Yucatan Trip

Recently, I went to the Yucatan Peninsula for a vacation. Naturally, I wanted to bring my recorder along to capture some sounds that I wouldn't normally have access to. This was an extra good opportunity because I made the somewhat ambitious decision to rent a car and drive all around the province. This would allow us to not be limited by bus schedules and locations.

On our first day we flew into Cancun and took 2 buses to Tulum. We originally were thinking about staying at Playa del Carmen but I'm glad we ended up staying in Tulum instead. The most interesting sounds in Tulum happened at dusk in a children's playground. All the birds in town seem to congregate there and they have a lot to say:


Tulum has some excellent Mayan ruins however I didn't strategize on the best way to record sounds at this point so there would've been too many tourists to capture anything when I was there.

After spending a couple of days in Tulum we rented a car and headed towards our ultimate destination, Merida. We saw some more ruins in Coba on the way and also visited an excellent cenote (which are sinkholes you can often swim in) in Valladolid. We made it to Merida by night time after a 4-ish hour drive.

After one of the best sleeps ever we woke up and explored the Centro, which is kind of a central plaza in the city. If you're ever designing a Mexican cityscape like this, you may note that there are a lot more motorcycles than in a more "American" style city. Here is how it sounds in the morning:

These are grackles - I'm sure they're in a lot of these recordings.

These are grackles - I'm sure they're in a lot of these recordings.

Beside the church there is this sort of enclosed tunnel which makes for some interesting reflections. One day I randomly came across a dude on a megaphone talking in the Centro which bled through into this tunnel. I don't know how useful the sound is but I like the effect.

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Early morning and late at night are the best times to be awake in Merida since it was routinely 35 degrees celsius there. I recorded this one at night in the same area, next to the church pictured below:


About a 2 hour drive out of the city there is Uxmal, which I think were my personal favorite out of all the ruins we visited. Not only is it a massive site, but the stone carvings are incredibly detailed. We made the wise decision to get there shortly after it opens around 8:30am (on a weekday) and we were rewarded for it. We basically had the place to ourselves for at least a half hour.


The pictures below are pretty much where I was standing when I recorded this:


The day after Uxmal we drove out to Chichen Itza, which is the site that makes all the postcards. There is good reason for it being Mexico's most popular ruins, it really is amazing. El Castillo is front and center, which is the pyramid that forms a serpent of shadows on the two equinoxes. We once again arrived around 8:30am which was still well before it filled up. Although the pyramids have changed visually in the last 500-1000 years, there's something cool about the fact that it basically sounds the same now as it would've back when the Mayans were using it. Would've liked longer recordings but only having the foam windscreen was a problem.


After we were finally done seeing ruins and pyramids (there were a lot more I haven't shown here) we left our home base of Merida and drove back east to Isla Holbox. Isla Holbox is a small island northwest of Cancun that's only accessible by ferry. There are almost no cars on the island with most people getting around by either golf carts or ATVs. I now wish we would've booked more time there because it was gorgeous. Early morning ambience:

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Unfortunately we only spent one day in Isla Holbox but I'd probably stay there the whole trip next time! Now that we've driven around most of the Yucatan, I'd be down for just relaxing.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the sounds! Photos courtesy of Oriana Bella