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Tijuana has a lot to answer for! It put me off visiting Mexico for many years and for no good reason. When I was a teenager my family visited Los Angeles and southern California for a few days. We went down to San Diego to go to Sea World and thought, “Mexico is so close. Why don’t we pop across the border and experience another country”. Big Mistake! And many people make it. Certainly back then it was a dusty, touristy and seedy border town with no redeemable features, and I suspect nothing has changed. Unfortunately it tainted my imagination of what all Mexico would be like.
But since my lifestyle has changed to that of full-time traveller, I have read widely about many travel destinations and Mexico is definitely back on my “must-see” radar. Other travel bloggers have raved about it, and it meets all my prerequisites for a great holiday: beaches with silky white sand and crystal clear water that turns azure in the sunshine; a great climate and great local cuisine; an ancient culture with interesting ruins to visit; beautiful architecture and unique art like that of Diego Rivera. So I think Mexico will be one of my top destinations of 2014 and I have a dream holiday in mind.
I have learn one important lesson from all the travelling I’ve done: Don’t try and do too much in too little time. In 2005 I visited 7 countries in 9 weeks and it was ridiculous! Yes there were plenty of highlights but I didn’t feel I got to know the people, culture or sites well, and I was exhausted by the end of it. I was hardly a holiday. Better to stay longer in one or two places and feel relaxed and invigorated.
With that in mind, I’m thinking I’ll begin my new love affair with Mexico by visiting an area called the Riviera Maya, on the Caribbean coast. It’s got great beaches and ancient Mayan ruins. What more could I want? We’ll fly directly to Cancun and relax on the beach for a few days.
As a break from the beach we’ll take a day trip to the small coastal island of Isla Mujeres. I’ve heard that it’s a great place to explore by bike and has great scenery. Then we’ll move south to Playa del Carmen for a bit of local colour and cuisine, before crossing over to the beautiful island of Cozumel for a few days. I love to snorkel and interact with wildlife and Cozumel sounds like perfect place to indulge in both. Back on the mainland and a little further south is Akumal Bay which is also a top destination for snorkelling and swimming. I may ever want to leave!
Finally we’ll get a little bit of culture at Tulum. The Mayan ruins there may not be the most impressive in Mexico but their position of the cliffs above the azure coast is. It doesn’t hurt that the beaches look fantastic too. If we don’t feel we’ve seen enough of the Mayan civilization and we have more time at our disposal then we can drive 2 hours inland on our return to Cancun and check out the more extensive Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.
So that’s me sorted for my “second” trip to Mexico. There are so many other places to explore in this colourful, fascinating country. I’m sure once I’ve experienced the Riviera Maya I’ll definitely want to come back and see more.