Monday, 9 December 2013

Hola buenos días .. chilling in the Riviera Maya, Mexico

People often ask me why I go all the way to Mexico or the Caribbean for just a week. Granted it's a relatively long flight but whether it's 5, 7 or 10 hours it really makes no difference to me. On day flights I catch up on the movies I've missed and overnights I may watch one movie then try to sleep till breakfast.  It's only time shifting .. for me jet lag is partially in the mind. I set my watch to my new time zone as soon as I'm on the plane and put myself in that headspace. I start thinking I'm already in the new zone and on arrival I push myself to stay up as late as I can and don't give in to napping (disastrous if you sleep longer than intended though!) Take one day at a time. If I feel tired early in the evening on day 2 or 3 maybe then I let myself have an early night if there's nothing going on. Let's face it even with no time zone change, hanging out in the fresh sea air and sunshine can make you tired anyway so just go with the flow. The reason I do long haul in winter is because I can get guaranteed warmth and sunshine and it breaks up the darkest part of winter in the northern hemisphere.

So my first trip this winter was to Mexico once again but this time to the East Coast and Riviera Maya which faces the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. We stayed about thirty minutes drive south of Cancun at the Grand Mayan. It's a large resort but very spread out with a number of their own hotels on site in varying sizes and price scales.  It's only a 15 minute drive from the city of Playa del Carmen which has undergone rapid development in the last few years. There are numerous hotels in the area and the atmospheric Avenida Quinta (Fifth Avenue) is a pedestrian street with artisans, high street clothing brands and restuarants in abundance.
Mexican scrambled eggs
This trip was all about relaxing by the pool and the beach and enjoying good food. The resort was large enough to accommodate a variety of different restaurants with food ranging from Italian, Thai to traditional Mexican, but we did make the effort to go to Playa del Carmen one day and mooch around the shops for an hour or two before finding a great little Italian restaurant Cenacolo where they make their own pasta and try to keep the dishes traditional.

This region of Mexico is sub tropical so we had a little rain on a couple of occasions. These can be torrential downpours but only last for a few minutes. We saw many species of birds and butterflies as there are a huge variety of tropical plants and forests within and surrounding the resort. There are also iguanas, geckos and crocodiles and there is a turtle nesting site on the beach. Turtles nest all along the stretch of beach from Cancun to Tulum. Six of the seven species of turtles are found in Mexico. I tried in vain to photograph some of the birds I saw but they were just too quick.

brightly coloured bird
I did manage to capture some pelicans flying in formation, kites and seagulls. I couldn't even begin to tell what the other brightly coloured varieties were but they made a heck of a racket in the mornings and all I could see was bright yellow or orange creatures scooting in and out of the treetops from my third floor balcony!

As I love ancient history and architecture next time I plan to go for longer and visit Tulum in the south -
"The Tulum archaeological site is relatively compact compared with many other Maya sites in the vicinity, and is one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites."
 and Chichen Itsa-
"It is located in the eastern portion of Yucatán state in Mexico. The northern Yucatán Peninsula is arid, and the rivers in the interior all run underground. There are two large, natural sink holes, called cenotes, that could have provided plentiful water year round at Chichen, making it attractive for settlement. Of the two cenotes, the "Cenote Sagrado" or Sacred Cenote (also variously known as the Sacred Well or Well of Sacrifice), is the most famous. According to post-Conquest sources (Maya and Spanish), pre-Columbian Maya sacrificed objects and human beings into the cenote as a form of worship to the Maya rain god Chaac. Edward Herbert Thompson dredged the Cenote Sagrado from 1904 to 1910, and recovered artifacts of gold, jade, pottery and incense, as well as human remains.  A study of human remains taken from the Cenote Sagrado found that they had wounds consistent with human sacrifice."

This was my fourth time in Mexico and I absolutely love it .. the people are warm and hospitable and can't do enough for you. I look forward to going back again next year and now I know what to expect of the area will plan a few day excursions and perhaps make it a two week trip for a change!
¡Hasta luego!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is great that you visited Playa del Carmen each night! it is a lovely town with so much to offer to visitors and locals. Carmen @PlayaPalmsHotel