A month in Mexico – Very less time and a lot to see. A beautiful, relaxed route!

08:06:00

Recently, Paul and I travelled to Mexico. It was one of our crazy, spontaneous decisions so we didn´t have much time to plan, and so we had only one month. It was something like:

-PAUL, there are super cheap flights direct to Cancun, let´s go?
-Arrrriba, piñata, vaaaamossss.

So there we are, in a flight to Cancún talking about all the possible clichés like wearing a poncho and drinking from a bottle with an xxx then sleeping siesta next to a cactus. I have several Mexican friends who gave me hints where to go and how to get there, so we made a small route plan that of course changed a lot as the real adventures require. The route is:

Cancún - Holbox - Tulum - Palenque - San Cristobal de las Casas - Zipolite/Mazunte - Puerto Escondido - Mexico City - Cancún


On this time we managed to enjoy the best of the Mexican caribbean, the mystical Mayan jungle, the zapatista mountains, colorful cities, the pacific coast and one of the biggest cities in the world. All quite relaxed, spending a few days in each place and eating the best food I ever tried.

1. Cancún 

So we start in Cancún. For us nothing spectacular apart from the Downtown area, which has lots of good streetart and culture, where people who live and work in Cancun are. I must say now, that we don´t like this kind of massive tourism of all inclusive hotels and spending the holidays drunk on the beach. We went to talk to the locals, to learn from them and get the best of this experience. It was quite easy since my mothertongue is Spanish. I started a conversation with anyone on the streets, on the bar or wherever. Mexicans are incredibly nice, social and respectful.

In Cancun we visited Playa Delfines, got our proper sunburn, chilled and ate tacos like there was no tomorrow and soon realised there was nothing more for us there. So the second day we took a bus to Chiquilá, a tiny village with nothing much more than a ferry to paradise.

2.Holbox

We arrived to Holbox and stayed at the hostel Cabanas Ida y Vuelta. We enter the little village barefoot already, since the streets are made of sand. All there is a present for your senses: the smell of fried fish floats in the air, there are stands with colorful fruits, kids playing barefoot under the pleasantly warm sun, the sand is white, the sea is turquoise. There are pelicans and seagulls filling the air with their chat, a guy selling cold coconuts, some fishermen sleeping a siesta over the fishing nets. By the time we left our stuff in the little bungalow, I was already overwhelmed by the beauty of the place.



We barely used shoes, just enjoyed the peace and had a lot of fresh fish accompained by cold micheladas to drink. Holbox, like all the Caribbean, is quite expensive compared to the rest of Mexico. During the time there we spent the same amount of money as we did on a week in Chiapas. The island is perfect to forget about everything, so we did some Yoga and meditation in the mornings, read a lot and had some romantic couple time.


Afterwards, we drove to Tulum. You can go directly from Chiquilá to Tulum in a Colectivo. This is a minivan where 3 mexicans who drive like crazy make their money by taking you somewhere in half amount of time than a bus ADO. We tried it only for the experience and was quite impressive to see how many people they can fit in one of those. There was a moment when a lady was going to join with a kid and we were already over full, well somehow it happened. You can make this trip pleasantly in a ADO, but this is how most people from there travel, since ADO is pretty expensive so... we had to try it (no regrets!).

3. Tulum 

In Tulum we stayed in an Airbnb where we had access to two bikes, therefore we could see all the city, beaches and cenotes nearby quite easily. I think a lot of people visiting Tulum decide to rent bikes and it makes a lot of sense. The main attraction in Tulum is, apart from its beautiful beach, the Mayan ruins. If you visit there you can end the tour on the private beach from the ruins (but there will be a ton of tourist taking 190482738354 selfies with one of those stupid sticks). The beach has a cool spot for climbers. So Paul had a lot of fun.


What we liked the most though, were the cenotes. They may seem small, but beneath those pools there are huge caves full with turtles and little cute fish. The nightlife of Tulum is great, we visited a margaritas bar that offered great live music and went to try mezcal to the bar where a friend of us was working.

















Next, we took the night bus to Palenque.

It makes a lot of sense to travel by night in Mexico. The ADO buses are comfortable, plus you save time and money for accomodation. Unluckily for us, in our bubble of happiness, we forgot that the world has its own rules and there´s people there who see tourist as walking wallets. So yeah, we woke up and saw the bag that Paul had between his legs was cut open and our wallets were gone. (HIJO DE PUUU%$$&#' - when I´m very angry I swear a lot in Spanish and Paul looks at me with big fear) The driver and security people didn't really give a shit, they made like they were checking a few bags and then were like: Shit Happens. Indeed. If something similar happens to you, I recommend to make the biggest drama you can to the bus company, you´ll get rides for free (at least). So on the bus, while I was creating some drama, our neighbours on the next seat tried to calm us down with their stories of the robberies they suffered while travelling the world. Then, they invited us to come with them. Aaron, Marianna, John, my 3 favourite americans, thank you. They showed us an enchanting, small community on the heart of the jungle in Palenque. Elementos Naturales.

4. Palenque

I still remember the first night, when in bed I listen the monkeys howling in the distance, the insects and jungle noises in that shack which windows were just covered by mosquito nets, and I fell asleep like a rock. We stayed there for 5 days, living on a shack full of spiders, exploring the jungle, bathing on waterfalls, climbing trees, finding pyramid ruins and sharing time with incredible people, that I really hope I will have the luck to see again: Aditi, little Jamal, sister Coco, we love you. We even got the chance to meet the locals and try the ancient tradition of the Temazcal sauna done by a mayan shaman. Also, it is so cheap! I still remember Paul arriving from the market with Aaron and John, all with a huge smile and bags full of sweet mangos, cacao and fresh vegetables, coming to my ear and whispering: Do you know how much I paid for aaaall thiiisss? Yes, Chiapas is just great, so I strongly recommend it in every way.
Entrance to an unexplored Mayan Pyramid.
La familia


5. San Cristóbal de las Casas

We left with tears in our eyes, in another night bus to San Cristobal de las Casas. We stayed in the home of a girl, that she adapted as a guests house. No warm water, only nice people and a great view from the rooftop. San Cristobal has a lot of culture and nightlife to offer, nice bookstores, lots of restaurants and young people. The Market is something you can´t miss. Its open everyday and feels like a labirynth of colors, smells, people, delicious food and drinks. We entered it in one side of the city and exit it on another corner like: what was that?. Also, you may be interested on visiting the church of San Juan Chamula, just half an hour away with the colectivo.




From San Cristobal, we had another night bus to Pochutla, because there´s no direct connection to Zipolite/Mazunte, there we arrived by taxi (it takes 10 mins).

6. Zipolite

We stayed in a hostel called Brisa Marina in Zipolite, a really nice place right on the beach, with hammocks and lots of places to eat right next door. It is a small surfer town with a beautiful nudist beach. We loved it there, since it was quiet and cheap, so we stayed for 4 days and then went to Puerto Escondido by bus.


7. Puerto Escondido - Punta Zicatela

We stayed at Hostel Zapotecas in Punta Zicatela, an incredibly friendly place full of young people and good vibes. After hearing that we got robbed, the owner refused to take our money, saying we could clean a bit on exchange for sleeping there, as some of the voluntary workers did. It was impecable, organised and beautiful.

Enjoying the hostel´s common area


The best place to stay in Punta Zicatela. 
“La Punta” is another relaxed surfers place. For moving around there we just jumped on the back part of a truck and chat with the people who risked their lives hanging happily on the open back, with the wind moving their clothes and hair. There, we discovered one of the most wonderful, secret spots ever.



Empty beach

8. Mexico City 
And after that, we went in an epic 18 hours bus ride that I really hope I never have to do again, directly to the asphalt jungle, Mexico City. It is not possible to describe this place, you must see it, feel it and get punched right on the face by it. It is chaotic, it is incredibly crowded, it is fascinating. There we slept at a friends place, who showed us the Zocalo, some amazing Museums, the murals of Diego Rivera, cool places for street food and the District of Coyoacán, where we ramble the colorful streets and drank fancy coffee.


Murals of Diego Rivera












Museo de Antropología

 After some days there, we took a flight back to Cancun and then back to Germany.

So, a bit of everything in very less time, it may sounds crazy but it was completely OK, there are of course more variants to it, (for example we really wanted to visit Bacalar, Oaxaca and some other towns on the way) but at the end we stuck to this and was quite easy and completely possible to do in a month or even less.

Our experience of Mexico was totally positive, despite the incident of the robbery, what we remember the most are the good things, so that little bit of bad luck can´t make bitter all the nice people and places that crossed our path. It sucks, of course... but hey, that stuff happens, it wasn´t the first one, won´t be the last one. Was a good practice for what´s coming next though... Morocco and Thailand!

Enjoy and Viva Mexico!

Isa.

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