Mexico: An Active Travel Guide

For whatever reason, Mexico has never been a top destination of mine but nonetheless we headed off on a two week adventure. We had a fantastic time, the choices of activities were endless, along with loads to see! We flew into Cancún, and headed to the Riviera Maya which is located in the Eastern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. 

On the first day we headed to Playa Del Carmen, using the Colectivo which is the local transport! Ask at reception for the details, as many tourist aren’t told about it which leaves you paying for a lot of taxis. There were two areas to Playa, both the old town and then the more developed area where you can find all your main high street stores. I was eating a vegan diet last year, so was on the hunt for places to eat. We came across an absolute diamond, The Pitted Date. Salads, toasted paninis, incredible sauces and all the sweet treats you can imagine, it was all there!

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There’s a lot of history to Mexico, and with that comes the sights to see. Our first trip, was Tulum Ruins. It was set in the most picturesque setting, on the edge of the cliff overlooking a beautiful beach, as it was previously a trading port it’s the only village on the coast. It’s best getting there early, as it’s super hot by midday, although they do offer umbrellas to hire!

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Next on the list was Chichen Itza, a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people. You can go there with organised trips, but we decided to make our own way and hire a car for the day. We got up super early, to head out on our drive, and around two hours later arrived at the archaeological site. I was taken aback by both the sheer beauty and size of it all, you would never have known it’s stood for many years. Unfortunately they’d stopped people from walking to the top, safety regulations and all that. But, there’s still so much to see – It’s a huge place!

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13653218_10209105796054578_2873021023033467174_oThere’s plenty of beaches to visit, but our favourite by far was recommended to us by one of the locals. Xpu-Ha beach is set back from the road, and down a long bumpy path, which looks like it’s taking you to the end of the world. But, stick with it and you’ll find the most beautiful spot with golden sands and crystal clear waters. We visited on a Saturday, which was great as it’s a time when there’s lots of locals and they had steelpans playing – The true Caribbean experience!

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One place I was so excited to visit, was Isla Contoy. An island that is only 8.5km long, which is protected by the Mexican government and declared as a National Park in 1998. You can only visit with organised trips, as they allow a certain amount of people per day to the Island. We were the first to arrive, and to say it was picture perfect doesn’t quite do it justice. There was a calm about the place I’d never felt before, and the wildlife was incredible. From stingrays, to sharks to birds I’d never seen before! We stayed here for the best part of the day, with the staff cooking an excellent BBQ, with more than enough vegan options!

13661939_10209105856336085_7675288565317091135_o13680402_10209105958458638_6925567524426711306_oBirdWhilst there was lot’s so see, there was also lot’s to do. Next on the agenda was whale shark diving. Which, after cage diving with great whites in South Africa, I was ridiculously excited about. It didn’t disappoint. Again, this was an organised tour as they take you out on the boat to specific spots. Like all animals, they do what they like. So, we were a bit like sitting ducks for the first twenty minutes or so. But, low and behold they were spotted. When it was your turn, you had to pop yourself on the edge of the boat and pretty much chuck yourself overboard. They’re the most magnificent, graceful creatures which doesn’t seem right when you see the size of the them (they’re bloody huge)! My camera skills went out the window, so didn’t manage to snap as many shots as I’d liked but sometimes it’s best just to cherish the moment for what it is. It was magical. I have a platonic relationship with the ocean, I wish to live as a mermaid, amongst the beauty of nature.

Shark diving.jpg On our way back to land, we stopped of at Isla Mujeres for some time out, food and drinks. The waters were yet again so crystal clear, calm and beautiful.

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There’s lots of different activity parks to choose from around Mexico, especially in the area we were based in. Sold by the zip lines we set off to Xplor park. First off, we jumped into the amphibious vehicles and sped around an off road track in the middle of the jungle. Then came the zip lines, which were great fun (you might want to close you eyes if you’re afraid of heights)! We also tried out the underground rafts, hammock splash and stalactite rivers. And of course, most important of all was the insane canteen which offered endless amounts of food. If you love guacamole, Mexico is the place for you!

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Round up: I didn’t really have any idea what to expect from this holiday, and needless to say there was more than enough to see and do. It had culture, beautiful beaches, amazing wildlife (I’m totally infatuated with Iguanas after this holiday) and some good vegan eats! Would I return? As it stands, I don’t think I would as I feel we did a lot in the two weeks. But in saying that I’m incredibly glad I went. If you’re thinking of going, definitely do it.

Top tips:   

  • Take lot’s of mosquito spray.
  • If you’re not great with sea travel, purchase some anti-sickness tablets for all the journeys.
  • Ask locals for the best spots to visit, you might just find a gem!
  • Explore. Yes, you can enjoy a holiday on the beach but there’s so much to offer I would strongly suggest saving a little extra so you can experience the activities and trips.
  • Only drink bottled water, or use bottles with a filter, I would recommend Water To Go. We learnt the hard way, I’ll save you the details!

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