Mexico is a popular destination for us Canadians, and I had been three times before…but outside of the context of an all-inclusive hotel, I discovered the true beauty of Mexico and its people.
Here is a peak into our adventure around the Yucatan peninsula that includes visits of Tulum, Merida, Progresso, Puerto Morelos and Cancun.
Let’s start off in Tulum. During the month in Mexico, we had returned twice to this town I fell in love with. Both times, we rented an Airbnb, a large villa. For their contact info, do not hesitate to contact me. The food in Tulum was the best I had in Mexico. Musts were: La Hoja Verde (oh my, their complete menu is to die for! My favourites were their whole selection of smoothies, juices, sopes, blue cheese salad, and gazpacho), the smoothie bowls of Prieto and the cheap but damn good local food at El rincon Chiapaneco (we went there at least 5 times).
Our little discovery while on our walks was Holistika. A yoga centre that felt that you were walking through a serene park. You had no choice but to leave this place and feel a certain energy in your body. Incredible feeling. Highly recommended for all yogis.
Two nature musts are the Grand Cenote and the Laguna Ka’an Lum. For either of them, head there early to skip the tourist rush. The Grand Cenote, a top instagrammable location, is a beautiful cave with water that is so soft to the touch, it’s quite refreshing. The Laguna Ka’an Lum is an incredible site from up above (see our drone video). However can be appreciated from within, while swimming in this turquoise blue haven.
The negative aspect to tulum was the difficult access to the beach. It was fun driving through the beach road parallel to the water, and admiring these once again, ultra instagram worthy restos and hot spots. But when it came to wanting to take a dip in the ocean, parking was a little pricy (for a long term stay-200 pesos), or parking in a hotel parking lot requires minimum spends of $50USD per person in their restaurants. We had tried Ziggy’s ($50 min) and Ahau (no minimum spend and service was much better!). As you arrive at the main beach road, turning left will land you in the area with less hotels where it is easier to find a spot to park, gratis.
Such a quaint little town with beautiful, traditional hacienda style architecture with colours from a rainbow. I loved the energy and vibe of this town. The locals seem to be less used to the presence of tourists, so are very happy to help and communicate with you.
We recommend staying in the Centro area (full of history and tradition).
Taste the speciality dish the includes the local Chaya (Mexican style spinach) stuffed chicken at La Parilla (close to the statue of La Maternidad).
Most nights have something going on (a free show). We were recommended to stay on a Saturday night to watch a traditional Mayan game (Pok ta pok), but unfortunately had to leave Mérida so we missed it!
I loved the vibe of this village. Friday to Sunday night is where you find an outdoor market in the main plaza. We stayed, again in a great airbnb (3 floor home), just a short drive from the beach. If you are looking for some peace and quiet, this is the place to be.
Playa del Carmen
If you’re looking for action, then go to PDC. This town is very busy, and all the tourists basically clutter around 5th avenue. This is where you will find lots of restaurants and shopping. In all of our trip, this is where the great deals were to be found for shopping!!! I bought a gorgeous item selling for $280US in Tulum, that I managed to find for $50US here….blankets selling for $25US where only $3US here! So although very touristy, and noisy….this pit stop is ideal to fulfill your shopping needs.
Our week in Cancun was at the new hotel, the Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres. The highlight here, is for tennis lovers. We just missed a visit from THE Rafael Nadal a couple of weeks before our stay, who was here to open the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy.
This is a huge hotel, but with a certain sense of intimacy that you don’t get in the main hotel-infested hub of Cancun.
Highlight of this hotel: the magnificent choice of a-la-carte restos!
My favourite stops was at the Cenote Suytun (just outside of Vallodolid). This place was pure magic upon entering. The sun comes through a small skylight, that whatever time of day you are there will give a different look and feeling. You have to go there to understand the wanderlust of this Mexican wonder!