Yucatán es por mucho un estado de gran importancia histórica y cultural para México, y no solo por sus raíces Mayas, la conquista española tuvo sus primeros cimientos aquí, desde catedrales que datan del año 1500, es decir, a tan solo unos años del descubrimiento de América por parte de Colon (si se quiere aceptar esa versión) que además son construcciones erigidas con las mismas piedras que conformaran antiguas ciudades Mayas, aquí también es la cuna del mestizaje entre españoles, mayas, caribes y africanos. La cultura, el arte, la gastronomía e incluso el acento con el que se habla en esta región dan fe de esto.
Como sucede en el resto de la Península de Yucatán, aquí encontraras de todo, playas, cenotes, ruinas mayas, ciudades coloniales y riquezas naturales.
Canal once ha propuesto una serie de atracciones que según los mismos yucatecos no te puedes perder, disfruta este video y planea tu visita.
The name means “The island of women” that alone should be a reason to go, but “Isla” as locals call it, is much more than the promise of an island inhabited only by women, once a small fishermen island, now days Isla is a small piece of heaven on earth with little colorful houses, coffee shops, bars and restaurants by the beach and on its narrow streets downtown.
People in the island lives a simple life and enjoy of those little pleasures we, the people from the city, have forgotten.
Isla Mujeres is only 4 miles long and less than 1 mile across, and in it, a mixed population of native islanders with Mayan roots and people from all over the world share this paradise. Americans, Canadians and Italians amongst other nationalities now call Isla Mujeres their home, bringing a new style to local traditions and making Isla a must visit destination while visiting the Mayan World.
Isla Mujeres is located only 15 minutes away from Cancun; to get there you need to take a boat ride from Cancun’s hotel zone or from Puerto Juarez in the downtown area, being Puerto Juarez a cheaper option.
You can also take your car if you want to; the Ferry is located in Punta Sam, a few kilometers north Puerto Juarez.
Reasons to go:
Swim with the whale shark!
When in season you can swim with the whale sharks, this gentle giants visit the nearby waters every year during the summer, a 45 minute ride on a boat is all you need to swim with these amazing sharks.
Isla Mujeres is located right where the second largest coral reef in the world and the biggest in the western hemisphere begins its path through the Caribbean sea and all the way down to Honduras. Home to more than 500 different species of fish and 65 different corals, this reef homes also five different kinds of turtles, crocodiles, manatees, dolphins, sharks and many other species, making it a fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving option for both, experienced and beginner divers.
This underwater museum is an innovative project aimed to protect and increase the natural biomass of the reef without having to close it to visitors. The museum’s final goal is to have over 1364 artificial inhabitants for the marine life in the area. Many life-size sculptures from the British artist Jason deCaires Taylor can be appreciated on site while helping to protect marine life.
MUSA is located just offshore Isla Mujeres at Manchones reef.
This temple was dedicated to one of the most important goddess of the Mayan pantheon. Ixchel was the goddess of fertility, childbirth and tides and related to the moon, she was portrayed as a dual goddess, benign and destructive, while giving the most essential element of life to men; water, she would also send floods to cleanse the earth from men who have stopped thanking the gods. She was portrayed both as a young kind girl and as an angry old lady. It was believed that she would give protection to those who make the pilgrimage to her temples in Isla Mujeres and Cozumel.
This even smaller island is home of more than 100 species of birds as well of marine life making it a fantastic trip for birdwatchers and snorkeling adventurers, its position between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea make it a sanctuary of life. The island is 30 km (18 miles) north Isla Mujeres and only a few visitors are allowed to the island every day so make your reservations some time in advance.
The northern side of the island is where the nicest beaches are, calm gentle surf in turquoise crystal clear water make it a treat for every visitor. Playa Norte is also where most of the beach clubs are so you can find all you need while you lay under the sun. The majority of people come here to enjoy the beach so even when it’s a beautiful area it’s also a little crowded sometimes, especially on Sundays
Have frozen drink or a grilled fresh fish, maybe some ceviche from any of the restaurants here, some offer live music or DJ music for the visitor. Don’t forget to watch the sunset here!!
Isla has many options to enjoy a night in town, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Mediterranean; style restaurants are open every night. World class cuisine mixes with local style and the fresh ingredients fishermen bring every day. After dark the island becomes alive with music and dance for everyone, romantic little restaurants and parties on the beach are easy to find here where locals and tourist meet and enjoy.
Important spots and things to do in Isla
Playa Norte – beautiful beach
Zama Beach Club in Sac Bajo – beach, pool and restaurant
Turtle farm in Sac Bajo
Swim with the dolphins in Sac Bajo
Snorkelling at Garrafon Park
Snorkeling at Hotel Garrafon de Castilla beach club
Sunbathe at playa sol
Go for a sunset swim on Playa Norte
Stroll the ocean walkway at Punta Sur below the Mayan ruin – the most beautiful spot on the island
Rent a golf cart and see the entire island up close
Drive by the shell house on the Caribbean side
Visit the colorful “Crayola House” in the Colonia on Ave. Josefa Ortiz Domingo.
Visit the famous Spiral Island on Sac Bajo, built by Rishi entirely of plastic bottles
Check out the cemetery in centro, where the grave of Pirate Mundaca is.
Shop the stores in Centro
Rent a bike early in the morning and ride around the entire island (you’ll likely have to walk part way!) its breathtaking.
Visit the old market and the stalls behind it where older ladies sell their wares a much lower prices than the other stores.
The Cenotes are natural water sinkholes scattered all over the Yucatan peninsula, their natural and historic influence is huge, this is due to the fact that the peninsula has no superficial rivers because of its soil characteristics, all the rain water falls down through the limestone and into the underground rivers connecting the more than 10,000 cenotes in the peninsula.
For the wildlife of the region is the only source of fresh water and life revolves and thrives around and within them.
For the ancient Mayas just as for every other species in the area, Cenotes were vital, not only as a source of fresh water but also as a very important aspect of their religious, cultural, political and cosmological life
The Word “cenote” comes from the yucatecan Mayan Word “Dzonot” which is also coming from two words, “Dzotz” which means “Bat” and “Nah” which means “House” so the word actually means “House of bats” this makes a lot of sense as every afternoon after sunset, hundreds of thousands of bats roam out of these caves out in to the open to feed, coming back to the caves every morning before sunrise.
The Mayans settled around these natural water sinkholes and saw them along with caves as the doors to “Xibalba” the Mayan underworld where the spirits of the valiant dead tangle with super natural beings, and the roots of the tree of life are found.
Cenotes where seen as ceremonial places and doorways to the divine. From here, these roots extend through the earthly realms of the forests and to the cosmos.
Human sacrifices where held here by the end of the post-classic period and marked the beginning of the Great Mayan collapse
After all these historical facts here comes the fun. There are over 10,000 Cenotes in the peninsula and you can access to nearly 5,000 of them, yet, there are only a few really accessible from the main roads and near the main towns in Yucatan and Quintana Roo. We are going to focus on those ones to make a simple task easier.
In Quintana Roo
Descending from Cancun on Highway 307 , which runs all the way down to Chetumal, just 30 km from Cancun there’s a little fishermen town called Puerto Morelos , either shortly before reaching Puerto Morelos , located on the right side , we will place an entry with a yellow Arch and with a sign that says Nuevo Vallarta, RUTA DE LOS CENOTES , remember, this is coming from north to south ; Likewise there is advertising a ” Ecological ” Park called Selvatica , move on, and once this indication is located , must delve 17 km, until you reach the community of Nuevo Vallarta, there find at least 5 different Cenotes, and a Temazcal, this is an Indigenous traditional sauna , attended by locals , is a unique experience, should relax first heat of steam into this bath Sauna Maya , and after the Sauna session, a swim , the water is cool to … 24 ° c , is incredible sensation, tempered metabolism , relaxes the nervous system , and cardiovascular system is vitalized , is a rewarding experience . This is also a paradise for Birdwatchers .
Tajmahal this Cenote is only 5 km from Puerto Aventuras. A highly recommended cenote for those who love cave scuba diving and very well known by locals. Its amazing rock formations and its proximity to the ocean give this beautiful place the name of one of the 7 wonders of the world. Incredible vaults that interact with the sunlight creating a magnificent spectacle
Ponderosa; this is one of the most visited cenotes by underwater photographers scuba divers and snorkelers due to its beautiful rock formations and the wildlife that inhabit at it. Turtles, fish and amazing light and shadows make of this cenote one of the best.
Cenote Azul; this cenote is located only 4 km south of Puerto Aventuras and it’s a great option for those who love open snorkeling, it thrives with wildlife.
Aktun Chi; this cenote is located in the middle of the jungle and has 5 different vaults, in its entrance some Mayan temples can be seen guarding the entrance to the underworld as timeless witness of an era.
Sac Actun Considered one of the world’s longest underground rivers , has an entry on the Cancun- Tulum highway; has 153.6 km in length and maximum depth of 72 meters . There are over 111 cenotes in its path, in some of which the archeologists have located the remains of early man, besides historical Pleistocene animal skeletons . Near Tulum, recorded human remains with more than 10,000 years , groups that are even older than the Maya, Olmec or any other recorded groups in the area. Probably the oldest inhabitants of Mesoamerica
Ox Bel Ha; its name means “three paths of water” in ancient Maya, and it’s the longest explored underwater cave in the world, ranking 4th including dry caves. As of January 2014 the surveyed length is 256.9 kilometers (159.6 mi) of underwater passages. It’s located near Tulum and diving centers in town are specialist in these excursions, you can swim in its waters but a certification is required to scuba dive in it.
Cenote Dos ojos, this cenote is one of the top 5 cenotes in the area, the name of this cenote is in Spanish and means “two eyes” due to the connection between two cenotes in an underwater cave, kind of “two eyes in to the underworld. This cenote is perfect for all ages as its facilities are very well conditioned,
Dos ojos is located a few kilometers north Tulum
El Gran Cenote; This cenote is located 3.5 km from Tulum down the road to Coba, this is one of the locals favorites , you can snorkel or Scuba dive its waters with no special certification but a Padi open water certificate. The technical level on this one is very low, yet some previous directions needed.
Cenote Angelita; cave divers love to call it “a saltwater river flowing in a fresh water sinkhole”It is probably the most unusual formation of its kind . The saltwater has a high amount of hydrogen sulfide and a more obvious opacity , highlighting fresh water above this , allowing divers to swim along the underwater building , which has the same appearance as a river . There are even trees and fallen leaves on both sides of its “margins ” , which makes this landscape something even more surreal.
Cenote Calavera; the name means “Skull” and this is due to the shape formed by the 3 holes on the roof of this cenote, the name is also related to the human skull present in it, it is also known as The temple of Doom. This cenote is also just a few minutes drive west from Tulum going to Coba. It is not unusual to find human remains laying in cenotes as they were used for human sacrifice by the ancient Mayans. This cenote is also one of local’s favorites.
Cenote Carwash; this cenote is located just steps from Tulum downtown, its name comes from the use local taxi drivers use to give to this cenote, yes, they used to wash their cabs here. Now this practice is no longer in use and this cenote is one beautiful spot to visit while in Tulum. Its shallow waters are full of life, fish and planta adorn this open cenote making it perfect for snorkeling. Scuba diving is also possible as it is connected to some underwater caves. It’s a great option to spend the day due to its proximity to town and facilities.
Cenote Zazil Ha; the name means “clear water” and it’s also just minutes away from Tulum. The color of its water is jade green and it’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. It’s connected to other cenotes like carwash and calavera and has an underground chamber called “Las lagrimas” which in Spanish means “Tears” this is due to the shape of the stalagmites inside. Has a restaurant, bar, cabanas, restrooms and parking lot. Perfect for a refreshing day.
Stay tunned for more cenotes in future posts!!
let us know what you think!
Is Mexico Safe?… Horror Stories & Uneasy Rumors… Personal Safety and Comfort… Women alone…
Mexico is a very foreign country. On a scale of “foreignness” from 1 to 10, I rate Tacoma as a 1 (very familiar), Canada a 2, Texas a 3 and Mexico a solid 10. In spite of its proximity to the US and a long common border, Mexico often seems as different to us as Ecuador or China.
“Like Mexico, there are not two,” is a popular expression of pride in the country’s unique personality. In other words, Mexico is not the United States, but a distinct and different country, with its own language, foods and customs. This can be overwhelming at times, especially for the person who expects Mexico to be some kind of predictable theme-park filled with mariachi music and tequila sunrises.
- Will I be safe in Mexico? After giving a Mexico travel seminar and slide show in Seattle, I was approached by an excited, silver-haired grandmother who pressed my hand and exclaimed, “Oh, thank you! I’m so relieved! My husband’s friends swore that if we went to Mexico we wouldn’t have a chance!” She recounted a chilling list of horror stories, premeditated crimes and bandit antics that her well-meaning friends claimed await anyone foolish enough to step south of the border.
“It sounded just too awful to be true!” she concluded. “But then again, I wanted to hear your opinion before we bought tickets to Acapulco.”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
Even such anxious queries as “Can I avoid diarrhea?” (yes, see Health) and “Where’s your favorite beach?” (a closely guarded secret) take a back seat to the question, “Is Mexico safe?” Having lived and traveled in Mexico for most of the past 20 years, we answer this question with an emphatic yes!
- OK, if Mexico is safe, why are some people so nervous? In a word, bad news not only travels fast but it dies very slowly. We still hear nervous questions about well-publicized crimes and natural disasters that took place many years ago.
Mexicans and foreign residents often complain that in the eyes of the American and international press, “the only news about Mexico is bad news.” Drug wars, bus wrecks, floods and hurricanes make good headlines and attention grabbing sound bites. This sensational form of news coverage contributes to the mistaken impression that Mexico (or the world beyond our own borders) is a riskier place than home.
“As a matter of cold fact, there are more bandits in a city like Los Angeles in one night than in the entire Republic of Mexico in a year. But being more picturesque, every bandit in Mexico becomes an alluring drama to the Yankee newspapers.”
Old Mother Mexico by Harry Carr (1931)
Keep in mind that several million tourists visit Mexico every year, including students, families, tour groups, singles, retirees and honeymooners. Of these millions of annual visitors only the tiniest fraction have problems during their stay. As I said, however, Mexico is definitely different. A certain amount of nervousness is natural. Once you get used to that difference, you’ll relax and be able to laugh off your old fears.
“I was lying on the beach near Zihuatanejo, getting a suntan, when all of a sudden a bunch of soldiers with machine guns went by. What was it, a revolution?’’
No, it wasn’t a revolution or war maneuvers; it was Mexico’s way of telling tourists to relax! Military patrols on beaches are part of Mexico’s Immediate Action Program For Tourism Promotion. This ambitious plan includes measures to improve Mexico’s safety, to spruce up the country’s image and to expand tourism facilities and services.
Eighteen-year-old marines toting machine guns on public beaches and army units posted on major tourist highways are part of this reassurance program, as are increased numbers of uniformed cops and “Green Angel” highway patrols. More than a thousand Green Angel trucks offer tourists everything from on?the?spot car repairs and gasoline to medical assistance and directions.
In our experience, tourists lead a charmed life in Mexico. In fact, statistics show that you are more likely to be the victim of violent crime while in the United States than in Mexico.
If you’re like me and find cold comfort in statistics, consider what Lorena and I have heard expressed by hundreds of Mexico travelers, from backpackers and budget vagabonds to stockbrokers, secretaries, college professors, retirees, students and snowbirds escaping northern winters. Among those who spend more than a couple of weeks in Mexico or who make repeat visits, the consensus is virtually unanimous: Mexico actually feels safer than the US. (As several parents pointed out, children play freely in public parks and walk city streets without close supervision.)
Although Mexico is safe, it is by no means perfectly safe. Some tourists are the victims of crimes (committed both by Mexicans and other tourists). Others have problems that are best described as “self-inflicted.” Of these, drinking, drugging and reckless driving top the list. I’ll never forget the drunken American woman shouting across the hotel lobby, “I’ve got $2,000 and two days to blow it!” For a moment, I was tempted to “help” her out myself.
Unfortunately, scenes like this aren’t that uncommon, especially in resorts. When it comes to trouble, tequila takes a far higher toll than the busiest bandido. I consider it a testimony to Mexico’s safety that so few tourists infected with “fiesta fever’’ actually land in hot water.
- Solo and first-time travelers are especially vulnerable to strained nerves. The normal stresses and minor anxieties associated with travel are often heightened by not being able to talk things out with a friend or family member. Bottling up our fears and frustrations can lead to a malady I call Traveler’s Paranoia. Symptoms include a morbid fascination with airline timetables and uncontrollable fantasies of being stranded in the middle of Mexico City without your traveler’s checks.
- Women traveling alone may be the object of unwanted attention from men Follow the example of Mexican women: sit with other women on buses and trains; don’t respond to men’s comments and overtures; look for other women or tourist companions for trips to ruins, beaches and other out-of-the-way places.
Use cabs late at night rather than walking. Unfortunately, men often assume that women on lonely streets and deserted beaches are searching for companionship. Carry a key chain whistle and, if you’re bothered by someone, give your whistle a mighty blast. Mexican cops use whistles to signal each other and to scare off troublemakers.
Until you feel comfortable in Mexico, don’t be embarrassed to pamper yourself a little. Travelers on a tight budget should be especially careful not to subject themselves to more of Mexico than they can comfortably handle. As a rule of thumb, the cheaper a hotel room is, the more “interesting” it will be. When your sense of humor about the situation has worn as thin as the sheets, it’s time for a temporary upgrade in accommodations, at least until you get your feet back on the ground.
While traveling in Mexico, you are subject to Mexican laws and not U.S. or any other Country laws. Tourists who commit illegal acts have no special privileges and are subject to full prosecution under the Mexican judicial system.
Traveling to Mexico is all about cold margaritas sunny beaches and lay back attitude, but make no mistakes, there are laws here and if you break them you will have to answer to the authorities.
It is also very well known that Mexican authorities aren’t very honest and corruption runs throughout all levels of government. This being said, getting involved in any illegal activity may lead to trouble so take your precautions.
www.mexadveture.com has put togethera very complete guide on the legal aspect of any vacation in Mexico from bringing your pet or car with you, work visas or drunk and drug related legal problems.
Mexican Auto Insurance
While driving in Mexico, you must carry Mexican auto insurance underwritten by a Mexican insurance company. Your US or Canadian auto insurance in not valid while driving in Mexico. Please read more information on this topic if you are unaware of the need for Mexico auto insurance while driving in Mexico.
Drunk driving is punishable and if caught, you will end up in a Mexican jail for an indeterminate period of time until you have sorted your mess out. Your Mexican Auto Insurance will deny your claim if you have been driving under the influence.
AVOID PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS:
It is against the law to be drunk in public in Mexico. Certain border towns have become impatient with teenage (and older) Americans who cross the border to drink and carouse. This behavior can lead to fights, arrests, traffic accidents and even fatalities.
AVOID DRUG OFFENSES
Mexico rigorously prosecutes drug cases. Under Mexican law, possession of and trafficking in illegal drugs are federal offenses. For drug trafficking, bail does not exist. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and fines. Sentences for possession of drugs in Mexico can be as long as 25 years plus fines. Just as in the US, the purchase of controlled medication requires a doctor’s prescription. The Mexican list of controlled medication differs from the US list and Mexican public health laws concerning controlled medication are unclear. Possession of excessive amounts of a psychotropic drug such as valium can result in your arrest if the authorities suspect abuse. Mexican law does not differentiate between types of narcotics. Heroin, marijuana, and amphetamines, for example, are treated the same. Offenders found guilty of possessing more than a token amount of any narcotic substance are subject to a minimum sentence of 10 years, and it is not uncommon for persons charged with drug offenses to be detained for up to 1 year before a verdict is reached.
Remember, if narcotics are found in your vehicle, you are subject to arrest and your vehicle can be confiscated. Your Mexican Auto Insurance will not cover this.
The Department of State warns US citizens against taking any type of firearm or ammunition into Mexico without prior written authorization from the Mexican authorities. Entering Mexico with a firearm or a single round of ammunition carries a penalty of up to five years in jail, even if the firearm or ammunition is taken into Mexico unintentionally. The Mexican government strictly enforces its laws restricting the entry of firearms and ammunition along all land borders and at air and seaports. This has resulted in arrests, convictions, and long prison sentences for US citizens, even those who unintentionally crossed the border with firearms or ammunition in their possession. US citizens approaching Mexico along the land border who realize they are in possession of unauthorized firearms or ammunition should not seek to enter Mexico. The only way to legally import firearms and/or ammunition into Mexico is to secure a permit in advance from the Mexican Embassy or from a Mexican consulate.
If you are interested in hunting in Mexico, there are hunting guide services who can process the Mexico hunting firearm permits for you.
Tourists should enter Mexico with only the items needed for their trip to Mexico. Entering with large quantities of an item a tourist might not normally be expected to have, particularly expensive appliances, such as televisions, stereos, or other items, may lead to suspicion of smuggling and possible confiscation of the items and arrest of the individual. Mexican regulations limit the value of goods brought into Mexico by US citizens arriving by air or sea to $300 US per person and by land to $30 US per person. Other travel-related items may also be brought in duty-free. Amounts exceeding the duty-free limit are subject to a 32.8 percent tax. Unless you prepare ahead, you may have difficulty bringing computers or other expensive electronic equipment into Mexico for your personal use. To prevent being charged an import tax, write a statement about your intention to use the equipment for personal use and to remove it from Mexico when you leave. Have this statement signed and certified at a Mexican consulate in the United States and present it to Mexican customs as you enter Mexico. Land travelers should verify from Mexican customs at the border that all items in their possession may be legally brought into Mexico. You will be subject to a second immigration and customs inspection south of the Mexican border where unlawful items may be seized, and you could be prosecuted regardless of whether or not the items passed through the initial customs inspection.
Traveling With Minors:
A child under the age of 18 traveling with only one parent must have written, notarized consent from the other parent to travel, or must carry, if applicable, a decree of sole custody for the accompanying parent or a death certificate for the other parent. Children traveling alone or in someone else’s custody must have notarized consent from both parents to travel, or if applicable, notarized consent from a single parent plus documentation that the parent is the only custodial parent.
US visitors to Mexico may bring a dog, cat, or up to four canaries by presenting the following certificates at the border:
- A pet health certificate signed by a registered veterinarian and issued not more than 72 hours before the animal enters Mexico.
- A pet vaccination certificate showing that the animal has been treated for rabies, hepatitis, pip, and leptospirosis. Certification by Mexican consular authorities is not required for the health or vaccination certificate. A permit fee is charged at the time of entry into Mexico.
Shopping Items to Avoid:
Avoid purchasing any products made from animal products other than normal leather (example: sea turtle shells, alligator leather, bird feathers, marine animals including black coral and shells, etc.) You risk confiscation and a possible fine.
Mexico considers all pre-Colombian objects to be the “inalienable property of the Nation” and that the unauthorized export of such objects is theft and is punishable by arrest, detention, and judicial prosecution. Under Usome Countries’s law, to import pre-Colombian monumental and architectural sculpture and murals, you must present proof that they were legally exported from the country of origin.
(Health Warning) According to the US Food and Drug Administration, it is possible to suffer lead poisoning if you consume food or beverages that have been stored or served in improperly glazed ceramic ware. Analysis of many ceramic pieces from Mexico has shown them to contain dangerous levels of lead. Unless you have proof of their safety, use glazed ceramics purchased in Mexico for decorative purposes only.
If You Are in Danger:
Call the Mexican Ministry of Tourism’s emergency hotline, (5) 250-0123, for immediate assistance. Or dial 060 for police assistance.
If You Have Been the Victim of a Crime:
Immediately contact your embassy or the nearest consular agency. You should also report the crime to the local police immediately.
Moving around the Mayan world it’s fairly easy, but it can be very expensive if you don’t look around for the right option, especially between massively touristic cities like Cancun or Playa del Carmen.
So if I may, I’ll give you a tip or two on how to move around.
Find the local way, many people from these cities work in neighboring towns so there is a cheap way to go there. Most of these options are just steps away from the main bus stations.
If you are going to Playa del Carmen from Cancun the local shuttles are right outside the bus station, you will find these white vans and people lining up to aboard them.
There are a couple of advantages using this service.
- They are cheaper than the regular bus
- They go way more often than the regular bus
- They get there faster
There are also a couple of disadvantages to using these services
- They drive like maniacs
- They are less comfortable than the bus
- They can be tricky on fares when you don’t know them
So in the end the decision is always yours, the service is the same from Tulum to Playa and so on to Bacalar, Chetumal, Merida and all across the Yucatan peninsula.
When going from the Mayan Riviera to Chiapas you will find also a huge amount of options, in every case the ADO bus is the most comfortable way but also the priciest.
Again cheap options are around these bus stations, leaving from Cancun you will find a couple of cheap bus companies (as cheap as 70% cheaper) just a few blocks down to what is known as “El crucero” or crossroads in English. These options can be a little intimidating at the beginning as you will be in a conflictive neighborhood (a place you don’t want to visit at night yet safe during the day) and buses are up to 30 years old, running only because of the mechanical skills and inventive of their drivers.
But yet, if you are on a tight budget, this is the way to go, I’ve done it a couple of times and it’s always an adventure full of stories to tell afterwards.
There are a few hacks for crossing to the near islands of Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and Holbox as well. A ticket from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel can be up to $40 usd per person, but just 10 minutes south Playa del Carmen there’s a port called Calica; this place is where the commercial inputs get to the island from mainland. Their fares are way lower than the touristy Playa del Carmen.
To get to Isla Mujeres is pretty much the same, you will have to go to Punta Sam, which is a small port on the northern point of the peninsula just 15 minutes away from Cancun, all the island inputs departure from there. In both cases the boats are a lot slowly but the view is great and they both sale
beer, so you can relax and enjoy the trip while getting a tan.
In Guatemala you will find the infamous chicken Buses, a refurbished American school bus from the 80’s 90’s sold to Guatemala years ago.
Guatemalans have made a cool version of these buses and now are part of Guatemala’s identity. Unfortunately chicken bus drivers are reckless and near maniac drivers, transit laws are close to inexistent in Guatemala and road accidents often involve at least one chicken bus.
But then again, what’s a good story without adventure? …A boring story.
You will also find small vans taking people all across the country; these vans are just as bad as the chicken bus and a little pricy too. When possible, hop on a chicken bus.
Finally hitchhiking; this is by Far the best way to travel if you are not on a schedule and you don’t mind riding in the back of a truck along with some chickens, pigs and other farm passengers. You will learn that this is a way most Guatemalans and Belizeans move across the country, you will also learn the good and kind people is all over these places despite CNN and Fox News attempts to tell you other ways.
As always keep in mind common sense is your best tool to stay out of trouble. Follow your guts and stay out of the road at night.
The options are there and the decision is yours to take. Happy traveling!!