Our second week in Mexico was very similar to the first one. Lots of pool and beach time. Yet again we failed to make use of the watersports on offer – oh well perhaps next time.
We did escape the confines of the hotel for a couple of visits though. We decided to go back to Isla Mujeres in the sunshine as our previous trip was cut short. Taking the local water taxi which was almost next door to the hotel we ended up in Downtown Mujeres as opposed to the tourist beach of the previous week. OMG what a place! You are accosted as soon as you walk out of the ferry terminal with vendors offering their wares – mostly silver jewellery and diamonds and everyone offering a discount. The greatest thing about walking into those sparkly shops is the air conditioning, it just hits you in the face after the furnace outside. Walking around the corner and into the small side streets you find the smaller vendors and souvenir shops each selling pretty much the same thing as each other. There are only so many souvenir shops you can see without losing the will to live. Anyone who really knows me knows my tolerance level is quite low for souvenir shops. I think its a Newquay thing. Then we hit the café and restaurant streets. Lunchtime! We tried a couple of local Mexican restaurants, one didn’t take card payments (no nearby ATMs) and we didn’t have any cash. The other couldn’t cater for a coeliac. We ended up in a burger bar. Yes I know. We were in Mexico yada yada – but a burger after 6 weeks in the Caribbean was like ambrosia on the tastebuds – and it was good quality meat! Then a quick trot down to Playa Norte (North Beach) which we were told is the best beach for swimming and chilling. They were packed on there like sardines. There were bodies everywhere. Granted there weren’t any knotted hankies and white socks but the sun loungers were in regimented straight lines which would make the army proud and you could hardly squeeze past the bodies to get to the water. We lasted five minutes and gave it up as a bad job. It took us 30 minutes to walk along the street towards the ferry terminal. This part of Isla Mujeres just didn’t do it for us. It was good to visit Downtown but even better to leave. Hotel beach was much less crowded.
The trip we were really looking forward to was to Tulum with Playa del Carmen as a second stop. Our time in Tulum was very short – about 2 hours in total and we would have loved to have stayed longer. This site is a lot smaller than Chichen Itza which we visited last year. The beauty of it isn’t spoiled by market traders or the huge crowds. Our guide was great; she really knew her stuff and was proud of her heritage. And then it was on to Playa Del Carmen, which we were told was a great place for swimming and snorkelling. But………………IT WAS JUST LIKE North Beach! We wandered around the upmarket shops for 10 minutes before we found the beach. But we didn’t stay. It was just one packed beach too many although I did like the heart shaped bottle top collection point on the entrance to the beach. I was thrilled to watch the Mayan pole and rope dance (don’t know the right name for it) which involves four men climbing to the top of a 100’ pole in Mayan costume and carrying long ropes. To the sound of a flute and drum playing they proceeded to wind the rope around the top of the pole. A fifth member climbed up when this was done and next thing we knew they had thrown themselves off the top of the pole with a rope tied around their waists and gently swung their way to the bottom with the rope unravelling as they did so. It was lovely to watch. And then we caught the local bus back to Cancun. It was a journey of just over an hour. The coach was really comfortable with a film playing throughout the journey. A vendor got on to sell snacks at the second stop which is quite normal apparently. He was like an old fashioned cinema usher. The local buses are brilliant and so cheap.
Further trips were curtailed or stopped because the weather forecast wasn’t very good. But they got it 100% wrong for the whole week. So it was a week by the pool and beach. There was very little to see in our own part of the beach because the currents were quite strong and churned the water too much. But someone was kind enough to show me a sea cucumber and live conch. I had spotted some sea urchins myself.
From our hotel restaurant we watched the ships and boats crossing back and forth regardless of the time. Breakfast would see the ferry leaving from the terminal next door, lunchtime would see the speed boats and jetskis from the hotel next door, and then of course the pirate ships at night. I did spot some mayan gig type training one morning. This is for a competition later in the year. Just like Cornwall.
On our last day we were given a free trip to the jewellery factory (showroom with some making going on) and also a tequila tasting next door. For this we were rewarded with a zipline activity in the jungle and a swim in the cenote. We weren’t expecting great things of the zipline activity but it was so much fun. We had six different rides high up in the trees. The guides jumped ahead and clipped us on and pushed us off. The worst part was climbing across the road bridges to get to the steps up to the platforms. Sadly the cenote didn’t measure up. We weren’t the only ones to refuse a swim in this one. We were expecting crystal clear water but were faced with green murky water with a greasy scum on top and lots of biting insects. Yuk! Previous ones have been crystal clear with lots of fish. It would have been a miracle to find anything in this one.
Our final two days had to be used to get as many pina colada and lovely Mexican food down our necks. The barman put different amounts of rum and cream in each time so there was no way we could get the recipe but I certainly plan to try. My favourite dish was chicken chimichanga, with homemade guacamole and salsa. Shop bought guacamole will never be the same, so roll on the avocado glut and cheap prices.
Our journey home was uneventful but long. First a ten hour flight to London and then a few hours wait for a connecting flight to Alicante. We finally reached home at 5pm – a 32 hour journey with hardly any sleep. But that double bed felt fantastic when I finally collapsed into it at 10pm and then slept through till 7 the next morning.
And that just about sums up the past 6 weeks. Florida, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cuba and Mexico. Its been a blast. I have taken part in the Disney marathons, climbed a waterfall, rode a bobsled down a mountain, seen starfish, turtles and iguanas in the wild, as well as hummingbirds, been into a completely natural crystal cave, and zipwired through a jungle as well as so much more. Now it is time to start planning the next epic journey which starts in August but before then I have a campervan to get on the road and some local adventures to have with my cat.