Ok I know, I’m a little late with getting these photos up but…oh heck there’s no excuse, “busy” is just sort of a constant state of life.
Mexico is always an incredibly amazing trip, and in my opinion even better when you steer clear of the resorts and the hustle and bustle of touristy Mexico. My guy and I always try to avoid resort style vacations when we can. The only exception is if we’re on a serious mission to veg out, but I think we are both realizing we’re too ADD and fidgety for a full on do-nothing-but-sip-pinas kind of vacation. We’ve done it, and it never fails, 3 days in we’re bored out of our gourds.
On this little Mexican road trip, we drove all over the Yucatan and Quintanna Roo regions. I can’t even recall the amount of pueblitos we drove through, but it was a lot. Mexico is magical, I can never get enough.
We started our trip in Cancun, got in late, picked up our car and stayed in a snazzy little spot of the marina more towards old Cancun. We hit the sheets early to start our trip down to Holbox, Mexico. The drive was gorgeous and coco frios were plenty. We got lost, found a little cenote, road our bikes a mini 1 1/2 mile trek into where the cenote was, rappeled down into it, swam, hit the road and found our way back again, and made it just in time to Chiquilla to catch the 4PM ferry to Holbox. From Cancun to Chiquilla it’s about a 2 1/2 hour drive, plus a 30 min ferry to get you to this tiny island where all the whale shark magic happens.
A lot of people don’t ever bother to check this little island out. It’s sort of off the radar for most tourists which is fine with us. Here you won’t find the typical Cancun scene. Its quiet, chill, and the epitome of beach town. The street art in Holbox is amazing!! They have an incredible love and respect for the whale shark that echoes throughout all of the art work here. Entire buildings and plazas are engulfed in vibrant colors of explosive story telling street art, topped off with touches of the infamous be-speckled silhouette of the Domino shark. There aren’t roads, wifi what?? And you generally have to be cool with sand in and on everything. We ended up reaching the island at around 5PM and checking into our tiny bungalow for the night. We caught a light shrimp cocktail dinner and swam in the ocean till the sun set. The next day was gonna be crazy so we crashed early for a 6AM start; we were going whale shark (domino shark) snorkeling. As I typed that sentence out I still kind of can’t believe we did it. It was that much of a surreal experience.
Ok so next day we get up, meet our diver and head to a pier. Holbox is like 7miles long, it’s itty bitty. We waited for our boat pick up and headed, oh I dunno even know how many miles out. I mean I’m not trying to exaggerate, I’ve spent a lot of time off shore and you can tell when you’ve passed the 30 mile marker and the 50 mile out marker, so it seemed far to me. We cruised for what seemed like an eternity, but I guess that’s what excitement does to you, until our diver spotted it. I’m not gonna lie, I just about squealed. Our boat came up close to this beast, at 30 feet long, and all I saw was this shark fin just swaying on the top of the water. It’s almost kind of creepy because for a moment you think “shark”, and you have this guy telling you to jump in the water and start swimming furiously towards it. It just seems like the totally wrong thing to do, but Brad and I did it anyway. First in.
We start swimming so fast just to catch up with the shark. They seem so slow-moving on top of the water, but swimming with them is a whole other story, I don’t think I’ve ever swam so fast in my life. Anyway, it was incredible, and for a few brief moments I swam at arm length’s distance form this enormous creature. It was just absolutely incredible. Our pictures are fuzzy and we got a small video that we didn’t even know we were taking, so it’s kind of crazy, but you can get a good glimpse at the whale shark at the end. It was a beautiful experience.
After a few jumps in with the shark we headed back inland. Our captain took us to a sweet little hide away spot for some fresh ceviche and then it was back to Holbox. We picked up our packs and headed back to catch the ferry to make our way to Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza is incredible, awe inspiring really. It’s just one of those things you have to see. Cenote Ik-Kil is really close by too, so we checked it out naturally. Its gorgeous. For a few brief moments we had the cenote all to ourselves, it was really special. I floated right in the center and just watched birds fly in and out and listened to the soft sloshing of the water. I’ve never felt so at peace. We stayed the night at a local spot and made another early journey to Tulum next morning.
On our way to Tulum we stopped by Coba which is a pretty well know Mayan ruin though it’s not as visited as Chichen. Coba kicked my ass. It’s highest point is still climbable unlike the sites at Chichen. We rented some mountain bikes, cruised the area and climbed. Going up is always the easy part, coming down throws me off big time. It was fantastic though and worth every squat on the way up!
We reached Tulum in the evening and it’s seriously the hippest town on the block. Tulum is super “green” and the ultimate place for spiritual detox. So much yoga I couldn’t even contain myself. We stayed here two nights and soaked in every minute of relaxation, meditation, and YOGA!! I fell In love with this spot, I’ve already been dreaming about a home here! I’m that serious. Of course we also took time to check out some of the hidden little beach gems around the area and the ruins. 5:30 AM sunrises, mediation and daily runs here are all you’ll ever need. We loaded up on fruit from the local markets, and started our journey back to Cancun.
On our way back we checked out “Grand Cenote” which is so much fun. I think probably one of my favorites since there’s a lot to actually see. Most cenotes are water holes, so besides the few fish here and there, it’s pretty bare. This cenote though is an actual under water cave system and a really great place for beginner cave diving. You start your dive or your snorkel around the shallower water, but there are rope guides that will take you a little bit into the cave system. If you’re diving you’ll be able to fully explore the entire system, but snorkeling you still have fantastic access to parts of the cave. You can see huge underwater stalagmites and stalactites, and that is AMAZING. We spent quite a bit of time here before heading to Playa del Carmen.
Playa is crazy. It’s so so so so busy!! We stayed at this modern boutique style place and just chilled out for a while. We hadn’t really realized how much we had not eaten so we got in a good meal our first night there. We explored the area, met a cute little monkey named Ricky, and just enjoyed the hustle. I caught a yoga class here which was nice and spent some nice quiet time with a few pinas. Our trip had come to end.
After our second night in playa we were Cancun bound to head back state side.
Mexico is always remarkable and worth a trip, especially one a little off the radar. I hope y’all enjoy my re-cap, it’s nice revisiting these memories even if they weren’t that long ago. It makes me happy and I hope it brought you a little bit of summer warmth.