BootsnAll Travel Network

Comings and Goings…

It’s been a pretty interesting last 24 hours as I make my way out of Mexico and into Belize. I’m a little concerned about Belize, not because of any danger, but because my budget will be severely challenged once I arrive, so my stay in the country will probably just be for a little over a week. The beauty of Belize lies in the coral reefs and the incredible scuba diving and snorkeling. But since I can’t see once my glasses are off, it kind of defeats the purpose of donning a swim mask and gear to look at the hundreds of fish under the water that will just look like out of focus smudges. I’ll probably sign up for a tour just because, but otherwise I don’t imagine I’ll just be hanging out at the beaches reading and lounging. Nah, I could do that in Mexico because it was so cheap, but in Belize, where the cheapest accomodation goes for $25-$30 per night, I’ll need to just play turbo tourist and not linger for too long, unless I find a place just too good to not stay in. Additionally, most of the towns I’ve visited in Mexico have had supermarkets where I could buy basic staples to keep me going, but from what I’ve read about Belize, I’ll more than likely find myself eating out more often than I want to. There’s just so many instant Cup O Noodles that I can get used to…

I left Isla Mujeres on Friday morning with a Canuck, and we made our way down to Playa Del Carmen, which is about one hour south of Cancun. Mostly developed as a true tourist town, there are plenty of draws to justify how touristy Playa Del Carmen is. You have a ferry boat that can take you to and from Cozumel. The dock also receives passenger boats from the cruise ships that float just beyond. Plus there are the white sandy beaches and calm waves of the Carribbean. And hotels and resorts right on the beach. And a pedestrian only zone, 5th Avenue, one block away from the beach, filled with restaurants, clubs, bars, gift stores, and teeming with people all hours of the day and night. Mostly, I just hung out at the beach, reading and resting, swimming and wading, gazing out beyond. Saturday we were able to sneak into a resort, swipe some towels and pretended to be one of the guests. And so I spent most of my afternoon under the shade of a straw canopy, stretched out on a lounge chair and snacking on the food that I bought earlier in the day at MEGA, a Walmart-esque warehouse a few blocks away.


Can’t get enough of those sunsets! This one is Thursday night from Isla Mujeres


The beaches of Playa Del Carmen.


From the resort we snuck into. We didn’t dare try to order drinks or food, as we kept our hands under our towels so staff wouldn’t see that we did not have the appropriate wristbands to permit us to use their facilities.


Later I spread my new towel on the sand, as the sun set behind me and the cruise ship made its way to the next port.

Sunday we woke up early and took a collectivo to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, about another hour south of Playa Del Carmen. While the ruins themselves are the least impressive of all the sites I have visited, it is the dramatic setting that generates visitors to come time and time again. Indeed, by the time 11am rolled around, the small national parque was packed with tour groups and Mexican families, no doubt taking advantage of the free admission on Sundays. Guides led tours in Spanish, English, German and French. The ruins are set ontop a cliff, which overlooks the sea and the beaches below. There isn’t much shade, so after one trip around the ruins, I went down below to the beach and found a little shaded shelter and spent a few hours relaxing and reading.


Looking towards Templo del Dios del Viento.


Looking towards El Castillo. The steps lead down to the beach below.


Another look at the beach from the ruins.


Overview of the ruins.


My own little shaded, rocky shelter on the beach, sporting my new resort towel.

The Canadien and I parted ways after Tulum, and I walked along the beach south, checking out prices for palapas, like this one below…


Eventually, I did manage to find an unoccupied and unguarded shaded lounge chair from one of the hotels, and spent the rest of my afternoon continuing my boring, predictable routine of napping, reading, and doing nothing.


The view from my lounge chair. Nearby is a kiteboarding school, so I also watched people kitesurfing — skimming, jumping and slicing through the waves along the shore.

Later in the evening I met up with Eri, a fellow backpacker I met earlier in Valladolid and who lives in a palapa further down south along the beach. No TV, no refrigerator, no car and not much else except the sand, sea and wind. Lights are powered by solar panels, there is a tiny bathroom and what I suppose you can call a kitchen, and I slept like a baby on a huge hammock for two nights.


From the inside, the dining/kitchen area.


From the outside. A 90 second walk from the front door takes you right to the shoreline.


I spent all of Monday here at this spot, and time just flew by.

Yesterday I planned on staying overnight at Bacalar Lagoon, but somehow missed the bus stop and ended up in Chetumal, the last major Mexican town before crossing the border to Belize. And for almost 2 hours last night I wandered the streets, looking for a lavanderia. I asked so many shopkeepers that I lost track, and no one could point me in the direction of a laundromat. Finally this morning the staff person at my hostel told me to get a taxi and go to the Nuevo Market. Did that, walked around for half an hour, and finally, FINALLY, found a place to wash my bag of dirty clothes.

There’s not much more to do here in Chetumal aside from a museum, so I’ll be heading out to Belize tomorrow. And since Internet is $5 or more per hour in that country, this will be my last update for about a week. But check back on Friday from my completed trip report to El Mirador, and next week I’ll have my trip reports for Volcan Santiguito, Laguna Chicobal and a User’s Guide to Riding the Chicken Buses. And before I go today, and few more rumblings and ramblings…

– My hostel in Chetamul is dreadful, but at least it is cheap. There is no kitchen and no common area. Just rooms full of bunk beds. You don’t even get sheets when you check in, so last night I slept in my sleeping bag liner, which gets very very hot in this warm climate. I needed to stay covered to protect myself from all the wonderful bugs that still visit me in the night.


Dark, dank room full of bunk beds with bare mattresses.


And what is the deal with the toilets with no seats, and no privacy door!? And of course there is no toilet paper. I tried the shower, and a small trickle of water manages to squeeze out. When I turned the handle to the off position, a little lizard-like newt scurries from behind along the tiled wall into a crack and disappears. Well, at least the place is cheap.


Finally, here is a brochure I picked up for some overpriced Disneyland-type park near Playa Del Carmen. Brochures usually feature super tanned models and people you would only see on TV, but this one shows the real visitors. Oh, and he’s not really floating on a leaf, and the girl on the next page isn’t really under the water about to get eaten by a giant dolphin. False advertising I say, I should have gone to that park to see this floating leaf and Giant dolphin(incidentally, every single street corner in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum have representatives from this park selling packages to tourists–commissions must be pretty good because everywhere you turn its Xcaret this and Xcaret that). That’s all the rambling I have time for, until the next update, Adios Mexico, Hola Belize!


5 responses to “Comings and Goings…”

  1. Mike says:

    Apparently people will steal the toilet seats so they don’t put them on. When I stopped in Chetumal, I saw the biggest insects I had ever seen. Plus they were fast. T he attendant said they were cockroaches. Ewwwww

  2. Lisa says:

    Nice choice of books – don’t think I didn’t notice!

  3. Jonas says:

    Casi pensé que usted fijó una fotografía de Wesley Snipes que leía un libro del Harry Potter. Usted realmente ha empapado encima de muchos del sol, mi amigo.

    English Translation: I almost thought you posted a picture of Wesley Snipes reading a Harry Potter book. You’ve really soaked up a lot of sun, my friend.

  4. Mike Jones says:

    That Beach is awsome…….

    Go get some of that Cruise Ship Tail…..

    Make Dank Proud….

    Or at least try to sneak onto the ship for the ultimate Mission!

  5. Beccah says:

    Ha! I found you!! It took me a while, but finally I just typed in “glasses, cave, goggles” into a blog search engine and guess what?! You were the first one. I laughed so hard that I got a lung cramp.

    I’m still in the process of reading about your further adventures since the beach-lounging days in the Yucatan we spent together.

    Hope you’re doing well and staying happy and healthy!

    -Beccah (The “Canuck”)

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