Hola! Despite my recent trip to Spain and even more recent trip to Mexico I’ve still mastered less of the Spanish language than Basil Fawlty. Language barriers aside — this trip was amazing. Puneet and I flew into Cancun from Vegas (via Denver, an airport we remember distinctly for its “TORNADO SHELTER” signs everywhere; yeah, that wasn’t scary at all). From there we had a car waiting to take us an hour south to the wonderful coastal town: Playa del Carmen.
Walking into the resort our first impression was exactly this:
The trip began with a few room-related mishaps but the resort staff were amazing and sorted everything out for us with as little drama as possible so from day 2 onward everything was peachy. Some of the highlights of our room included a Nintendo Wii, a telescope, our own pool and last but not least a fully stocked bar:
The all inclusiveness part of the resort was a double-edged sword. On the one hand it was convenient to be able to walk around and eat/drink whatever and as much as we wanted but on the other hand we felt bad any time we left the resort to eat. The quality of Mexican food was disappointingly low throughout every restaurant within the resort but fortunately we stumbled upon an amazing joint just down the road: Aca Los Tacos! We literally ate there once each day for the rest of our trip.
We tried not to venture out for food/drinks too much since we felt bad given it was free in our resort, but one night we were moseying on down 5th avenue (the main strip of shops/bars/restaurants in Playa) and stumbled upon a really funky looking place and couldn’t help but stop for a couple of giant margaritas and a small bite to eat:
Okay, enough about food (did I really just say that?) — we actually DID do more than eat and drink in Mexico. We organised a tour one day to take us south along the coastline for some sights & snorkeling. The first stop on our itinerary was Tulum — A Pre-Columbian Maya walled city. From Wikipedia:
The ruins are situated on 12-meter (39 ft) tall cliffs, along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayans, it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have been the cause of its demise.
First impression: Stunning. Second impression: Stunning.
Next stop: Cave Snorkeling! I must admit, we were a little scared at the prospect of this at first — but after a minute or two in the water we were good to go. The cave we went to was Sistem Dos Ojos – one of the longest underwater cave systems in the world. Given we were snorkeling and not diving we only got to glimpse the surface of the cave but it was amazing nonetheless. Some more Wikipedia knowledge:
Dos Ojos (from Spanish meaning “Two Eyes”; officially Sistema Dos Ojos) is a flooded cave system located north of Tulum, on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The exploration of Dos Ojos began in 1987 and still continues. The surveyed extent of the cave system is 81.5 kilometres / 50.6 miles and there are 28 known sinkhole entrances, which are locally called cenotes.
The whole experience was amazing and one we won’t soon forget. Snorkeling in a cave is a whole new world compared to snorkeling in the open ocean — the biggest difference being how dark it is and the need for a torch.
Our next stop was Akumal Bay – This was definitely my favourite stop of the day. Why? Because I like turtles! Akumal means “place of the turtles” in the Mayan language so this was the place to be for turtle spotting. The water in Akumal Bay was without a doubt the warmest natural water I have ever been in. It was like a warm bath, just incredible. The goal for our snorkeling trip here was to spot a sea turtle or two, and spot them we did.
After Akumal it was time for lunch. We went to a quaint little restaurant perched on the side of a bay and while I don’t remember the name of the place, I certainly remember the view :
After lunch we had one final snorkeling stop before home – Yal Ku Lagoon. Whilst we had been snorkeling in a cave and bay we were yet to see an abundance of colourful fish. Enter Yal Ku. This place was swarming with fishies of all descriptions.
Aaaaaand that was the end of our amazing day out in Mehico! The day will forever go down as one of the best days of my life and I’m sure Puneet would say the same. It ranks right up there with the day we spent at a Tiger Temple in Bangkok.
The rest of our time in Playa was spent lounging by the pool(s), drinking more margaritas and eating wayyyy more than we should have — I literally ate three dinners one night. We had a giant Thai meal at the Asiana restaurant within our resort at about 7pm. At 8:30 I had a giant burrito at Aca Los Tacos and when we came home at about 10 I ordered and finished a plate of spaghetti bolognese from room service. I put on 4kgs while we were there. [x] Totally worth it.
I’ll leave you with one photo that pretty well sums up the overall mood of the trip. Adios!