Due to a change of plans, I found myself spending a few days in Cancun, going to Cozumel early (here is all about my time there if you haven’t seen already), and then coming back to Cancun, so here is all about my time in Cancun.
Monday, 30 December: I left my house around 0430 for my 0730 flight from LAX with a stopover in Phoenix. All went smooth and I arrived at my hostel in the city center (Nomads Hostel, it was fabulous) at around 1830 Cancun time. I promptly went to sleep after a long day of travel.
Tuesday, 31 December: I was meant to do a Chichen Itzá day trip today but the confirmation of my pick-up location went to my junk inbox (rookie mistake) so I missed it. Luckily, the tour company was nice enough to rebook me for the next day, so I spent the day exploring Cancun.
After yoga at my hostel, I took the local bus to the Hotel Zone and walked around. I waded in the water and walked up the beach, it was nice! It reminded me a lot of Maui, where my family used to visit regularly. I’m glad I was staying in the city center because the Hotel Zone seems most suited for families with small children and couples.
I went back to my hostel to have a lowkey New Year’s Eve. I read by the pool until festivities began and I had a few drinks while talking to a few other travelers. My hostel had an amazing rooftop pool/ bar/ restaurant. I went to bed immediately after midnight to rest up for my Chichen Itza day trip.
Wednesday, 1 January: Feliz nuevo ano! I actually made my Chichen Itza reservation this time and I’m very grateful the company forgave my slip-up (GetYourGuide).
First, we went to the tour’s namesake: Chichen Itza, a Mayan cultural, business and residence center, on many different “Wonder of the World” lists. We were shown around the main temple, market place, Great Ball Court (as seen in The Road to El Dorado, despite the historical inaccuracies) and a sacred cenote. It was spectacular, I’m really glad I did this over a different, smaller tour.
Next we went to Il Kil cenote for swimming. I jumped in from about 20 feet! It was a quick stop but beautiful with an underwhelming lunch but hey, it was all you can eat.
Finally, we made another quick stop in the village of Valladolid with a quick tour around the main square, then back to Cancun. The weather was about as good as it ever gets and the crowds were minimal. I was hesitant to book this trip because I heard it can get crazy with lots of tourists and vendors (not unlike the Pyramids of Giza), but I can’t recommend it enough. Our guide Alex really made the trip!
Thursday, 2 January: In the morning, I went to my dive shop to find the dives have been cancelled for the next few days because of the wind, so after manically moving some reservations around, I went on to try my hand in Cozumel.
I was in Cozumel from the 2nd to the 6th, again, you can read all about my time in Cozumel here.
Tuesday, 7 January: Now, I finally got the chance to do some of my postponed dives that were originally scheduled for the 2nd and 3rd.
Divemaster Alberto led myself and another American to dive another minesweeper wreck first. It was a lot like the wreck I dove in Cozumel, but this boat was more scattered and had more life: we saw at least two eagle rays, a green moray eel and more. The current was very strong, so the dive was short (30 minutes) at 23 meters.
Our second dive was a lovely drift dive on a reef: Horseshoe. Although we didn’t see anything “wow,” the reef had the most numerous fish of any other dive I did. It was spectacular to see the large schools of yellow snappers. We also saw a lion fish and plenty of barracuda. Our dive was 35 minutes at 16 meters.
Wednesday 8 January: Unfotunately, my other two dives in Cancun got cancelled because of the wind. I was really looking forward to diving Muso but all the more reason to come back.
Knowing I wouldn’t do much tomorrow before my flight, I didn’t want to sit around today, so I made an impromptu trip to Isla Mujeres and it was without a doubt the best day I had on land.
As soon as I arrived, I rented a scooter for $30USD for the day. It was a nice automatic Honda that was very user-friendly (it was my first time driving a scooter, but the shop owner didn’t need to know that).
First, I drove to Playa Norte, one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico (according to some articles I’ve seen). It was truly beautiful with the mosaic of different blues and luxury boats on the water. I waded in the water and read on the beach for a while before walking back to my scooter with a lunch detour on the way.
Then, I made my way around the island, stopping at wherever looked interesting (read: where other golf carts were parked on the side of the road to see what all the fuss is about). I did a quick drive-by of the western peninsula, admiring the lagoon and rolling my eyes at all the captive animal attractions (here’s a little post I made about wildlife tourist attractions, I hope to republish it and write more on the topic in the future to spread awareness). There’s not much to see there as the beaches are all private access.
I made my way further south and found another location of my hostel that I snuck into for the private beach (thanks to the universal wristband they suspected nothing). Nomads Hotel, Hostel and Beach Club looks like an absolute dream. I need to come back and stay here for a while. I could lay on the beach and read all day.
I made my way to the southern most point which is appropriately named Punta Sur and was it gorgeous. I think it was my favorite part of the day. Mayan Ruins, a wonderful trail that takes you close to the water, the Cancun “skyline” and greenery are all breathtaking.. and free (at least for today, I suspect there’s usually a small charge but the booth was unmanned today).
I finished my loop around the small island, returned my scooter and took the ferry back to Cancun for one more low key night.
I haven’t been up to much today (January 9th), just reading (I finished Daisy Jones & The Six) and faffing around at my hostel. I am leaving for the airport in a few hours and arriving back in Los Angeles a bit before midnight local time.
When I get back, I will have a busy few days of random administrative tasks (sending e-mails, making blog posts, etc.), seeing family and friends and packing for my next three months in Alaska for work. Some of my coworkers are already up and although it looks beautiful, I am such a whimp when it comes to the cold! I’m already looking forward to summer getting my dive master in Utila, Honduras with my coworker!