Notes on Cancun
Posted March 6, 2011on:
1. A most excellent trip. Mexico is super! Definitely want to go back. So many places to explore and so little time.
2. Most notably who you are travelling with are so important and we have become such good partners over the years that our trip is always where I would be happiest. And I have come to the conclusion that your marriage quality is probably in direct proportion to the quality of your long trip🙂
3. If we had planned better, we probably can go somewhere else instead of staying in the resort for the third day. Work had been crazy and I had to work many weekends before the trip so we can take off on time. I bought a guidebook and finished reading it during our plane ride. We were still in discussion as how we should go about our trip, such as whether to rent a car or not. The resort tours and the rental cars have to be booked a day earlier. Hence our day in the resort.
4. Not that staying in the resort is not nice. The resort turned out to be excellent, just as our friend had told us. The biggest swimming pools and very many places to hang out and a private stretch of beach. In fact, I can see ourselves staying mostly in the resort and only venture out if we want, when we get older or have kids.
5. I really love Mexican food. Awww the fresh pressed juice. So many tropical fruits to choose from. Tortilla soup, which I will definitely try to recreate at home. I love Mexican cheese, better than the French ones. Oaxaca especially. Had a salad with corns and tomatoes and herbs. So refreshing. Jicama turned out to be delicious too, something I had wanted to try out for years but never bought it for fear of unknown. I think I had it with pear slices and daikon slices? Cannot remember now. There are even fried pig skins, just like when we were young in China. The Chichen Lime soup, which sustained me many dinners. The chicken is not as good as their counterparts in Guatemala though. Not organic enough🙂 So many different kinds of salsa. Not your average choices at all. So many different sauces too. Cannot replicate unfortunately. Oh and the pastries which I love. Not so sugary but still so tasty and so many shapes and textures. Will try to recreate!
6. So many places I want to go but we did not have time. We did not go to any islands. Isla Cozomel, Isla Mujeres, Isla Convoy. A Flamingo preservation. Mérida. Chetumul. South of Tulum. Next time.
7. The unforgettable color of Carribean! Last time when we went to Livingston Guatemala for the Carribean I was disappointed. Not any more.
8. So many activities we did not have time to try out. Ziplining, it was one of my goals going to Cancun but we did not have the time at all. Diving at Cozomel. Diving in cenotes. I heard diving in cenotes is the best diving experience. Well, I need to first learn how to swim. Snorkeling turned out fun. At first we (mostly I) were practicing in the resort swimming pool. Because of the absence of a life jacket, it became very hard for me since I had to worry about how to keep myself float all the time. However once I was in the underground river next day, and realized that i cannot sink with a life jacket on, wearing the goggle and following all fishes were so fun!
9. I had planned a Mexican plateau trip two Christmas’es ago. But someone complained about the air ticket prices so we did not go. However, this attempt made him started paying attention to news about Mexico, which grew increasingly scary over last year. Policemen’s families killed. Mass grave discovered near Tourist Spots. Pop singer killed by Drug Lords. Faint. So he refused to go on a backpacking trip in Mexico in the end. Cancun is our compromise about testing the waters of Mexico and I hope my original trip to the heart of Mexico can happen some day. And my other planned trip to the South of Mexico can happen some other day too.
10. I started learning Spanish about the same time I planned the original Mexican trip since I realized to travel on a backpacking trip a little Spanish can go a long way. Since then I started every time I felt like the trip was going to happen and stopped if it did not. So it is rather broken so far despite its actual ease of learning. However it still helped us a great lot this time, despite my inability to utter a complete sentence. Just use the words I remember. It can get us all we need. So I feel rather encouraged this time and feel like spending more time on it. In any case, Spanish is going to be the language spoken by most people on earth and it won’t hurt to know a thing or two about it. And Spanish literature is fun to explore too. I decide that I should be able to read in Spanish while we were wondering in the town square of Valladolid and happened to be in this public library. A bigger vocabulary, the next phase I should focus on.
11. Of all the cities we visited, I love Valladolid and Pixte. Valladolid is a typical colonial town, which looks like Antigua a lot. We stayed in it for a few hours from early evening to night around its town square. Such nice experience. The flowering trees, the birds squeaking, the church bell tolling, it is exactly my idea of a Mexican town. Pixte is the small town outside Chichen Itza. Contrary to expectation it is not touristy at all, which made me fall in love with it immediately since it is probably the first non-touristy town I had been to in Mexico. I wish we spent more time there.
12. Cancun, Tulum are so touristy. It is almost not worth going at all. But they are famous so for a first timer it is hard to make the decision of skipping.
13. However, Cancun and Tulum has the best beaches we have seen in the region. White sand and blue water. Amazing combination. Sad they are all hidden behind hotels and resorts.
14. We went to four Maya ruins: Tulum, Coban, Chichen Itza and Ek’Balam. I like the smaller ones a lot (Coban, Ek’Balam). Chichen Itza is on the boring side. It is a great Maya city but the crowd made it so unappealing. Plus we were there between storms so the temperature and humidity almost killed me. We rode on a tricycle in Coban. So refreshing experience to go through the jungles with the nice breeze.
15. Turned out I packed entirely wrong clothes for the trip. Should pack more swimsuits. Should have packed more dresses (I packed four but still turned out not enough). No need for jackets in fact. Since we were so close to water, we were wearing swimsuits most of the time for many days. So not much need for underwear either.
16. We debated whether we should rent a car and go to places on our own, in comparison to go on tours organized by tour operators. The plus side is more flexibility on where we go (we ended up going many places tours won’t go, in the same amount of time, without hurry at all). The downside is the potential risks of driving in a foreign country (the tour guide has a section on Driving Scam about random people who want you to give them money on random highway “inspection points”. We were so glad we rented cars in the end. No driving scam happened to us🙂
17. We went to this ecopark Xcaret, which focuses on letting you know Mexico in a single day. It was so fun! One day (from 7am to 10pm, that is the tour) is not even enough. We were hurried to go from one place to another with many places we wish to spend more time in, such as the lagoon for snorkeling. For one thing, we did not even have time to fit in our lunch. It was at five o’clock that we finally realized to make to the night show we must eat something before it that we went to redeem the free lunch buffet that came with our ticket. The buffet was magnificent, btw.
18. There are other ecoparks such as Xelha, mostly a snorkeling park. It must be fun too. Next time.
19. Thanks to our friends who convinced us that Cancun can be a fun place for an entire week. Turned out a week is not even enough!