Saturday, 30 August 2014

Beaches of Yucatan, Mexico

Tulum was our first stop in the Caribbean part of Mexico. It is a small town with gorgeous beaches and stunning Mayan architecture. However, our time did not start very well. We had booked a private room in a hostel called La Cigala through Hostelbookers.com for 4 days before arrival. 

When we arrived, we were told that our room was occupied until the next day but we were upgraded to a bigger room with a kitchen, fantastic! After a quick shower and renting some bicycles from the hostel we visited some spectacular beaches around Tulum. When we came back to our room after a long day, we noticed a couple of cockroaches. We notified the owner, who did not seem to care too much but agreed to provide a pesticide spray. After spraying the whole room with Baygon, we went out for dinner and tried some local street food, yummy! Did you actually know that Mexicans are now the most obese nation in the world? We learned this through a local shop owner who was very proud to show us an article in a magazine and stated that they have finally beat the USA. Well, no comment on this!

Once we got back to our room, we discovered more bugs, unusual spiders, and flies. It was like a zoo. In addition, the bed sheets were not clean either. Unfortunately the reception was closed after 10 pm, so we had a terrible night fighting off different bugs. In the morning, we told that we were checking out and asked for a refund for the next 3 days which was already paid for. It was a big hassle, but we managed to get our money back and moved to another hostel called Casa del Sol.

Mayan ruins in Tulum
During our time in Tulum, we visited the Mayan ruins of Coba, La Reserva and some other beautiful beaches. In the hostel, we met a nice Australian-Canadian couple, Matt and Camille, who were also travelling around the world. We had a short but great time with them. It is amazingly easy to make new friends when you are travelling.       

Ruins of Coba
Tulum, unfortunately, wasn't as authentic as Valladolid. It was a lot more touristy, and we felt that the locals were after the money. However, it was still enjoyable and relaxing to spend a couple of days in those idyllic beaches.

Our next destination was the Holbox Island which is located on the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. We took a bus and a boat to get there. It is an amazing little island without any cars. Horse carriages are used for transport. Holbox had a very relaxed vibe and was an ideal place to wind down. We stayed at the Tribu Hostel, which was a good choice.

Swimming with whale sharks
A must do in Holbox is to book a tour to swim with the whale sharks. We organised our tour through the hostel. The boat left around 7am and we were a group of 8. It took 3 hours to get to the site where we got to snorkel with huge whale sharks. It was a very bumpy ride and a lot of people, including Alex, got sea sick. It is definitely a good idea to bring some tablets against sea sickness to prevent surprises. Swimming with these gigantic animals which peacefully eat plankton on the surface of the sea was absolutely a once in a life time experience we would never forget. On the way back, we stopped in a mangrove where we served ceviche (a typical seafood dish in Central and South America) for lunch. The habitat was like a paradise with lots of pelicans, flamingos and some other tropical animals. After the tour we were very joyful but sunburned.

We left the Holbox Island the next day to catch our flight to Havana, Cuba. My emotions in Mexico were joy, freedom, connection with the Pachamama (the Mother Earth), and happiness. When we were leaving this beautiful country, I felt a big wave of gratitude to be able to experience the magnificence of our planet and the wisdom of the Mayan culture. At that time, however, little did we know about the awful surprise that was waiting us in Cuba...

A local shop in Holbox


  1. Wow despite a complicated arrival, your pictures and your post really make me want to visit Mexico! Added on the list.

  2. Thank you for your comment Rafika, and yes Mexico is an amazing country that offers a lot for each traveller. We definitely want to go back to discover more as well. Best wishes!