Hearing about Mexico a lot lately? Seeing posts about Tulum all over Instagram and wondering a) how the hell you pronounce it and b) how can a place look so perfect? Can’t figure out why all of a sudden Mexico is where everyone seems to have either just returned from or planning to go?
If you are looking for a fresh destination with plenty of opportunities to explore, and just as many options to kick back and relax, you would be unwise to overlook Mexico as a consideration.
There are so many reasons that Mexico is the new black, and here are a few of them to get you seriously ready to book your flight.
These incredible sinkholes are probably the most pure and perfect water holes you are likely to see. There are (probably) hundreds of them across this area of Mexico, and many are available for tourists to visit for a swim, There are many famous cenotes throughout Quintana Roo, and many lesser known ones. I was lucky to swim, paddle and snorkel in quite a few of them!
Ik Kil – lots of people go here as it is close to Chichen Itza (see below) but it is stunning to see and has a great jumping platform.
Casa Cenote was a tip from a local, and I am really glad we checked it out! It even has it’s own resident crocodile (which, as an Aussie, I felt quite alarmed about, although I was assured it is harmless due to it’s relative youth and will be relocated once it is a threat).
Kantun-Chi – This Ecopark has 5 cenotes, each of which are all different, as well as an underground river cave which is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Absolutely stunning!
This town is about 2 hours south of Cancun, and is a magical combination of high end hippy vibes, ancient Mayan culture and ruins, and some of the most incredible culinary options in stunning locations. We spent a day here, with margaritas and tacos on the beach watching the kite surfers, and I was very sad we didn’t have a full week to enjoy it.
THE ACCESSIBLE ISLANDS
There are 3 islands that should be on your radar if you are travelling to Quintana Roo region. Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel are all incredibly beautiful, and all great options to stay a few days at.
Cozumel is where a lot of cruise ships stop off (check out my post on that topic), and has plenty of activities to do. It is the biggest island but having said that, you can easily get around it in a day with a few beach and bar visits scattered in between.
Isla Mujeres (pictured below), just a short hop on a ferry from Cancun, is a cacophony of colour and energy, an easy day trip from the main land for a quick visit.
Isla Holbox is about 2 hours drive plus a boat trip from Playa Del Carmen, or less from Cancun, and is the more relaxed and less touristy of the islands – ideal for really disconnecting. And, bonus, they have flamingos! I didn’t make it to this island, but all the more reason to head back there ASAP.
THE ANCIENT RUINS
For those interested in the cultural history, the ancient ruins in Mexico are a dream. One of the 7 wonders of the world is Chichen Itza, about 2 hours drive from Playa Del Carmen. But the history of Mexico is always evident with ruins scattered throughout the region. My personal favourite was the beachside ruins in Tulum, absolutely breathtaking.
Nachos. Tacos. Burritos. Margaritas. Beer and cocktails so cheap you will go home blatantly offended at the prices you are used to paying. But so tasty you will be swinging between wanting to cry with happiness, wanting to move to Mexico, and feeling genuinely perplexed as to why people outside of Mexico can just never really pull off Mexican food this well. I have yet to make chicken tacos taste half as good (why?! It’s just corn chips and like 5 other ingredients! What magic beans are they using?!).
Side Note: Safety
A lot of people ask me about the safety issues in Mexico. I have never ever felt unsafe in Mexico at all. Having said that, I recommend researching the area you are travelling to in order to feel really comfortable. We spent a week driving around Quintana Roo, and having a few tricks up our sleeve and reading safety tips helped us feel really prepared and in control from a safety perspective (insert some links). As always, plan and travel smart.
Whilst this post focuses on theQuintana Roo area (so, flying into Cancun), the west side of Mexico is equally as beautiful, with Cabo San Lucas being another incredible destination to check out.
So, if you are still reading this and haven’t already started looking up flight costs, well, what are you waiting for?!