Last weekend a few of us rented a car here in Playa del Carmen and headed down the highway to the ruined Mayan city of Coba, about 90 minutes away. Only a few sections have been cleared from the jungle, but it’s estimated that the city limits stretched as much as eighty or ninety square kilometres.
While there are what seems like thousands of cycles available to rent (and dozens of persistent tour guides and cycle taxi drivers), we opted to walk around the ruins instead. The key, as always, was getting there just after opening time when the crowds were fewer, the temperatures cooler and the entire experience far more enjoyable than later in the day.Continue Reading →
Crumbling ruins, lazy iguanas and pristine Caribbean beaches. Now that’s what I look for in my historic sites.
Tulum, on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, is one of the premier attractions in the area, and it’s not hard to see why. I’d never been to an archaeological site where you can wander around admiring historic attractions for a while and then walk down to a perfect white beach to swim in a crystal clear ocean.
Of course, being a major attraction only a couple of hours from the resorts of Cancun, it’s highly advisable to get there early. We took a colectivo (shared van) from Playa del Carmen that arrived shortly after the 8:00am opening time, and had the place almost entirely to ourselves.
By late morning, the tour buses had descended and the quiet contemplation and deserted beaches had turned into a heaving mass of humanity.
Before the crowds arrive, though? It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.Continue Reading →
Before I came to Guanajuato a few days ago, every person I spoke to, every article I read, every guide book I flicked through all said exactly the same thing.
Guanajuato is beautiful.
Now, I’ve heard this kind of thing before, about several different places around the world, and I’ve often left wondering what all the fuss was about. Just how gorgeous could Guanajuato actually be, I wondered. Is it really worth all the praise that’s lavished upon it?
The short answer? Yes.
It’s absolutely stunning, one of the most attractive, ridiculously photogenic cities that I’ve ever visited. The ramshackle riot of colourful buildings, the crisp mountain air, the energy of this student town all combine to make me very glad I’ll be here for the next few weeks.
Add it to your travel plans already.Continue Reading →
The clock is ticking.
On Sunday I’ll be leaving Sayulita, my home for the last three months. There have been a lot of things to like about this little town – the beach, the cobbled streets, the laid back pace of life, the Bulldogs.
Wait, the what now?
One of the local bars, Monchis, has a particular drink that it’s infamous for. Take one enormous glass. Fill it almost to the brim with blended margarita. Insert, upside-down, a small bottle of local beer. Add a straw.
Hey presto, you’ve got a Bulldog.
With a prime position on the town square and happy hour pricing that runs for most of the night, it’s perhaps no surprise that I’ve ended up at this bar more often than I might care to admit.
Oh Bulldogs, I’ll miss you.Continue Reading →
On the way home from breakfast the other day here in Sayulita, I heard the distant sound of sirens. That’s an uncommon occurrence in this part of Mexico – contrary to what the media would have you believe – so I went to take a look.
I’m very glad that I did.
It was Revolution Day, and the town was out in celebration. Unbearably cute kids were everywhere, the girls in their best dresses, the boys with painted mustaches and wooden guns. The smoke from makeshift cannons drifted across the main street as a group of tiny cheerleaders paraded past, young and old alike reveling in the moment.
Towards the end of the parade came this group of young women on horses, their white dresses shining brilliantly in the sun. Even the horses were perfectly groomed, plaited manes and leg warmers included.
It was the perfect way to start the morning.Continue Reading →
I didn’t spend all of my time in Yelapa lying in a hammock or playing with my new friend Mr Toad (although to be honest it did kind of feel like it).
Before breakfast one morning I strapped on my walking shoes and headed off to find the closer of two waterfalls that are well-known around those parts. As it turned out, it was even closer than I’d expected – it’s pretty much on one edge of town, just a few minutes from the main pier along a mostly-paved path. Too easy, really – there were even signposts pointing out the right way to go. Not that there were really too many choices.
Despite it being so easy to get to, Lauren and I had the waterfall to ourselves the entire time we were there. Birds chirped as the spray covered us in a light mist, while other, larger animals rustled around anonymously nearby. It was only when the rumbling of our stomachs drowned them all out that we finally decided to move on…Continue Reading →
I recently spent a few days in the small town of Yelapa, leaving my laptop behind for some quality hammock and beach time. It’s a beautiful spot, accessible only by boat or, apparently, a length hack through the jungle – strangely enough, we opted for the water taxi!
The hotel we were staying was brilliant, albeit overpriced for Mexico – open air and overlooking the river, it was the perfect place to relax. Well, until sunrise that is, when the local rooster population decided to celebrate another day of being alive.
They weren’t the only animals that we made the acquaintance of, however. There were a couple of cats, several dogs, a few mosquitoes and – after heavy rain one night – this friendly toad who decided he’d much rather hang out behind our bed than weather the storm outside. It’s hard to blame him, really.Continue Reading →
The official Day of the Dead festivities here in Sayulita were a fairly raucous affair, with well-known bands, giant dancers (no, really) a party that ran until the small hours.
As darkness fell the day before, though, a more subdued celebration took place in the main plaza. Memorials to those who had died throughout the year had been erected throughout the day, and friends and relatives of the deceased lit candles in their memory.
They were simple yet poignant reminders that none of us will be here forever.Continue Reading →