Days 24, 25, 32, 33
The bus ride over to Cancun from Palenque wasn’t too terrible. Naturally, it was freezing cold and I had forgotten to take the neck pillow out of the bag, managed to get some sleep here and there though. Quickly claimed some free seats to sleep on once people started getting off at Tulum and other destinations before Cancun. Declan woke me up once we reached Cancun, grabbed my oversized luggage and went into the ADO bus terminal to google where our hostel was. Being ever so organised, I went to the ticket office to book our bus tickets to Belize City – there was a gross mistake here though. Instead of Cancun to Belize City she had typed in Playa del Carmen to Belize City! Declan accidently thought we were in Cancun and we got off the bus 90 minutes before our designated stop. It was going to cost us extra money to buy another bus ticket to Cancun – our second travel mistake of the trip so far. Being as resourceful as I am I told the ticket officer that the bus driver told us that we had arrived in Cancun (which Declan says apparently he had) and asked if he could do anything to help us out. 45 minutes later we were on the ADO Platinum bus to Cancun – this is the first class service with personal TV screens and huge lay back seats – we had a great time on that bus! It was my very first upgrade to what was first class and hopefully the first of many to come!
We did not do much in Cancun the first two days or Round 1 as I’ll call it on the blog. Declan was still sick and I had a lot of washing to do…took me a good hour handwashing all my undies and drying them out in the sink – very thrifty! I would’ve liked to go diving in Cancun and see the underwater museum, but I’d have to pay extra for a diving guide since I’m a solo diver (Declan doesn’t have his scuba diving license yet, but soon!) – I’ll go diving in Florida instead! We grabbed food at the local market area in downtown. The plaza was alive with performances and street stalls selling 3 little tacos and a drink for 25 peso! That’s $2 USD! Naturally we also had to grab some churros because hey, who doesn’t love churros…in fact, I have a craving for them right now!
Day 2 of Round 1 we set off to Mercado 28 (market) to find some last minute souvenirs. Having seen the markets in Mexico City and Palenque, I found the Cancun market heavily overpriced with very forceful shopkeepers. I bought a wooden mask in Palenque for 280 peso, Declan got the same type of mask in Mexico City for 500, in Cancun you could get the same mask upwards of 780 peso! This price difference downright disgusted me and we hotfooted out of the market as soon as we could stop getting harassed. Found a cool burger joint with fans and decided to have lunch and a huge glass of mango margaritas! Finished off the day by going to Plaza las Americas – the biggest shopping center in the Caribbean. It too was overly commercialised and tailored to the Americans who come to Cancun to holiday – all very plastic and fake. Having seen what I feel is the real Mexico, I was grossly disappointed by Cancun. I am sure there are a few more places I would like to see around the area, however I do not think that I would readily want to return to Cancun – I dislike it more than LA. I guess it’s something about the commercialised nature of the town which I dislike – it has totally lost its authenticity.
After day 2 we took a bus down to Belize City however I’ll write about this in my Belize City blog post along with the return bus ride. Day 3 on Round 2 was jam packed with a tour to snorkel with the whale shark – the biggest fish in the ocean, which is roughly the size of a bus. We headed out early to the ocean on a speedboat and soon found a large school of these majestic fish. We got to snorkel with it 3 times! We would jump off the boat while it was moving and swim alongside the whale sharks. At one stage we had 3 or 4 of them swimming towards us with open mouths, one even managed to accidently whack Declan on the leg! It really was a surreal experience – unfortunately a lot of the GoPro footage does not want to work for some reason – we think it’s a faulty memory card, but hopefully I can get some files working soon!
After our whaleshark trip we speeded off to another boat where we snorkelled on a reef. I spotted some puffer fish and another large school of fish that I duck dived down to. We ate shrimp ceviche on the boat and had lots of tequila and alcohol – at least Declan did! Finally, we made a stop off at Isla Mujares – which means the island of beautiful women. The water was a rich turquoise blue and beautiful to swim in. We drifted in the clear water eating ceviche and watching the waves roll onto the beach. Overall a very full on day, Declan fell asleep as soon as we reached our AirBnB!
Our last day in Cancun was another early start. We did a tour with Edventure Tours to see the Tulum ruins, snorkel in a lagoon, with green sea turtles and in Dos Ojos cenote. The Tulum ruins were largely unimpressive and overcrowded. Majority of it was off limits to the public and there were just scores and scores of American tourists. Having seen the Palenque ruins and being allowed to walk inside and around certain buildings, the Tulum ruins were a big let down, I would definitely recommend Palenque for archeological buffs! We then headed to Dos Ojos which is a cenote – which I would describe as an underwater river system with caves. Whilst the water was freezing cold, it was also crystal clear and absolutely spectacular to swim in. The deep caverns in certain areas were very dark and somewhat freaky, not sure if I would like to dive in a cenote, but it was a beautiful experience that I hope to do again one day. I have never seen water as clear as in a cenote!
We also snorkelled in a lagoon which wasn’t that spectacular after seeing the cenote, however afterwards we headed to a beach where the feeding ground for sea turtles was located. Got right up close to the sea turtles! It was another fantastic experience being able to sea these amazing creatures up close in their natural habitat in the wild. Finished off the tour by drinking coconut milk and rum out of coconuts – another must have experience!
Whilst the Cancun area had amazing sights and beautiful landscapes off the beaten track, the hotel zone and Westernisation of the town is almost sickening. It was slightly nice to have Mexican people understand English though, but I’d rather have a language barrier than an overly Westernised city.
Almost forgot to mention. The hostel we stayed in for Round 1 of Cancun (the Mayan hostel in downtown) was absolutely atrocious. There was no shower head, the light did not work, the A/C made the room hotter – we could effectively have slept outside because the room was at least a couple degrees warmer! Declan also got electrocuted by the wall plug which had wires sticking out of it! Gave the hostel a 1/5 star review on TripAdvisor! Our AirBnB on the otherhand was absolutely lovely!
That’s a wrap for Cancun! Hope you’re all enjoying the blog!