The life and ramblings of a 30-something…

An amateur traveller’s review of Mexico: Sunshine, civilisations and tequila…

 

I was lucky enough to visit Mexico for the very first time this year. A much-needed break that couldn’t come around quickly enough.

If you’ve never been to Mexico, it’s likely that your first thoughts on it as a country stem from what you may have seen on fictionalised television dramas…much of it unfair and unsavoury.

Ever since we started travelling together my husband and I have always gone for action over tranquillity. There’s nothing inaner to us than lying prostrate on a beach, when the whole point of a holiday is exploration.

After visiting Florida two-years in a row (more to come on this…) this year we opted for a slower pace, and Mexico proved the perfect place to unwind.

If your top three priorities for a holiday are sunshine, great service and fascinating history, you’re heading to the right place…

 

A few details about our trip for context…

 

  • When we visited: 29th September – 10th October
  • Duration: 11 nights
  • Location: Cancun, the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula
  • Spends: £1000 – plenty if you’re staying in an all-inclusive (which most do around these parts…)
  • Currency: We took Mexican pesos, but US dollars are also accepted
  • No of day trips: Two
  • Weather: one full day of rain, and the occasional shower! It’s rainy season in Mexico through September/October, but that suited us as we had days of blistering sunshine, interspersed with cooling rain (plus you can always read on the balcony and listen to it coming down – blissful!).
  • No of Tequila Sunrise cocktails consumed: had to be 102…

 

I can confidently say right now that we made the right decision with our choice of trip this year and, for anyone looking to break out of their holiday routine (AKA acknowledging the fact that you’re in your 30’s and need to slow down) I would highly recommend it for 2019 (or sooner if you have the cash).

Here are just a few of the things that make Mexico so special.

 

The people

From the second we arrived in Cancun, we were blown away by just how kind, friendly and engaging the people were. From checking into our hotel, to booking trips, dining out, and the poolside service, every encounter we had was a pleasant one – which is more than we can say for some places we’ve visited over the years.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m fully aware that anyone working in a hotel is basically paid to give you great service; that aside I’ve never felt quite so welcome when visiting a place as I did here.

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The hotels

I’ve always been sceptical of all-inclusive. Mainly because we like to explore, and an all-inclusive offering always seemed a waste to us when the last thing you want to do is hang around the hotel.

Even so, we were blown away by Secrets Silversands. There’s a level of bias of course because it’s a five-star and having never stayed in a five-star hotel before it was always going to be the pinnacle of luxury, but the friendliness of the staff, the great restaurants and total feeling of security on the resort gave me a completely new perspective.

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The history

No trip to the Yucatán Peninsula would be complete without a visit one of the archaeological sites which acts as a backdrop for the thousands of tourists that descend daily for an insight into the Maya civilisation.

The day trip we took included a guided tour of Chichén Itzá (not Chicken Pizza, as one of our guides on the bus was keen to emphasise) – undoubtedly the most famous of all the Maya sites, visited by millions each year – a buffet lunch, and an afternoon swim in a cenote (natural sink hole).

Our tour guide, Norma, delivered a fascinating in-depth talk which covered everything from ritual sacrifice, to ancient ball games, and how the ‘Big Kahuna’ would address the crowds from the heights of El Castillo.

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The environment

The most incredible experience of our entire trip came when we spent the day at the Rio Secreto Nature Reserve.

Discovered in 2004 by a man chasing an Iguana down for lunch (really!), this phenomenal network of underground caves is home to a crystal-clear river of fresh water and thousands of stalactites and stalagmites.

Armed with a head torch, wet suits, water shoes and life jackets (all included with our ticket), we were led down into the caves with eight other visitors by an experienced guide (Michael) who was very good at putting us at ease. A photographer also followed us on our tour, meaning we got to bring home some amazing photos…

At one-point Michael encouraged us to switch off our headtorches to experience the total, immersive darkness of the caves, and for a few brief minutes every worry you’ve ever had disappears…

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The pace

If you’re looking for relaxation, you don’t need to look a whole lot further than this.

Whether you want to lie on a lounger, visit a beach, get up close and personal with nature, or explore ancient ruins, you’ll find a perfect mix of all those things in Mexico without the need to run from one thing to the next.

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Unless you really want to, of course.

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