Well, I finally made it to country #30.
What is better than reaching a travel milestone? Doing it alongside the love of your life (looking at you Mark). There was no possible way for this to be anymore perfect, except maybe if the water was bless, but I’ll get into that later.
We had booked the flight for Cancun earlier in the year and it was our first trip together outside of Canada/US area. Because I aim to be the MOST prepared person ever, I had gone ahead and booked all of our activities as well. On Friday we would zipline and ride ATVS, on Saturday we would go visit Chichen Itza + swim in a cenote and on the Sunday we would relax on a catamaran going to Isla Mujeres.
On top of booking all those activities I went ahead and found us a decently-priced airport transfer to take us from Cancun airport to our AirBnB in the hotel zone. I had read all these message boards about it being $60USD roundtrip and I refused to pay that! I luckily stumbled upon Canada Transfers which offered the same transfer (and I added an apple juice and a beer!) for $67.00CAD roundtrip. It worked out perfectly because their service was prompt getting to and from the airport.
When I booked all those activities for Cancun I also considered some of the items we may need for the excursions. Since we were only traveling with our carry-on luggage for the flight with Interjet, we needed to pack smartly. I had written a post about my packing for this specific trip and I will say, it worked out just fine. I fell within the weight limits and still had all the items needed for the trip. For the activities themselves I had purchased us:
Matching folding backpacks to use for our day trips. These were super lightweight and awesome for our carry-ons because they fold into a bag the size of your palm. You can get them here. I bought Mark a green one and I got myself a pink one.
To go with our backpacks I got Mark green water shoes and some pink ones for myself. Found here. I thought these might be necessary when we did the ATVing and jumping into caves and whatnot. Didn’t want to wreck my good shoes but still wanted my feet protected.
Made sure to get us two waterproof cases because there was no way I was missing out on some photo ops just because we happened to be a little wet. Found here.
Because I had contemplated taking my selfie/ussie skills to a next level I went ahead and purchased a bluetooth remote shutter (found here) and an amazing travel tripod that is able to stand, be used as a selfie stick and capable of being wrapped around things so you can take some different angled pictures. (found here)
Naturally, I also brought along my favourite portable charger because I never wanted to be without an opportunity to take pictures of Mark, food, beach or myself. (found here)
I bet you read that and are like, ‘wow that girl is well-prepared, this should be awesome!’ Or ‘who the hell thinks of this shit?’
I do. I think of it. And guess what? Didn’t even end up needing to use most of it. Why? Because one week before our trip I saw a hotel on IG and we unanimously chose to cancel ALL the damn activities, get a refund, and stay at a hotel for one night in Tulum. We had already paid for three nights at our AirBnB in Cancun, but suddenly we were feeling adventurous I guess.
So let’s get to the trip now…..
Friday, August 31st - Arrival
We had an EARLY morning this day. Our flight was leaving at 7:30am, so we made sure to be at the airport for 5:30am. Breakfast at the airport was necessary. There really isn’t much to tell about the actual flight itself because it left on time, was fine in the air and landed on time. Nothing too wild happening.
Once we landed at 10:40am (Cancun time) we set out to find our prearranged shuttle to take us to the AirBnB. Although check-in wasn’t until 3:00pm usually, we had contacted our awesome host who said we could check in as soon as we got there. Joy.
As we exited the airport we were able to quickly find our driver, get our pre-ordered drinks and make our way down to the Hotel Zone.
The drive through the Hotel Zone is quite nice because on the left side of you there is a lagoon and on the right side is a LONNNNG strip of just resorts and beaches. I eventually found out that the length of this Hotel Zone was like 32KM? Wild.
Once we got to our AirBnB at the Solymar Condo’s we just followed our hosts instructions and made our way to our room where the cleaning lady (SHOUT OUT TO BERTA, YOU’RE AWESOME) was waiting and let us in.
I really liked our place because it was enough space for the two of us, had a nice bathroom, huge bed and a really nice view from the balcony of the pool and beach grounds.
Because I am a beach bum I got changed ASAP and went down to the beach with Mark. Sigh. This is where the sadness came for the duration of the trip - seaweed. The entire beach area was absolutely covered in seaweed that was at least up to my shins. We got ourselves some beach chairs to still relax, but I was incredibly saddened by not being able to go into the water. Mark did talk me into making a try ONCE to go into the water where the seaweed wasn’t as thick, but after five minutes we both left the water because it was just gross touching your body.
After some relaxation and alcohol, we went back inside to change and decided to go find a local variety store just to have some necessities in the condo. It was about a 10 minute walk to the nearest Oxxo and they had everything we needed there. We bought: bug spray, spray deodorant, chips, chocolate, massive bottle of water, a big Heneiken bottle and a 750ml bottle of Captain Morgan rum. This came to $25.00 Canadian equivalent. AWESOME. I was loving the prices of things here very much.
Upon returning to our room, it was time to get dressed up a little and head to our dinner reservations at Navios. This is another place I had just happened to see on Instagram and it was also listed in our hosts binder of good places to eat nearby.
Again, this was just a short 10 minute walk away and actually ended up being right next to the Oxxo we had visited earlier in the day. This restaurant was beautiful. It is right on the lagoon and the setting is so romantic. As it got darker they turned their lights and candles on, which added to the ambiance.
The food was good and the service was especially nice. We totally had lied and told them it was our anniversary on the reservation to ensure we’d get a good seat. It worked! We got great seats and they ended up giving us a slice of cake with ‘happy anniversary’ written next to it. Please don’t judge me for lying, I just wanted somewhere nice to sit. Was I going to take a free piece of cake though? Absolutely.
After the dinner we walked back and went to sleep because Friday was a very long day and Saturday was going to be the same.
Saturday, September 1st - Tulum Adventure
This day will be short and sweet in terms of what I will write in this particular blog post. Why? Because I already wrote THREE blog posts about what happened on this day.
Today we were going on our adventure to go spend a night at the hotel we cancelled all of our activities for. We had planned out how to get from Cancun to Tulum on their transit system and it worked out really well for us. If you are wondering how to get from Cancun to Playa de Carmen to Tulum, the post I wrote about that is here.
Just know, it was a good experience and along the way we got to eat some delicious breakfast by the Cancun bus station that had ‘Jamaica juice’ aka sorrel on the menu, we saw Playa de Carmen for all 15 seconds during transferring from one bus to another and I had my FIRST guacamole I didn’t hate in the downtown core of Tulum.
Arriving in Tulum was interesting because prior to going on this trip I had to repeatedly hear about the dangers in Cancun and Tulum. I don’t doubt that bad shit happens, but once you enter Tulum it’s really even more confusing. That city is literally hipsters walking everywhere. Hipsters and locals, that is it. There are countless places to buy souvenirs, to drink, book excursions and to eat. Tourists are riding around on bicycles in hoards and it is a pretty chill place. I didn’t feel any danger, personally.
After tasting the first guacamole that didn’t taste like feet and sadness, we took a taxi to our Instagram hotel and you can read ALL about our experience there in this post I wrote about it.
Most important thing to note was, cancelling all the activities to stay at this place was most 100% worth it. The end.
Sunday, April 2nd - Back to Cancun
On Sunday we left the hotel around 11:00am and headed back to Cancun. Refreshed and feeling really good we thought this might be a good night to go party.
When we got back to downtown Cancun we wanted to first get some food before making the trek throughout the Hotel Zone to get ready and hit a club. This was the plan, at least.
Again, for someone who is adamant on planning everything to the second, this trip sure as hell wasn’t going as planned. We randomly stumbled into the loudest restaurant we could find. They had statues of Spiderman and Homer outside, how could this place possibly NOT be awesome?
As we sat down, it quickly became clear to us that there was no other tourists at this restaurant/bar and also that our servers spoke absolutely no English. I live for this shit eh? Please put me in situations where I have to just figure shit out as I go along.
This place had some deal for like six Coronas for $6.00 and I should mention I don’t drink beer so that was all for Mark. We managed to order some nachos and fajitas, the beers for him and a double shot of dark rum and Coke for myself.
This is where things began to get VERY entertaining. My boyfriend Mark is a gorgeous Jamaican man with dreadlocks, just to offer this exact description of him. No boost. EVERYWHERE we went in both Cancun and Tulum, locals wanted to high five him and take pictures with him. At this bar it was happening constantly. At one point they even played reggae on the speakers for him.
During this time I realized we only had cards to pay with and this wasn’t one of those ‘electronic payment’ type establishments so I went searching for a bank machine. Let me tell you, being three double shots of rum in and the sun beaming down on me - I really went for an adventure for those 30 minutes. I left Mark at the bar to take care of our belongings (and so it didn’t look like we were trying to run out on our bill) and oh mannnn the intense search I ended up on.
Not a SINGLE one of the bank machines near the place had money in them. I even walked all the way back to Cancun central bus station, all three of their bank machines were empty. Then I proceeded to walk to exchange booths that also ended up not taking cards. Finally I found a random variety store that took credit cards and withdrew money.
Once I returned back to the bar, I found five men huddled around Mark plotting out how we were all going bar hopping later that night. Told you, dude just popular there.
We kept drinking and then I did some dancing. It was an awesome afternoon. We made plans with one of the locals to come back at 9:00pm to this exact place and continue the party. Cool. Said our goodbyes to all the friends we made at the bar and went to find our bus back to the AirBnB.
Full disclosure: I don’t remember much after this. I know we got on the bus and that Mark made some other friends on that bus. Next thing I know, I woke up at about midnight and wondering where the night had gone? I know we had left the bar at 6:00pmish …. how the hell was it midnight? Weren’t we supposed to be out? When did I manage to shower? So many questions.
Mark turned and said to me, ‘I tried to wake you up, but you weren’t even trying to hear all that’. Shit.
I went back to sleep and yeah, that was the end of the trip.
On the Monday we woke up and just hung out in the pool of the hotel and stood in awe of the gargantuan iguanas on the property. Our host had OK’d using the property until almost 2:00pm (check out was supposed to be at 11:00am) and we took full advantage.
Our shuttle service came and got us at 2:00pm and took us to the airport so we could catch our flight back home. Sadness.
This trip was really amazing. This was the first time in a long time I actually 1) relaxed on a trip and 2) didn’t do everything I had planned out. Strange phenomenon for me. I guess I have my boyfriend Mark and the rum to thank for that. Sometimes you can’t go 100% by your itinerary, I guess, maybe, sometimes.
Just know, #30 was super memorable for me.