Thursday, 26 January 2017

MEXICO - TULUM


One of my new years resolutions was to take the time to relax and not rush an itinerary when travelling. I think its fair to say on behalf of a few travellers that the concept of ticking of a country even when speeding through it - at first seems like a good idea, but soon dies out when you find yourself not spending enough time taking in your surroundings. And with less than a three week itinerary to visit the east coast of Mexico, I decided to slow it all down only visiting four places. 


After a few days spent in tourist ridden Cancun and party haven Playa Del Carmen, I decided to chill on the fast paced travelling and indulge in lounging around in super chill Tulum. Tulum was the perfect combination of exploration and relaxation, a rare mix of archaeology, scenic beaches and village. 

ACCOMODATION 
I stayed at the Hostel Che for the majority of my time in Tulum and I would go as far as saying that this was the best hostel I stayed in Mexico - for only £12 a night, it was so good I ended up extending my stay. It’s the perfect place for solo travellers as the pool/bar area has a real friendly atmosphere and is always full of other travellers looking to mingle. The dorm rooms themselves are extremely clean and spacious, and the showers actually have hot water (unlike the rest of Mexico) and good sized lockers so that you can lock away your belongings safely. I suffered from a mild case of man flu for a couple of days there and mixing that with a lively hostel which plays loud music until the early hours of the morning… well didn’t help too much but overall its a wicked place to stay.

A mistake I made prior to visiting Mexico was expecting it to be a bit like backpacking Asia - and how wrong I was. Having never travelled as a backpacker anywhere other than Asia/Europe, I didn't really have any pre-existing expectations of Mexico other than expecting the travelling culture to be a lot like Asia, I'm not even too sure why I thought this? I found the backpacking demographic was a little older than expected too, with majority of people travelling being in between the ages of 25-35. 
It's actually fairly expensive in Mexico, but Tulum in particular. Tulum thrives of its eco chic vibe which isn't too pretentious yet super trendy, but near enough all of the beach bars look a lot like the ones you would see floating around on a Australian fashion bloggers Instagram. I found as near enough everyone surrounding me got food poisoning, I stopped eating as much street food, but with that I spent a huuuuuuge amount on eating out which is where I found the real money eater. This wasn't just because I was use to strict budgeting on food, but the food and drink prices here were a lot higher than the rest of Mexico. Also good hostels are hard to come by, but booking in a advance (3-7 days) on apps such as Hostelworld and Hostelbookers, you can find the decent ones with the best reviews before they get booked up. 

TULUM RUINS
Tulum being the only Mayan city built on the coast means the site is surrounded by an array of pristine beaches in the background making undeniably incredible views. The site itself is pretty small, and not nearly as impressive as the Chichen Itza but never the less a beautiful spot with a lot of history. I went at 8am and it was pretty quiet, I have heard it gets incredibly busy later on so try and head down early. For extra pesos, you can show up at 7am for the sunrise over the ruins and beach which I heard is incredible!

CENOTES
The cenotes of the Mexican Yucat√°n Peninsula may quite be my favourite tourist attraction about the country as a whole. Found in hidden locations, these turquoise pools can come in magical caves or in the form of a lake in the jungle. Centoes are made from the collapse of porous limestone bedrock which makes this incredible secret underworld of tropical pools.

The cenotes I got round to visiting were the Gratus de Loltun, Grande Cenote and Cenote Azul. Due to my camera battery dying I have only got pictures from Cenote Azul (seen above) but a little Google search will let you see the other incredible scenes. Having only visited only three cenotes in my time in Mexico due to being busy with university deadlines, it gives me a huge reason to come back and see all the others.



DAY ZERO FESTIVAL - PARTY IN A CENOTE
If you have me on snapchat you’ll know that the last cenote I visited was Cenote Dos Ojos, about a 20 minute taxi journey away from Tulum town centre. Going to this festival was a real last minute thing, a few drinks at my hostel on my last night in Mexico quickly escalated into a spontaneous trip to Day Zero - I won’t lie it wasn’t too hard to persuade me to come. 
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UK festivals have NOTHING on this festival, it puts every single one of them to shame and makes Bestival & Glastonbury look like a festival for toddlers. It takes place in the middle of January, and is located in the inside of an actual cenote! 

On arrival we went straight down to the cave where we saw people swimming with the tropical fish in the lagoon, and as you look behind you, you are captivated by this magical oasis of colourful laser lights flashing in-between the palm trees. There is a real bohemian meets native american vibe to the event and the production is unreaaaaal!

Even though I felt absolutely atrocious on my flight home, and cutting it tight leaving the festival to go straight back to my hostel to go straight to the airport… This really was the icing to an amazing trip. 

*the above four images do not belong to me and are taken from the Day Zero website*
 I was too busy having a good time, although I did take a snapchat or 10...


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