Well, it’s been a fun couple of months sharing stories and videos from my trip to Mexico with everyone here on the Transparent Spanish blog. Before I say “adiós”, here’s a little wrap-up of my trip, with some basic information and links to my previous posts in sequential order.
For those of you hoping to take a similar trip to Mexico, I highly recommend it. Don’t get caught up in all of the media hype about how it’s such a scary, violent country. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Mexico certainly has its problems, but there are plenty of places to visit that are perfectly safe. Plus, it being 2012, there’s no better time to get out and explore the culture and history of the Mayans! In case you were wondering how we went about our trip, here are the details:
Duration: We were in Mexico for just about two weeks. One week was spent traveling around, and the other was spent in Puerto Morelos for the Mayan Holidaze music festival.
Itinerary: As our time was limited and there was a lot that we wanted to do, we really crammed a lot into one week. This is what we did: one day in Cancun, one day at Chichen Itza, two days in Valladolid (which included a trip out to Ek Balam), two days in Tulum, and then two days in Playa del Carmen before heading to the resort.
A map of our Mexico itinerary.
Transportation: We flew into Cancun, which has an international airport that connects to many cities in the US. On the way in we came from Chicago, and on the way out we flew into Dallas. In terms of getting around, we relied on the ADO buses. They were a reliable, economical, and comfortable way to get around, and we never had a single issue. We usually booked tickets a few hours in advance, but you probably wouldn’t have any problems simply walking in and catching the next bus. Stations are usually very centrally located, making it easy to walk to your hotel/hostel, which brings us to…
Accommodation: During our week-long trip running around the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan, we stayed mainly in hostels. In Cancun, we stayed at the Mayan Hostel, which was cheap and very convenient with friendly owners who cooked up a tasty free breakfast.
Near the ruins at Chichen Itza, we spent a night in the Delores Alba hotel, which has a nice little pool and great food.
Next up we stayed in the very quaint hostel La Candelaria in Valladolid. With a nice garden area that included hammocks and an outdoor kitchen with free breakfast, it was a great place to stay for a few nights.
Peaceful garden area at La Candelaria.
We then headed to Tulum, where we stayed in town at the Mama’s Home, which was more like a B&B than a hostel. Our spacious, private room was very reasonably priced, we were once again treated to a delicious, free hot breakfast, and they had nice bicycles available for rent.
Finally, in Playa del Carmen, we stayed at the Hostel Rio. Aside from a central location and a rooftop bar that provided free drinks for a few hours every night, it was nothing to write home about. Great if you’re looking to party all night long, but pretty awful if you actually want to get some sleep.
Of course, the highlight of the trip when it came to accommodations was the Now Sapphire resort in Puerto Morelos. For budget travel purposes, however, the rest of our trip was very reasonably priced and quite comfortable.
After a week of hosteling, this resort was beyond amazing.
Activities: Before dancing in the sand and taking advantage of all-inclusive accommodations, we did our best to get out and do as much as we could with the one week that we had. Our focus was exploring as much of the Mayan ruins as possible, and I’d say we were pretty successful – we visited Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and Tulum.
It's no wonder this is a New 7th Wonder of the World.
In Valladolid, we wandered the streets and stopped in a few of the colonial churches. We also took a dip in one of the cenotes, which had a rope swing and a nice ledge to jump off. In Tulum, we rode along the beautiful coast on bikes, stopping to sunbathe, swim, and eat. A trip to the Grand Cenote was a great way to beat the heat of the afternoon, and we spent our evenings in town eating, drinking, and being merry.
Grand Cenote in Tulum.
After such a busy couple of days, we didn’t do much in Playa but lounge on the beach, stroll along 5th Avenue to do some window shopping, and sample the nightlife a bit.
Cost: Since we flew in all the way from Beijing, our flight was the biggest expense, followed by the admission to the festival. As far as our week of exploring, it really didn’t put much of a dent in the old wallet. Bus tickets, hostel rooms, and local food were all quite cheap. Admission tickets to the ruins and cenotes were not too much, and in Chichen Itza we even got an amazing guide for a very reasonable price. Basically, if you’re alright with hostels, street food, and not going crazy in the big overpriced bars and clubs, you can swing a Mexico trip on a pretty tight budget.
In case you missed out on any of the stories from my trip, here they are in the order in which they were posted:
Tulum Beach and Cenote
Playa del Carmen
As for the videos, you can find all of my travel vids, plus a ton of informative Spanish lessons all on our YouTube page. Here are my two personal favorites:
A tour of Chichen Itza.
Wandering through the incredible ruins of Tulum.
Once again, I’d like to say a big “muchos gracias” to Transparent Language for giving me the chance to share my stories and videos, and of course to the wonderful readers who have made our page such a success. If you’re like me and your Spanish is basically non-existent, you’re advised to check out all of the resources that we have to help you learn Spanish. If you have any questions or comments about my trip to Mexico, feel free to leave them here. Adiós amigos!