Tindering in Tulum

After two days I had had enough of Cancún and was ready for a new location. I decided to head to Tulum and continue Couchsurfing. My host couldn’t host me until the next day so, I booked one night at the Humble Bumble hostel.

The hostel was only about two months old and definitely one of the strangest I have ever stayed in. It was still under construction when I was there. It was going through a huge renovation, being transformed from a HUGE outdoor restaurant and strip club into a hostel. The common area was a massive outdoor area under a thatched roof with tables and dinning chairs. It didn’t really have that hostel vibe but the people that worked there were super nice.

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Couchsurfing in the “Most Dangerous” Neighborhood in Cancún

In Cancún I decided to stay with a Couchsurfing host. I hadn’t Couchsurfed since Morelia over a month ago and I was getting tired of hostel life. I just wanted to be able to unpack my stuff somewhere and leave it unpacked for a day or so. I had posted a public trip on the Couchsurfing website (this is a great way to find hosts) and had gotten several responses but decided to go with Arturo because he had time off work and great reviews.

When I arrived in Cancún from Holbox I took an Uber to Arturo’s home. The Uber driver asked me the normal questions, where I was from, how long I was in Cancún for, where I was going, how did I know this guy, of course all in Spanish. I told him I didn’t really know the guy I was staying with, we had met online through a website. It sounds crazier than it is in reality but it’s hard to explain that in Spanish. The driver told me that my Couchsurfing host lived in the most dangerous neighborhood in Cancún and I shouldn’t even walk around there during the day. I started to get really scared, thinking OMG, I’m staying with some random stranger from the Internet in the most dangerous neighborhood in Cancún?!

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Swimming in Sacred Water

Day two with our car rental in Merida we decided to set out and explore the local cenotes we had heard so much about. A cenote, meaning sacred water, is a sinkhole created from collapsed limestone exposing groundwater underneath. There are over 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatán peninsula.

There were several tours offered through our hostel Nómadas, signing up for tours through hostels is a really great way to explore the area. They usually pick you up in the morning and drop you back off at your hostel in the afternoon. You’ll also be with other travelers from your hostel so it’s a great way to get to know people while traveling alone.

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Woop – Woop! That’s the Sound of da Mexican Police!

I was ready to get the hell out of the jungle and into an actual city. Mike’s plan was to go to Merida on Friday night. Nelly and I were on the fence about what to do. That’s the problem when you can do anything, you tend to be very indecisive. After changing cities twice in less than a week we decided it’d be nice to set up camp somewhere for a week or so. We had heard great things about Merida and without Mike we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves, so we decided to join him. The band wasn’t going to break up just yet!

We decided to take a night bus from Palenque to Merida. This would not only make sure we didn’t waste a day in travel time but we would also be able to save on accommodations. The bus ride from Palenque to Merida cost around $400 MXN (about $20 USD). When we arrived at the ADO bus terminal in Palenque our friend José from Chile was there and waiting to take the same bus! He hadn’t booked a place to stay in Merida yet so we suggested he stay at the same hostel as us.

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Pretend Cowboys and The World’s Best Mojito

 

The next day Lucas and I decided to head to the beach with our two new best friends. Lucas kept claiming we were on a couple’s trip which, I didn’t exactly agree with but, I let him have his fun. We were all so exhausted from the journey the day before we ended up sleeping in until noon and then heading to the beach. We had our new favorite cab driver, Jarnis take us.

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Singing Karaoke and High Energy Dancing

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I had mentioned to Cinthia that I wanted to go to a Mexican karaoke bar. I love karaoke back home and wanted to see what it was like here. Her friend Wen picked us up and took us to a swanky karaoke bar full of 20-something-year-olds all dressed to impress. I felt like a Grandma with how much clothing I was wearing and I wasn’t wearing that much.

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Breakfast with Strangers and La Casa Azul

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I woke up starving – probably from all the walking we had done the day prior. I set out to find a delicious meal of street food for breakfast. My morning routine has been to get street food for breakfast from a different location each time and then wander around until I get lost. Thank god for Google maps.

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How to Ride the Bus and Not Throw Up in Salsa Class

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After getting over 12 hours of sleep, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to take Mexico City on by storm. I set out to find street vendor tacos for breakfast. Gerardo had recommended his favorite local taco place called Tacos Hola. Only a two minute walk from where I am staying – Tacos Hola is a busy taco place and a favorite among locals. A little confused with the ordering system, I ordered pork tacos with guacamole and queso. It seems they only give you one taco at a time then when you finish you go back up to the counter and order another. I’ll know for next time. The best part is it’s only $1 a taco!

Next door was a hip coffee joint where the employees looked like they came straight from Seattle. I grabbed my favorite coffee, which embarrassingly enough is a decaf almond milk latte, and set to stroll around the neighborhood.

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Mexico City – Expect the Unexpected

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I absolutely love Mexico City. It is the perfect mix of old world Mexican charm with all the sophistication of a big city. Mexico City is HUGE – it’s home to over twenty million people including the greater metropolitan area. The neighborhood I am staying in, La Condesa, is known as a trendy neighborhood – expensive to live in but sought after by all the 20-something-hipsters. When I mention to a local where I am staying, it seems to be met with contempt on account of the bevy of hipsters…I’m thinking – “and…your point is?” I ABSOLUTELY love it! La Condesa is full of parks, cafes, restaurants, bars and beautiful old Spanish Colonial architecture. It is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city – day or night. My first day here I spent about an hour getting lost wandering the streets just taking it all in. Read More

Planning for the Unplanned

The plan for the unplanned trip was to buy a one way ticket to Mexico City – wing it, go wherever the wind takes me, find myself. I checked out travel guides from the library on every country in South America and began researching. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, but I knew almost nothing about South America. I assumed it was similar to Central America in the sense that it was tropical and cheap. I’m glad I had enough sense to do a little research before. Read More

Where It All Began

 

I fell in love with travel at the age of 22. I impulsively purchased a ticket to Guatemala and signed up to volunteer at an orphanage. I went knowing nothing about the culture, what to expect, or who was picking me up from the airport. I left it all up to chance and the trip ended up being one the best months of my life. I realized two things about myself while in Guatemala – I love travel and I love Latin American culture.

When I returned home, I made a vow to myself that one day I would backpack from Belize to Brazil. Fast forward six countries over seven years, and my love for travel and Latin culture has not changed. However, I still have not accomplished the goal I set for myself those many years ago. The “right companion” or the “right time” always made for suitable excuses. Read More