Sunday 24th January 2016 – Bacalar, Coba & Playa Del Carmen

Well there’s not a lot to say about Thursday and Friday, it was pretty quiet again on tour. I have been quickly running out of money and Thursday we spent the whole day on the bus again travelling to Bacalar.

That evening we made it to Bacalar and to our hotel, Casa Corazon (translated to Heart House)

The hotel was cute and right on the Bacalar Lake and right out our back doors was a walkway over the lake and out to private huts with hammocks over the water. We are in heaven!

(Image borrowed from some site on Google)

I did have some truely beautiful photos of the sunset on the water in Bacalar, but my phone was stolen so now I can’t post them… 😦 (and yes I do backdate my blog posts)

So let’s go back to pretending that I can actually keep my posts up to date.

Friday, myself and Monika decided to set ourselves up in the hammocks in the huts over the water and spent literally all day by the water either reading or swimming and listening to music.

It was the most relaxing day I’ve had in a long time!


Saturday, we had another bus day, but unlike the public transport bus that we took, this time we had private transport for a mini bus to ourselves.

On the way to Playa Del Carmen, we stopped at another Mayan ruins site, Coba.


When we arrived, half of our group jumped on the single bicycles, while Monika and myself got a ‘Mayan taxi’ and shared the seat while we toured the site.




  
  

A crossroad point for the Mayan roads.

What the Mayan Newspaper looks like!

Nohoch Mul Temple- meaning large hill.

The view from the top of Nohoch Mul! Yes we were allowed to climb it.

You won’t believe it but Nohoch Mul is 42 metres tall and we all climbed the whole 120 stone steps to the top, and then all the way back down.

After Coba, we headed to a spider monkey reserve!!

When we arrived, we were greeted by a Mayan Shaman who went through with us a Mayan Welcoming Ceremony.

It was incredible to watch, and although it was something that is not allowed to be filmed, I was allowed to have a photo with him afterwards 🙂


Once we were welcomed into the jungle, we headed into the jungle with our local guide and managed to find a few cute little spider monkey families!!


  
  

It was so much fun!!

Later that afternoon, we reached our final destination of the tour, Playa Del Carmen.

When we arrived, it was time for a serious shower before going out for dinner.

Our G Adventures your guide took us to one place for dinner, but as we got there, there was a particular couple in our tour group that were just a little bit picky about their… Uh dining choices.

Really, grow up! Your in Mexico, enjoy a local delicacy or two :/

Anyway, so due to their wants and needs, we managed to find another place for dinner of which I am not even going to bother mentioned the name of becuase it was one of the worst experiences of service I have ever had at a restaurant unfortunately.

Half the staff were standing around with miserable looks on their faces, half of the orders came out wrong and all at different times and overall the experience was just not that great.

Anyway! So we head off to try and find a karaoke bar, but when we did, it was closed.

After a very interesting night, we eventually did find one but didn’t stick around for long.

We all got back to the hotel but once we got back there, Monika and I looked at each other and decided, well we’re not really going to let anything ruin our night! So we head out to a loca night club just down the road.

Well… What a silly idea that was, it made the night worse, because yes, this is when I had my phone stolen..

Grr!

So I spent the next day a the shops buying souvenirs and a new phone and eating as much Mexican food as I can before having to go back home.

(Managed to save these ones from my Snapchat story on my new phone)2

xx

Wednesday 20th January 2016 – Palenque 


Yesterday was a pretty uneventful day, having spent the whole day in the bus going from Merida to Palenque, about an 8 hour bus trip.

We arrived to our hotel, Hotel Mayabel in the Palenque jungle and archeological site.



We had dinner at a restaurant just down the road called “Don Mucho’s”

I had the most amazing food there! I ordered the pulled pork tacos with fries on the side.

It was a nice outside and vibrant restaurant that had a local live band playing some Spanish music. As our meals were coming to an end, more and more people we arriving all dressed up, the place seemed to be the nightlife of the area.

We tried a bit of fun salsa dancing before heading back to the hotel to call it a night. I haven’t been having too many late nights here on tour, my leg has been playing up and it is quite a different vibe to the contikis that I have gone on.

Today we had breakfast at the hotel then left for the site of Palenque, just up the road from our hotel.


We learned about King Pakal who is talked about in the inscriptions on the buildings.


  
  
The Palenque archeological site is only about 10% uncovered and the rest is still covered and over taken by the jungle.

Because the site is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the ruins in the jungle can’t be touched at this stage.

We completed our guided tour of Palenque and had some free time before lunch and then our jungle tour!

We walked down the road to the entrance site of the jungle.

We had a local guide by the name of Gabriel who took us through the jungle.

FYI- book Gabriel at the Don Mucho’s restaurant for a local jungle tour, he’s amazing, and even better, he’s a local!

We adventured through the jungle and he told us about the kinds of trees and plants that grow in the area as well as the animals that reside in the jungle.
We then stopped to pick up some orange earth jungle clay to carry with us until we reached a waterfall.

At the waterfall, we changed into our swimmers then sat in the water, and before we knew it, we were having a fish pedicure 🙂 it tickled at first and felt funny, but it was so cool!

We used the clay that we had found to put all over our body until it set, re applied another layer then eventually after some time, we washed it off under the waterfall and it was a natural skin exfoliation and nourishment!


Gabriel (local guide), Monika, me, Paula & JC.

Excuse the quality of the photo, it was screen shotted from a video.

As sad as it was to have to leave, we finished up with our spa treatments to continue our jungle adventure!


  
  

The rest of the jungle tour was phenomenal!

As we explored, we could see parts of old ruins in the jungle walls that are yet to be uncovered, or possibly never uncovered. We walked through caves and up small waterfalls, through the remains of old and fallen banana trees and then right at the end of the tour, we heard monkeys not too far away from us.

We had nearly ended our tour and Gabriel asked us if instead of going back to the beginning straight away, if we wanted to get closer to the monkeys we could hear (he has clearly done this before) and all of us were extremely eager and said yes!

So we turn one way and immediately we have to keep our voices down to not scare away any monkeys nearby. Gabriel then turns and starts to send out monkey calls. He was very good at it and instantly, we heard the monkeys calling back!!

After about 20 minutes though, the monkeys stopped calling back and it was time to turn around and go back.

Earlier tonight, back at the hotel, we heard monkeys directly behind our hotel rooms! I can’t believe believe how close they are!!!

xx

Monday January 18th 2016 – “What is to come, the future”

What a day!

I am continuesly being amazing by the beauty and history of the area here in Yucatan, Mexico.

First thing after our breakfast of local delicacies and fresh fruit, we hopped onto the bus with our guide for the day, a local university student studying Mayan archeology and history.

Our first stop of the day was to a local plantation, Old Hacienda Yaxcopoil.

The 17th century property was recently turned into a museum and the entry charges go towards restoring the run down estate.


  
  
  
  
  
  
I could have taken hundreds of photos at this place, I honesty couldn’t put my camera down. The building me and scenery were so picturesque and the history was extremely interesting.

The plantation used to be owned and run by a wealthy Mexican family and has been handed down since the 1800’s and is still owned by the same family to this day, but the operations of the family business are no longer in use.

Today, not only is it open as a museum, but is hired out and used for functions like parties and weddings becuase of its beautiful scenery.

After exploring the property, we headed to a cenote to have a swim! Yes another cenote 🙂

We paid our entry fee to the cenote, Cenote X Batun and changed into our swimmers for a dip.



The water was clear and blue and underneath the surface of the water, you could see all the way to the bottom.

Here you could even go snorkelling to the underwater cave which was just as clear as the top.

I didn’t snorkel but I was in a world of relaxation and absolute wanderlust. The beauty leaves you in awe and none of us wanted to leave.

The only reason we left was to get sim lunch and head to our final destination of the day before heading back to Merida for our last night.

We stopped in at a restaurant nearby that I can’t remember the name of and I ordered the chicken tacos.

We arrived at Uxmal quite late in the afternoon and our local guide walked us around the area, telling us of the great Mayans who held the area of Uxmal and how the buildings were all build with a purpose and meaning, that each side of the building was facing a particular direction with a particular meaning.

Uxmal- (Uchmal) ‘what is to come, the future’


The carvings on the buildings told stories of preists and astrologist or Royal families who ruled during their time.

We climbed to the top of the ‘Governor’s Palace’ where the best view of Uxmal can be seen.


  

‘The Pyramid of The Magician’ was my favourite building by far. The front of the building is a courtyard that is secluded from the outside city.

The area seemed somewhat private and secluded and the building was breath taking.

I had a photo taken in front of it and you can see just the magnitude of the size and the building is 40 metres high.

When we finally returned to Merida, it was late and my room mate and I had instant noodles for dinner and stocked up on snacks and supplies for the bus day tomorrow.

xx

 

Sunday January 17th 2016 – Yucatan Panorama

Yesterday my very first G Adventures Tour started with our group leaving at 11am from Cancun and heading to Chichen Itza and finally in Merida.

Our first stop of the day was at the little town of Valladolid where we visited a cenote, Cenote Zaci.


  
A cenote is a natural pit or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes ground fresh water underneath.

There is said to be about 6000 cenotes around the Yucatan peninsula ranging in sizes and types.

After having lunch and getting some pictures at Cenote Zaci, we jumped back onto the bus to head to Chichen Itza!



We arrived to the historacal site of Chichen Itza mid afternoon and toured the area and learned about the ruins on the site.


I never realized there was so much incredible history in Yucatan, Mexico. There are so many abandoned ruins around the area and ancient cities that are linked to each other with uncovered stone roads.


  

We explored the ruins with the carvings telling stories of sporting events and important people and Mayan Kings and sacred cenotes.

The site was also covered with stalls selling souvenirs of shirts and fridge magnets and all kinds of beautiful coloured materials.



I would have bought one of everything if it would have fit in my bag!

After hours of exploring, we jumped back onto our bus and made it to Merida where we checked into our hotel, the Hotel Reforma, a 3 star 16th century style building with an outdoor courtyard with a tree right in the middle where the continental local breakfast is served.

We went out for dinner as a group together to a restaurant across the street called Amaro.

We walked through the beautiful steel gate entrance and the decor was exquisite and elegant.

The menu looked impressive and the live music playing in the corner was a nice touch to the vibe of the cute busy restaurant.

I ordered an appetizer of mushrooms with a cream cheese topping, which was incredible.

For the main, I ordered the Chaya Chicken Salad.

Chaya is a local delicacy, a leaf that grows in the area that is usually added to a salad, similar to spinach.

Unfortunately, when the meal came out. I had to say I was extremely disappointed. The salad was dry and basic. The carrot was shredded to same way I shred it at home to add it to tacos and the only thing I enjoyed about the meal was the chicken.

I wouldn’t pick it again but the restaurant ambience and service was outstanding.

The night ended with a couple more drinks and then back to the hotel to get ready for another jam packed filled day tomorrow!!

Friday January 15th 2016 – Cancun


So.. By the way! I forgot to tell ya’ll, I booked a trip to Mexico 😆

I had some days owing at work so I decided to make it worth while, take a few more days and take a G Adventures Tour through the Yucatan state of Mexico.

Today I arrived at about 3pm into Cancun to the Hostel Mezcal where I quickly made some amazing Australian friends, had a shared hostel dinner then went out the hit the club, The City with my new mates 🙂

I would highly rate Hostel Mezcal by the way! Check it out 🙂

So yeah, back to the night club.. 🙂


The bus trip on the way there was filled with musical fun thanks to the locals and their incredible talents with instruments.

We got to The City and thanks to the hostel, we not only has priveldge seating booth, but open bar as well! Oh dear Cancun, this is going to get big haha.




And a big night it was indeed!

We stayed at the club til about 3pm  after the drinks were flowing all night as well as some epic entertainment, then decided to call it a night by heading back to the hostel via the bus again.

I will keep you all updated on the G Adventures Tour when I start it tomorrow night 🙂

xx