Written by Tearoze
Mexico enchants me. Visiting Mexico was the first trip where I saw as much of the country as I possibly could in a week, especially with a tropical storm approaching and heavy rainfall for a couple of days. My trip to Mexico was quite an eventful one.
Playa Del Carmen
After leaving Cancun airport, I had a shuttle transfer to Playa del Carmen. I spent the majority of my time there in a basic thatched hut that was billed as a 3 star hotel online with beautiful postcard pictures and 5 stars rated reviews but alas, upon arriving there, the stark reality was a far cry from the images depicted. It was in a run down part of town that has been so neglected, I asked for a refund but was refused. After arguing back and forth for almost an hour with the receptionist and then the owner via telephone, I finally decided I’ll have to stay since I’ve already paid in advance as it was non-refundable. I got a free upgrade to the king room but this made hardly any difference as the smell of mould was so overpowering. It wasn’t the worst but it could do with a complete overhaul.
In all honesty, I can only give it one star based on the location, cleanliness and facilities. I couldn’t complain paying under £20 a night for a bed, shower, AC and mosquito net riddled with holes thus defeating the purpose for which it was intended. You do get what you pay for. Its fair to say I was bitten more than half a dozen times which wasn’t pleasant in the slightest. I found a hack; applying my disinfectant hand gel to the bites made them disappear after a few days. The Eye mosquito band that I bought on the plane was completely useless as it didn’t deter the mosquitoes devouring me.
The first place I absolutely had to visit was Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula. The Yucatan Peninsula divides the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea, surrounding three Mexican states as well as Belize and Guatemala. Chichen Itza is a UNESCO world heritage site fundamental to the Mayan archaeologists, making it one of the seven wonders of the world. A must see! Which is why approximately 1.4 million tourists visit it annually.
Akumal is a popular destination for snorkelling. Tourists can swim with endangered green sea turtles, who visit the shallow bay to feed on the sea grass. The popularity of snorkeling has put environmental pressure on their fragile habitat. I chose not to do this activity because I believe the turtles should be left in peace.
This was seeing the real, unpretentious Mexico. The part we saw was a deprived area in parts but with some amazing jewellery stores and temples. We stopped here for lunch at a bright and bold restaurant. It’s the best meal I’ve had for my entire trip. Proper Mexican cuisine. Some people were scared to get out of the tour buses but I didn’t think it was that bad. I’ve seen worse.
The pièce de résistance has to be Cancún! There’s no point going to Mexico if you don’t pay it a visit. Cancún is a city on the Yucatán Peninsula that borders the Caribbean Sea. It’s popular for its stunning, picturesque beaches, resorts and nightclubs. It comprises of two distinguishable areas; downtown El Centro and Zona Hotelera which is a long beachfront strip with lots of hotels and fancy restaurants. Some of the hotels have 5 diamonds rating. I knew of 5 star hotels but never heard of 5 diamonds until now. If money is no object, this lavish lifestyle can be yours. I was on a tight budget so I stayed in a small 4 star hotel on my last two nights as a treat. It had a jacuzzi and infinity pool which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Mexico is such a beautiful country, which face challenges just like any other third world country. The people are kind and will go out of their way to show you to your destination. Don’t forget to tip them. They mostly live off tips and are very appreciative. I’ve never seen such warm hospitality. I took the local shuttles and paid a few pesos, travelling with the locals and they smiled at me while I ate tacos. It’s good to know a little Spanish, that goes a long way. You’re in their country after all.
The Collectivos and ADO buses runs regularly and is affordable. There are a lot of Oxxo’s pretty much on every block. They are small shops where you can do basic shopping. The Chedraui were excellent! Great big supermarkets with everything you could possibly need, from wine to cooked meals, clothes, souvenirs etc. Love them! The beaches are divine! Incredible turquoise paradise. Everyone should put Mexico on their bucket list. I would certainly go there again. ¡Yo amo Mexico!