On this trip I decided to visit Chichen Itza, Valladolid, Xcaret, Izamal, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres, along with my wife. We stayed in the Zona Hotelera in a hotel called BelAir and from what I saw there are a couple of these hotels here, at least 2 of them one in the Zona Hotelera and the other one near Tulum and to be honest this one left me with a sour taste in my mouth, the place is affordable, the rooms are ok, maybe a 7 out of 10, people are somewhat friendly but things just don’t get done. For example, at the restaurant they did not have any steak or sea food on our arrival, it took 1 day to get an iron and 2 1/2hrs to get a cable for the TV. So all in all maybe it was simply bad luck, the hotel is located fairly close to the main hotel strip, but I would only recommend it if you are on a budget like me .
From the day I decided to take this trip I knew I was gonna have to drive a lot so I had to rent a car but I had no idea that this was gonna create a nightmare on my arrival to Cancun. Since I was on a budget I decided to rent a car from a company called NU, the reservation was done thru Expedia so I figured I was gonna be safe…. Wrong !!!!! When I landed the first thing I noticed was that there was no one waiting for us outside, so I called the number given to me when I did my reservation, but to my surprise it was a cell phone and of course they did not answer, I kept calling until the guy answered and I asked why he was not here and he straight out told me
I don’t have your car so I was gonna waste my time by picking me up
and of course as soon as he said that I hanged up and started looking for another car, the problem was that everyone was supposedly out of cars so rentals were expensive, so I ended up getting a car for twice as much for an even smaller car. So that was the arrival dilemma lol.
On my first day the plan was to visit Chichen Itza and stop by Valladolid on the the way back but my wife decided that it would be a good idea to stop by Valladolid first, bad idea, because we spent too much time in Valladolid and had only 2 and a half hours left in Chichen , but the good thing is that we spent a great amount of time walking in Valladolid and I finally had a chance to see the architecture from a much closer perspective.
Valladolid is a gorgeous Colonial Town and was named Pueblo Magico (Magical Town) by the Mexican Government, and with great reason, the town is filled with buildings that show it’s great colonial times. This area was greatly known for it’s henequen which made Yucatan a very rich town in the early 1900′s The Henequen is an agave whose leaves yield a fiber also called henequen which is suitable for rope and twine, it is still used today but not as much as back in its hey days as most of it was replaced by synthetic materials.
One of main reasons why I wanted my wife to experience Valladolid is because of it’s cenote called Zaci located only blocks from the main town. This place is amazing and the pictures speak for them selves. There are thousands of Cenotes in Yucatan and this is definetely a must if you visit Valladolid.
Another place that you must visit while in Valladolid is El Convento de San Bernardino de Sienna, this place looks like a fort but in its days, it held a place where the Mayans were converted to Christians.
After visiting Valladolid we drove to Chichen Itza and a word of advice, get there early, this place is fairly big and you will enjoy every minute of it, El Castillo is a beautiful example of what a Mayan temple was like, this is probably the most visited Mayan city in this area, just be prepared to pay up, cause there are 2 fees, one from the state and one federal $57 pesos, the parking is around $50 pesos.
The places you must see here are El Castillo, El Cenote Sagrado, the Groupo de Mil Columnas, and the amazing Caracol Observatorio, of course there is more but those are the main attractions.
On my second day I visited Xcaret, this place is not an area of Cancun but a natural park in the area called Riviera Maya but since we stayed in Cancun it took us about 1hr to get there. There are various options to get in, one for $69 dlrs which just gets you in, but the most popular is the Xcaret Plus which is around $110 dlrs not pesos, and this covers entrance, food in the park, towel, locker and a few other things, I got my cheap tickets at www.experienciasxcaret.com. The park is a mixture of nature and history, one of the most amazing things here are the rivers which supposedly run through caves. One area of the park that I enjoyed was a reproduction of what an Hacienda would have looked like, this area is a representation of Yucatan and if you have a chance visit the restaurant and try some Yucatan food, it’s really good.
You also have the opportunity to swim with dolphins, stingrays and manatees. There is also a representation of a Mayan town where I would recommend relaxing in a Mayan spa. There is just so much to see here so be ready to walk, but make sure you don’t miss the grand final, Mexico Expectacular, its a show that briefly explains the history of Mexico. It starts at 6pm and ends at 8pm.
On my third day I visited Izamal, and this place is another Magical Town, its simply amazing, as a lot of the buildings are painted yellow and white and it truly makes the town magical. The place you must visit is El Convento de San Francisco de Padua, its amazing!!!! This convent contains the second largest atrium in the world, and it was built on top of a Mayan pyramid which can still be seen on the stairs up to the convent. Another incredible fact is that there are 2 other pyramids in the middle of the town, and one can be seen from the convent. I had the opportunity to eat at a restaurant called Kinich which is a place that serves authentic food from Yucatan.
On my fourth day, we visited Tulum, but before getting to Tulum we stoped by El Cenote Azul which is really a beautiful pond, I think you can scuba dive but I’m not sure, check the pictures:
In Tulum the temples are not massive, the amazing thing here is the location. Tulum was a port where a lot of trading occurred. We stayed in Cancun so our drive was around 2 1/2 hrs, the price to get in is $57 pesos, but other options are available, and one that I did want to enjoy was a boat ride but unfortunately I did not have a chance due to time.
On my fifth day I spent most of day in front of the beach drinking beer and enjoying the sun and the turquoise water
If you plan to visit the very heart of the Cancun Club scene, pay a visit to Mextreme and get the Molcajete Extreme/Mixto its the bomb along with a Michelada lol .
Cancun is amazing, I know I’m gonna keep coming back, driving here is a breeze and safe, there is just so much to do, from parks, nightlife, shopping, archeological sites, and any water sport you can think of, just take your time. See you soon Cancun