Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.

Pics on  Youtube.

I booked my flight on a whim the day before because Google maps had a link to a $200 round trip to Cancun when I was looking at how far it would be to drive to Cancun, as I still had another week left of my vacation.  The link led me to Spirit Airlines.  I purchased my $200 round trip ticket on Sunday and my flight left Monday morning. I jumped in my car hauled ass to my brothers house in North TX, and he took me to DFW at the crack of dawn the next morning.  I traveled light with a small backpack so I didn’t need to add any luggage or carry-ons.

Spent the week backpacking around the Yucatan, using public transportation to get around.  The ADO is superior to anything we have in San Antonio, really nice comfortable buses that will take you anywhere in the Mayan Riviera and under $20 US.  The Colectivo is a couple of bucks and runs between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, very frequently and late at night.  They will drop you off just about anywhere that is safe for them to stop, and also pick you up anywhere that is safe.

My hotels where all booked the day of using the Hotel Tonight app and the Tree house with Air BnB.

If you have an AT&T quad band phone or any unlocked GSM quad, most are (I have a Motot X) you can go into an AT&T store and get a prepaid sim card that at the time I was there had 4 Gigs of data, unlimited talk/text to the US and Canada for $25 US and good for 2 months!!  If you’re with family, one person can use the hotspot feature and share with the rest.  I ended up getting taxi numbers and made some friends, was nice to have internet and be able to call people.

Cancun:

Day 1:

I arrived at noon in the Cancun airport, ushered out the door into the swath of taxi drivers and salespeople for various excursions and trips.  Be sure to have pesos before you leave the airport, they will not let you back in once you step outside.  I’m not the touristy type, so I immediately asked where the bus was.  I was told there is no bus (A lie) and that a taxi was $35 to Cancun (This might be a good option if you’re not ready to tackle getting to your hotel via buses the first day.)  I smiled and said thanks, but no.  The ADO, and other transportation is to the slight right farther past the main loop, you can see the buses when you look.  I would suggest buying your ADO ticket in advance if possible, but not required.

I spent my first night in the city at the Krystal Urban hotel (Don’t let the few bad reviews deter you, this place is perfect for a good nights rest, nothing fancy, just the basics, but clean and comfy.), which was nice and a block away from a huge 3 story mall/shopping center Plaza Las Americas.  I went shopping for a few things I knew I would need for the week that I didn’t have room for in my backpack.  Some swimming goggles, that came in super handy at the cenotes, and misc items.  There are plenty of places to eat ( Belgian Waffle Boutique ) and shop just blocks away.

Day 2:

My second day in Cancun I landed in the hotel zone at Casa Maya (It’s a timeshare and lots of kids, so do with that what you will.), it was nice, but a little too crowded and touristy for me.   I ended up going to Isla Mujeres for the day on a tip from friends back home, taking a taxi to the Porto Juarez where the boat ride was significantly cheaper even with the taxi ride.  I took the boat to the island and immediately made my way to the North end of the island on foot and had the beach all to myself, nice white sandy beach, crystal clear water, cold drinks, it was grand.  The boat ride back at 6pm was a little crowded, I waited in line about 45 minutes to get back.   That evening, I found a nice little restaurant that had amazing ceviche and the friendliest funniest staff in town ( Tacun ).   The next morning the hotel had a great breakfast buffet and delicious coffee.

Day 3:

The next day I took the local bus #2 from the hotel zone to the ADO bus station.  I grabbed a ticket to Playa del Carmen and was on my way.  The bus had 110AC outlets, and USB outlets under the seat.  The AC was nice and cold, the seats plush and comfy.  They played Empire Records in Spanish for the trip!!  The 2 hour bus ride was nice and relaxing.

I arrived in Playa and headed straight for the beach, where I was overcome with the beauty and scenery which is much better than Cancun.  I stopped, got a pina colada, and some local fruit from a stand.  I wandered aimlessly through the shops on 5th Ave.  It’s like and outdoor mall, sorta like La Cantera in SA, but a straight road and 10X bigger.  Lots and lots of shopping and eateries.  By now it was lunchtime, so I found a little hole in the wall and got some tacos.

I had searched Air BnB the day before and found a Tree house to stay in close to Playa, the owners had given me excellent instructions on how to take the Colectivo to get there.  I wanted to escape the touristy crowded areas and experience the jungle, and that’s exactly what I did, it was awesome!!  A roomy treehouse in the jungle, with plumbing, kitchen, fridge, and an amazing pool that I had all to myself.  TreeHouse la Selva Sebastian was super helpful, gave me links and info about the area, even set me up with a bicycle.  The treehouse was right next to the Xcaret park, so there are zip lines over the jungle, very interesting place.  I dropped off my backpack, and headed back to town for some dinner and the beach.  On the recommendation of Sebastian, I went to La Bamba Jarocha for some dinner.  The food was soo good, and large portions.  I walked everywhere, from the restaurant, I made my way to the beach and hung out for a bit, got a drink, then headed back down the beach to the Colectivo stop.  It was dark by now and I figured I better get back, not fully realizing I was going to have to make my way through the jungle in the dark, good thing I had my super bright flashlight.  I jumped on the Colective and away I went.  I told the driver I needed off at Xcaret, then while talking to one of the passengers, I thought did we pass the stop already??  Sure enough by about 5 miles.. So I was stuck on the bus to Tulum at night.  I told the driver that I needed to get off way back there.. He laughed and said sorry (Not hif fault, I should have been paying attention, he has plenty of other shit to deal with)  He got on the radio, found another bus going back, stopped, let me out and the other bus was waiting on the other side.  I made it back to the entrance of Xcaret, walked a little down a paved road, then hit the dirt path, where I encountered a large snake which was harmless, but I wasn’t going to stick around.  I got back to the treehouse, showered, and crashed for the night.

Day 4:

I woke up the next morning and headed straight for the pool, that I had voluntarily cleaned the day before, just a few leaves, but I thought I might jump in before I went to sleep, but ended up being completely exhausted from walking 15 miles in flip flops all over Playa and the beaches.  After my swim, I packed up my things and headed for Tulum on the Colectivo.  Sebastian offered me breakfast and coffee, but I had to get on the road.  I fired up my Hotel app on the bus and found Posada Yum Kin quite possibly the most awesome hotel ever!!  I got off the Colectivo downtown Tulum, and started looking for a place to rent a bicycle.  A couple blocks away was Paola Bike Rentals I was greeted by a smile and a choice of bikes.  I asked if I could rent one until the next day at closing, they were happy to oblige.  The deposit was either my ID or 1000 pesos, I opted for the 1000 pesos.  The rental was only 100 pesos for 1.5 days.  I got on the bike, and headed for the hotel, which was 15 blocks north of the centro, and easy walk, but an easier bike ride!

I arrived at the hotel a tiny bit nervous from the area, but it had great reviews so I headed in.  The lady at the counter was very very nice, I checked in a couple hours early without any qualms.  I was shown to my room and as I opened the door was amazed, it was huge, with everything one would need, a king size bed full of fluffy pillows, a small kitchenette, dining table, lots of hand carved wooden furniture, everything was so awesome! She gave me a quick tour of the place, the pool looked grand, explained breakfast was 7-10 and a buffet with all sorts of goodies.  She went and got me an ice cold beer and left me to relax.  The room had a 5gal water dispenser with bottled water, the fridge had bottled water too.  The AC was off because as she explained they try to conserve energy during the day (It’s all solar and wind energy), which is totally cool.  I’m not going to be there anyway and having slept in a tree house the night before, I wasn’t the slightest bit concerned.

I hopped on the bike and headed for the Mayan ruins Zona Arquelogica.  I stopped at a convenience store, bought water, cookies, and some orange drank. 😉  The bike had a basket and a lock so I was set for adventure!  I made it to the ruins in about 20 minutes along a nice wide sidewalk.  Bonus to taking a bike is that you get to skip the half mile walk to the entrance, bike parking is 300 yards from the entry.  It was Africa hot by this time, and the humidity made it even worse.  I’m very accustomed to the heat, having spent the previous week in Big Bend Ranch State park in Texas where I rode my bicycle 40 miles in 105 heat, but the difference was the humidity.  It took me a little while to adjust.  I wandered the ruins, taking it all in.  Some little brown people a thousand years ago stacked some rocks.  It’s was truly an amazing site, and the beach there was surreal.  Once I’d had my fill of the area, I hopped on the bike and headed back to town.

By now I was muy starviendo, and having eaten ceviche as my staple diet for a few days opted for a burger.  I got a table at Don Cafeto ordered a burger and a frozen lemonade.  They brought out chips, pickled veggies, and pico de gallo.  I scooped up a large heap of the pico on a chip and as I chewed my mouth burst into flames, they make it out of habaneros!!  Once the initial fire and shock wore off I ate more as it was delicious, the frozen lemonade was a good call!!  The burger arrived looking ver plump.  I cut it in half and behold, loads of cheese, a beef patty, bacon, and a slice of ham!  I melted on the spot, foodgasm!!  I was ready for just a plain burger and was presented the big kahuna of burgers!!  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.  By the time I was finished I needed a wheel barrow to carry my out.  I escaped with the blood sluggishly flowing threw my veins. Hopped on the bike and went exploring the little town.  Lots of quaint little spots, lots of hostels and eateries.  I headed back to the hotel, showered and hit the pool.  As the sun set, I debated on the activities of the next day, beach or travel more.  I went to my room, turned on the AC, and looked for local attractions, of course there was chichen itza, but that would consume my whole day and be stuck on a touristy bus.  I found Grand Cenote by looking at a satellite view, it wasn’t too far north, and I figured a bike ride would be fun.  I slept soundly, and woke up ready to roll.

Day 5:

I headed out on the bike north to the Grand Cenote the bike ride was a perilous journey down a highway of 100 km/h with a shoulder until the jungle encroached, then you were in the road.  Surprisingly, the cars where courteous and either slowed behind you or passed in the other lane.  One of the highway dept vehicles followed behind me for a while too with his flashers on, he smiled and waived letting me know he was there to help.  When I arrived at the cenote, there were lots of bikes, I just happened to go at an of time I guess, because the rest of the day there were bikes on the road.

I paid my admission into the cenote, showered and headed for the hole in the ground, as I approached I was amazed at what I saw, crystal clear blue deep water.  I rented a locker, stashed all my belongings and head for the water with my GoPro and goggles (a must have in the cenote to see the awesomeness) I swam for hours, diving down as far as possible without tanks, there were lots of divers exploring the area as the underwater caves connect to other cenotes nearby.  I filmed and swam into the darkness with my flashlight, truly amazed at my surroundings.  I was so glad I had chosen this over chichen itza.  I wandered out to the cafe and had a torta, talked with the locals and asked how close the next cenote was, not too far, much closer than what I had just traveled, so I gathered my things from the locker and headed to the next cenote.  Once again blown away by the beauty and pristine waters.  I stopped at Car Wash and Xel-Ha.  If you’re ever in Tulum, I highly recommend visiting the Grand Cenote and others.

Water logged, I headed back to Tulum, stopping by the supermarket to get snacks as it was just noon.  I loaded up on junk food and Jumex juices because vacation and it all looked so good.  The milk was not to be found in the cold section, out in the open in paper cartons room temperature.  I had seen this before but forgotten.  I piled it in the basket on the bike and headed for my hotel not too far away.  Arrived, and immediately consumed mini cup cakes and various other sugary delicious snacks, then it was back out on the bike to head to the touristy beaches of Tulum to see what all the fuss was about.

The bike ride to the beach is a small trek down a huge sidewalk heavily traveled.  I got to the beach and there it was, the beach, another beach just like all the other beaches, beautiful white sand and blue water.  Some kids where fishing with small nets and filling their buckets with small fish.  I hung out for a while then headed back as it was getting close to sunset and I was exhausted.   My flight was leaving at noon the next day, so I needed to start figuring out how to get to the airport 80 miles away by 10AM the next day.  I cycled back to town, stopped at the ADO bus station, and perfection struck, a bus directly to the airport was leaving at 7Am and would arrive at the airport at 10AM.  I bought by 190 peso ticket and wandered the streets for a bit, returned my bike to the rental place, helped them setup a Yelp page.  I thought about walking to the hotel as it wasn’t very far, but my day was full of activity and I just wanted to be lazy at this point.  I found a taxi, jumped in and was on my way.  I asked the driver if he was going to be up at 6am, he said yes with a smile, so I got his number, and asked him to pick my up at 6:30 the next morning.

Day 6:

I got up at 6am, texted the taxi, he responded he’s be there at 6:30 as planned.  I walked out and there he was.  He dropped me off at the ADO station.  I walked in at 6:40 asked if the bus was on time and when it was leaving to make sure, 7:15.  I had just enough time to find some coffee an a taco.  I went across the street and around the corner to Antojitos, but didn’t see a coffee machine or see anyone with coffee.  I got a little nervous.  I asked the waiter if they had coffee, he looked and me puzzled for a split second, walked over to an older gentleman who then called out to a young kid in the street who ran off in a sprint, he came back a couple minutes later with instant coffee.  #WIN I sat and enjoyed my Sanka and tacos, walked over to the bus station and hopped on the bus, again lush comfy seats and cold AC.  made it to the airport at 10:15, there was a little congestion getting into town as it was Saturday morning.  The bus stops at each terminal so wait till you get to your before you get off #3 is international for Spirit Airlines.  It took me about 10 minutes to get to my gate through security, of which you do not have to remove your shoes.

I got on the flight and headed back to DFW.  The flight was nice, with some Dallas locals next to me, we talked the whole flight. =)  My sister in law and her best friend picked me up and we headed to Joe T Garcias for some Fajitas.  We ate, then headed home by way of Stephenville, where we stopped at PrimeTime for a drink.

I crashed in Desdemona for the night, then headed back to San Antonio Sunday and work Monday morning.

An excellent adventure!!

 

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Tacun

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