Our saviour in Central America
Going through Central America we’d been starting to feel a bit like we were treading water – almost starting to feel a bit bored. Sure, we had amazing times in the different countries in Central America, but after a while it felt like we were seeing the same things over and over again. Not that surprising after traveling for so long. Also, we were missing a dose of culture and city life – something lacking in most of the countries from Panama upwards. This feeling finally came to a head when we were in Belize. We were quite disappointed with the place; super high prices, and a lack of anything that special to justify them, meant that we decided to leave there after 5 days.
On we went to Mexico in search of something different. Something to revive our excitement in the trip. And Mexico did not disappoint!
To start with, we got a great dose of the aforementioned city life and culture. Bacalar with its cute colonial charm. Palenque which was a bit rougher round the edges but still had a bit of a buzz about it. The beautiful San Christobal, higher up in the mountains with any number of great cafes, bars and restaurants keeping us occupied into the evenings. The more contemporary Oaxaca boasting dozens of beautiful art galleries and hipster coffee places. And of course, the vast metropolis that was Mexico City; needless to say we developed a big soft spot for this place – spending our days wandering different neighborhoods and museums, and our nights at rooftop bars, terraces and some cool parties (our favorite being Pervert party – a monthly queer party held at amazing venues – the party we went to was in an old convent).
Impressions of Mexico (click picture to enlarge)
And of course, the food. Oh the food! We can’t talk about life in Mexican cities without talking about the food, given that the lives of most people there seemed to revolve around it (whether it be grabbing snacks from any one of the dozens of food stalls along the daily commute, eating out for breakfast, lunch AND dinner or joining mile-long queues for the hotspot eateries). And, having sampled our fair share of Mexican cuisine whilst we were there (for most people it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that we like our food), we can understand why their lives revolve around it! The food we experienced in Mexico was some of the best we’ve ever tasted. The pastries (bakeries here were out of this world), the soups, the tacos, the nachos, the enchiladas, the mole, the guacamole, the salsas (especially some of the more spicy ones). We had it all. Often topped off with margaritas of course. Yes, Mexico definitely found the way to our hearts (and our waistlines)!
Real Mexican food (click picture to enlarge)
Anyway, we digress (and not gonna lie – also started drooling a bit).
For all of the city life, culture and over-eating that we enjoyed, our true love for Mexico came from somewhere more surprising – Playa del Carmen. Surprising as we aren’t normally beach people; especially when it comes to beach resort-type places. As we’ve mentioned many times before we are generally city boys. But there was something about Playa that we were taken with. Or more to the point – multiple things. The cosmopolitan feel of the the town; with everything from fancy bars and restaurants to ‘mom & pop’ places. The buzzing nightlife; with some of the better nights out we’ve had on the trip (from techno parties to bar nights and shows). The beautiful beaches which, despite having the issue of sargazo (super smelly seaweed type stuff in the water), were so much fun to hang out at. The surrounding areas on the Yucatán peninsula; with so many stunning cenotes to explore, the more hippy (or maybe now hipster) Tulum just a stones throw away and cool Maya ruins to explore. The breathtaking scuba diving options, with beautiful coral reefs and hundreds of species of sea life to discover – so much that it’s convinced Carl to take his diving to the next level and go for his PADI Dive Master qualification. And finally, some of the best people we’ve met on the trip so far; all of whom welcomed us into their town with open arms (especially Gabriel, who we are indebted to as without him we wouldn’t have experienced half as much as we did!). Even better is that we got to experience all of this with Carl’s parents who joined us for part of the trip.
Playa del Carmen and surroundings (click picture to enlarge)
So, no question Mexico was a game changer for us as far as Central America goes. After being so sure that we wouldn’t find anywhere that we liked as much as Argentina and Colombia, we are left now with the question of how soon we can return to Mexico (in particular Playa del Carmen), and whether we might want to consider staying for an extended period (perhaps for Carl to do his Dive Master there). Something we for sure will be thinking about over the coming couple of months. Let’s see where it goes.
Until next time.
- Countries visited: 14
- Cities visited: 73
- Distance travelled: 44.419 km
- Modes of transport:
- Plane (18),
- Night-bus (14),
- Day bus (36),
- Boat (10),
- 4×4 (1),
- Trekking (2),
- Taxi (8),
- Road trip (15)