Travel Journal

Yucatán Peninsula (Dec 2016)

December 2016 marked our 30th wedding anniversary - reason enough for a Mexican getaway before Christmas!

We stayed at the Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, just up the coast from Playa del Carmen. I'm not the biggest fan of the all-inclusive holiday, but I think I could get used to it.

We spent our first day chillin' at the hotel and by the sea, trying to decide just which of the five restaurants we should eat at for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And was all the booze really free? Even cocktails on the beach? Apparently so.

Playa del Carmen

We'd been conned on arrival at the airport into signing up for a cheap trip out to the Isla Mujeres, the catch was of course a hard-sell for a timeshare. Well, we survived the waterboarding at the Vidanta Riviera Maya without signing our lives away, and they reluctantly handed over our cut-price tickets. Worth it? Hmmm, almost.

We'd been promised a lift back to our hotel, but we persuaded the driver to take us on to Playa del Carmen. Lunch in a bar - far enough off of 5th Avenue (Calle Quinta Avenida) - was great, but apart from that too much hustling for my liking - "Hey, remember me? I'm the waiter from the hotel restaurant. Come into my mother's shop..." Right!

Chichen Itza

The trip to the World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza was top of the to-do list for our holiday. The Mayan city dates back to the fifth century, and the site is massive. El Castillo dominates, but there are so many other temples and platforms still standing. Totally awesome.

On the way back, we stopped at Cenote Ik Kil. It seems the whole peninsular is riddled with these sinkholes, so careful where you step. The water is 26 m below ground level at Ik Kil. They wouldn't let me dive in from the top, but I did take the steps down for a very refreshing dip. The day ended back at the hotel, with 'The Mexican Beatles meet Billy Smart's Circus'. Great fun.

Isla Mujeres

So, the cheap trip to Isla Mujeres from the 'conman' at the airport... A fantastic day out, and really good value for money! Morning cocktails on the catamaran, the moment that we pulled out of Cancun got things off to a good start. Admittedly, not quite enough time for Geocaching on the island, but a great lunch, swimming with a (fearsome!) shark, snorkelling and finally, flying the spinnaker. (No mater how much I protested, Laura wouldn't let me have a go!) All followed by teppanyaki back at the hotel's pan-Asian restaurant. Happy days.

More chillin'

Our last full day was spent chillin' again. Life can be tough. All afternoon the hotel was gearing up for their Mexican extravaganza - al fresco cooking, dining and entertainment around the pool. Half an hour into our meal, and the heavens opened. Not sure I've seen rain like it.

For our farewell, the next day, I'd organised a Geocaching event (The Mexican Standoff) at the hotel. I was convinced Laura and I would be the only attendees, but two mad Germans walked three miles down the beach to join us. Love it!