Caye Caulker in Belize

Week 6 – Caye Caulker in Belize

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Well It Is Finally Time

New country. New attitude. A new positive one. Goodbye, negativity. I’ve got this. I feel like the tables are going to turn for us and what better place to do it than on an island? A Caribbean island at that. Are you ready to hear about Caye Caulker? Is it on your list? Well, I can tell you it should be.

a nurse shark swimming in crystal clear blue water
A Nurse Shark

As soon as I stepped off that ferry from Belize City I felt my shoulders instantly relax. It was a rush of emotion draining from my body. I had been craving a nice relaxed island for a while and this hidden gem did not disappoint. As soon as we started walking through the main street everyone was friendly. No intense sales pitch like Mexico. Everyone was relaxed here. I felt like I could breathe again.

This island instantly impressed me and things only got better from there. The next day we had a boat tour booked. This was a tour of the Great Blue Hole. This boat trip was amazing. It was pricey but worth every penny. We got unlimited drinks and snacks. There were three snorkeling sessions lined up for scuba diving if you are qualified.

The First Snorkel

The first snorkel was around the Great Blue Hole and the barrier reef. The guide was great and pointed out everything. He was so knowledgeable and nice. We snorkeled along the wall of the blue hole which was filled with pretty colourful corals and plenty of marine life. I felt at home swimming around in the sea.

The sun was shining. Perfect. After, the snorkelers got dropped off at Half Moon Bay. This tiny bit of paradise. It was an uninhabited island with a beautiful coastline. You know the one you picture in your head when dreaming of that deserted island. This was that place. We walked along the dock where we were greeted by a baby lemon shark in the shallows.

We Hadn’t Even Entered The Water and Saw A Shark

Half moon bay with palm trees looking out to crystal blue waters
Half Moon Bay

The shark coupled with the first snorkel I was even more hyped up. This time the snorkel was a drift snorkel. That suited me fine. I like laying back and relaxing. Drift snorkel means that you let the current take you. We were greeted by an abundance of sea life. Everything from tiny colourful fishes to Barracuda and a big reef shark. What another great experience.

Now, time for lunch on this perfect island. I couldn’t picture a more idyllic place to fuel up. After, there was a short walk to see the red-footed boobies at their nesting site. They nest out in the open at the top of trees and my god they smell bad, really bad!

Back To The Boat

We set off for the third and final snorkel in an area called the aquarium. Yes, this place did live up to its name. The clouds were starting to roll in overhead so it was kinda a race back to the boat. Head down take it all in and kick those flippers. This is where I saw shrimp in the sea for the first time. Two of them quickly swam along. It was amazing. That was a great end to the day! I couldn’t complain at all.

Just don’t do my rookie mistake and forget your rash vest or not reapply suncream. SUNBURN HURTS!

The Seven Stop Snorkel Tour

A bright orange and pink sunset over the sea in Caye Caulker in Belize
Sunset on Caye Caulker

This tour took us around Caye Caulker in Belize. First, you look for manatees. We were unsuccessful. Next was the clamshell graveyard. The best area was Hol Chan Marine Park. A protected area where sealife was beaming. We even saw a turtle and a stingray.

Another stop was Shark Alley, this does have a bit of history as originally this was where the fisherman dumped the fish they didn’t need therefore causing all the sharks to gather here. You get to swim with nurse sharks here which was cool. However, some companies feed them which I disagree with. The company I went with did not do this.

The Only Downside

However, the only downside to Caye Caulker is that they feed wild animals. A bar had stingray feeding to help get tourists to spend at their place. Although, it is a good place for sunset. You can enter the grounds for free. Also, here is an artificial home for seahorses. You have to look very very hard for them. There is also a place called “the Split”. A great place to hang out and chill for the day.

All in all, this was the experience I remember traveling used to be like. I was happy again to be on the open road exploring and learning about new cultures. Finally, with a positive mindset, it was time for the next destination.

Read about other adventures from my travel journal here!

A World Wonder in Mexico

Week 5 – Valladriod to Bacalar

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A World Wonder in Mexico

Finally, I was about to cross off another world wonder from my list. This time it is the world wonder in Mexico. I was excited. We changed our plans slightly which made it easier to get to ‘Chichen Itza’. This is something I enjoy about being on the road you are able to change plans at the last minute. I feel having fewer plans allows you to keep the freedom that comes with exploring the world that we live in.

We Based Ourselves in Beautiful Valladriod

the main temple ruin of Chichen Itza. The world wonder in Mexico

Valladriod is a cute town a little like Puebla with its colourful buildings. It was hot here. Very hot. Walking around in the midday sun was just a no-go. Therefore, we chose to get the 7 am colectivo to Chichen Itza because the earlier you go the fewer tour groups and less heat. It’s a win-win. We managed to get our pictures without people in and more importantly enjoy the site without the crowds.

I will say that the price they charge for the number of ruins you can actually access is extremely high. It really does feel like a tourist trap. If it wasn’t one of the wonders of the world. I would miss it entirely and find lesser known ruins to visit. Again, we didn’t do a tour because we are budget backpackers. However, there was a lack of information boards. This seemed to be a theme across Mexican tourist attractions. Therefore, online research is a must to understand the sites you are visiting.

Our Second to Last Stop Was Touristy Tulum

Me on a mopped

Okay. Tulum was the first place I was meant to be visiting two years ago. I was excited however quite frankly I wasn’t sold on Tulum once I arrived. Before, we even arrived we heard bad stories involving the local authority against backpackers. This automatically put us on edge.

Therefore, due to the stories, we took out the money we needed in Valladolid. So, we wouldn’t need to use an ATM. Apparently, backpackers were followed home from these. Then, pulled over for a traffic violation. So, just be careful and aware when on the roads.

In My Honest Opinion

I was not too fond of Tulum. I really thought I would be. Maybe a few years ago before the tourist boom, it was a magical place. However, now it is overrun by beach clubs, expensive restaurants, and rip-off taxis. Okay. If you enjoy beach clubs and have a lot of money to burn through then you may have an entirely different opinion from me.

We had so much go wrong during Mexico that the scooter going wrong was the final straw for me. I was ready to get out. Start fresh in a new country at this point in time. These small things always going wrong really did influence the negative feelings I have towards Mexico.

The Amazing Lake Bacalar

A boat perfectly framed by two beams floating on lake bacalar

At least Mexico had one last surprise up her sleeve. This beautiful lake Bacalar was made up of seven different shades of blue water. The massive lake was warm, crystal-clear water, and hosts an impressive sunrise and sunset. It was great to spend the day relaxing heating up in the sun and then cooling in the water, trying to unwind and shake the negative start to this adventure through Central America.

Check out the other journal entries in my travel journal here!

Caribbean Coast of Mexico

Week 4 – Cancun to Cozumel

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We Finally Made it to The Caribbean Coast of Mexico

A day later than planned but we were finally on the ferry over to Isla Mujeres. I was excited to see what all the fuss was about. So far on the Carribean coast of Mexico; we had been ripped off by the bus driver and the ferry sales lady sold us first-class tickets. Even though we didn’t ask for it. This was not a great start to this coastline after the turbulence 48 hours we just experienced. Oh well, we were at the beach again. My happy place.

First Was Making Sure We Still Had

a yellow and orange sunset over the clam sea on the Caribbean coast of Mexico
Sunset on Isla Mujeres

our hostel booking. We contacted them to move the booking and they kindly agreed. Maybe our luck was changing. Someone did something good for us finally. We enjoyed the grounds of the hostel while waiting for check-in. However, when check-in came. The problem started. They wouldn’t let us have the room. After, back and forth for 2 hours they finally agreed to honor it. It was a lot of unnecessary stress. We had to cancel our tour. Also, cancel, re-book then cancel another hostel. Mexico had been filled with these little hiccups. It was sucking the enjoyment out of travelling. Yet, I guess travelling has both good and bad experiences. So hopefully our luck will change soon.

Finally in Our Room

It was time for sunset. With a south-facing beach a short walk away, we headed there. A massive sand area that was all for free (for a change). There were no beach clubs. We found a spot to sit and finally relax on this beautiful Island. I can’t come to the beach without having a dip. The amazing crystal clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea were warm and welcoming. I automatically distressed and washed away the day we just had. The sunset also showed up for us. It was very impressive. A perfect end to a stressful day.

Exploring Cozumel

A view overlooking a seaweed filled beach
San Martin Beach in Cozumel

Next up, was the Island of Cozumel. I was here to see if scuba diving was something I could enjoy. I love marine life and want to be comfortable underwater. This is because I want to experience the underwater world. My instructor was great and put me at ease straight away. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience with Deep Blue Diving and I would recommend them. For all the stresses we’ve had on this trip, there have been some great experiences in between.

The Bike Ride From Hell

two bikes resting in the sand on the beach
The Bikes at the Beach

Now it was time to find a free beach. I am not a fan of beach clubs. Plus, as a budget traveller those places can eat into your budget drastically. So, we set off listening to the advice of the bike shop guy. This was to be our first mistake. He said ’45 minutes that way to a free beach’. This was not the case. At this point, we should have turned around. This was mistake number two. Also, we had applied no suncream, obviously, this was mistake number three.

It took three hours to reach a beach under the hot sun. That meant another three hours to home. We ended up cycling half the island. 47km. We were sore. Sometimes it is only you that can get the blame when something isn’t that great. This one was our mistake and I own that. However, it didn’t make it any less stressful.

The Caribbean Coast of Mexico

This coastline in my opinion is very very touristy. A very different vibe to coming through the centre of the country. It was all rush, rush, rush. The prices here charge top dollar for even the shortest taxi journey. I did feel more of an American tourist vibe rather than a backpacker vibe. I am looking forward to leaving Mexico and all the negativity it has brought us.

My other entries in my travel journal can be found here!

Beautiful Waterfall in Mexico

Week 3 – San Cristobal to Cancun

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We came to San Cristobal for a beautiful waterfall in Mexico. The pictures of this waterfall looked amazing. I love a good waterfall (who doesn’t) so not stopping here was not an option. We took another night bus from Puerto Escondido to San Cristobal. This ADO bus company is the most common with travellers and to be fair they aren’t too bad. The seats recline well and a wide enough for you and your bag. I feel your lap is the safest place for your bag with valuables in it. I know I am super paranoid about being robbed but it’s happened before. It’s a horrible experience, therefore, being extra cautious can never be wrong.

Arriving in San Cristobal

The beautiful water in Mexico gushing over a rock face at a great pace
The Third Level at El Chiflon

After, the bus we headed straight through the streets to our hostel. This hostel was very dirty but cheap. We only had to endure this for two nights. I didn’t shower it was that gross in the bathrooms. Anyway, we woke up early the next morning to set off to explore “El Chiflon‘. The beautiful waterfall was still three hours away. The journey was one ADO bus followed by a colectivo. We arrived at midday expecting this place to be packed but it wasn’t to our surprise. Also, the small number of people at the falls were mainly locals enjoying their day.

Hiking Up to The Magnificent Waterfall

Okay. This wasn’t that easy. This beautiful waterfall in Mexico has five different sections each with a unique structure. Also, each level was so beautiful, the crystal clear water followed freely over each drop. The third drop is by far the best and biggest but I would still venture on higher than this drop. The hike got tougher or I am unfit. I vote for the latter. But trust me the other two waterfalls are still amazing. If you check back you get a great view across the valley. This was worth the trip. This place is my highlight so far. This waterfall was nature showing off and I am here for it. I am a nature over the urban jungle any day of the week. So to be finally exploring nature again feels so good. I feel alive when exploring beautiful nature.

About San Cristobal

Waterfall falling over the rocks
Me and El Chiflon

After our two nights in the questionable hostel, we left here on another night bus. We opted to go straight to Cancun in one journey. This meant we had 24 hours on a bus. Why so long?

Well, apparently the direct routeto Cancun is not safe. Therefore, the bus has to take a big detour. Looking back on this decision we should have split the journey up. We were on the bus for 10 hours when my friend got sick. We then had to split up the journey to Cancun. We got off the bus at a nice town which turns out has lots to do it.

If you have been to San Cristobal, you will know. Somehow I managed to escape the plague that comes with visiting this town. The water here is bad. So, in hindsight maybe it was a good job I didn’t shower. It was yet another eventful night bus. Yet, another thing to throw a spanner in the works. How many more of these spanners are going to come our way?

Remember you can check out past and future entries to my travel journal by clicking here!

Visiting a Surf Town in Mexico

Week 2 – Puerto Escondido to San Cristobal

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links meaning I earn a small percentage of every purchase at no cost to you.

This week I was on the road again visiting a beautiful surf town in Mexico. This was the perfect opportunity to get re-acquainted with night buses. This is a great way to travel as a budget traveller because you save money on a night of accommodation. However, at what cost to your sleep? Personally, I am used to broken-up sleep. Therefore, this was a small sacrifice for me. Yet, for those who may struggle to sleep in a moving vehicle, it can lead to the next day being a write-off.

This is the joy of travelling by road.

Oh, the joy is definitely sarcasm because this journey was anything but joyful. The trip was only meant to be a simple 10-hour overnight bus from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido.

What Happened When Visiting a Surf Town in Mexico?

AU second class bus at the bus terminal

Well. We got stuck at the side of the road. Stuck in a standstill traffic jam somewhere between Oaxaca City and Puerto Escondido. Why? A truck overturned and blocked the road in both directions. Road accidents happen, I understand that. However, I was not prepared for it. Really not prepared for a 10-hour night bus to turn into an 18-hour bus ride. Yes, the bus did not move for way over 5 hours.

Not only were we stuck at the side of the road, it was pitch black outside. This made the situation worse because of stories about buses getting held up at gunpoint in Mexico. I tried my best to sleep through it and just hoped we would be on the move soon.

However, during this time I run out of water and food. The journey become tedious wait once the sun came up. I felt safer being surrounded by daylight rather than the dark of night.

Due to the fact we were running this late the bus drivers looked to make up time. Therefore from the. moment we got on the move again it was a crazy ride from there on in. The speed we were going at to overtake was at some points terrifying. The only good thing was that they did allow a food stop which couldn’t have been a moment too soon. I needed water and snacks! And a toilet stop because the bus toilet was full and disgusting.

Arriving in the Rugged Puerto Escondido

Golden sand and the sea with a surfer standing watching the waves
Zicatela Beach, Puerto Escondido

We arrived very late but in one piece. I was so glad to be off that bus. I have done long bus rides before but this is definitely the worst. So, I am no stranger to being on the road for a long time. However, I have always prepared enough food and water. So, this one did feel like torture. I was excited to finally be out of the cities and explore the beaches. A shower and a hunt for food were very much welcomed.

The next day I explored the beaches along this Pacific coastline. I was happy to feel sand in my toes and the sea lapping over my feet. There is just something about the beach that makes me feel so grounded. The sun was out in full force with the temperature gauge hitting 39 degrees. It was crazy hot and humid. The humidity was very high, you even sweated when sitting still. I had never experienced anything like it.

So, in Puerto Escondido, I enjoyed beach days. I would bake in the sun and then cool off in the sea. You couldn’t do much else but that suited me perfectly after a jam-packed first week in Mexico. It was nice to catch up on sleep and relax. This is a piece of paradise in Mexico.


I Did Do One Activity Here

my turtle in a coconut ready for release when visiting a surf town in Mexico
Turtle Release in Puerto Escondido

The activity I chose to do was the turtle release. I had read good things about this company online so I thought I would check it out. In the evening everyone heads to the beach and pays to release one of these turtles. I got the feeling that money mattered more to them. One good thing is that they didn’t let you touch the turtles because this isn’t healthy for them. Also, there were no birds in the sky to sky-bomb the turtles. Therefore, my little turtle got a clean run to the ocean. Let’s hope he is the 1 in 100 that survives his journey.

After Relaxing and Sweating Non-Stop

Visiting a surf town in Mexico ended with one last morning walk along the main beach in Puerto Escondido. This walk was great at first but once leaving the beach a dog ran towards us. It jumped up at my friend and attempted to bite her. The dog left a mark and some bruises. Luckily, she got it off before it could puncture the skin. Another little thing going wrong. We left the beach by another night bus. We were heading to San Cristobal.

Now, the little things going wrong started to add up. Let’s see what else Mexico can throw at us.

Check out my travel journal entries here!