Cancun beaches – there’s just too ****ing much
I arrived in Cancun. Weird start to the trip. I didn’t really know whether to like this country/this city or not. It’s extraordinarily hot for my middle European senses, and there’s no escape. No nice shady parks. Just the beaches with the big hotels that offer some distraction, shade and cool refreshments.
And for the very first time, I got completely lost. Several times. I usually have a very good sense of orientation, but Cancun Centro made me give up. Luckily there were taxi drivers all over the place harrassing you to let them take you somewhere, so I could always buy my way back to a central place.
The beachfront. Beautiful eco-lodge-like cabanas for 30 USD per person/night and more. And I had gotten a recommendation for a nice budget place to stay in that paradise area with white beaches, palm trees and the turquoise sea. Why not try? Maybe because there were more mosquitoes inside my tent than outside. Maybe because the mosquitoes were anywhere else as well. The only place to get away from them was the beach – but because people pay a lotta money to stay in those ecolodges, you couldn’t really use their sunloungers. The choice left is either lean on a palm tree or get coated in fine, white sand from head to toe. I don’t know. It looks a lot more relaxing than it feels.
But except for the beach front, Tulum is a nice base for daytrips: There are several cenotes to the north and south, the Akumal lagoon is where you can watch turtles graze (during turtle season), and then of course there are the famous Maya ruins of Tulum right next to the beach. The ruins are naturally overcrowded, and to be honest, not really at the top end of the most astonishing Maya ruins. If you decide to see only one Maya site, don’t let it be Tulum – you’ll miss out. Instead, go and discover the cenotes.
Bacalar – the turquoise lagoon
Further down south, on the way to Chetumal on the Belize border, there is a huge lagoon and a small town called Bacalar. It turned out to be one of the nicest spots I’ve been to, because it is not as touristic as most other stops. It’s completely laid-back, and you can take the time to buy some fresh food, cook something nice, make your own cocktails and enjoy them on a pier by the lagoon. The lagoon itself is shallow up into the middle and does not contain saltwater. It´s a perfect place. I hope it remains as calm and laid-back as it is now, without all too many tourists buzzing around.
Public transport in Mexico
The touristy part of Mexico (namely: Yucatan and Quintana Roo) is interconnected by regular bus and minibus lines. The official buses (company called ADO) are usually comfy and even on time. Depending on how crowded and touristy the places you leave and you’re going to are, and also considering the difference between weekends and weekdays, you might want to buy your bus tickets a day in advance, even though it’s not always necessary.
Language in Mexico
Most people you’ll meet will be speaking a nice level of English, but especially for taxi drivers and food vendors on the street, a few chunks of Spanish can come in very handy.