I was finally away from the highly touristic coast of the Yucatan. I was in a small lakeside town called Bacalar. It was beautiful! My hostel was right on the lake and had its own little jetty that you could swim off or just lie in a hammock. Our dorm room was right on the lake so was nice a cool as there was always a steady breeze.
The jetty at our hostel
It was a place you never wanted to leave and really didn’t do much. There were afew girls in my room that had been there for a week and had no intentions of leaving and a bunch of people came back after just a few days of being away.
I really didn’t get up to much here. The most adventurous thing we did was hire a kayak and paddled to the other side of the lake. I was with a girl from melb named Sarah. It was way harder then we thought. My shoulders were burning and no matter how hard we tried we struggled to stay in a straight line on the way back. We did manage to find a place that seemed very popular with the locals where you could rub “mineral rich” mud on you. It stank!! Interestingly Sarah doesn’t have a sence of smell so it really didn’t bother her. I don’t know if it did anything for our skin but at least it was fun!
Kayaking on the lake
Woooo stinky mud!
I really could have satyed here for weeks but managed to pull myself away after 3 nights as I felt I had been chilling for a bit too long and need to get my butt back on the road!
After making a small fortune in flighr vouchers ($US1400), thankyou Delta! I was back in beautiful mexico!! I was meeting Nick in Playa del Carmen so after a quick stop in Cancun I was off on a shuttle to Playa.
Nick insisted on staying in a private room, being the princess he is, so we managed to find one in a hostel. Best of both worlds. I really had no interest in going to Playa as it is just a massive tourist trap (think Kuta Bali) but that’s where Nick wanted to go and I thought it would be fun to hang out with him for a few days.
We started off with a tour to Tulum. This is where I wanted to stay as it has amazing beaches and is a pretty chilled out place full of backpackers. Alas it wasn’t to be (I could have gone after Nick left but by then I was all beached out…). We started off at the ruins. These are peobably the least impressive ruins but in the best location; and you know what they say… location, location, location! These Myans must have been loaded! It was insanely hot and overcrowded so that also detracted from the apeal maling these my least favorite ruins.
It was then off for a quick pit stop at the beach to cool off and highlight how crap the Playa beach was, then off to the grand Cynote. The Yucatan is basically all limestone and therefore riddeled with sink holes that they call Cynotes. They are full of fresh water and are like giant caves and tunnels you can swim through. They were pretty cool. There is an option to go diving there but we didn’t do that… I might do it if I end up going back there.
The Grand Cynote
Finally it was time to go swimming with the whale sharks!! I had been waiting for weeks to go as I knew Nick would want to do it (such a nice friend). After a lot of fucking about picking people up, we were off on the boat to go and find them! I have no idea how they manage to find them every day. It felt like we were in the middle of no where. Then suddenly on the horizon we saw hundreds of boats! They must have found them!! For the amount of boats there you would think that the water would be packed with tourists trying to get close to them but there were so many whale sharks that it was only ever you and your partner swimming with the shark at one time. They swam quite fast but you could keep up with them for your allocated time. It was pretty amazing and definitely worth the money ($US120)!
Our last day together was spent on the worst snorkling tours I have been on. We were thinking about going diving in Cozumel but decided we didn’t want to spend the money (and if th snorkling is anything to go by we made the right choice). I was a little toured out so wasn’t paying much attention when we were booking it, plus the ferry was about to leave so we kinda made a rush decision. The snorkling was shit!! We went to 3 spts where there was no coral and hardly any fish. Was such a waste of money! Nick and I were so annoyed but really we should have looked into it more…
That night Nick had a date with a guy he met off grinder so I had the night to myself. Oriana and Robert were coming down from Cancun and we were going to have a crazy night out. They were supposed to be in playa at around 9:30 so I was ready to go and waiting. I should have known better. I got a txt at 9 and they hadn’t even left Cancun!! They eventually arrived at 11:30! I was almost asleep. We finaly made it out around midnight. It ended up being an awesome night out!! We were up patying till 5:30. Eventually I managed to drag the girls home and Robert had to get on a bus back to Cancun as he was going on a tour to chichanitza (can’t spell) at 7am!
For the first time ever my iron stomach was defeated! It actually started in San Cristobal the night before I flew out. I wasn’t feeling that well at dinner and on the walk home it really hit me. Thankfully I just managed to make it back to the hostel where everything came out (both ends). The rest of the night I spent throwing up. It truely sucked. I was still sick the next morning but managed to make it onto my flight to cancun.
I wasn’t planning on spending much time in Cancun. Just 2 nights and was going to head off to Isla Mujeres or Isla Holbox. Alas things didn’t go as I had planned (seems to be a running theme for this trip). There is only one hostel on Isla Mujeres and Holbox and they were both fully booked for the entire week. I could have tried going there and trying my luck but was feeling pretty lazy and didn’t want to risk it.
We didn’t want to wait in line to get a pic
I really didn’t get up to much in Cancun. Nick was going to meet me in Playa del Carmen when I got back from the BVIs so I had to wait for him to do a lot of things (like the whale sharks). We mainly spent our days going to the beach and day drinking. There were 2 people at my hostel from Kentucky that I had met in San Cristobal called Chloe and Jerome that I spent most of my time with. We would go down to the beach and buy 1L cocktails for 120 pesos and listen to music. One day we managed to get a pretty big group together from the hostel and created our fraternity group Alpha Cancun. It was actually a really fun day where we drank way too much!
The only touristy thing I managed to do while in Cancun was go to Coco Bongo. Cancun is full of super clubs and each night they have something on. Coco Bongo runs everynight and is THE place to go apparently. Its not really a club more like a show where you dance between each act and get free drinks. It ended up being an awesome night. Thankfully Robert (a guy from Venezuela) was our “guide” instead of the normal party guy Chris. Chris was ok but was just one of those people who thought they knew everything and were really cool coz they could drink loads so all his stories revolved around him being so drunk. I guess that’s what happens when you are the party person for 2 years at a hostel.
Vegas Strip of Cancun
It was an awesome night out! The performances were amazing! It started off with people hanging from the roof on silks. They then had everyone from Queen to Madonna to Beyonce. One of my favorite acts was between spiderman and this green thing (obviously not a spiderman fan) having a huge battle with them swinging through the air. Suprisingly our little group managed to stick together and left the club around 5:30.
Coco Bongo Crew!
After an 8 hour bus trip, where I slept the whole way (thankyou dramamine!!) I arrived at the small mountain village of San Cristobal de las Casas. It was nice to finally be out of the heat! It was really cold here and rained almost all the time turning the streets into rivers which wasn’t the greatest but was still an amazing town.
I was staying at an awesome hostel that had a nice garden and chill out area and an awesome breakfast called La posada de abuelo. As it was so comfortable and my spanish was still shit, I decided it was time to do some more spanish lessons. A guy from my hostel, called Mike, also decided to sign up for lessons so we were put in a class together. Mike was basically Austin’s twin except he didn’t drink. Our school was amazing. We had three different teachers for 4 hours of lessons (Jorge, Gabriel and I could never remember our last teachers name…). The week went by really fast and was nice to have a bit of a routine. At the start it was more of a refresher course and in the last few days we started learning some new things like tenses and reflexive verbs. Now I just need to remember it all and start practicing more as my spanish is still pretty shit….
As i had decided to stay in San Cristobal for over a week I decided to change my plans a little and just do a day trip to Palenque and then fly from Tuxtla to Cancun to save time and money (the flight was cheaper then all the buses would have been and a lot more comfortable). They day trip to palanque and back was a mission! We started the tour at 5 am and drove for a good 3-4 hours up and down a windy mountain road. I somehow managed to sleep the whe way! Our first stop was Agua Azul, a massive waterfall with a bunch of other waterfalls. It is very beautiful and you can even go swimming. We jumpped in at one point but the water was freezing so we didn’t stay in for too long. The next stop was another waterfall, whos name I can never remeber… This was more one really tall waterfalll that you could walk under and a big pool at the bottom you could swim in. I didn’t go swimming as I had already taken off my bathers and was too lazy to put them back on but n it did look really nice. After a quick lunch we were off to the ruins.
Everyone on my bus was from mexico besides two girls that were from spain, so I was the only one that couldn’t speak spanish. Because of this the driver didn’t bother to slow down his instructions so I never really knew what was going on. Sometimes someone would translate for me. So when we got to the park I was told we needed a guide and the whole group was getting one, Spanish speaking of course. I later gound out that you don’t have to have a guide to go into the park so i could have just gone in and wandered around. Thankfully a few people in the group spoke english so the would translate the gist of what he was saying byt I’m sure I missed a lot. It was still amazing though and the people there were pretty interesting. They didn’t sacrafice people but would give their blood as a sacrafice by piercing themselves. There was a lot of other interesting facts but I can’t remember them right now.
Before classes started I also did a tour to one of the indigenous towns near san cristobal called San Juan Chamula. This town is totally autonomous mean they make their own laws and have their own form of government. They also practice polygamy (if they can afford it). As part of the tour we went to the main church in the centre of town. If you asked the locals what religion they were they would say catholic but this was like no catholic church I have ever seen. To start with there are no benches/pews (I am obviously not a religious person so have no idea what they are called). Instead the floor was covered in candles and people praying on the floor. They also bring in live chickens (for the bad spirits to go into) which they then kill, so there and dead and alive chickens in the church. They also have eggs which represent new life which they rub over the person who has had the bad spirits removed. They also drink a bottle of coke to remove the bad spirits from insde (by burping) and deink this alcohol called posh, which tastes awful, kinda like an undistiled vodka. Another part of their ceremonies (not one removing evil spirits) is to set off these loud “fireworks”. They just make a really loud noise and there aren’t any pretty lights. They do this several times a day for different saints so there is constantly loud bangs going off. Your not allowed to take pbotos in the church so you will just have to google it.
We managed to go on one other day trip to the Sumedero Canyon. This was apparently a must see in Chiapas. Little tip: It is actually cheaper and a lot easier to do a tour then it is to do on your own. Sadly this wasn’t really an option for us as all the tours left in the morning and we had classes then. So after school we set off to find a colectivo to take us there. It actually wasn’t too hard. The bus/colectivo dropped us off a little to early so we had to walk a bit but we eventually found the place. We then had to wait there for about 30mins for other people to show up and fill the boat, hence why it is better to do a tour. It was worth it in the end though. The canyon was pretty impressive with some parts reaching 1km in height. We saw some spider monkies and loads of crocodiles as well. The boat ride was about 2 hours long and I’m glad we went in the afternoon as siting in the full sun would have been torture.
Christmas tree waterfall!
While I liked Mark, Chris and Daniel, it was time to leave to boys locker room and make some new friends. Thankfully Liam (a cool guy I met in Mexico City) was staying at a different hostel so I had a perfect reason to leave. The hostel was called Casa Losodeli. It was really nice and even had a pool but man it was hot! At first I thought it was just Liam being a pussy with the heat, being from England, but it was like 35 degrees with 90% humidity and no air con!! I would wake up drenched in sweat. Not the most comfortable….
Thankfully the beach wasn’t to far away. We pretty much spent every day there. Puerto Escondito is known for its surfing. We were apparently at the beginners beach but the waves were still pretty big! Rose (a vegan chick from Canada that had to eat lettuce sandwiches but was still awesome) and I decided we wanted to do surfing lessons. It took us two days to sike ourselves up enough to finally do them. My board was massive (it was a stand up paddle board)!! First go I nailed it!! Straight up! I was pretty impressed with myself. Sadly it didn’t last long… I couldn’t get back up again for another 40 mins. After a lot of face plants and swallowed water I finaly managed to get back up! After that I called it a day as I was exhausted!!
Nailing surfing!! (The board I used was actually twice as big as this one….)
Seeing as Rose and I were now pro surfers we went again the following day. We dragged along Pete (a guy from England studying spanish at the hostel) who didn’t do too great and lost both his contacts and couldn’t see once he got out so we had to lead him back to the hostel. Rose and I did a lot better this time and stood up almosy every time. I swapped legs and found goofy foot easier (for future reference).
Not actually me… But basically what I looked like
Other then lying at the beach, surfing, dying from the heat and a few failed attempts to go out (there were no people!!) We didn’t really get up to much. The only other really cool thing we got to do was release baby turtles!! A local guy has started collecting turtle eggs once they are laid and then moves them to a safe part of the beach that is constantly guarded so locals and other animals don’t eat them. Then when they hatch we release them back into the sea making sure the birds dont attack them. You usually only get to let one go but not many people showed up the day we went so in total we releasd 5 each. They were so cute and tiny!! Watching them shuffle into the huge waves was so impressive. Rose and Liam cried when they released theirs. I didn’t cry but it was a pretty cool thing to be appart of.
Daniel, Chris and I were off to an early start as we wanted to get to Oaxaca (said Wahaca) early enough to go out and party for Daniel’s birthday. It was a pretty long bus ride, about 7 hours. We were heading to a hostel that Mark and Tom were staying in. It wasn’t anything flas and was full of stoners but wasn’t too bad. After stuffing our faces with Tacos we were off for a night out on the town for Daniel’s birthday.
We all ended up getting insanley drunk (Daniel and mark more then the rest). We went to a bar that had 10 peso beers and 10 peso tequila shots. It was a pretty fun night out.
The next day we really didn’t get up to much. We walked around the markets for ages trying to find some food place Daniel had seen on a cooking show once. Just as we were about to give up we found it! It was worth the wait. We got a massive basket that they filled with bbq meat and tortillas and then let us choose a bunch of sausase and salads. It was delicious! We spent the rest of the day bumming around and eating home made guacamole on the roof of the hostel.
Eating guacamole on the roof
After a day of not doing much we set off to see one of the main tourist attractions in Oaxaca, Hierve el Agua (boiling water). The water isn’t hot as the name implies but it bubbles out of the ground which is how it got its name. They have made some pools here that you can swim in but the main draw card is the petrified waterfall. Over 100/1000 years (I’m not sure you’ll have to google it) water has trickled over the edge of a cliff and as ot has so much calcium in it it has built up into these calcium rock things that look like a watetfall.
Petrified waterfall (kinda hard to see in this pic….)
It was our last night in Oaxaca and the boys wanted to go out with a bang! I invited a chick from my room to join us and was pretty excited to have another girl around. I had felt like I had been in a boys locker room for the past few days. We went to another hostel for some pre drinks where we got to try mescal. I wasn’t really a fan. It tasted like smokey tequila to me and I hate tequila. We then went to a bar and I suddenly realised everyone was pretty drunk except me. This pretty much spelled the end of the night for me. I ended up having to babysit Laura for the rest of the night and got to clean up her spew which was all over the bathroom… It was a great night…
Aftet a quick stop off in Michigan to see Grandma, Artie and some of the Stowels it was time to head to Mexico City! I was pretty excited but also a little nervous as you always are before going to a new place where you know no one. I managed tl find my hostel pretty easily and the spanish was coming flooding back (although I still need way more lessons and practice!). While chilling in the common are and trying to work out what I wanted to do in mexico city i met a group of guys that were all a bit rough after a night out. They were heading to a market to get some souvenirs so i headed out with them as I had nothing else to do. I wanted everything in the market but as it was only my first day and my bag is already full I restrained myslef and didn’t buy anything.
We then ended up in a park across the road where everyone was dancing. We later realised this was a thing to do on Sunday’s. They set up big speakers in the park and everyone just gets up and dances. They even had free group lessons going on that Tom, 2 other girls (whos names I can’t remember), and I joined in. We were terrible!! We also were all wearing thongs so had to go barefoot and it flet like dancing on sandpaper! I really don’t think shoes would have helped but I’m just going to pretend that was the reason we were so shit. That night we all just hung out in the common room of the hostel and drank and sang along to daggy 90s music that everyone loves!
The next day we were off to the pyramids. They have a proper name but I was never able to say it let alone remeber it. They are the Aztec ruins about an hour or so out of mexico city. There was a group of 5 of us from the hostel. There was a couple from Qld (Bianca and Coren), a strange guy from the states (Nathaniel) and Daniel (a guy from South Africa) and me. There were so many steps!! We didn’t have a guide so I never really knew what i was looking at… I ment to google it. There were 2 huge pyramids you could climb. The sun one was the largest and you could make it all the way to the top of that one. I almost died walking up all those stairs. Someone encouragingky said it was because of the altitude but I knew it was due to my terrible lack of fitness. After taking a few photos at the top and recovering we went to the moon one which you could only climb half way up (thank god!) It was this one that the human sacrafices were carried out, at least that’s what Bianca said. I should really check that. After scaling what felt like 1 million stairs we headed back to the hostel for a lazy evening.
For my last day in Mexico city we decided to go on the free walking tour. I normally like to do these when I first get to a place to oreientate myslef and learn about the city but other things had come up. As far as walking tours wentit wasn’t yhe best but it wasn’t bad either. We learnt some ineresting facts such as the city is sinking as it was builton a lake. We saw afew cool buildings and ended at the biggest bakery i have ever seen! The first floor was full of anything you could imagine while the second floor was for cakes, mainly over the top ones for quinceneras.
That night we were going to see the wrestling. Afew of the guys had gone a few night before and said it was really good. We were all pretty excited and jumpped in a few ubers to the arena. After driving in our uber for 30 mins we new we were totally lost and going to the wrong place. Our uber driver kept in insisting there were no other arenas and this was the only one. We eventually told him to justturb around and take us back to the hostel. Was an epic fail! The others managed to make it but Chris, Liam and I missed out. We eneded up just going out to dinner around the corner from the hostel.