14 - Mexico

After spending three weeks in LA, road tripping around the desert and then New Orleans, I headed to the airport and was bound for Cancun via Houston. After clearing immigration and customs, I hopped into a taxi and headed one hour south to Playa Del Carmen (PDC). It was a destination suggested by my brother after he had visited it on a previous trip. Once I arrived at the hostel, I dropped off my stuff and then started to plan what I would be doing for the next five days. I immediately organised a couple of tours so ended up going to sleep early with two early starts in order for the next two days.

Getting up early, I waited downstairs at the hostel before being picked up by driver along with around 15 other people. We then hit the road for the day. The first stop after about an hour or so was a Cenote. Cenotes are freshwater caves that are dotted all all the Yucatan peninsula. It was really amazing to wander down into the cave to swim in the beautiful blue freshwater. After that we jumped back into the van and headed for our next destination, Chichén Itzá. Chichén Itzá is a massive Mayan ruin built in Tinum in the state of Yucatan. As one of the biggest Mayan cities ever built, it is also one busiest with so many tourists visiting. We spent a good hour or so exploring the ruins before we headed to another little town on the way back to PDC after a long day of site seeing.

Day two was much the same as the first. Up first thing and then picked up in the van and drive south to Tulum. Tulum is another Mayan ruin in the Yucatan area but instead is right on the coast on the Caribbean Sea. It was one of the last cities built by the Mayans and served as an important hub for trade as well as a defensive fortification perfectly position on the high cliffs. It’s a really beautiful location with the white sand beaches right there along with the fantastic history of the place. After spending a couple of hours in the ruins and then swimming at the beach, we jumped into the van and headed east to Coba. Coba is another large Mayan ruin site in Quintana Roo. The biggest appeal to visit this location is that you can climb the stairs of the Ixmoja pyramid. It’s a 15 minute walk from the front entrance or a quick five minute bike ride which you can hire. You then ascend the very steep stairs to the top. It’s a magnificent view of the entire site and surrounding jungle. Getting down is another story which most people either attempt facing backwards or using the rope provided. After we finished exploring the ruins, we headed to a local town which had direct descendants of the Mayan people that built the ruins and learnt a little about their way of life. We then jumped into the van and took the long drive back to PDC.

The third day was my chill out day so I spent it wandering around PDC and then along the beaches. I ran into two americans guys I had met the day before while on the tour of Tulum so we spent the day wandering the beach, drinking beers and watching manchester united play. I then headed back to the hostel eventually heading up stairs to the bar before going out for the night.

After partying hard the night before, the next day was spent relaxing and recovering. I then decided to book one more tour for my final day in Mexico since I had seen everything there was to see in the immediate area.

So getting up early again, the van picked me up and I was headed to Xel-Há, a commercial aquatic theme park, about 45 mins south of Playa Del Carmen. It’s a really sick place that you can explore on bikes, go snorkelling and swimming and eat as much food and drink as much alcohol as you like. It was a sweet last day just enjoying the last of the beautiful sunny Mexican weather before I flew out the next day bound for Austin Texas.

I had a great time in Mexico and will be back for another visit again sometime, especially looking at some good adventures to be had on the west coast.

1: Chichén Itzá 
2 & 3: Mayan ruins, Tulum
4 & 5: Tulum
6 & 7: Mayan ruins, Coba
8: Stray dog, Coba
9 & 10: Xel-Há

Shot on a Mamiya 7, 80mm f4.0 lens and Kodak Portra 160 film. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California.