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April 9, 2009

Isla Mujeres, a Mayan Disney World and Eco Friendly Cabanas

Filed under: Backpacking,Mexico,Travel @ 8:25 pm

I recently returned after an awesome 10 days of traveling around the Yucatan Peninsula. I traveled with two very good friends from my home town of Coos Bay and one’s boyfriend. A few days into the trip we were joined by an amazing New Yorker. It was such a great experience and I couldn’t have been more delighted at the fact that my two friends are both fluent in Spanish too. I speak a little but stopped taking courses after my first year in college, I am a tad bit rusty. It was excellent to be traveling with them because this way it was easy for us to carry on conversations with the locals and always find the best places to eat and get inside view from the people in the area. We flew into Cancun but made a b-line for Isla Mujeres ( a small island off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula ).

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We stayed at a youth hostel named Poc-Na which was recommended in every guide book we read. I carried along with me my trusty Let’s Go! Mexico guidebook (best guidebooks ever! Wrote by Harvard college students for the budget traveler. Perfect!). The time we spent at the Poc-Na was great and we only spent about $10 a night to stay there. Isla Mujeres was my favorite part of the trip because the island was so small we could walk everywhere. There wasn’t as many tourists or travelers and the beaches were low key and beautiful. I was glad I didn’t experiance the Cancun life. After leaving Isla we traveled to the town of Vallavolid which is by far our most cultural experience. There are very few if any travelers walking the streets in Vallavolid but the city does hold a lot of history. Our real reason to stay in Vallavolid was to travel to Chichen Itza -the religious and political center of ancient Mayan civilization. We spent most of a day at Chichen Itza walking around old Mayan architecture. It was an amazing site and it is one of the new seven greatest wonders of the world. There is so much history behind the old civalization.

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After chichen Itza it was a mad dash back to the coast. We headed for Tullum where we spent the next two nights living in beach side cabanas with hanging beds. The resort we stayed at – Diamante K – was considered an eco friendly resort. The showers were all double shower heads with beaded curtains keeping everyone from outside from seeing in (doesn’t really work too well) and the lights only came on from around 7pm to 12am every night. There were no plug ins or electricity except for at the restaurant/bar on the resort. Most of the resort was lite up by candle light including the bathroom stalls which were outside. It was a great way to live for a few days and a beautful place. I loved to wake up in the morning and open our window to the crashing waves. Unfortunately the wind was acting up while we were staying there. It seemed as if we were living through a mild hurricane. The whole place brought back memories of when I traveled in Belize with my family and we stayed in a cement hut. In Tullum we even got to check out a cenote which are sinkholes that expose underground water and caverns.

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After Tullum we packed up and travled north to Playa Del Carmen. Playa is now the fastest growing city in North America. In just two years the population jumped from 80,000 to 140,000 people. It is said to have a great night life (still cheaper than Cancun) and breath taking beaches. Again the wind was so horrible the water was churned up and the sand was just whipping across you. No one was going snorkling or diving because the wind had made the visibility awful. It was for sure a bummer that we couldn’t get out to the reef. The reef off the coast of Playa is part of the second largest barrier reef that travels all the way down the coast of Belize. Playa was a very touristy and expensive for us so we decided to pack up and travel back up north to Isla Mujeres to spend the last couple days there. We were lucky to book the same hostel again and enjoyed the last few days taking it easy on the white sandy beaches and relaxing. It was an awesome adventure that I was lucky enough to experience with my good friends and I even made a bunch of new ones along the way.

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March 5, 2009

Spring Break in Mexico

Filed under: Daily Barometer,Travel @ 7:41 pm

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