TULUM

TULUM

(Read original blog post here)

How to get there? From Playa Del Carmen you can get a collectivo (a mini van) that goes straight there, just ask the hostel and it should only cost you 35 mexican peso, so just under 2 USD.

Where to stay? I stayed in a place called Chill Inn, which I loved, it had a different breakfast every morning, a kitchen, and big beds with privacy curtains, and you had your own light, fan and a power point. Again if you wanted to find somewhere cheaper you could.

Where to eat? Lots of delicious tacos on the street and great cheap restaurants, they also have some fancy ones too but I didn’t visit those.

Party? Lots of different bars.

Cute bar front in Tulum ft. a Mexican man.

Must do.. Go to Akumal Bay, there you can swim with turtles and stingrays, they are everywhere. They will try sell you a $20 US tour but you don’t need to. We hired our snorkle from the hostel for a dollar. And then you just walk to the other end where the beach is not marked off and they just swim around. You can also swim up to one of the tours but the turtles are everywhere. We also got some snacks, beers and a cooler from an OXXO (convenience store) which is just before the entry.

What else to do? We tried to hire bikes and cycling to the beach ruins but in the end we just got a collectivo.

You can also hire bikes or scooter to explore beach further away.

We hitchhiked for the Copa Cenotes (three very different cenotes in one area), and they also have Copa ruins there. The great thing about those cenotes was that we were the only ones there. That is until we got to the last one where some guys were filming a music video. All three were huge one even had a 10m diving board.

Extra info.. Great place to do laundry.

Next we are going to visit the famous Ruins in the Yucatan region Chichen Itza. The ruins are located just out of a town called Valladolid.

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PALENQUE

PALENQUE

(Read original blog post here)

How to get there? ADO bus to Palenque and then you want to catch a collectivo that is right out the from of the bus station to El Pachan, don’t stay in the city.

Where to stay? There is a few accommodation options in El Pachan. The cheapest one is Jungle Palace you can get a shared bathroom for 100 mexican pesos. They don’t take bookings, rooms are allocated on first in first serves basis. If you are traveling with someone its worth looking at Margaritas its a bit newer. Be warned there is no kitchen or free wifi. They do have two restaurants where you can get breakfast, lunch, dinner and purchase wifi.

Where to eat? The two restaurants they have there or get a collectivo into town.

What to do? Most people come for the ruins, which are hidden in the jungle this could also be a day trip activity without having to spend any time in Palenque.

The Palenque ruins from the ruins.

Another popular activity is visiting Agua Azul but when we were there, there were riots and protest going on so the road was closed. We ended up going to Roberto Barrios waterfalls twice which was cool because they are so huge. We had a completely different experience both times, the waterfall has lots of underwater caves that you can explore.

Roberto Barrios waterfalls.

Party? You can have a few drinks at the restaurant but its a pretty chill place.

The next stop on the gringo trail is San Cristobal, there is a road connecting the two. Although when we were there the road was closed or at times just avoided because of the protests against the government. The protesters were robbing and setting tourist buses on fire. San Cristobal is a beautiful city up in the mountains, the temperatures there are nice and refreshing. The city was built for tourism so there are a lot of cobblestone pedestrian only streets and the city is jam packed with souvenir shops, delicious restaurants, cafes, and numerous bars.

SAN CRISTOBAL

SAN CRISTOBAL

How to get there? ADO bus to San Cristobal, we actually booked a tour from Palenque that visited 3 waterfalls and then dropped us off in San Cristobal.

Where to stay? I stayed at Puerta Vieja Hostel. The breakfast is included and there was always a sweet and savoury option, both looked delicious. They offer free yoga and every second night they have all you can drink Mojitos (strong and delicious) for the ladies.

Where to eat? There is just so many choices. A lot of the wine bars offer free tapas with every drink you buy.

What to do? They have huge markets, a beautiful church, lots of shopping and great coffee shops to relax in.

Visit El Arcotete go zip lining for 100 Mexican pesos and explore the caves for 10 Mexican pesos. Its a nice place to come with a group and have a picnic. They also have lots of this funny single rope swings everywhere. You can get a local bus there or a taxi.

Photo taken of me of the funny one rope swing.
Photo taken from the cave tour of the view.

Sumidero Canyon tour, you can go with a tour or on your own, do the tour because it is the same price and easier.

The Sumidero Canyon.

Party? Start the night of with a free Mojito or a tapas and wine, and end it in a Mezcal bar or a Salsa Bar.

Enough of the big city life, next stop the Pacific coast, Puerto Escondido.

PUERTO ESCONDIDO

PUERTO ESCONDIDO

How to get there? Ado bus to Puerto Escondido it will drop you off in the city part but you can also get a taxi to Playa Zicatela.

Where to stay? I stayed at Vivo Escondido its a great hostel in town, walking distance from a few beaches. But there are also lots of accommodation available on the beach in Zicatela.

Where to eat? You absolutely have to go to Fish Taco and Beer and order an Octopussy taco, it is the best taco I have ever had and this place was recommended to be by a local. Amazing, delicious, 5 stars.

Photo take at the Fish Taco and Beer.

I also had lots of delicious things from the markets and if you stay at Vivo Escondido there is a fresh coconut place just down the street. The girl that works there is great, she taught me how to tell the difference between and young and old coconuts. After you finish drinking it she will cut it open for you and serve it with a lime, I highly recommend squeezing it in and adding some hot sauce, such a delicious way to eat a coconut.

Photo taken of the coconut before I covered it with hot sauce.

What to do? You can do a tour to swim with the bioluminescence, explore the secluded beaches around the town and learn how to surf.

Party? There are lots of beach bars in Zicatela.

Extra info.. Make sure to explore further down the coast.

Next…I left my big back at the hostel and packed a my little one with all the essentials and set off for the neighbouring beach towns. I stayed a few nights in Mazunte and took a day trip to the nudist beach Zipolite, where I popped my nudist beach cheery.

MAZUNTE & ZIPOLITE

MAZUNTE & ZIPOLITE

How to get there? To get here you first have to get to Puerto Escondido and then you will get a collectivo to Mazunte.

Where to stay? Posada del Arquitecto is a very popular option and I actually wanted to stay there but they also don’t do bookings and work on first in first served basis and once you are in you are in so they never know who is going to check out until after check out. But don’t worry there are lots of other option in the street. Some how I got super lucky while trying to find a cheap deal. This guy saw me and said he had a friend that owns a hostel up the hill. I spoke with the owner of that hostel and unfortunately the price was too much but he then offered me another option a property he had on the beach. I somehow got a private place with a kitchen for cheaper. I did have a stoned Italian roomie but he was great.

Photo taken from where I stayed in Mazunte.

Where to eat? If you stay at a place with no kitchen there are restaurants along the main strip. Posada del Arquitecto has a nice restaurant with a beautiful view.

What to do? Posada del Arquitecto offer yoga classes.

You can also do a hike to the other beach. Below are photos from the hike.


Panoramic view of one of the three beaches on the hike.

Extra info.. From here you can go to the nudist beach Zipolite just get on the same collectivo you got off. There are lots of hostels and restaurant there but I just went for a day trip which was enough.

Photo taken from the hammock after a massive feast at a beach restaurant in Zipolite.

After Zipolite, I went back to Puerto Escondido to pick up my big bag and I left the coast and headed for Oaxaca city the capital of food. Now we are talking. I would also say it’s the capital of second hand shopping it was crazy there. And of course it is the home to Hierve el Agua a petrified waterfall that looks like an infinity pool.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON ACCOMMODATION

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON ACCOMMODATION

 

Stay in hostels not hotels. I feel that this is super obvious but still worth a mentions for the newbies and people that don’t know how awesome hostels are (more on that later).

(Yes this is a hostel! This was taken at Zephyr River Lodge in Lanquin, Guatemala.)

Travel to cheap countries! On my last trip I stayed in some incredible hostels FOR $10 a night and could have even stayed in amazing hotels for the price on a dorm bed in the USA.


(This photo was taken in the beautiful country of Panama)

Use booking sites like Hostelworld and booking.com to find hostels in the area you want to stay but then contact the places directly by sending them an email or giving them a call. Firstly because it will be cheaper and secondly a lot of the times a place you want to stay at may be booked out on Hostelworld but not when you contact them directly. “Why might that be?” you ask, well it is because booking sites take a cut of their earnings so they only list a few beds for the presence. I have also noticed some sweet hostels don’t even use booking sites and can only be found by word of mouth and Facebook.

If you really, really want to stay at this super, awesome hostel someone recommended you and you don’t want to stay anywhere else then book ahead as the cheaper rooms tend to book out first.

Buy a tent or a hammock and camp. If you are really on a budget this will save you a lot of cash in places that a bit more pricey (camping $5, bed $15) in cheap places you may be paying $2 instead of $5 so you make the choice. But having a tent or a hammock will always give you a second option in the case everything is booked out. I got my tent mainly for the festivals I went to but it saved me a lot of money in Panama. Otherwise you can just choose the hammock options at the hostels. (In Costa Rica, there is a famous hammock hostel called the Rocking J’s).



Stay in hostels with a kitchen, you will save lots of money that way…if you can cook that is or drink because hostels with kitchens most of the time allow you to BYO. (Keep an eye out for my future post on cheap and easy meals to make, while travelling)

Learn to speak the local language or find someone who can. When I travelled through Brazil I knew no Portuguese but I just made friends with people that were smarter and more educated than me, who were willing to help me out and became my personal translators. Just because you don’t know how to ask something. Doesn’t mean everyone else doesn’t. That is how I found myself in the cheapest hostel EVER in Cartagena. Five dollars a night when everyone else was paying $15, but don’t ever forget, “you get what you pay for”. It was such an interesting place. You could have your own bunk bed for $5 or share a single bunk bed with a friend for $7.5. The owners only spoke Spanish, and so did everyone else so I didn’t even know people spoke English there till the 3rd day, when I found out about the 2 German dudes and of course they spoke English (and Spanish and German and more and more). The kitchen and toilets were very basic but they worked. It was like a little family even though I couldn’t communicate through their language, we communicated in my favourite mix of body language (gestures) and Spanglish.

(Cheapest hostel in Cartagena, Colombia)

Stay in local hostels that are not online, just rock up to a place and walk around. Places like these are also more willing to help a poor backpacker out. They don’t charge extra for silly things like storage and drinking water, they are open to haggling and are just way more chill (This is a tip for a third world country, ie not USA but it worked for me in Asia and all the way through Central and South America)

(This was taken at Isla Boca Brava, Panama from the Private beach of this little hostel I was camping at. The place was run my this German couple that live there for 6 months renting out spare rooms and tents while spending the other six months in Germany. I found out about this place from another backpacker on a bus, she just gave me their card and I emailed.)

Find a travel buddy on your budget. It totally helps if you are on the same page and choose the accomodation in the price and quality range that suits you both. If you are on a different budget someone will always be unhappy and one person will always be spending more than they can afford.

Remember it is okay to stay in a cheaper place down the road even though all your new friends are in the fancy hostel down the road. Seriously, you will make new friends, plus you can sleep in a cheap hostel but still party at the fancy one (they still want your money even if it is just from you buying their alcohol).

TULUM, I LOVE THIS CITY

TULUM, I LOVE THIS CITY

I don’t ever want to leave Tulum, I don’t know why but I have fallen in love with this city. It may be the hostel, or it may be my new brosefs, or the beautiful beaches or the great food either way I love it and don’t want to leave.

  
Number one travel cheat, if you don’t have a sim load maps for your next destination and try screenshot the journey from the point of your arrival to the hostel that really saved me. This is if you can’t ask people for help because you don’t speak the language.
Anywho I did the cheat so found the hostel easy, the hostel had a great vibe about it, massive beds with your own fan and charging point, hot water and a big kitchen. 

  
That night I made friends with two German dudes, one Aussie, one Israeli and an American. We decided that next day we would set off to see the Mayan Ruins.

  
The next morning we eventually got our shit together, leaving 2 hours later than planned. We went to the ruins and the beach. That night the Aussie Guy’s french friends came. They were a couple who have been hitch hiking and camping for 9 months now, beginning in Canada and making their way down. They were planning to go to Coba Cenotes the next day and l invited myself to join and try to hitch hike with them.
The next morning they met me at my hostel, because they slept in some abandoned building, and we set off on our adventure. 

  
Coba is about 45km away from Tulum, we are pretty lucky and get a ride within 5 minutes of waiting. A Mexican couple picks us up, the dude starts telling us that they are just coming back from a funeral/wedding as he takes out a Baggie of drugs. Unfortunately we didn’t get very far, 10 minutes or less into the ride we get pulled over by the police. After ten minutes of them arguing, there has been no progress, we slowly open the doors and get out.

  
We got a lot luckier with the next car that picked us up. It was an Italian couple that were here on holidays, the girl actually remembered me from the ruins because of my ice cream bucket hat, she remembers pointing it out to her boyfriend who is an ice cream maker in Bologna. They were super lovely and got us half way. Our next ride was another Mexican couple, that wasn’t on drugs, there were actually going to the Coba ruins which were 6km before the Cenotes. Our finally ride to the first 2 cenotes was a ute that we rode in the back off. The cenotes were spectacular, like nothing I’ve seen before. After a pleasant swim and a feast we cooked up, we set off for the third cenotes, on the way we managed to get another ride and the dudes that gave us a ride ended up filming a music video clip down in the cenotes. 

  
On the way back we were lucky and got one ride all the way back to Tulum, although we got stopped by the police again and then the driver lost his keys but we got back eventually. In Tulum we celebrated with the biggest plate of fish ceviche, which may I add was delicious and then for dessert we got a Mexican hot chocolate from a cart on the side of the road. Oh Tulum, how I love you and your foodie goodness. We met the boys back at the hostel and they told us about the fantastic day they had at the beach. 

  
On our last day together, brosefs and I decided to go snorkeling at Akumal Beach. We heard that there were turtles and stingrays. We hired snorkels at the hostel for 30 pesos saving ourselves $23 USD. Once again it took us 2 hours to get our shit together and get into a cab. But once the collectivo picked up the 5 of us we all set.

  
We ended up running into the french couple and they told us about the hot spots to go snorkeling to see turtles and stingrays. They water was so clear, warm and perfect to swim in. We saw lots of fish, turtles and stingrays, it was crazy how easy it was to see them. After we decided to try climb the palm trees and then made our way home.

  
Tonight the boys left me to set off on their journey to Belize. Tomorrow I will be leaving myself to go to Valladolid to see the Chichen Itza Ruins.