Our Mexican adventures

As we have just left Mexico, I thought it would be good to write an overview of what we have done so far and some of the things we have learned and enjoyed in this beautiful place…

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This might be a bit of a long one as I haven’t written in a while!

Our ideas about Mexico before we arrived were fairly mixed, probably fed to us from American tv and horror stories about drug cartels and gangs. But this has been far from our experience here. The only problem was trying to get out of the country where they tried to make us pay a bribe, or “tax” as they called it, except they had no official documents saying how much and told everyone a different price! Our entire coach stood strong though so we didn’t pay and eventually we got through by showing him our flight booking confirmation as it said “taxes, fees and surcharges paid”. He had kind of given up asking by the time we got there as no one else paid but as it was about 4am we weren’t in the mood for hassle! Apart from that though, Mexico was very welcoming and we felt safe and happy there! (Except that the Mosquitos are driving me CRAZY so just think of that if you want to feel consoled while you are at work or cold or something!)

Rather than giving a day by day account, I think I will go for themes…

Living and Eating
So we started off our time here in the Omni Cancun, our all inclusive week of luxury. It was a nice thing to do to get us a bit grounded and test out how much Spanish I can actually remember! I have already posted some pics of this lovely place but we were really impressed with how un-trashy all inclusive can be. We had a couple of a la carte restaurants to choose from in the evenings, as well as freshly made sushi, tacos, and loads more food and drinks all day, every day. Veeery nice! We could watch the sunset over the lagoon from our bedroom window, and one evening we released some baby turtles into the sea to start their grand adventures!

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After our week in Cancun we made our way down to Tulum and stayed in a lovely guest house called Posada Los Mopaches run by a lady called Chelo who I have decided is my Mexican grandma! We got free bikes to use while we were there as well as a very filling breakfast every morning! It was lovely.

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In the days we did various outings exploring around and ate lots of fish tacos…yummmmmm! We also hung out a bit with an Aussie couple, Kitty and Peet, who were staying there too. We went out for Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) and saw the shows they put on for the kids as well as the little shrines that were around the town. We then spent the night listening and dancing (yes, Alex too!) to salsa music and drinking cocktails!

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Adventures
Our first was an adventure tour to four different cenotes, which are like holes in the ground filled with water which have naturally formed in the limestone, and they can be various shapes, sizes and levels of enclosed-ness. There are thousands around the Yucatan Peninsula, and though it was a bit expensive, we were really impressed with our trip with Oasis Maya. We went to these cenotes and were taken around by a fun tour guide who spoke Spanish and English, and we did zip lining, snorkelling, kayaking, and general jumping off scary cliffs into these cenotes. We thought they were really well kept and the facilities were amazing!

We also went to a local cenote which was basically in someone’s back garden just outside Tulum. This was more enclosed, kind of like an underground water filled cave, but was more rugged and interesting! All our pictures of these are on a disposable waterproof camera but here is one cenote we went to but didn’t swim in this time…

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We also have done a fair bit of chilling out on the beach and while we were in Tulum we snorkelled at the beach there and saw some fishies and things! There is the second largest reef in the world in the Caribbean Sea so hopefully we will get closer to that somewhere along the way! We also took a trip to Akumal Playa and got to see loads of turtles and some stingrays as well just in the sea there with our snorkels! (Again on the waterproof camera)

Culture
Of course, you can’t come to this part of the world without visiting the famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza (one of the modern 7 wonders of the world) and in Tulum we happened to be staying right opposite the Mayan ruins there. Both were quite touristy but we had a good guide at Chichen Itza who explained about the Mayan culture which was thousands of years ago, and their advanced understanding of the year, calendars and the way they designed buildings. Chichen Itza’s main pyramid building itself was cool as when you stand at the bottom and clap, it echoes the sound of the Mayan sacred bird. Unfortunately tourists can’t go on or in the buildings these days due to vandalism but it was still very interesting! For Chichen Itza we did an organised tour from Cancun. The information we got was great but the really touristy experience of being taken to “authentic” local markets in a big coach reminded us both why we prefer to do these things on our own!

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Alex managed to get a picture without any tourists in!

Of course the Day of the Dead kinda comes under this category too. We were glad to be in Mexico for this!

Money
So that’s about it for Mexico. We found it fairly easy to stay on budget (ours is about £25 each per day) for food and accommodation but tours and transport could sometimes send it over the edge. We left on an overnight bus from Tulum to Belize City and I am writing from Caye Caulker in Belize, where we arrived this morning. But that’s one for another post!

All in all, we really enjoyed Mexico, and I am also SO glad I learned Spanish to a reasonable level at school (thanks Mr Norton and Miss Piazza!) – it is possible to get by without but so much easier and a nicer experience with some Spanish! Alex is picking it up a bit too so hopefully we will be pros before too long!

¡Hasta luego amigos!

Ellie xx

(& Alex!)

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