Last month, I spent a week in the Yucatan Peninsula alongside my boo, Aaron. While it wasn't Aaron's first time in the area, I had never been that far south in Mexico, so it was quite a unique and exciting experience para mi. Calling the Yucatan peninsula 'beautiful' would be a complete understatement, I'm honestly still thinking about what adjectives to use to describe its richness. Me quede sin palabras.
What added to the magic of our trip, was probably the fact that we had absolutely NO plan. No place to stay, no transportation, no itinerary. Nada. That probably sounds like a recipe for disaster, and it should have been, but it actually worked out really well. We took it day by day, and planned as we moved around.
Now that I've been back in the City, I thought I'd share with you a bit of what our seven days looked like:
We flew from Mexico City to Chetumal, a city in the state of Quintana Roo. Our flight landed in the afternoon, giving us enough time to get our lives together. I should add that our roundtrip flight was a steal! Each of our roundtrips cost $80 USD, we got lucky because we spontaneously bought our flights during Volaris' "el buen fin" sale. Total come up.
Anyhow, so we arrived in Chetumal, and Aaron decided to rent a car from the airport. You know, grown-up stuff that I have no idea how to do. Unfortunately, it was a bust, neither one of us had a credit card, so we couldn't rent one. Our other option was to take a taxi from Chetumal's airport to Bacalar, a lagoon 30 minutes away. Plan B was a success.
Our taxi driver, was not only super welcoming, but very helpful. Fortunately, he knew a car rental place that wouldn't require a credit card. He took us to rent the sweet whip, and the rest was history!
Fun fact, the car wasn't automatic, it was a 6-speed. Aaron still likes to talk about how bad-ass it was to re-learn how to drive stick during that trip. He was bad-ass though.
After one or two engine stalls, we finally arrived to Bacalar! As mentioned, Bacalar is a magical lagoon in Quintana Roo, just north of Chetumal, it's known as la laguna de los 7 colores (the lagoon of 7 colors). It's whimsical and amazing.
We settled with the first hotel we stopped at, Hotel Laguna Bacalar. We stayed here two nights, and it was perfect! The colors and stillness of the lagoon are a true wonder to behold. I've never seen water so blue and clear (Malibu can suck it).
We adventured in the lagoon quite a bit, we rode in a motor boat, swam in the sweet water, and explored the pueblo.
After two days we ventured off to our next destination: Valladolid, Yucatan.
Valladolid is a pastel-colored colonial town, with a strong Mayan presence. It's rich in Mayan cultural markers, and surrounded by several Mayan archeological sites such as Chichén Itzá, Cobá, and Ek Balam.
Aside from the Mayan ruins that surround the town, it hosts an incredible cenote (cavern) known as Cenote Zaci. This was my favorite part about Valladolid.
Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to swim in the cenote during our brief 24-hour stay in Valladolid, but we did get to walk around its perimeter. Side note, I actually fell down the stairs of the cenote's entrance. Not sure how it happened, but it definitely wasn't the first or last time I tripped and fell during that trip. Good times.
Next stop: Chichén Itzá.
Chichén Itzá was a dream! We literally arrived there an hour before the site closed, but man was it worth it. The pyramid of Kukulcán is an absolute vision. The detail, symbolism, and architectural innovation is still very much apparent.
We lingered at the bar long enough after it closed to learn that there was a light and projection show on the pyramid itself. How do you say "mind-blowing" in Spanish? Well, it was very much that. The history and symbolism behind the sacred Mayan site is unbelievable and quite impressive. However, I did find the experience a bit bitter-sweet.
If you're familiar with Mexican history you know that most indigenous civilizations were essentially destroyed by the Spanish. Thus, once you recall the bloody history of Mexico, its magic seems to dim.
After witnessing all of Chichén Itza's glory, we spent the night in Cobá, another town known for its Mayan ruins. Cobá is probably my favorite and most memorable part of our whole trip. The site is so immense, it's so vast that it's recommended that you rent a bike to see ruin to ruin while inside the archeological site. Also, I should add that it was raining, and by my surprise, we somehow managed to climb to the top of one of the pyramids. Really proud of myself for not slipping and falling, way to go me!
Before I begin to describe Tulum, I just want to point out that Californian beaches are WORTHLESS compared to Mexican beaches. Mexico really hit the jackpot with its whimsical waters. Not only does Tulum have an amazing beach, but it hosts an abundance of cenotes. The underwater caves are so neat! There were a gang of bats in the one we swam in, which I was not a fan of. I loved swimming with schools of fish, so cute!
We spent a ton of time at the beach, which is probably the best thing about Tulum. During our last night, we witnessed an enchanting sunset. The sky literally looked like it was made of cotton candy. Also, we had quite the picnic that evening, Tecates and pan dulce. What more do you want?
As I'm concluding this post about my trip, I am literally looking at flights to go back...
Tulum please take me back!