Viva Mexico – Tulum

My third and final stop down the Quintana Roo was in Tulum and was probably my favourite place. Despite feeling ill, seeing a big-ass snake and swimming with a small-ass crocodile I really enjoyed my time there.

The bus from Playa Del Carmen took just under an hour and the bus station was about a 50 minute walk away from ‘Lucky Travellers Hostel’ where I was staying. Usually I wouldn’t have minded walking this distance but feeling ill as I was I decided to flag down a taxi.

The drive was literally straight along the road for about 10 minutes and the only navigation required was a quick lap of the block so we were facing the right direction. This, however, didn’t stop the driver, who knew only a few words in English, from constantly asking ‘where we go? Tell me! Tell me!’ It took me a couple of minutes to realise that the taxi driver was pretty drunk. Maybe after the second or third time of him pointed at a woman walking along the street and saying: ‘Look! Big Bum’.

Luckily the road was fairly quiet and didn’t have much traffic and I arrived to my hostel safely! The place was the first ‘all inclusive’ hostel that I’ve seen and was pretty good with free bike rental, a cinema room (shock some English guys were already in there watching football) and generally loads of space to chill out.

I forced some food down, which was average at best but I didn’t expect much better from a buffet, and took a laboured walk to the beach. Like Playa and Cancun the beach was full of seaweed but the potential could be seen beyond the brown waters and the horrid smell.

Each day the hostel organised an excursion on bikes. The two days that I stayed, we were taken to different Cenotes (pronounced say-no-tays) by a tiny Brazilian guy who originally came to Tulum for a few weeks and ended up staying for 6 months.

A Cenote is pool of water stretching underground and there are lots of them found around the Yucatan area, many linked to each other and the sea by underground tunnels. There are open, semi-open, underground and cave Cenotes. The first day we visited a cave and the second was open.

The connection of underground tunnels allows wildlife to arrive in the Cenotes and in the cave, besides many fish that would bite your toes in a free pedicure, there was a baby turtle. They also had some turtles in an old bath tub where they held them before being released somewhere (less tourist infested) later. In the open cenote I even spotted a baby crocodile in the reeds which only made me question where mummy and daddy were.

sdr

The cave Cenote was basically just a few holes in the ground. A couple of small holes were about a meter or two wide and the main hole about five meters. Down the main hole was a rugged ladder so people could climb up and down into the bat infested cave or most people just jumped the 4 meters down anywhere that they weren’t likely to land on someone’s head. I was surprised whilst inside to see a bunch of bubbles appear in the water, they were promptly followed by a man in full scuba gear who had been exploring the underground rivers.

The next day we went to an open Cenote. The guys at the entrance warned us that there was a baby crocodile around, which I spotted almost as soon I jumped in, off the man-made diving platform. It was kind of like a big pond with clear water (which made it kind of creepy) and a beautiful jungle back drop, the water was very refreshing on a hot day.

The other thing that I did during my short stay in Tulum – which is a typical thing to do in Mexico – was to visit the ruins. The ruins of Chichin Itza were impressive but these ones were visually stunning.

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I took a walk through the jungle and then ducked through a small arch before being hit with a large plane with buildings spaced out on lush green grass with a backdrop of beautiful blue skies that ended with the cliff to the ocean below. The scenery was so stunning that I didn’t even think how impressive the buildings, built thousands of years ago by the Mayans, actually were.

On the way out of the ruins, again through a jungle (but a wide man made path) I was scanning the trees to my left when I had to double take. The tree which I thought had strange patterns actually had a big snake coiled around the branch. Thankfully it wasn’t moving so I stopped long enough to snap a picture and made my way out of there sharpish.

Tulum was a good way to end my week alone in Mexico before heading back to Cancun to meet my girlfriend Karen and continue my travels on to Cuba.

Viva Mexico – Manchester bound

I can’t believe it’s been less than a week since I was back home in the UK, pouring pints and labouring on a building site. Now I am chilling out in a hostel in Tulum, Mexico having ticked off one of the seven modern wonders of the world. I’m going to share some of my experiences on my travels and many thanks in advance for those who read. I hope you enjoy!

Monday 28th June 2018

I set out for Manchester, to catch my flight to Cancun that was leaving early on Tuesday. Some research on skyscanner had helped me to locate a one-way ticket to Cancun, for just £210 with Thomas Cook.

I would just like to point out for those wondering, it was only a one way ticket because I don’t know my plans going forward and not because I don’t intend to return!

My trip to Manchester was pretty straight forward, I’d booked my ticket with ‘Mega-bus’ (or Mega-shite-bus as my good friend Loz refers to it). Obviously it wasn’t the fabled £1 that they advertise but no-one has ever seen but £14 wasn’t so bad. At the bus stop I met a traveller from New Zealand. I’d barely left my home and here I was next to a fellow traveller.

Now there are a few different types of traveller that you find out there. Some laid back, some keep themselves to themselves, some love life and all the beauties that it has to offer especially the parties. This particular traveller was none of the above. This was the type who feels the need to share his life story within the first 3 minutes of meeting (including, for some reason, the fact he only had 4 pairs of underwear with him). If you’ve met this type of traveller before you will know that he has definitely done everything that you’ve done in your life and if he hasn’t he’s heard of someone that has!

When the bus finally arrived, I strategically positioned myself far away from that dude and settled in for the 4 hour journey via Coventry and Birmingham.

When you stop being in a rush and have nowhere in particular to be, a four hour journey can actually feel relaxing and the time flew by. I arrived in Manchester and found my £11 accommodation: ‘Hatters on Newton Street’ and found somewhere to set up camp for the afternoon and watch football. I spent as much on two drinks as I did for a night’s accommodation, but the pub I found had a good atmosphere!

A lot of people hate the stress of travel but the only stress I felt all day was watching England play! Even surrounded by Manchester United fans, the much loved Lingard was taking abuse for missing so many chances (the place nearly erupted when Rashford came on). I’m willing to give Sterling a free pass for playing so badly as at the moment he seems to be shouldering all of the ill will and harassment from the British press which is usually spread out across the whole squad during a big tournament. He’s taken one for the team there.

After Kane’s stoppage time winner, the pub erupted as though we had won the whole tournament and the Mancs broke out into verse of ‘football’s coming home’. I grabbed some food and went to get some sleep before my early flight.

Hostels can be great or a nightmare depending on your luck. In my room with 8 beds I was sharing with four people. At about 4am I heard a Scottish voice shouting ‘hey, buddy, can you stop snoring’. No I wasn’t the one snoring, but I was the one that got woken up by his shouts. Not once but 3 times over the next 20 minutes.

The guy snoring was going at it. He was in a hibernation type sleep that any bear would have been proud of. ‘Hey, BUDDY, can you stop snoring please.’ at least this dumbass was being polite with his request but as the rattling snores continues I wondered what was the point in asking someone that can’t hear you to stop doing something he has no control over. ‘hey buddy, buddy! HEY BUDDY!’

That was it for me ‘dude shut the fuck up! I can deal with his snoring but you shouting the whole time is too much!’ I heard a little whimpering reply ‘well I’m sorry, but I’ve been laid here for hours’ I wasn’t feeling very sympathetic by this point so replied ‘yea well next time don’t be so tight and get yourself a private room!’

The rest of the night was uneventful before waking up at 6am to get to the station and airport.