Flying out of the United States, one can almost always see some form of civilization – be it a house, road, or boat. But flying over Mexico and into Cancun there were long stretches of looking down and seeing nothing but trees, shrubs, and the odd dirt track. Mexico is huge! Have a look on a map some time. It’s not as big as Australia or the US, but anyway I was surprised.
Ever had a craving for turquoise coloured water, beautiful beaches coasted with palm trees and other greenery? Well I have, and that is exactly what I found in Mexico, and in fact the whole Caribbean. Here’s a little tidbit of what was to come.
But before I get too ahead of myself, Cancun. Cancun is a large town with both a normal side and a tourist side. By that I mean if you go downtown you will find traffic and dusty streets, vendors, markets and industry. If you go to what’s known as the “hotel area” you find a long strip (read: goes for many miles) of resort hotels on the beachfront. Most of these hotels do what’s known as an “all inclusive” which means for just $100 a night you can have all you can eat and drink (yes, even alcohol). A pretty good bargain if you’re into that kind of thing, and I’m sure I would be hard pressed to find someone that isn’t. But I just settled for my usual hostel experience, and why not seeing as I could get fat for a week sitting mostly by myself at a resort, or I could go to a hostel and make friends and meet interesting people.
I met a guy from Norway and his new girlfriend that he met travelling in India, and their idea of travelling was pretty hardcore compared to mine; they would set out for months at a time with the goal of getting extremely lost, going way off the beaten track, so far off that they are one of the few tourists that would probably ever consider going. Their idea was to go two months in Mexico, then two months in Guatemala. Good on them! I also met a girl from Belarus who lived for scuba diving, and every last dollar would go towards diving in the Caribbean, and she did inspire me to do some diving myself which I will write about some time.
So anyway, here’s a picture of Cancun’s beachfront.
And here’s me on my way into the world famous Coco Bongo!
Why is it famous? Well if you are asking that then you didn’t have a very good childhood because you would have seen either The Mask as a cartoon or the movie. It’s a really fantastic cabaret style show and nightclub. You get there at say 8pm, buy a ticket for about $55 which includes all you can drink all night, grab a few drinks and then go into the main area which will be pumping for sure. The entertainment is pretty much on-going with plenty of dancing, a few skits, and a few performances, and a few cover songs of some oldies and newies. Highly recommend, would go again A+++.
Other attractions near Cancun include Chichen Itza which is an ancient Mayan city ruins, and Las Mujeres Island which I have heard is quite cool, but I didn’t get to either of those places, didn’t really find the time, and besides I knew that I would be seeing plenty of Mayan ruins and plenty of beautiful islands soon. So I took a bus down to Playa del Carmen which is about an hour south of Cancun, and this place is well known for a decent beach, great restaurants and shops, and great beach nightclubs.
A big bunch of kite surfers.
I stayed at a hostel and met some funny Aussie blokes about a year or so younger than me. These guys both were bogan to the core, hadn’t had a haircut in months, and were working at the hostel because they had spent all their money somehow in Las Vegas. They reminded me so much of Bret and Jermaine, I laughed quite often at their expense! But they did show me a good night out, we partied until the sun came up one night.
On my last night in Playa del Carmen I joined my new family for the next 32 days. I had booked an Intrepid trip going from Mexico to Costa Rica, and it was finally time to begin!