My Intro to Mexico
Picture this, it’s 2:45am and I’m crawling out my bed after 3 hours of sleep, tripping over my rucksack nearly the same size of me while my gran tries to shove breakfast and a cup of tea into my hands. 3:20am and we’re heading to Edinburgh airport, where I wave bye to my grandparents and try to not let them see my nerves… see you in three months Scotland.
Settling into Mexico
24 hours after leaving Edinburgh and I made it to Cancun! My first two nights in Mexico I stayed in the comfort inn hotel, a very basic airport hotel but it was clean and ideal for a place just to sleep. There was a bus stop across the road from the hotel, but the road was mental with traffic and I wasn’t 100% sure which bus I should get, so instead I got a taxi to the hotel strip/beach. A complete rip off ($600MXN (£24) down to $400MXN (£16) after some haggling for a 15 mins drive), but being by myself I wanted to be sure I was getting to the right place on my first solo trip!
Here, I walked along playa Delfines for a while until I realised the only way off was through a hotel, so it’s possible to get on the beach at certain points but you may need to purchase a drink or something from a hotel bar, or just get on at this point, the Cancun sign.
Playa Delfines is one of the biggest beaches in Cancun, with pretty big waves and strong currents. Therefore, swimming isn't advised but this beach is a lot quieter than the others if that's what you prefer. Playa Tortugas has much calmer waters and so it's ideal for families and those who want to swim, but it can get super crowded!
Getting around the Yucatan Peninsula
During my time in Mexico, a friend showed me the ADO movíl app, and you can book a bus from the airport to the main part of Cancun for a lot cheaper (around $100MXN/£4). The buses also run from Cancun airport to other destinations such as Merida, Playa del Carmen, etc. It's a bit more expensive than the collectivo buses, but it is still cheap and very comfortable. They often have toilets, USB ports, and really comfy seats!
After a bit of a wander, getting locked in a McDonald’s toilet and having to be rescued by a Mexican family, I decided it was time to move on from the hotel strip. I jumped on a shuttle bus for $12MXN which is around 50p for a 30 mins bus trip to Market 28, just a bit better than the taxi prices🤔
Mercado 28 and Plaza las Americas
The markets are lovely with lots of beautiful souvenirs to take home with you, and tequilaaaaa. Here I was offered to try chocolate tequila and panic set in as I took the glass, as me and tequila shots don’t go...thankfully it wasn’t as strong as normal tequila so there was no urge to throw up, it also tasted amazing! There's also lots of places around here to get a bite to eat, with a much more authentic and less touristy feel than the hotel strip.
From the markets, I walked to Plaza las Americas, a big shopping centre with a supermarket, clothes, shoes, toys, ice cream shops and cafes etc. This was an absolutely terrible idea from me as it was 34 degrees Celsius at this point.
Part of my rucksack opened during the flight and I lost a few things so I managed to pick them up here. Afterwards, I got another 50p bus over to Jardín del Arte, a really beautiful park to chill out in and take in the scenery.
On my walks I saw iguanas, beautiful birds, and other funky lizards, you can imagine my amazement when I got to the jungle!
I only had a day to scope out Cancun but I would recommend it for family/friends to go, not so much for solo travel unless you’re moving on afterwards to a different town/city. It’s also an ideal spot if you want to stay in one area but still do trips such as Isla Mujeres, diving/boat trips, Chichen Itza, and is not too far from Playa del Carmen and Tulum! The collectivo buses run between Cancun - Playa del Carmen - Akumal - Tulum. Our drive from Akumal to Tulum cost us around £3.50 each, including a tip, and that was with all our luggage too (we took up the whole bus!).
The Yucatan Peninsula is full of amazing cenotes, natural pits/sinkholes formed from the collapsing of limestone caves or bedrock. I didn't visit any near Cancun but it is something I would recommend anyone go and see. Even if you don't swim or snorkel, they are really beautiful spots to spend the day at, plus some places have life jacket rental (it is also mandatory at some unless you have a freediving certification). Best cenotes in Cancun include Cenote La Noria, Verde Lucero, Cenote Mojarras, and Cenote Selvatica. You can even scuba dive in some of these cenotes!
I would have loved more time in Cancun to get a better feel of the place, and to enjoy the famous Coco Bongo nightlife! It lives up to its name of the party destination of Mexico, but after discovering Tulum I wanted to spend most of my time there after my expedition. Everyone will have different preferences depending on what you're looking for, but for me Cancun lacked the cultural and adventurous experiences I was interested in.
Next up on my blog is Calakmul jungle, which I'll have A LOT more to talk about.
Thanks for reading,