a) 1-3 April before we flew to Cuba and then
b) 14-20 April on our return from Cuba
And…. on the 16th April Tam will be…
DAYS 149-151: “Tulum” (1-3 April)
Much to our immense joy we discovered that there was a direct water taxi from San Pedro (Belize) to Chetumal (Mexico) which saved us loads of time and money. We hopped on the ferry at 8am and were in Mexico by just after 10am. Upon arriving in Chetumal we got a taste of what convicts must feel like as we had to partake in a line up where sniffer dogs smelt all our luggage (and us!) for narcotics. I’m sure we don’t need to state this but we got through fine. From the dock we made our way to the bus terminal where there were regular services to Tulum which was 4 hours away. We arrived in Tulum in the late afternoon and checked in to Hostel Chalupa. We’d booked a 5 bed mixed dorm and met our roommates…Michael and Max from Germany; Jordan and Atilla from Canada (yup, 5 beds…6 people…we were sharing a double bed as it was the last bed in the hostel). That night we had some drinks with our new roommates and also met 2 young Australian travellers, Jacob and Jimmy. In true Mexican style, we had a few tequila shots which in this country were more like buckets!
The following day Max and Michael had hired a car so we joined in the party along with Atilla and Jordan to check out the ruins in Coba (not as breathtaking as Angkor Wat or Machu Picchu) then headed to Gran Cenote to snorkel. The cenotes are water holes in the jungle produced by a process of dissolution and collapse of limestone terrain located above an underground network of caves and rivers. After exerting ourselves we had some lunch and then spent the afternoon on the beach. That night we were treated to a visit by George and Lauren, 2 of Tam’s friends who had been travelling around Central America and who happened to plan to be in the neighbourhood. A few drinks turned in to a few more and we soon found ourselves in a nearby bar covered in body paint (?) salsa-ing the night away with the locals. We topped off the night by popping into a kareoke bar where we treated the locals to an enthusiastic rendition of Waka-Waka…Shakira had nothing on us – although George may tell a different story :)
The next day we met George and Lauren for a delicious Italian lunch and then got ready to leave Tulum as we were heading to Cancun that night for our 1am flight to Cuba.
*** See CUBA page for DAYS 152-162 and then come back to this MEXICO page for the last 6 days of our trip ***
After returning from Cuba…
DAYS 162-168: “Occidental Grand Xcaret” (14-20 April)
We arrived in Riviera Maya at our 4 star all-inclusive resort, Occidental Grand Xcaret at 1am absolutely exhausted from our day of travelling. We did not realise when booking this resort how huge it was, but reality soon hit us when we wandered around the resort for 20 minutes looking for our room. We eventually found it and hit the hay.
The next morning we woke up to the splendour that is the Grand Occidental Xcaret and set the trend for the rest of the week…basically eating (a lot), drinking (a lot), sleeping (a lot) and not getting up to a hellavah lot else. We had a few issues upon checking in and as compensation were given access to the Royal Club. Now if we didn’t think we were rockstars already staying in a 4 star all-inclusive resort after the 12 bed mixed dorms we’d become used to, now we really thought we were. This exclusive part of the resort boasted it’s own private pool, impeccable service and the most delicious cocktails and food. We could be found there lunching most days.
This resort was a wonderful way to end the trip as we didn’t have to do anything other than make it to our restaurant on time…a welcome relief from the constant moving around, research and planning and sightseeing which had consumed our lives for the last 5 months.
And so we’ve come to the end of our adventure. We’ve seen things we never thought we’d see, made some wonderful friends which we hope to have for a long time yet and become stronger, more interesting people. We’ve gained knowledge and skills that we will use for the rest of our lives…so as we said in our first post, the scariest things in life are usually the most rewarding, and these last 5 months certainly have been very rewarding. Thanks for reading our blog, we hope you’ve enjoyed this journey with us.