Mexico Trip – June 30 to July 12
For all pictures from our Mexico trip, please click HERE
Our United Airlines flight arrived late in the evening in Cancun. We couldn’t find any buses from the airport to the city so we haggled a taxi to our hotel. We stayed in Cancun for only two nights. We found a great food stall place near our hotel that we kept coming back to as they had fresh delicious tacos.
Our next destination was the beautiful island of Isla Mujeres. We booked a snorkelling tour that included seeing the underground museum of statues, lunch buffet on a private beach and open bar on the catamaran boat (aka party boat) that took us to the island. The most annoying part of the boat ride was the pumping loud music which I thought took away from the enjoyment of the nature around us but I guess all the other tourists didn’t seem to mind.
We stayed on the small island a few nights. We found a cool little restaurant for dinner called Ruben’s and tried their fish and it was amazing. The island has one of the best sandy beaches, Playa Norte. We also noticed great artistic abilities from a few unique murals on the island. (add picture?) Our time on the island was mainly spent relaxing on the beach and walking around the main centre of the island.
Playa Del Carmen
After Isla Mujeres, we went back to Cancun and took a collectivo bus to Playa Del Carmen. We arrived late in the evening and were hungry. We researched places to eat but they were a bit of a walk from our hotel. We walked for a bit and came across this local “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant. The people in the restaurant spoke no English and there were no English menus. We were relying heavily on our Spanish Lonely Planet phrase book which was quite the adventure. By this point, I was a bit tired of eating tacos so I wanted to try something different. I pointed to the waiter/cook (I think she was the same person) the item that I wanted to eat. It sounded good even though I didn’t really know what it was except it was something chicken. Phebe also did the same thing. The food came out and it was one of the best hearty meals we’ve ever eaten. They also served gigantic fruit smoothies.
The rest of the time spent in Playa Del Carmen was walking along the touristy 5th Ave, strolling along the beach, taking a dip in the swimming pool at our hotel, and a day trip to Xcaret theme park.
Xcaret is an eco-archaeological theme park where you can enjoy swimming in the underground rivers, take a snorkelling tour, and swim with the dolphins. We decided just to swim in the underground rivers as this was the most popular choice. The experience was incredible. It was so good that we did it twice. The water was super cold but also refreshing as the weather was so hot. The underground river from beginning to the end is about a 40 minute swim. After the second trip we were dead tired. We replenished our energy by having a seafood buffet lunch that included everything you could image.
After lunch, we explored the aquarium which included giant turtles, sting rays, lots of exotic fishes, and whale sharks among other things. Later on, we saw an equestrian horse show which was fun to watch as they did a lot of stunts with the horses.
In the evening, there was a presentation called “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular”, which is a celebration of light and colour with over 300 artists that takes you through the history of Mexico. The show was amazing and very well done. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. It was interesting to see the history of Mexico through song and dance.
Another highlight of our trip was exploring the ruins of Chichen Itza, now included as one of the 7 wonders of the new world. We booked a tour that included swimming in a Cenote, lunch buffet, and exploring the little town of Valladolid. One of the main drawbacks to seeing Chichen Itza is that you have to share it with thousands of other people. Another thing I noticed during this tour was that Mexicans will want to try and sell you anything at any time of day. For example, one of the stops along the tour was this jewellery stand. It was one of those typical jewellery stands – “once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all”. In addition to all the jewellery stand, another thing for purchase is a painting with your name on it with a history of each letter. Moreover, on the bus ride, we were offered to purchase a tequila bottle with our picture on it, biodegradable sunscreen, and other “junk”. Even on the grounds of Chichen Itza, choruses of local merchandisers (you mean merchants?) saying “one dollar, one dollar” never stops. One of the interesting parts of the tour was seeing the sacred cenote, aka “well of sacrifice”. This was where the Mayans would sacrifice objects and human beings in the cenote as a form of worship.
Our last few days in Mexico were spent in Tulum. The hotel that we stayed at was within walking distance to the Tulum Ruins which was very convenient. What sets these ruins apart from other Mayan ruins is that it is well preserved and is situated along the beach coast. They forgot to mention that the ruins are home to a whole bunch of iguanas roaming around. No, I didn’t try to mount any!