The Yucatán Peninsula is full of culture, food and different landscapes, from the colonial town of Merida to the laid back beach community of Tulum, it has a lot to offer with easy distances to cover. It’s totally understandable why it’s a tourist hotspot for those on a short vacation. You really get a dose of Mexican goodness.
MERIDA / we flew in here form Mexico City and were welcomed with warm weather, beautiful colonial buildings and an array of local and international food options. Our hostel felt more like a resort and we enjoyed a free cooking class, making our own corn tortillas, fish and fresh cabbage salad. Delish! We really liked Mercado 60, a food and drink space with different eats and bars in a beautifully styled courtyard, it felt like we could have been at Spice Alley in Sydney. We also watched a demonstration of ancient Mayan sporting match in the central plaza, which happens every Saturday evening, named ‘Pok-a-tok’. It’s an intense and uncomfortable looking game to participate in. Basically, it looks a little like soccer but instead of using your foot to kick the ball you use your hip. Sounds crazy and looks a little that way too!
From Merida we did a DIY tour of Chichen Itza. If you’re wanting to visit here I would definitely recommend it for the money you save and the flexibility of not being in a tour group. We downloaded an app for our phones and listened to a self-guided tour as we walked around. It’s an interesting site and different to Tikal in Guatemala. There were a lot of tourists, which was as expected though, after all it is one of the seven New Wonders of the World.
ISLA HOLBOX / from Merida, we headed to Isla Holbox, a place with very little to do except eat seafood, practice yoga, drink margaritas and chill at the beach. Different to the Caribbean side, as it’s on the gulf coast, the beaches are beautiful and the water was very warm. We found a cheap and so so good local place in town, ‘La Chingada’ with awesome guacamole, fish tacos and fish ceviche too, absolute heaven. It’s a very chilled vibe here and I would recommend it for a well earned break from the travel life.
CANCUN / some may question a backpackers need to visit the somewhat Americanised paradise of Cancun. Home to ‘Zona Hoteles’, a stretch of beach lined with all inclusive hotels. We decided to really treat ourselves with a night here and we were not disappointed. The beach of Cancun was probably close to one of the nicest beaches we’ve seen as far as white sand and crystal clear Caribbean water. Possibly the fact that we could sit on a sun bed and drink endless cocktails may have tainted our views. Nevertheless, we loved our stay here and would definitely recommend it, even if you stay in downtown Cancun, a visit to the beach here is a worthwhile experience.
TULUM / our final stop in Mexico, the beachside, more chilled town of Tulum, just two hours south of Cancun. With a more eco friendly vibe here, Tulum is becoming a hotspot for tourism and unfortunately may be becoming too developed too quickly. However, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here and found a luxurious Airbnb for a good price. We rented some bikes to get around and visited the beach, taco places and the cenotes nearby. Gran Cenote and The Temple of Doom Cenote were well worth the visit and accessible by bikes from the town. We enjoyed the 10 peso tacos at ‘Antojitos La Chiapaneca’ and some tasty burritos at ‘Amor Burritos’. The best thing was they had homemade coconut tortillas that were gluten free. Scrumptious! The beaches here were also very beautiful, although seaweed and algae was more prevalent here than in Cancun.
There’s no doubt that Mexico met our expectations and more! After nearly five weeks exploring the beautiful country, it was time for a new culture. We will miss the margaritas, delicious cheap eats and the laid back lifestyle. Adios Mexico!
Much love, Laura xx