I’ve been itching to write about travel for some time. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on my travel bug, but with the reopening of international borders, I finally hopped on a flight to Mexico. This was my first time in Mexico, and we stayed outside of the resort in Playa Del Carmen (aka Carmen beach). The area was still touristy, but had aspects that were more authentic to the Mexican experience. I loved wandering around at night and hitting up food stalls. These stalls had some questionable food hygiene practices, but, luckily, I was not food poisoned. Here are some of the things worth noting on this trip that you might find helpful inspiration for your next trip to the area!
Tulum Mayan Ruins
We visited the ancient coastal town of Tulum. This town is located in the Yucatan area of Mexico. It is also where the original Mayan civilization was best preserved. There is a white, rocky, castle-like structure on top of the cliffside overlooking the ocean. The site was important area of worship for the descending god (sunset). I personally loved the gorgeous coastal views. There was also an area for nesting sea turtles, although I didn’t see any. There were, however, many large iguanas sunbathing on top of the ruins.
This was a highly unique experience for me going to a coastal park. The aquatic theme park offers many excursions in one area including cliff jump, snorkeling, ziplines, and water slides. The park is massive and is near the coastline. I love that the park is mainly natural and that the activities allow you to appreciate the natural beauty of coastal Mexico. My favorite activity was definitely the snorkeling. The water was clear, and it was also the first time I could see so many species of fish underwater.
Cozumel is an island off the coast of Mexico. It is a 45-minute ferry ride from Playa Del Carmen. The island features some of the best snorkeling spots in all of Mexico. Unlike some of the theme parks offerings snorkeling, the experience here is snorkeling in the natural reefs of Mexico. The water is clear, there are more species of fish. However, we were careful not to venture too far out into the open ocean as many areas do not have lifeguards and have currents and tides that can be dangerous for those who cannot swim well. I also enjoyed wandering around the island and seeing local businesses on the island.
Xplore is another theme park that offers a slightly different experience than Xel-Ha. It features rafting, underground stalactite caves, ziplines and amphibious vehicles. My favorite was swimming through the stalactite caves underground on a hot day. It was a great way to stay out of the sun and see some of the natural formations. These limestone formations give the appearance of icicles hanging from the roof of the cave. I was also a fan of the all-you-can-eat buffets at these theme parks that allow me to try so many different authentic Mexican dishes.
If you get the chance, consider making the trip!