First of all I wish you all the bestest New Year ever! I hope you enjoyed New Year’s Eve as much as we did. We celebrated it in Mérida while travelling with hubbie’s friends B&M from Canada. Apart from discussing everything and anything under the (Canadian) sun, we visited tons of ‘places and stuff’. I’ll try not to bore you to tears with all the things we did and saw, so here are some highlights of the past two weeks that might inspire you to visit Mexico (apart from the diving pictures, all pictures below were made by B&M).
Cancun: MUSA underwater museum
To give the reef a break, some artist(s) figured it would be cool to start an underwater museum. You will find statues all over the reef at the bottom of the see that you can see either while snorkeling or diving. As we are all divers, the latter way seemed the right way.
Other than that, we figured you can give Cancun a miss, but if you do have to stay there, go for dinner at La Habichuela in the centre of Cancun. Yes, you will have to venture out of your all-inclusive resort, but really it is worth it. Do not forget to order the Mayan coffee as your after-dinner treat.
Tulum is a little, somewhat sleepy village on the coast. It has the powdered white sand beaches with nice beach shacks (with food and drink) and a little center that is full of restaurants, shops etc. And there is no Wal-Mart, so that should tell you something. Tulum is particularly famous for its Mayan temple at the sea and the cenotes (Mexican for sinkholes) that make for great diving as well (although not so much if you are not comfortable in confined spaces like me…) It reminded me somewhat of my backpacking days. If you want a relaxed winter-break I can surely recommend Tulum: awesome beach, good food, relaxed atmosphere and everyone does speak English as well as Spanish.
Mérida is a very colonial old town in between two important Maya centers: Chitzen Itza and Uxmal. We never made it in time to Chitzen Itza, so we failed to be mesmerized by it, but Uxmal on the other hand was awesome! As well as the surroundings along the Puuc route, there are more temple complexes to visit and there’s a cool cave that you can enter on foot with a guide.
We also took the audio guide tour through Mérida center which takes you into places you wouldn’t necessarily go into by yourself. And that would have been a shame: we saw fantastic murals, the furniture and house of conqueror Montejo and some amazing contemporary art (Macay museum). It also took us into the José Peón Contreras theater where we got a private tour from the security guard. He was priceless and obviously loved ‘his’ theater. He showed us around the whole place including the private ‘box’ of the governor and we all decided the ‘gov’ definitely has the best view. The theater itself is totally beautiful and if we ever go back to Mérida we will have to get tickets for whatever is on.
I have written before about Mexico-City and if you didn’t know it already, I love the place. I think it should be on everyone’s to-do list. This time we explored Teotihuacan extensively by hiring a private guide (with 4 people it is as expensive as a standard guided tour). It was definitely worth it: Daniel (our guide) took us to places we didn’t even know existed and showed us everything with a lot of patience. He allowed us to do whatever we wanted and however long we wanted it for. It was great! If you ever make it to Mexico, you can hire Daniel Mendivil Olvera directly (which makes for a better deal for everyone!)