Time for Part Two of my Mexico trip! If you missed Part One check that our here as I’m sharing the coolest places to go if you ever visit! Read it, click this way –>>
It’s so hard to choose but I’d have to say that one of my favourite parts of our holiday was another overnight trip we took with friends out to the Bacalar lagoon. Seriously, Mexico is full of the most beautiful little gems of nature and history that we’d never have found on our own without the guidance of our touristy friends. It makes a world of difference to have word of mouth recommendations when travelling, even if just for a holiday (I got you boo).
We started the road trip the best way – with a fuel-up! Our friends took us to a roadside taco shack where I had the most delicious shrimp tacos everrrrrr. Okay, so I’d never had shrimp tacos before but seriously, these were gooood. I mean real good. All washed down with a Dos Equis ‘Two X’s’ beer, the lager of choice in Mexico. I don’t normally drink beer but I couldn’t find fruit cider anywhere in Mexico so I switched between beer during the hot daytime and my favourite mixer, Malibu rum and pineapple juice at night (sooo many calories I’m sure ’cause of all the sugar but it takes like a tropical explosion and you know, yolo and all that).
|Calamari, crab and prawn (I think) tacos!|
A delicious dessert made from sweetened grated coconut and called Cocadas I believe. I think this one was also pineapple flavour from what I remember – yum!
|Time to caffeine up and hit the road!|
|Guys selling roadside drinks and snacks to travellers|
We’d stopped along the way to stretch our legs and get petrol when we saw these guys below. It’s like a shot from a retro poster, I love it! I guess they work on a ranch or something…? They still have ranches right?
We also saw the cutest puppies ever!!!! Someone was selling them… I hope that they’re looked after well (they seemed happy though) and that they go to a good home! I didn’t want to leave them <3.
Lucky for me I had this gorgeous little thing in the back with me to soften the blow. Until she was puked that is…. Yup, dog puke. In my lap. Twice, haha (I can laugh now, I was not amused at the time). Needless to say after that I passed her back to her owner, Nika, to hold. I still love her though (just not when she’s car-sick).
|When we arrived in Bacalar the light was getting low so we all decided to take a sunset boat trip to take in the full beauty of the lagoon.|
To the right of use was this…
And to the left this…
Literally nothing on this earth will fill me with more awe than the beauty of the vastness of open water like this. (Except perhaps the face of my child, if/when I’m lucky enough to have any one day).
Our boat driver was really cool, telling us facts about the lagoon as we drove like how Mexico is full of hundreds, maybe thousands, of underground rivers or Cenotes (see my last post to see one) and how they all feed into the lakes like this one.
There was also one point where one second we could see the sand in the shallows, only about a metre or so under the boat and then suddenly, out of nowhere it dropped away and we were driving over pitch black waters. The driver told us that that was where the depth plummeted to 90 metres below the surface. He then turned the engine off and we were there just bobbing for a while. Over a 90 metre drop. I found it quite scary!!!
Then, as the last light was disappearing, we circled back to the shallows and we jumped out and swim for a while until the last light faded. I tried to take photos but it was too dark for the flash even, but it was so fun and so peaceful. The guys dived off some old ruins in the moonlight but I’ve already to you about my fear of diving in natural water at the cenote so I gave that part a miss!
After that we must have spent about an hour driving around trying to find somewhere to stay (we hadn’t thought to book ahead…). Bacalar is a resort city and there were loads of affordable, clean and friendly little hostels around the lagoon. Unfortunately for us as we’d left it so late in the day we were (politely) turned away from about five before we finally stumbled across the best one we’d seen and they had space!
We stayed in these incredibly cool, authentic-looking cabanas made completely of sticks. They were really cosy and romantic like something out of a honeymoon scene from a film. Except for the mosquitos, ohh those bloody mosquitos! The net was like a force field protecting us from their evil. The only weird thing was our adjacent rooms had a shared balcony and the screen door backing onto it had no curtain so I kept getting worried that one of the others would wander out onto the balcony while I was changing and get an eyeful. If they did I didn’t see them and they didn’t say anything but lucky them eh? Frustratingly no one can remember the name of the place we stayed but a quick Google suggests to me that Magic Bacalar also looks just like ours but with extra trimmings so I would check them out!
Later that night we drove into an old town nearby to have dinner at this cute little local restaurant and then we came back and just hung out on the jetty all night listening to music, chatting, playing Mexican versions of familiar English drinking games and scaring ourselves into thinking that Jason was going to come out of the lake at any time haha, it was very dark… (we had candles, precarious on a wooden jetty yes, but we figured that if anyone got set alight we’d just push them into the water and hope for the best ;).
It was all fun and games until the boys were messing about in the wee hours on the way back up to the cabanas and one of them slipped and dropped his iPhone in the water. Queue a drunken, stage-whispered (everyone else staying there was sleeping so they were trying to be ‘quiet’), thirty-minute search in the murky waters for it. Needless to say, I chose to sit that one out. But from what I hear it was found in the end and all was well. With the help of the old leave-it-in-a-bowl-of-rice-overnight trick.
The next morning we had a chilled breakfast of cereal and coffee from the communal hippie kitchen and then went just swam and took it easy before we made the road trip back to Playa.
Another beautiful place we visited in Mexico was Tulum. A suuuuuper peaceful resort town with a beautiful white sand beach. A lot of spiritual people go to live in tent communities on the beach, practise yoga and just generally find peace. Some of the stretches of beach hide little temples in caves where the serious yogis go to practise their spirituality. We just headed out for a day trip, catching a coach there from Playa to meet some new friends and I’m so glad we did.
Tulum is 100% on my To Visit Again list. It’s the perfect place for to relax, detox and get some head space (with a bit of fun thrown in if you want it). While we were there for the day we even made friends with this adorable young woman from New York who had escaped to Tulum alone for a break after finding out her scumbag boyfriend had cheated on her. She was literally the sweetest person I have ever met, so bubbly, smiley and friendly despite the fact that she was obviously quite hurt by everything. She asked to hang out with our group as she was alone as so we all just spent the day chatting, reading and sleeping on the beach, it was utter bliss. I wish I could have stayed there longer to hang out with her more but in Tulum, I think she’ll be just fine.
Tulum itself has a lot of beautiful beach-front cabanas and hotels (like a glossier, 4 star, beach-front version of Bacalar). It’s full of beautiful restaurants and great bars so if you want a really, really laid-back holiday with a bit of fun thrown in still, it’s the perfect place to stop.
Before we left, our friends showed us the way to one of the viewing towers in Tulum. We climbed up some (rather rickety) wooden structures amongst the cabanas but what we found at the top was totally worth it. We settled in and joined the crowd that had gathered. Around fifty strangers, sitting together in complete silence, overlooking Tulum’s tropical green pastures and just watching the orange sun’s slow decent below the horizon. We must have sat there for about fifteen minutes without anyone breathing a word, just taking it all in. It really was breathtaking. I would go back to Mexico just to watch that again.
Oh this guy…. Let me tell you about this guy. The one in the middle that is (the other two were with me and were just indulging him haha). So, as I’ve said, although Tulum is mostly peace and love and namaste, there are alcohol and fun times to be found too (we saw some great cocktail bars) and boy oh boy did this guy find them.
|Sugar Shaaaaaaaaaane, yo!|
So we saw him on the beach just before sunset and he comes up to us, clearly drunk off his face, declaring ‘Hey, Yo! I’m Sugar Shane yo, that’s my name, don’t wear it out, yo, where are ya’ll going yo, ya’ll here to party? Yo, wassup? Sugar Sh-Sh-Shane yo!’. I try not to swear on this blog but, What. The. Fuck?
We just gave him a polite smile and a wide birth only to bump into him again about an hour later, and, unbelievably, even worse for wear, stumbling around in the middle of the street. So we ran up to him shouting, ‘Sugar Shaaaaaane!!! Hey, yo, where you been yo? What’s up yo? How’s it hanging, yo?’ and guess what? The man had literally NO recollection of meeting just us an hour earlier. Like, none. Nada. He genuinely thought that we were fans of his, (he’s appaz an up-and-coming DJ in LA dontcha know?!) and so he was all-too-happy to pose for a commemorative photo (after forcing us all to follow him on Instagram that is… #followunfollow). As you can see, my pals were also all-too-happy to pose alongside him to capture the moment. You do you Sugar Shane, you do you.
To recap this post and Part One, if you’re headed to the Riviera Maya any time soon my top places to visit would be:
5th Avenue in Playa de Carmen:
A nice beach and bountiful bars – perfect if you want to party (but not, Spring Break, kinda party).
For a massive dose of awe-inspiring history and ancient culture.
For that authentic, old town feeling.
Take a boat trip out on the lagoon, you won’t regret it.
Ik’ Kil Cenote:
The beautiful cenote where the Red Bull Cliff Diving has been hosted. Once in a lifetime swimming.
Peace, bliss, relaxation and more bliss. With a bit of drinking and great food thrown in just for fun!
Turtle diving! We actually didn’t spot any turtles on our trip but I don’t think we picked the best stretch of beach as others we met had more success so if you’re into animals – check it out!
That’s all from Mexico folks! I posted all of my extra photos here on my Facebook page so have a nose other there if you’d like to see more. I’m going to post all of my extra blog photos there as I tend to take wayyyyy too many for any blog post. Seriously, I went to Brixton today to shoot for an upcoming Cool Places to Visit post and came back with 249 photos and I was deleting as I went… Yup. Aaaaanyway, I’m off to Valencia next month with my little sis so expect another travel post very soon and, in the meantime, you can read all about my trips to Paris, Barcelona and Oman here!
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x Jade Mercedes Fraser x