Cancun was my base for the Yucatan and Quintana Roo. Within that, I explored Tulum and Mérida and there were quite a number of archeological sites between these 2.
ADO runs very efficient and cheap buses across Mexico. You get the tickets from the ADO station and then you’re good to go. The buses are comfortable and even has charging units and a toilet on board. The driver also makes stops at the stations so you can still use the toilets and buy snacks too. From Cancun to Tulum, it was a 3 hour bus ride and taxis within the towns are very cheap too but you have to bargain ok? Usually I pay 30-50 pesos depending on the distance.
Tulum was beautiful for me. I explored the quaint town on bicycle to the beaches, the archeological site and also to the Cenotes. Something about riding a bicycle makes everything seem so cute and brings me back to my childhood days. The beaches around are beautiful and there is greenery. Bike rentals are cheap and easy too, at that time, I paid 100 pesos for 24 hours.
The archeological site of Tulum is right on he white sand, turquoise waters beaches and it’s just beautiful. It also boasts the longest coral reef in the world and you can snorkel too. You can buy the combination ticket at the car park. I didn’t do it but I saw a few people buy the tickets. I went straight for the entrance of the site and paid my entrance and explored the site on my own. There are a lot of guides doing tours so you can pretty much tag on and hear some of the stuff they are saying but there are also info boards everywhere for you to read so you can pretty much do it on your own. I went around 3pm and it was quite crowded.
After the site, I cycled to the beach that is furthest away from the site. That place has a restaurant and a hotel nearby but it also seems the closest to the main road where I can park my bicycle. The sun doesn’t set on the beach but rather behind the rocks so it’s still beautiful on the beach to witness it. Don’t stay too late because if it gets too dark, it could be dangerous to cycle back to the town that’s 20 minutes away.
gorgeous white sand beaches and clear waters
For lunch, I had a very good Fajitas in Natty Dread which is a raggae restaurant and bar. The fruit smoothies are very good and the fajita was great too! It’s also open for dinner!
For dinner, I had it at hostel Che, where I stayed. They had an Argentinian bbq night when I was there and it was amazing and only 120 pesos!
I cycled to the Gran Cenote the next morning and do remember to bring your snorkel or goggles to see the cute fishes and turtles in the limestone cave that you can swim in. If you have an underwater camera, the lights reflecting on the water is completely blue and it’s beautiful. It’s definitely worth the 30 minutes cycle there.
the Gran Cenote. There are a few more in Tulum that you can snorkel in
For lunch, I ate at teetotum which is on the road on the way to the beach. They had very nice Mexican food and the fresh fruit juices were very refreshing too. If I thought Cuba was cheap, Mexico was on par if not cheaper for food and it’s got so much flavors, read: spice and therefore more delicious.
If Peru was South America’s good capital, I think Mexico has got to be Central America’s. There must be a reason why there are so many Mexican restaurants everywhere right? But honestly, I tried a lot of Mexican restaurants and I must say, nothing beats eating in Mexico itself.
In Mérida, I loved the way they make their pulled pork they call Conchinita Pibil, basically they cook the pork in the ground and they also have the chicken version but I always had pork. Eat it with Panachos (black beans stuffed inside tortilla) and you have a great dinner combo. The black beans here are very different from the ones I’ve tried in Mexican restaurants out of Mexico. Theirs is more delicious and when paired with the handmade tortilla and the pulled pork, onions and tomatoes, it makes a seriously delicious meal. I tried also Lomitas de Valledolid and it’s pork cubes simmered in tomatoes and served on a special white bean sauce with warm tortillas. Melt in your mouth deliciousness awaits and the chilli really adds the kick to it.
It’s the diversity of flavors here that makes it so great. I got all these Yucatan deliciousness from a place called La Chaya Maya in Mérida, just a few blocks away from the main square. I love that no matter where you eat in Mérida or Tulum, they serve you nachos with their salsa or beans. It’s so good and it’s free! I couldn’t stop stuffing my face.
conchinito Pibil on panochos. this lady makes the fresh panochos that you then top up with your meat of choice. My meat of choice is the Conchinito Pibil!
Pico de Gallo, guacamole, nachos, and fajitas and tacos with pork, chicken, beef or chorizo all taste very very good. I think it’s all in the coriander and the fresh produce. You find them in all the typical Mexican restaurants and even on the street. Street food is amazing in Mexico and they usually come out at night or congregate at the beaches. Do try some of it. So far, no upset stomach so it’s quite safe.
In Mérida, the main sites to visit are Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Kabah. I chose to go with tours so I can understand the Mayan culture and the history and I didn’t regret it. You can book most trips online or through the hostel. I booked mine with Mayan Heritage. Their guides were good and the transportation was comfortable. Please bring snacks for your trip because you have very late lunches.
Chichen Itza was huge and you need a few hours to explore it. The site is very impressive because of its sheer size and there is still so much uncovered ground. After lunch, you Head to a Cenote so do remember to bring your swimmers as it’s a refreshing dip after the very hot walk in Chichen Itza.
I liked Uxmal a bit more because it was less crowded and you can scale almost all the monuments which makes it fun. The views from the top are also breathtaking! The pyramid of the magician monument is the only elliptical shaped temple in Mexico and it is beautiful and massive.
Kabah was small but it’s well preserved so the trip to Uxmal and Kabah was a must do in my opinion if you’re in Mérida.
the Kabah site is small but has lots of well preserved sculptures
When I was in Mérida, I felt liked the town because it had the Christmas spirit and it was so nice to walk around. During the weekend, they also had a performances in the square and it was so nice to see all the Mexicans dance to the music and marvel at the Christmas lights. There are also many cafes, restaurants and museums to visit. A must do is the bar La Negrita, cool salsa music and good crowd!
Next, I headed to Palenque to see more Mayan sites and have more Mexican food!
For more photos, follow me on Instagram @4toegraphs.
Never stop wandering!