Trip to Yucatan Peninsula and beyond

Cancun, Mexico has always been on my dad’s bucket list, but never on mine, since it just reminds me of Spring Break. But, when my little brother asked me if I want to go to Cancun for a week at an all-inclusive resort, flight/room/food included, in the price…I was like why not? I was itching for traveling again. These last two years of COVID (and ongoing) has put a damper on traveling. I didn’t realize my passport expires this year, one month after our trip…but phew, what a relief, because I didn’t check before I bought the non-refundable flight tickets lol. We stayed at the Riu, Palace Peninsula in the Hotel Zone of Cancun. I would definitely recommend this place and would come here again to stay. Lots of restaurants to choose from, clean rooms, spa, and beach and swimming pools right in front! On our first day there, we got off the plane at 6:30 am so we headed to our hotel, which is only a 35 min drive from the airport via taxi. It was about $45 (tips included) and three of us…so the best option. We couldn’t check in til 4 pm so just left our suitcases at the bellhop and lounge around the resort. Lol…in hindsight, if we didn’t have to wait around til our room was ready..we wouldn’t have the chance to use the day beds and hammocks that they have outside the hotel! It was so hot and humid there already in the morning. So, that didn’t exactly entice us to use it for the rest of the stay, lol. And that was the first and last time we used the hammock on our trip. Note: the “wading pool” isn’t exactly the place to rinse your sandy toes…they have a shower area for that. LMAO. It’s purely decorative. So we were told after the second time we went there to wade through. In our defense, there were already sand in there and a path that leads to it. LOLOLOL. That will make me laugh for years to come. Stupid Entitled Americans.

Right in front of our resort!
One of my favorite dessert from the Italian Restaurant inside our resort, passionfruit parfait!

The next day was our 12 hour long tour to the Yucatan Peninsula. To Chichen Itza or “chicken pizza” according to our guide, Marco. Our tour started at 6:45 am and we were picked up in front of our hotel. I booked through Viator, but our travel company was Amigos Tours. It was a 3 in 1 tour…Chichen Itza, Tequila tasting and Cenote Swim at Valladolid.

Chicen Itza – One of the last remaining temples of the Mayan Civilization. But those Mayans…(how do I say this?) are INCREDIBLE. Their temples and infrastructures are made to last for ages. Our tour guide, Marco is amazing and so is our group, which made all the difference. Only he can offer insight and profound wisdom of the Mayans. Sound Reflection, Refraction, Amplification, oh my! If you clap at a certain point around the pyramid, others can hear the sound of birds chirping. They once had a concert here and people for miles could hear the music for free. A sobering place, a sacrificial place, blood was spewed, lives lost. In this space I am grateful to be ALIVE. Grateful to experience the immensity of what it is to be FREE.

Our next stop was a lunch buffet at a local place. They had a gift shop there and a shaman to bless you and your purchases. I’m not really sure if it’s a scam…supposedly everything sold there was handmade by the locals…but they look just like the stuff we saw at the temple, where the guide said it was all made from different countries. The food was alright…I guess could be better if I didn’t forget the hot sauce!

Our next stop is Cenote Saamal…which are natural caves, sinkholes that fills up with rainwater or groundwater over time. We had to jump from a little height to get into the swimming hole…which I never done before but didn’t have time to think about it before I just jumped in. Which I’m glad I did. 🙂 There was a place that you could just go in gradually that I didn’t see til afterwards. Ahhhhmazing there! If only I had a swimming pool like that! And that ended our tour! Back to our hotel for dinner! What restaurant to try next?!

At the cenote in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Our last excursion for our Mexico trip was scuba diving in Isla Mujeres! We took a 30 minute ferry ride there. The station was walking distance from our hotel. 🙂 Isla Mujeres is a small island, about 4 miles from end to end that you can rent golf carts for the day to go around. We didn’t have time to do that because we waited for hours to get our covid test at the hotel before we rush here to make our 2pm excursion. We had a little time to walk around the area near our adventure tour. It was so hot out! Colorful businesses/homes dotted the streets! Relaxed at a nearby bar with lemonades on a swing while we wait for our tour.

My kind of hangout place!

Scuba diving time! I was nervous but excited! We had a little practice in the “shallow” end of the ocean. I went down to the ocean floor twice with my scuba gear before I panicked and realized I don’t want to do this anymore. LOL. The constant breathing in and out. And what ifs. I know myself. And when I get to that point, my anxiety wins and there is nothing that will change my mind. My instructor, Karla, was amazing though, I have to say. She took it slow and never pushed me beyond my comfort zone. She and I snorkeled while my brothers scuba dive below. It was amazing to see all the fishes and the underwater museum with the statues (from the safe distance above, lol).

It was an amazing experience and I’m proud of myself for trying and for knowing my limits. I also know I will definitely try it again. Now that I know what to expect. The biggest part is overcoming my mind. At that time, I knew I wasn’t ready…that I wasn’t confident in the basics. Scared of panicking, not knowing what to do when/if my mask gets filled with water and if I’m that deep I can’t just rush up. You have to slowly get up or your lungs, ears can be impacted. All that going through my mind.

Til next time. And I hope Karla will be scuba diving instructor, again! 🙂

Snorkeling in Isla Mujeres. I believe that’s my brothers scuba diving under there! Or maybe it’s other divers. 🙂 The water so blue and beautiful! Wow!

My last morning swim at the beach and swimming pool! I’m so gonna miss that! We had breakfast at our usual place (only place open really for breakfast, lol). Packed our suitcases, checked out and then had our last “iced” caramel macchiato at the cafe bar in our hotel. “Iced” in quotations because every time we asked for it…it came to us, steaming hot. I guess we could’ve used google translate to find the Spanish word for “iced” but I guess every time we thought..yes..she understood. LOL. Got our usual free croissant sandwiches to go for our flight.

And that ends our trip to Quintana Roo, Cancun! Such an amazing trip filled with culture, adventure, history, relaxation, and indulgence. And connection: Karla, our scuba instructor, who is now our buddy on instagram. Reminding us, that the world is so big, we still have lots to see and marvel. Yet, it’s the people we meet, that make it more meaningful. Where to next, my brothers?!?!