After spending 3 weeks in Mexico I realised that altogether this is the perfect hiding place to leave ties, responsibilities, and material longings behind… if you can get used to the seemingly never-ending construction works, and of course the mosquitos (that are quite unlike the ordinary ones anywhere else).
Mexico is a land of green, with lively, humid jungles thriving with tropical birds, and mangroves filled with crocodiles; a land of blue, with cloud-free blue skies, and turquoise waters; a land of fire, with crimson flowers, flaming chilies, and rich cocoa, all to rekindle the fire within. Add the riviera’s white sand, the various hues of the sunlit coral reefs, the boldly applied shades of pink, purple and terracotta on buildings and clothing alike, and Mexico turns into the land of colours.
A year is probably not enough to explore all the Yucatan peninsula has to offer. And that is just the Yucatan… There are plenty of interesting things to do, foods to try and places to see that I didn’t include in my visit this time, but at least there’s something to look forward to on my next trip.
If you are like me and just can’t get enough, here are a few more inspirational ideas (most of them on my wish list):
- Playa del Carmen, the former fishing town is well worth visiting. You can shop on the high street on Fifth Avenue, take your time browsing in air-conditioned stores of famous designers; take the ferry to Cozumel island, a world famous scuba diving destination; or have a chilli hot chocolate in the Ah Cacao Chocolate Cafe (I’ve tried it and it’s yum).
- More archaeological sites to visit:
Chichen Itza, the most well known Mayan site, definitely worth a visit, however you want to prepare yourself, for it will be busy throughout the year;
The fortified city of Tulum located on a seaside cliff, about 130 km south of Cancun. Tulum is the third most visited site in Mexico, after Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza. Also interesting for the large number of cenotes in the area (see last week’s post about my visit to a cenote here)
Coba, about 40 kilometres northwest of Tulum. Coba is home of Ixmoja, the tallest pyramid on the Yucatan, which is especially attractive since (unlike Chichen Itza) it’s still open to the public to climb the steps leading to the top.
- The Cenotes Trail (La Ruta de los Cenotes): Don’t forget to pack your swimwear. Easiest to approach from the village of Puerto Morelos, it’s a memorable trip to as much as 8 cenotes, surely to be one of the highlights of your trip (you can rent a car or take a guided bus tour). A lot to squeeze into one single day, yet if you have some time (and speak Spanish), listen to the local legends about the cenotes and how they’re an essential part of Mayan culture. Oh, and don’t forget to invest into some biodegradable sunblock. Call it a token of your appreciation; since the stuff is gonna end up in the crystal clear water, you wanna make sure it’s safe for the environment.
- Mexico also offers world-renowned eco-archeological parks:
Xcaret: Located only 75 kilometres from Cancun, just south of Playa del Carmen and spread over 80 acres it offers something for fans of the sea and fans of the land alike. Pop over to the nearby Mayan archaeological site Xcaret, that the park is named after, visit the replica Mayan village, the bat cave, the pavilions for exotic birds and butterflies, or go snorkelling to the nearby Cozumel island. And these are just a few attractions. Although the park has a lot to offer, and it has an adjacent hotel, if the family-friendly Disneyland-feeling is not something you enjoy, only spare a day for the trip.
Xel-Há, an aqua-park named after the archeological site Xelha, also part of the Xcaret experience. It’s a natural aquarium, a lagoon with small caves that offers excellent snorkelling and scuba diving sites. Swim with the dolphins, visit the turtles and the hundreds of other species that inhabit the area.
Whatever tickles your fancy I pretty much guarantee you that the adventure is going to snuff out all your stress and worries, it will reawaken your senses, and fill you up with calm happiness. If you’re receptive, you will enjoy the elements living in harmony here (don’t mind the occasional hurricanes), encouraging to achieve the same harmony within, and facilitating an inner change to balance body, mind and spirit.
Remember, the places mentioned above are just my recommendations.
In the meantime, you can visit my gallery here.