PB Travels… San Cristobal de las Casas

So I’m down to the last few days in Mexico – boohoo- and I’m spending them in San Cristobal, essentially a mountain town with picturesque views, beautiful churches, cobbled streets and good food. Oh. And lots of shopping. 

There is a distinct change in temperature – we went from shorts and shirts to fog and freezing cold!!! And I’m not exaggerating. It was really horribly chilly. Bring back the sun I say!!! 

Where am I staying?
The hotel is called Parador Margarita, and one of the best ones of the entire trip. Stunning grounds, and the rooms were something else. Beautifully furnished, very rustic and tasteful, my kind of a room.

Location was also brilliant, 5 minute walk to Real De Guadalupe, and about a 10 minute walk to the main square. Don’t think twice about staying here. 


  • Grubbiness factor = non existent. 
  • Bed = 9/10. Comfy bed, comfy pillows and since it was so cold in this part of Mexico, comfy duvets and blankets – lovely lovely lovely. 
  • Shower = 10/10. Super hot shower, amazing pressure, I was having two showers a day. Loved it. 

What did I eat?

Our first stop for lunch was at Agua Azul, the beautiful blue waterfalls where there were about 100 stalls all serving the same thing – empanadas, 5 for 20 pesos. So I chose fillings of frijoles and papas (you could have had queso, carne or pollo too) – freshly made to order. 

More filling than tasty (how can deep fried food be so bland? Well. It can), they were just ok and served the purpose they were meant for – to fill my belly. What I enjoyed most was the cabbage and carrot salad, doused in lime. Could have had just that for lunch! 

Once in San Cristobal, I noticed that it was another hippy town, which meant lots of veggie options – I would eat well here. Yay! 

So I didn’t really have breakfast while I was there, only super amazing decent coffee from the cafe opposite the hotel – only 12 pesos! Muy delicioso!

I also had a coffee in the market one day – this time 6 pesos and flavoured with cinnamon. Lush. Will be doing that back home. 

Lunch one day was at Tonantzin, a restaurant on Real de Guadalupe specialising in veggie and vegan food. As it was still very chilly – about 12 degrees, I went for a soy milk hot chocolate – with real Mayan cacao. Exactly what I needed. 

It was really warming and the chocolate really came through. 

For mains I went for a vegan tamale. I was quite excited as all the tamales I have come across so far have been meat filled. 

This one was stuffed with carrots, peppers, peanuts, raisins, spinach. It may have not been traditional, but dang, it was good. 

Doused with that fresh tomato sauce and habanero salsa, it was the perfect meal for a cold day. Full of texture, flavour and substance. I’d eat it again. And again. 

Lunch the next day was at Kinoko, more like a hipster cafe with two, tiny 4 seater cinemas that played hard hitting/meaningful movies. All in Spanish, so we didn’t watch any. 

I LOVED this place. The decor of this place was great, and so was the menu. Lots and lots of veggie options. Oh, and the views from the restaurant were beautiful too. 

To drink, mainly for the name and my love for all things Hayao Miyazaki, I went for the Princesca Mononoke – with strawberries, ginger and sparkling water.  Good decision!! It was Perfect. Delicious. Refreshing. And gigante. 

I went for a salad crammed with lettuce, beetroot, carrots, olives, avocado and peppers. Oh, and a side of guac. As expected. 

Massive portion, so delicious. I could taste each and every veggie. Loved this meal in it’s entirety. 

Dinners? First night was at TierrADentro, a restaurant supporting the Zapatista movement. 

We were all FREEZING cold, so what better drink to have than a mescal hot chocolate?

Ho ho ho. This blew my socks off. Potent, with a strong hit of both chocolate and mescal, believe you me, I wasn’t complaining about the cold any more. Won’t ever order it again though. Waaay too strong for me. 

For my main meal? A pizza. MEH. Not a wise choice (I blame the cold), but the selection of salsas almost made up for it, along with the avocado, obvs. 

What is brilliant about this place is that they have live music every evening. And tonight’s entertainment were 2 Italian guys – playing traditional folk music. Absolutely brilliant! The guy on the left played at least 7 instruments!

We went back there on the last night mainly to listen to the music – this time two girls from Argentina. I had a bowl of veggie soup with noodles – which was super tasty! 

There was this sweet old woman trying to sell her wares. Now most restaurants allow vendors to come in and sell their stuff. Her style was unique. She would walk up to each table, not say a word, lay out all her stuffed animals and then look at you with puppy dog eyes. 

It worked!!! I bought a lion which turned out to be be perfect present for the 5 month old baby at my homestay! 

Dinner on another night with a few of the girls was at La casa del Pan, a lovely restaurant with artisan shops. 

I ordered yes, guac – and look how it arrived! What a beautiful presentation! The best yet. And it tasted yummy!

I also went for a glass of home made kombucha. Refreshing but a bit too sweet for me. 

For mains, a stunning stunning stunning meal. Black corn tortillas, stuffed with mushrooms, carrots, onions in this wonderful sauce. 

Look inside. Pimped with lime and pico di gallo, it was an excellent dish.

So filling – I could only finish 2 of the tacos.  As for snacks? More of that mango doused in lime and chilli. I also tried a cold chocolate from Cacao Nativa (there were about 5 of them in the place).  I went for an 80% chocolate (you could choose which chocolate you want – try before you buy). 

Yummy. Just how I like it – not too sweet, slightly bitter and a super depth of flavour. I even bought a bag of cocoa beans to take back with me. 

What did I do?

We stopped at 2 water bodies before getting to our final stop. First one – Misol Ha, a beautiful waterfall, which you could walk around.

So calming and relaxing, I spent 1/2 hour just sitting on a rock taking it all in.   Next stop – Agua Azul, and you can see why it is callled that. 

Perfect backdrop for your sweet sixteen pics, eh?

When I got to San Cristobal, I wanted to do nothing.  This was the chill time of the holiday. I decided I didn’t want any day long activities and decided to spend 2 days walking around, visiting the markets, taking in the  views and visiting as many churches as I could. Very worth it. 

We did visit the jade museum, which I would recommend. And only 30 pesos fee! Didn’t know there were so many kinds of jade. I love the Lila – was instantly drawn to it. 

I enjoyed my time here. San Cristobal is an expressive town – from the people to the graffiti to the streets.  Definitely worth spending a few days here to relax. 


PB Travels… Palenque 

I would have happily stayed in Merida for another month, but we had to move on to Palenque – the home of another set of super ruins. 

To get there though, we hopped on a public bus for an 8 hour journey including stops. This was a very relaxing journey on a very comfortable bus. No complaints. 

Where was I staying?

Xibalba, meaning Underworld (ooooh, I did experience a few spooky goings on too!) was our hotel for the next couple of nights. On a leafy road, a 5 minute walk from the main station, it was in a lovely location. 

Massive bedroom, squeaky clean, pristine bathroom, and. A hairdryer! The first of the trip. To be honest I’ve enjoyed having crazy,wavy,leave-it-to-the-elements flyaway hair though! 


  • Grubbiness factor = non existent. Clean, no dodgy smells
  • Bed = 6/10, decent night’s sleep, the creepiness factor brought the marks down a bit – so did the bright room. 
  • Shower = 4/10. Lukewarm water at best, and no pressure. 

What did I eat? 

Breakfast before leaving Merida was in the hotel – fruit, PB and toast. 

We stopped in the state of TABASCO (!!!) for lunch at a truckers/bus stop kind of place. It was pollo this and carne that but there was also one soup – like a minestrone with veggies and pasta – that they assured me was 100% sin carne.


It was delicious, pimped with lime and chili, it was even better. I had it along with some plantain chips. Lunch. Sorted. 

As for my meals for the next 2 days, I did something I’ve never done before. I went to the same restaurant and bar for almost all my meals and drinks. Hola Cafe Jade. 

First night dinner – I went for guacamole and salbutes, topped with soya mince, frijoles, radishes, tomatoes, lettuce and avocado. 

Now it might sound like I’m eating the same ingredients – which I possibly am, but the flavours are stunning. I don’t know if it is the freshness of produce or my state of bliss – but everything tastes good. 

These were soooo tasty and MASSIVE – I couldn’t finish them. The other girls raved about the chaya quesadillas. 

My non-veggie friend went crazy over these – so much so that she had the same the next day. I also went for a chaya,pineapple and lime juice. What a super combination. 

Breakfast the next day was a little coffee place diagonally opposite the hotel. Cafe Americano – check. Very good. 

Panino vegano – NO CHECK. Butter – yes. Cheese – yes. I tried to tell them butter and cheese aren’t vegan, and after a while I eventually got a toasted veggie panini on soft bread. It was ok. I only had half. 

We got back from the ruins pretty late, and decided to have a late lunch/ early dinner at yes, Cafe Jade.  Same drink, and Tacos Dorados, or rolled crispy tacos, stuffed with beans and veggies surrounded by this stunning tomato sauce. 

Every mouthful was so tasty – thoroughly enjoyed this meal. 

Breakfast before our epic ride to San Cristobal was there again, this time I went for the continental – fruit, toast and sensational coffee. 

Other options – platano frito with local queso and cinnamon – I was informed it was delicious but op much!This place has definitely been generous with the portions! 

And the second best snack of the trip (1st is still coconut carne)? Mango with chili and lime. Whoa nelly. Sweet, sour, spicy, addictive. And in the heat post ruins, pre jungle, it was PERFECT.

What did I do?

Other that walk around the town, we were in Palenque for the ruins and once again, they did not disappoint. We got an amazing guide, Edgar, who really knew his stuff and gave us some fascinating facts about them. 

The complex of ruins were well preserved, and the views stunning. What I loved about this place was that it was surrounded by jungle, making it that much more dramatic. 

I thoroughly enjoyed walking around taking it all in, the mind boggling with these amazing facts, and just when I thought it was over, Edgar suggests a jungle walk! 

I loved this walk. Nothing strenous, but amazingly scenic. The jungle is full of temples and pyramids not yet excavated. We clambered over rocks to jump into small openings – at your own risk, they open into majestic yet guano and bat filled (stinky and moist) places. Still worth it I think. 

We also went into an underwater cave/tunnel, and got blessed in a Mayan Pool. 

There was stunning flora and fauna, giant leaves and trees – and to top it all off, howler monkeys – that we heard this time, not only saw!!!! (Don’t have a hope in hell of uploading a video, but pls google the sound). Apparently Steven Speilberg used this sound for the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park / I can understand why! 

So the town itself. It is a bit dull, to be honest a bit boring after the vibrancy of the previous towns. Not catered to tourists though, it had a proper community feel to it, very personal and not at all touristy. But as I said, the main reason to be here is primarily the ruins. 

Not at all like the next stop, San Cristobal De Las Casas, which had a bit of everything for everyone! 

PB Travels… Merida 

Ok Mexico. It is official. Te amo, Mexico. I love you and I am in love with you. Mucho. The people, the food, the ruins, the landscape – everything. I feel so at home here, it reminds me so much of where I grew up – and the last 2 days have been nothing short of magical. 2 amazing ruins, another cenote and a beach out of your (well, my) dreams – I loved every second of it.

Where am I staying? 

Hotel Reforma, in the centre of the old town. Beautiful entrance, stunning communal areas, and the room was lovely too.  Big double beds, high high ceilings – simply decorated, beautifully done.  Nice location, it was close to the cathedral, main square and Paseo Montejo, the Champs Elysee of Merida (or so I thought).


  • Grubbiness factor = low. The room was clean, the bathroom a bit tired.
  • Bed = 7/10. Decent enough bed, low marks for the fact that you can hear everything – not from other rooms but from reception and the communal spaces – where people were chatting until wee hours of the morning.
  • Shower= 5/10, did the job but stank of moth balls. HATE that smell. Eugh

What did I eat?

We decided to leave PDC early to get to the ruins at Chichen Itza at a decent time, so we stopped for breakfast at a local service stop.

Basic, rustic and clean – but nothing for me to eat on the menu. There were lots of meaty and eggy options. However I always know I that I will find one thing on the menu – so I went for platanos Fritos and pan toastada. And then I remembered my jar of peanut butter that I had in my bag. Breakfast sorted.

To drink? Nescafé – lol. I want a decent cup of coffee! That gave me all the energy for Chichen Itza.  By the time we got to Merida it was 3pm, too late for lunch, too early for dinner. We only had a few hours to explore the town (we had a whole day of activities tomorrow).

I stumbled across Pola – an ice cream shop with dairy free sorbets!! Whoop! I went for chocolate sorbet (dark, luscious, lush), and avocado sorbet (creamy, avocado-y, a bit too sweet), perfect power boost to keep me going until dinner. Please go here – amazing!!

We met at La Chaya Maya for dinner, a place serving proper Yucatan food.

Chaya if you remember is Mayan spinach – loved it in every form I’ve had it. I decided to try a Chaya margarita – what a wonderful drink! Spinach-y in a very good way, perfectly balanced, not too strong and thankfully not too sweet.

For mains I went for tortillas topped with veggies, more chaya, pickled onions and this stunning powder made from pumpkin seeds. I don’t know the local name, but this stuff is like food crack. SO BLOOMING TASTY – Earthy, warming, depth of flavour, checked all the boxes.

It might not look like much, but it was amazing amazing amazing. So tasty, soft, crunchy, oozing with so much flavour.  Everyone’s meals were good, we were all ooh-ing and aah-ing over them. Go here if you are in Merida. Please.  Next day was an early start, we got to Ek Balam – the ruins of the day – so early that no food vendors or local restaurants were open.  So what did we do? Our guide found a hotel and we had breakfast there. Frijoles, tortillas and juicy ripe tomatoes for me.

Perfectly flavoured, beans not too mushy and those tomatoes were stunning. Lunch was on our way to the pink beach. We stopped at a restaurant on the Rio Lagartos – this was like a beach hut, or rather, river hut. This meal was GOOD, the views amazing.

The scenery, surroundings, weather – I think they all add to a meal experience, and I loved it even more for all those reasons.

Rice, frijoles – pulverised, like a soup – with a good chilli kick, salad and guacamole (I should clarify that the empty plate of guacamole in the background was a shared plate – not just mine! Haha).

I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat after this meal. We got to Merida at 10pm after our epic day, exhausted, super content and in no mood to eat. So no dinner.  Forgot to mention another super snack I had. It was so hot after the cenote, we had fresh coconut water (ONLY 25 pesos each). I usually ask for it to be cut open so I can eat the ‘carne’ – as it is. But no. It was cut open, doused in chili pepper and lemon. You can only imagine my reaction. Superdelicioustastystunning. Amazing.

What did I do?

First set of ruins – Chichen Itza. So two things about this place. I saw pictures of it when I was 9 years old, and that kicked off my fascination with all things to do with the Maya. Secondly, and sadly, I was told it is so touristy that the experience of the ruins is lost. Well. I’m glad I didn’t listen to the latter, I went there with no expectations – and boy oh boy. I was blown away.

I just love the close relationship that was created between nature, scientifical calculation and practicality, never forgetting the whole time who is the head honcho – nature.

We had a super cool guide – William. He should have actually been a philosopher, he was so brilliant in his explanations and stories, I could have listened to him talk for hours. He was full of fascinating facts!

He seems to be the guide Godfather – all other guides would don their caps, salute or bow when he walked past – we definitely struck guide gold!! Thank you Chichen Itza, I love you and I will be back.   Merida has stolen my heart. We power walked all over the town for three hours (as soon as we got there). Beautiful, colourful buildings, shops selling every piece of bling and kitsch imaginable, a market (one of the nicest I’ve been – food, clothes and anything else you want to buy) and super friendly people.

The cathedral stunning, the square beautiful, colour everywhere – loved this place. There weren’t many tourists but I felt completely safe and secure.

And, no, our day wasn’t over yet. Our guide told us that there is a community led bike ride around the streets of Merida every Wednesday – the day we were there! 9pm – 11pm, how could I say no!? (Pics to follow, they are on my other camera).    It was so much fun. There must have been around 120-150 people, and we cycled around Merida to the sounds of music, laughter and singing. It was fabulous! A really well organised ride, nothing strenuous about it though!

The next day was even better. There is a pink beach (it is an an area dense with sea salt), and we wanted to see it. But since we wanted our cake, and to eat it, we also wanted out guide to throw in some ruins.  Introducing Ek Balam, near the town of Valladolid, my most favourite ruins of the trip. I could post a hundred pictures and it still won’t do the place justice.

There was so much to see and take in, more to explore, and the energy of the place was phenomenal. I felt like I had plugged into an energy grid – and I probably had!   Once again, our guide was very interesting, honest and funny and it was fascinating to listen to the history of building all these structures.

I will say one thing – for all these ruins, don’t scrimp on the guides. Don’t think they charge too much – they don’t. If you were to walk them yourselves without knowing about the ruins, you might as well stop. The gold nuggets of information were priceless.   Ek Balam done, we hopped on bikes to cycle to our 2nd attraction – a cenote! This one thankfully not as restrictive as the first. Not knowing what to expect, I was so so happy when I saw this sight. Isn’t it just magical??

Swimming in it was even better. The water was the right temperature, the views everywhere I looked were PERFECT. I even donned my snorkel and followed a few black fishies around. However the water wasn’t that clear, other than the fish, there want much else to see. I wanted to stay in there for much longer, but there was a long drive to get to our main attraction.

So after our lovely lunch, we drove for another two hours to Las Colorades. Worth every second (and the four hour drive back). Look at this view – it was so beautiful, almost like being on another planet.

And it isn’t over yet – there are also flamingos in the area!!! Not in the same salt lake, but on the other side. Look!!!!! Obviously more than just two, will upload pics from my other camera.  I loved watching them. We stayed there to see the sunset, and yes, cheesy, cliched, it was the perfect end to the perfect day.

Starting with Ek Balam, finishing with a super sunset, it was a really really wonderful day. I STRONGLY recommend this combination of attractions – you will not be disappointed.  Merida has been the highlight of Mexico for me. It is the base for lots of ruins and cenote exploring. I am not ruined out, I am not cenote-d out, I feel I MUST return to check them out.. SOON!

PB Travels… Playa Del Carmen

After a magical time checking out the ruins at Coba and jumping into centoes, we got to Playa Del Carmen in time for dinner. What a shock to the system! After staying in rustic hotels, being knee deep in nature – we ended up in what was a mini Las Vegas. Playa Del Carmen is a buzzing place, full of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shopping galore.

Where am I staying?

We checked into the One Hotel, essentially an Ibis/Premier Inn, a stark contrast to the character filled hotels I have been staying in so far. A smaller room than the others I’ve been staying in, with a double and single bed, brilliant shower, all mod cons, super fast wifi (i.e the same speed as back home haha).  I’ve just realised I didn’t take pics of the room – sorry!


  • Grubbiness factor = non-existent. We are in serious tourist land, and it showed.
  • Bed = 6/10. Bed was ok, but there was an alarm blaring outside my room for both nights I was there, so sleep was interrupted.
  • Shower = 9/10 powerful, hot water and all toiletries thrown in? Result!!

What did I eat?

We went to La Casota, a restaurant on Calle 12, in the middle of all the action.  By now you can guess what I chose. Guacamole, yes – but with a twist. Here they make it table side for you (by our Mexican Peter Andre lookalike waiter) – nice, but I needed to add more salt.


Every time I eat this, it tastes different, and every time I love it a little bit more. Mains on the other hand were dull dull dull. Veggie fajitas.  Basic, boring, tasteless – not even the yummy salsa picante could redeem them.  I felt this was a tourist restaurant, wouldn’t recommend it to be honest.

I woke up late the next day (9 am), after relatively early starts, this was great. Breakfast was basic continental ( no pic – use your imagination). I walked past 100% Natural the night before, a restaurant that had a lot of veggie and vegan options, and wanted to go there for lunch. So I left the girls at the beach and wandered to the restaurant, which was set in a stunning space.


I am pleased to report I was treated like a local – spoken to in Spanish, given a Spanish menu (which I understood most of – come on, it’s food related) – I was quite flattered! I went for an agua fresca with strawberry and blueberry purée (with sparkling water, like a scholer) – cool, refreshing and exactly what I needed after my tough day relaxing in the beach under blue skies.  I ordered the lentil burger that came with a few sweet potato fries. Pimped with some fresh habanero salsa, I was in heaven once again. So delicious, juicy and tasty.  There were a few more things on the menu I would have liked to try, but not enough time.

Dinner was very different to the night before – we went to a local place where our meals cost a third of what they did the night before.  I went for a tamarind agua fresca – nice, but too sweet like almost every drink I had here.


For mains I had a huarache – or a ‘slipper tortilla’, or let’s not beat around the bush – a makki di roti for those of you in the know. Topped with very saucy frijoles, nopales (rapidly joining frijoles and guacamole in my favourite things to eat), onions and salsa. Tasty (after I added a decent amount of salt) and I got my Indian and Mexican fix in one meal. Interesting that here, they under salt the food and over sweeten the drinks!).

On the way back to the hotel, one of the girls had a marquesita for dessert. It was interesting to see being made. It was a crepe – a crispy/waffle. One crepe, stuffed with Nutella and… queso. Yes, cheese – like a mild edam.  Obviously didn’t try it, but apparently the combination is very complementary and complimentary and went down very quickly.

What did I do? 

Another day of vegetation on the beach. Hard life, but somebody’s got to do it! The beach is beautiful – warm, blue water, soft sand.

The beach was over infested with people. After having secluded ruins and beaches all to ourselves up to now, this felt very weird. We found a decent sun lounger (150 pesos to hire – you need to pay to relax in Playa Del Carmen), I spent my time reading-sleeping-swimming. Oh, and I had an $18, 30 minute massage on the beach. PERFECT!

I did walk around too – day and night, it felt like too much of a theme park (check out the colours at night), with the main aim bring to spend money in any way possible – look at Playaland! Your one stop souvenir mega shop.

Overall impression, once I put the commercialism aside, I enjoyed the place – specifically the beach. Like with almost all beatific beach towns, the underlying vibe was chilled. But I was happy to move on to the next town – Merida.

PB Travels… Tulum

We woke up early to get the 6.30 am water taxi, back to Belize City where our bus was waiting to take us to Tulum – in Mexico!  The border crossing was effortless once again, we got through in 10 minutes – no queues. Once again, our guide said that was very rare. More time for us in Tulum I say! And with the weather hotting up even more, I was super happy.

Where am I staying?

El Punto is a small hotel/hostel with 9 rooms, a gourmet restaurant, a trendy bar and chill out area. It is only 1.5 years old, so it was in very good nick.

The owner’s wife did all the interior design and decor – I quite liked the minimal bare look, especially all the inspirational messages dotted around the room and hotel. My room had 2 double beds (one for me, one for my bags ;), a big enough bathroom and it was spacious.


  • Grubbiness factor = non existent. Clean, slick and lovely
  • Bed = 9/10. I slept really well – virtual no light in the room at night was a big factor. Comfy bed and hard pillows – perfect.
  • Shower = 7/10. Hot hot water, a lot of it. The only problem was, as the water came from underground, it was loaded with natural stuff which had a sulphurous pong. Whiffy, but very clean we were assured.  Still unnerving while showering!

Where did I eat? 

So before we got to the hotel we stopped at La Playita – a stunning stunning restaurant – with views of a lagoon! See for yourself!

And the food thankfully matched up to the surroundings. I had guacamole – delicioso! And a big salad with tofu! Soft, melting tofu. That accompanied by nachos (crunchy and melt in the mouth at the same time) and this killer habanero sauce was an excellent meal. So so so tasty and fresh. I also had a chaya, pineapple and lime juice. Super refreshing.  Other options – prawn tacos and a burger – which were enjoyed as much as I enjoyed my meal.

All sensationally good.  Other lunches? We were at Zamas – where we vegetated for a whole day (see further down for pics). I had veggie tacos – sheesh. Is all the food in Mexico this delicious??? Mixed veggies, frijoles, guac – absolutely delicious and flavourful. I was in food heaven.  And I had a margarita on the rocks – SO much better than the frozen ones! YUMMO! Best one so far on the trip.

Last lunch – a takeaway from the hotel restaurant for our activity to Coba – a veggie bagel, accompanied with potatoes, peppers and avocado. Seriously people, I can’t fault this one either. The view helped too 🙂 🙂

Breakfast was at the hotel one day – I just wanted fruit, toast and coffee, and it was as expected. Simple but yummy. Pineapple was so sweet!

Breakfast the day before (yes, I’m all over the place – go with the flow 🙂 was at Zamas – after exploring the Tulum ruins by the beach. What did I have? Avo on toast with fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes (menu default was with goats cheese), with killer salsas. I am already contemplating moving here. Mainly for the avocados. Eaten with a view of the beach and sand in my toes? BLISS. So delicious.

Dinners? First night there was at an Italian (can’t remember the name) – I had a simple veggie pasta that hit the spot.  The other girls had pizza and fish fillets – all went down really well.

Dinner on the last night in Tulum was at a popular local place. The honestly said that there wasn’t much for me, and I decided to go with their option and try the nopales – or cactus, cooked with peppers and onions, and a side of platanos fritos. Mains and dessert at the same time!  I actually liked the nopales – which basically looked like fat string beans and tasted similar. This restaurant was a hit and miss – only half of us enjoyed our meals, me being one of them.  🙂

And one of the last things I had – COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM! Helado sin leche! This adorable old man had a food caravan down from the hotel – Buena Estrella.

I chose avocado and cacao, and he literally blended fresh avocado, Mayan chocolate beans and coconut milk, stuck it on a cold plate (like they do in Asia, and three minutes later – smooth, creamy, not sweet but just sweet enough ice cream. LOVED IT!

What did I do? 

We walked town – lots and lots of shops (still haven’t bought much), but the main reasons to come to Tulum were the ruins, the beach and the sun.  So we woke up early enough and took a cab (you can cycle, but we had issues hiring bikes – our hotel didn’t have any and all the bike shops wanted to hold on to our passports – erm. I think not).  We walked around for an hour – it isn’t a big complex – sans guide.  I have decided going forward – all ruins should be done with a guide. The ruins were pretty, not not as amazing as Yaxha and Tikal for me.

I loved the view of the sea from the ruins. Usually if the weather and sea are good, tourists are allowed to swim. Today, the Danger flag and the ‘there could be jellyfish in the water that could kill you’ flag was flying. That will be the blue one then. I also loved the iguanas that were all around the ruins

Ruins for the day done? Off to the beach for a whole day of doing nothing. We ended up at Zamas – wise choice. We were literally there from about 10am – 5pm.. They even had live music later in the afternoon – excellent!

So recommend this place – lovely food, lovely staff, lovely beach – only thing to watch out are a few rocks in the sea if you plan to swim.  Next? Playa Del Carmen! But before that, a few of us decided to go to Coba for a day of ruins, zip lining and cenotes.  We had a guide to take us around – Henri, a Mexican French man. Coba is a fascinating place with amazing structures, history and stories. There was a steep pyramid to climb (go soon, as they are going to stop the public from climbing it), circular pyramids, a thatched temple on top of a pyramid that still has its red and blue decorations intact, unexcavated temples, a ball court. BRILLIANT! All of it!!

I was completely fascinated – and it wasn’t over yet!  After the ruins, we had more fun to look forward to.  Canoeing and zip lining (no pics – we were having too much fun) across Punta Laguna – a stunning body of water, where our true blue Mayan guide took over.  The zip lining was rustic and SO much fun.  Loved it. Very much.  Final activity – exploring a cenote – but before that – a quick visit to the shaman for a Mayan blessing!!

Cenote are essentially underground bodies of water formed when limestone collapses (for more info, please ask my friend Google). This was the entrance to the cenote:

Yep – to get into the cenote, you had to be willing to take the plunge, literally. One of the girls looked at the entrance and said ‘I’m out!’ So 2 of us went for it. We absailed down, and once we got past the darkness, ho ho ho. A cave, about 20 feet in diameter, with CLEAR blue water 8 metres down – I could see everything, including the skulls of people who were reportedly sacrificed here. I was completely dumbstruck. It wa like being in another world. I could see the root systems of the trees, there were bats flying around, but at the same time – so peaceful and eerie and magical. The water wasn’t the warmest, but the hardest part was pulling myself up a slippery ladder, wet and cold. But I did it.

I SO recommend Coba. I so recommend going into cenotes that are not in guide books. There were virtually no tourists at the cenote -6 in total which added to the mysticism of the place. And don’t freak out – they are SO SO worth it!