where we wade into the ocean and hop onto a small boat.