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In the previous episode…
of the “Adventure Escape Diaries” (https://youtu.be/J8XX_x7mMtk) we decided to leave Puerto Vallarta, for the #Caribbean coast of Mexico.
How it continues:
We landed in #Cancun on the #Yucatan Peninsula and got surprised with a very real problem. A #Hurricane had just come through the #Mexican State of #QuintanaRoo and the next one was already on its way.
Though we didn’t let ourselves be stopped by this, we soon discovered how the turbulent weather matched our turbulent travel style.
Join us in this episode…
to meet some great new contacts and our previous travel buddy Ole to discover #IslaMujeres, #PlayaDelCarmen and #Cozumel where we then encountered #HurricaneZeta. Shaken from this experience we finally moved to the highly anticipated #Tulum. But more about that in the next episode!
Tell us in the comments about your favorite place on the #YucatanPeninsula!
And now it continues…
After our first month on the Mexican West Coast it was time for a change.
The Caribbean, here we come!
We had to be careful though to not lose our goal out of sight. In less than 3 months our documents for the Paraguayan residency would expire and we needed to make it there in time. At this point the Paraguay borders were still closed. So we kept on discovering Mexico. The Caribbean always sounded to me like a very promising place to be.
Who doesn’t wanna be in the Caribbean!?
White beaches, turquoise blue water, colorful fish and wildlife, palm trees, islands and breathtaking sunsets. Ever since I was traveling in Africa 15 years ago, just having watched the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”, I’ve been on a quest to find that place that would be as cool as The Caribbean.
Ironically a lake, the northern part of Lake Malawi, came pretty close, at least to my vision of it at that time.
All these years later, after having lived in Miami and having been to the Caribbean on multiple occasions, I was still having a mystical vision of the Caribbean Sea. Though now I upgraded my dreams to the not so PG13 version of the series “Black Sails”.
In my mind it’s still the place to find treasures and escape civilization in a pirate’s nest, a vision of finding my own “Nassau”. I’m just mentioning this to show that naturally my expectations for our trip to the Caribbean coast of Mexico were pretty high.
Sooo first day off the plane – “Hurricane Season”!
It was pouring rain and we were advised to just stay at the hotel. Apparently some beaches were closed down but we weren’t sure if that was due to the general craziness that was going on in the world right now or just because they had to clean up the beaches.
Let the hotel nightmare begin
Our first night in Cancun was a bit of a hotel misstep. The originally booked hotel from Booking.com was overbooked and didn’t have space for us, so we were sent to a Hotel closeby. That hotel didn’t end up having running water. General repairs and bad luck. We were supposed to go back to the original hotel the next day, but they treated us very rudely and we engaged with Booking.com about that and they just offered us a refund.
We ended up staying at a pretty fancy place with rooftop swimming pool in downtown Cancun. That is not to be confused with the Cancun Hotel Island. That’s were you will find one big resort hotel after the next.
Cancun is only 50 years old
We were kinda hoping to find a more cultural center of Cancun, just to find out though that the city of Cancun is actually just like 50 years old. It was built solely with beach tourists in mind. So no cultural heritage here. Just jungle, or so they say.
We met the friendly British motorcycle racer Malcom in our hotel and hung out a few days talking about how we all escaped the insanity of Europe. He was waiting out his “quarantine” of two weeks in Mexico before being allowed to fly to Florida, after coming from Europe… as if having been to Europe is considered too dangerous to mingle with Americans. Two weeks Mexican vacation makes things fine though… must be the “comida picante”, the spicy food that cures our European-ness. Anyways, we had a blast.
The hotel island of Cancun
The weather turned slightly better and we explored the hotel island for a few hours. It’s a beauty to look at, those turquoise waters and white sands… just the Jumbo hotels didn’t resonate much with us. We were looking for something more… cozy, I guess.
So Malcolm told us about Isla Mujeres, a small and cozy island just north of Cancun. We asked him to join us, but being a motorcycle racer, he naturally preferred the dry land over the Hurricane season ferry ride. He is a great guy though, I hope we will have a chance to meet again someday in Florida.
The beautiful island of Isla Mujeres
We did actually get wet on the boat ride to Isla Mujeres but it wasn’t connected to the weather at all. Some crazy world officials were coming up with a cattle herding solution to mass sanitize people entering the island. We all had to walk with all our luggage through some chemical sanitizer shower just after coming off the boat. I’m usually convinced that nature will sort it all out and take sanitized people first, but there even I had no chance to escape the insanity. Putting a hoodie on, holding my breath and through I ran. It was the first and last time that I couldn’t avoid this chemical attack towards my healthy body.
Mayan heritage on Isla Mujeres
We soon recovered from the shock with a walk around the indeed cozy “old town” on the island… again, old stands for like 20 years old… because before that, it was all jungle…. Even though on Isla Mujeres there is actually an old building, apparently the remains of a Mayan temple.
The Mayans were all over the Mexican Caribbean coast apparently until disappearing without anyone knowing why. The ruin at isla Mujeres was one of many Mayan remains we would visit throughout our journey here at the Mexican east.
(Check out Alexandra’s video on A walk to the Mayan ruins of Isla Mujeres – https://youtu.be/AJsl7RNB-1E)
Our Norwegian friend Ole is back!
For the exploration of the island we welcomed Ole, the Norwegian Strongman back into our lives. He had already gone back to Europe but it took just a few days of considerations on his part until deciding that Europe was completely nuts and he was gonna book the next fight back to Mexico.
He had actually already arrived at the Caribbean some days before us and had an exploration head start. Happy to have him back on board we were all looking to find a place that we could more permanently call our home. We all liked Isla Mujeres but it somehow lacked the infrastructure we desired. In our case a combination of comfortable living, a Coworking space or air conditioned coffee shop with fast-ish internet and preferably a gym or some kinda outdoor gym facility.
The Cafe “Aroma Isla” was a good compromise for our time being on Isla Mujeres. No AC but it had internet, good enough to follow up with our clients and helped us to continue to work on some of our projects. Additionally it had some great smoothies and amazing Paleo breakfast.
Though after some long considerations, Isla Mujeres wasn’t quite it. So we all took the ferry and then the bus further south.
Next stop… Playa del Carmen
The state of Quintana Roo, which we were in, offers some great transportation opportunities for big or small budgets. We took the comfortable ADO busses with AC and onboard bathroom. If you wanna splurge a bit more, you can hire a private shuttle or get a rental car. If you wanna go cheaper you can go with minibuses called “collectivos”.
Alexandra and me got out in Playa del Carmen. Ole had already spent some time there before our arrival and went further south to Tulum by himself. Ole didn’t like Playa too much and neither did I. It is all about night life and has pretty crowded beaches.
Ole didn’t like it due to the temptations and distractions and for me it was horror to walk down the streets and every 5 seconds being hassled by someone trying to sell you hats, taxi rides, drugs, their mother.. seriously… with people getting aggressive when you start ignoring them, this was just gonna be a short stopover for us until we took the ferry to the close island of Cozumel.
Playa del Carmen was pretty frustrating but at times very entertaining, overall though it was time to move forward. Alexandra talked about our hotel scam in two German vlogs on her channel.
(Hotelbetrug Playa del Carmen – https://youtu.be/YjyQFKZ1JHA –
Hotelbetrug Playa del Carmen (Part 2) – https://youtu.be/6aULd4P5Zfs)
Connecting with locals
Though not before meeting my first travel contact from Instagram, Nickthel. We connected on Instagram for our love for fitness and travel and we stayed in contact when she heard of me coming to Mexico.
I am used to meeting up with people from all around the world through the Couchsurfing Platform. I made over 100 amazing connections there and it was a great help in discovering Europe, the United States and Central America. Unfortunately, due to the recent scare propaganda, Couchsurfing has become a fairly hard place for me to connect. My connection with Nickthel though gave me back my faith that there are still many people out there who are ready to receive cultural exchange with open arms. Thank you Nickthel. We said goodbye to her but it was just gonna be the first of several times on our journey.
Cozumel and hurricane Zeta
Our ferry ride to Cozumel was quick, like the one to Isla Mujeres, with the difference of not being chemically poisoned at arrival. But another, very real threat was waiting for us there…
Alexandra and me are generally not paying much attention to the news, and had no idea what was going on. The main town on Cozumel was empty of people. Stores were closed in the middle of the day and the last grocery store was shutting down within half an hour of us arriving.
The weather was cloudy but nothing too bad. What was going on…? Hurricane Zeta was about to hit!
Hurricane warning for the whole island.
Everybody had to barricade their shops and houses. There was a curfew and we didn’t know… Police were driving on the empty streets and yelling from their speakers. What exactly, we dont know, our Spanish was by no way good enough yet. The rain started and we made it to our hotel soaking wet. In the hotel room everything was nice though. Airconditioning, internet, food….for now. The sun went down. And the storm hit. It took just a few minutes and the electricity was out. Internet gone, AC gone, water pressure gone, now it was dark. And humid and hot and there were many mosquitoes waiting for the opportunity. We couldn’t open the doors or windows because the storm was so strong it was bending down palm trees. It was a very long and uncomfortable night.
Hurricane Zeta ended up being a category three Hurricane, most of the destruction was palm trees and small damages on property. Some streets were under water and it took a while before the electricity would return. Generally though people were well prepared, due to it being the second Hurricane that came by within a few weeks.
Exploring the island of Cozumel by car
The weather was great again and so we thought it would be a good time to leave the city of Cozumel and explore some of the island. We rented a car and checked out some of the beaches on the southern part of the island. Cozumel is overgrown by jungle and has some very scenic places along the coast.
Unfortunately due to the Hurricane, the historical sites and some of the more beautiful beaches were closed for clean up. Alexandra has another good video about our day after the Hurricane on her Youtube channel. There you will find this and other great videos about our travels in the Mexican Caribbean.
(Check out “The day BEFORE & AFTER hurricane Zeta” – https://youtu.be/s9q7OJi_O2o)
Coming next in Tulum…
For us it was time to move forward again. By ferry and then by bus we made our way to Tulum. Ole on the other hand had already enough of Tulum and was exploring the north of the Yucatán peninsula.
We didn’t really know what to expect from Tulum.
Paradise or Tourist trap?
The hardship of trying to find a place to stay in the Caribbean 🏝😫 – https://alexandraallover.com/hardship-of-finding-a-place-in-caribbean/
Don’t fall for these tourist scams in Playa del Carmen❗️ – https://alexandraallover.com/tourist-scams-of-playa-del-carmen/
The island of Cozumel during the hurricane ⚡️🌬 – https://alexandraallover.com/the-island-of-cozumel-during-the-hurricane/
Alexandra’s YouTube Channel
Ole Kvammen Fitness Coaching:
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