Viva Mexico!

It all started off being planned as a birthday trip together with my friend who happens to share almost the same special day with me…but as usual life had other plans for me and so I ended up going on another adventurous journey all by myself to:

-Tulum, Mexico-

Before I was heading off there were a lot of people trying to hold me back once again. Many were warning me about the dangers of traveling as a young woman to Mexico alone. I had to listen to the craziest stories and I would lie if I told you that it didn’t affect me at all. But I truly believe that in the end of the day it is on you and what you make it because how will you will ever gain any experiences in life if you’re not willing to take any risks?! And with that in mind I made my decision and went on a very long trip all the way to the beautiful Caribbean Coast of Mexico.

 mayan-riviera-2014

Since it was my birthday trip I booked an all-inclusive Resort directly at the Riviera Maya and also spoiled myself with an onboard upgrade. As I was traveling on another Airline than the one I work for I didn’t really know what to expect..so I was very surprised to find a regular economy seat with a fancy looking sign above stating ‘premium class’ for my 200$ upgrade. I have to admit that I must have gotten a little spoiled during all those years of flying for one of the best Airlines in the world but if this was their premium cabin then I honestly don’t wanna know what the ‘real’ Economy class looked like…

economy

Anyway needless to say that I still made it and also got my power dose of sleep during the flight in order to arrive all refreshed in Mexico💃

And what can I say..from the very beginning onwards people treated me with so much kindness and respect that not once did I feel uncomfortable or at any risk. Having said that I also think it is about how you yourself approach and treat others..always remember karma!

life-is-an-echo-zig-ziglar

My first encounter was with Juan, the friendly Mexican Porter who was working outside the Airport. Despite the fact that I did not make use of his service he was very welcoming and helpful to me. I must have looked pretty lost out there with my big suitcase and my wintery clothes (travel rule no.1: never wear shorts or short sleeves inflight..you are on an airplane and not at the beach!) walking outside in what felt like 40 degrees Celsius. So he took initiative and asked me how he can help and what I was looking for. Being a little hesitant at first I quickly warmed up as he did really seem honest and we ended up having a very nice conversation during which I also learned my first few words in Spanish (I know shame on me for not speaking the language that is actually very similar to Italian in the first place). Juan even called my hotel and arranged somebody to come and pick me up at the Airport within less than 20min. I learned that he used to work on a cruise ship for many years and that the job is actually pretty similar to mine. After exchanging some of our greatest adventures at work he also gave me some great tips where to go around the area and what places to avoid. Oh and have I mentioned that he also told me that he saw the sun rising the moment he saw my smile?! I guess Mexicans are pretty similar to Italians in some ways…maybe he was an exception but I like being positive and so I believed that everyone here will be as nice as Juan. And guess what-I did not get disappointed at all.

juan

The first night after my arrival I decided to stay in Cancun close to the Airport. Since it was spring break season I wanted to stay as far away from the tourist hotspots as possible. With my hotel I made an excellent choice: nothing fancy but clean and safe with a huge bed to recover after my flight. But before I did I was desperately craving for my first Mexican Burrito. The Concierge recommended to call me a taxi in order to get into town but I wanted to be adventurous and so I took the public bus just a few steps down the road. In the beginning I honestly thought everyone just assumed I must be Mexican as people would approach me in Spanish all the time. It didn’t take me too long until I finally realized that most of them simply don’t speak English. Somehow I got along surprisingly well with my Italian and so I ended up speaking a mix of Italian and ‘Spanglish’. But let’s focus on the more important things in life: Burritos🙏 I always loved Mexican food. In any form..tacos, enchiladas, quesadilla, you name it…but if you wrap it into a delicious burrito….mhm… never in my life have I managed to eat two of them before but it was seriously so good that I simply could not resist…

burrito

After thoroughly considering both health tips I was ready to continue my journey south along the coast to beautiful Tulum. My first stop was Playa del Carmen where I met a lovely girl from the Netherlands who was traveling around Latin America for the past 6month. All she was carrying around was a backpack. I mean seriously-how are all these people doing it and don’t they ever get sick and tired of running around like a homeless person?! Anyway I am not the one who has to carry all her stuff across the country and since she was obviously having the time of her life I really shouldn’t judge at all. She told me about her trip to Havana, Cuba and her adventures in Guatemala and all of a sudden I didn’t feel so adventures anymore…the funny thing is that apparently my life seemed far more adventurous to her..one of the benefits of traveling by yourself is that you always end up meeting the most interesting people who you can share your stories with.

solo travel

So I hopped onto the next shuttle bus and successfully managed to miss my exit which resulted in having to take yet another bus in order to get back again (typical ‘me-move’). But eventually I reached my destination. Now I only had a few more hundred meters left to walk and so I started dragging my heavy suitcase along the rocky pavement. But it wasn’t long until I got spotted by an old Mexican man who drove by on his rusty scooter and immediately stopped his bike when he saw me. With a friendly smile on his face he yelled something in spanish and waved at me. I had no idea how he was going to assist me but considering the weight of my bag and the way that was still ahead of me I was definitely up for any help and also very curious how that is going to happen. Without any hesitation he started mounting my huge suitcase on his little motorbike (don’t ask me how) and gestured me to hop on. It was too tempting to resist and so I found myself riding with a strange man into the resort-much to the surprise of the hotel staff and the usual high security barrier at the entrance.

I received a lovely welcome and was taken by a guy called Jesús (that’s his real name-no kidding!) to my little mexican-style cabana suite directly in front of the beach. ‘This place must be heaven on earth’ I thought to myself rather than telling Jesus who surely knows paradise better than me. After changing into my favorite outfit (bikini and flip flops) I went to take a first glimpse of the beach at the Mayan Riviera. And what can I say…the colors were just unreal..azure blue water🐠 surrounded by white sandy beaches🐚 and filled with lush green coconut palm trees🌴 And right in the middle of it all: a beach bar offering me all day long as many piña coladas as I could drink🍹 (which in my case is surely not too many!)

pina

It wasn’t too long until I met my favorite Mexican who was going to be my new partner in crime and also great dinner company for the next few days. He taught me how to dance, speak Mayan and simply live life the Mexican way. But the thing that impressed me most about him was his positivity and the fact that he really seemed to enjoy everything in life. People like this are very rare to find and you should always seek their company. I remember one day he took me to one of the famous ‘Cenotes’, a natural pool of pure groundwater hidden in the jungles and surrounded by tropical plants and trees. After taking a refreshing bath I went to rescue my sunburned body into the shade of the palm trees. While I was dozing off I remember him saying that he was going to climb a tree in order to get some fresh coconut. I honestly thought he was joking as I surely never heard anyone say something like this before. When he came back 5min later with his shorts covered in dirt and a coconut in his hands I realized this man was actually for real. Not only did he climb a palm tree but he also managed to carefully open it with his bare hands and neatly cut it in order for us to drink from it. Now I understand why they give Mexican men names like ‘Jesus’👌

jungle2  jungle coconut

On my second day I went to visit the famous Mayan ruins in order to experience some local culture. It’s great architecture took me on a trip back into history and I could feel the ancient spirits surrounding the leftovers of the impressive temples…which of course didn’t stop me from snapping a few touristy shots next to it 😉

mayan ruin

The ruins are conveniently located right next to one of the most amazing beaches called ‘paraiso’ which is absolutely matching its name. The sand here is so white and the water so clear that your eyes really get blinded by the view.

Tulum-beach-large

And believe it or not but even here you will find freshly made guacamole everywhere you go 🙏

The only thing that did disappoint me a little were the big cities known to be the hot spots of the area like Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Generally speaking I have to admit that I was never a big fan of touristy crowds but I was really turned off by the overcrowded shopping areas attracting mostly young people with loud music and cheap drinks. So I was very glad to have chosen Tulum as my main destination even though it was a little further away. Go and check it out yourself if you’re planning a vacation in Mexico:

Tulum-Lonely Planet

My last evening was also the celebration of my birthday🎉 After having our dinner date as usual I asked the waiter to turn down the ac a little. 2 minutes later all lights in the restaurant went off and I felt very sorry for having asked such thing as it clearly must have been my fault🙈 Little did I know…suddenly the restaurant staff came parading to my table with a cake and a very cheerful happy birthday song. What a great surprise! It wasn’t long before the rest of the hotel guests jumped in and starting singing their very own versions of happy birthday for me. In the end of the day I must have heard it in about 10 different languages. Maybe I didn’t get to celebrate my birthday surrounded by loved ones but it was clearly an unforgettable evening with a lot of fun and lovely people around me…

viva mexico

It was definitely a perfect end to my trip even though I was very sad to leave the next day. Having said that I am very grateful for the wonderful people I got to meet and all the new experiences I gained on this trip. Mexico is a place I will definitely return to and I can highly recommend it to everyone who loves beaches and great food.

Hasta la vista Mexico!

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