What was lost in Merida?

The Cathedral

The Cathedral

The trip from Campeche wasn’t supposed to be long but it was hot in the bus and although we had booked and paid for a direct bus this one decided to stop in all the small towns along the way. The bus station in Merida is relatively central so we set off with our packs to locate a hotel or hostel. As we were in the Yucatan we now had proper hostels to choose from along with the usual budget hotel options. Along route to the zocalo we stopped in to see a hostel who’s rooms looked average to say the least (but certainly not the worst we have seen now). The next hotel we stopped at was cheap and after checking the room out we decided to stay. This hotel was 250 peso per night and was a half block from the zocalo. We aren’t sure why it was so cheap, but hey no complaints. Upstairs in the hotel was a restaurant and we ate there a LOT. It was a great price for tasty food, which had a lot of vegetables for Mexican food, and cheap beers (Tom will always check the beer price on a menu to ‘judge’ the price of a restaurant).

Stormy clouds in the Zocalo

Stormy clouds in the Zocalo

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Campeche

We are in Campeche

We are in Campeche

5 am wasn’t the nicest time to be arriving into a new place but as we were a little disorganised it wasn’t a completely bad thing. We had travelled from Palenque to Villahermosa and quickly decided that it wasn’t going to be the nicest place to spend a few days so we jumped back onto an overnight bus to Campeche. So there we were, in town before a lot of things opened, well before the sun was up. Given the amount of day we had in front of us you would think that finding accommodation would be easy. Not so. A lot of the hotels were over our budget here and the ones which weren’t were unsure if they had private rooms available until midday when guests were due to check-out. So we detoured to eat breakfast at the only food place we could find. After re-energising with an eggy breakfast we found a hotel which looked good and were able to leave our packs at reception.

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San Cristobal de Las Casas

San Cristobal centro

San Cristobal centro

After some Google searching while in Tuxtla Gutierrez we had discovered some cheap apartments through a hotel in San Cristobal. We knew we would be spending a while here just to relax and see some of Chiapas so booking an apartment with kitchen seemed wise, and at $100 USD for the week it was also relatively cheap in a very touristy location. So after walking eight blocks to a main street in Tuxtla and waiting on the side of the road we easily found a second class bus which was a cheap way to get the hour and a half up into the heart of Chiapas. Arriving in San Cristobal we took a taxi (lazy unimaginative option I know, but sometimes it’s nice not to squeeze the packs into already crowded colectivos) to our hotel where we would be shown to our wee apartment.

Our casa

Our casa

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Palenque with the shortest visit to any new place so far…

Selfie at Palenque

Selfie at Palenque

The alarm woke us up at 3am. Not a nice time of morning night to be getting up but we had booked a tour and couldn’t sleep through the pick up time. The tour we had booked was three days long, started in San Cristobal and ended in Palenque. At 2500 peso each this was by far the most expensive excursion we had been on in the last eight months and although enjoyable, looking back we are unsure if it was worth that amount of money.

The van driver picked us up and it was soon obvious that he was a crazy driver. This set off my motion sickness and throwing up into a bag I always keep close during transport I was glad of the darkness before managing to get some extra sleep. The whole van of tourists was abruptly woken en-route as the driver clipped another car while he was performing one of his many dangerous overtaking manoeuvres. Even worse was that he didn’t stop. I’m glad this mode of transport actually had working seatbelts which has been a rarity. Over the next three days we would be visiting the waterfalls Agua Azul and Misol-Ha, Palenque, Yaxchilan and Bonampak archaeological sites and the final day would be a jungle walk in the Lacandon jungle. Continue reading

Mazunte

When we arrived in Mazunte we were a little disorganised, we didn’t have a great idea of where we wanted to stay and I hadn’t loaded Google maps of the area very well on my phone. We managed to find a cheapish but nice hotel right on the beach. But being the start of the school summer holidays in Mexico we were told that on the following Monday the price would increase. So we booked until Sunday night which gave us three nights to get to know Mazunte.

A grey arrival to Mazunte

A grey arrival to Mazunte

Our hotel, right on the beach

Our hotel, right on the beach

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Oaxaca

View from Monte Alban

View from Monte Alban

Arriving in Oaxaca meant we were finally back on track to reach the border before our visas were due to expire. As per usual we didn’t have any accommodation organised except for Google maps loaded on my phone ready to go for knocking on hotel doors. Our first stop was a hostel in the area which we quickly boycotted due to the price. Another few hotels later and we located one which was adequate right around when I was about to start complaining about the weight of my pack. We booked a week because we knew we needed time to get one of our cameras looked at. For some reason the image on the right side of our photos was becoming increasingly out of focus as time went on. Not a small nuisance when you are taking a lot of photos. But there was enough to occupy ourselves with in Oaxaca for this to be an acceptable amount of time.

Pretty colonial streets

Pretty colonial streets

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Tlacotalpan, a short visit.

A short bus trip down the coast and we made it to a sleepy river side town called Tlacotalpan. We didn’t have accommodation booked as per usual but the town was so small that we literally walked from one side to the other enquiring about room prices in probably 90% of the hotels.

Stumbling across potentially the only American living in town we were given a recommendation of a local who rented some rooms. We managed to locate the house and were ushered inside, the room was very basic but clean and cheap so that’s where we stayed.

Palm trees making the zocalo look tropical

Palm trees making the zocalo look tropical

I must admit that I’m still not 100% sure why we visited this town? We ended up having a relaxing full day here just wandering the small town in a chilled out manner. It worked out quite well as Tom was feeling a bit yuck with the start of a cold.

Midday beers and watching the world go by in the Zocalo

Midday beers and watching the world go by in the Zocalo

We saw a tiny museum dedicated to a musician/composer Augustin Lara which was very rudimentary but that’s the only touristy thing we did.

Our time here basically revolved around food. The evening we arrived we ate a nice meal of fish filets, mine in a la Mexicana style (with tomatoes and onion) and Tom’s in el Diablo style (basically covered in hot sauce). The fish in this state is really fresh and delicious, how can you tell? Because I’ll happily eat it and I’m super fussy when it comes to fish and seafood. We drank beers in a local bar accompanied by spicy peanuts which taste so much better with beer; a match made in heaven.

Colourful colonial buildings in Tlacotalpan

Colourful colonial buildings in Tlacotalpan

So our day in this small town was pretty relaxing overall. Lacking adventure we weren’t particularly sad to leave and headed to the bus station the following morning.

The small malecon

The small malecon

It was an uneventful visit that I think will will eventually be forgotten in the long run. More reason to write about it so when I look back at these blog posts it will be remembered rather than fade away.

The bus trip to our next destination wasn’t long, only a few hours. We talked to an older American gentlemen who spent the whole journey quizzing us about New Zealand. It was really nice to talk about home.

Windy Veracruz

I'm in Veracruz!

I’m in Veracruz!

Arriving into Veracruz we were relieved to find the weather to be much cooler. This was such a relief after the mid-forties and humid temperatures of Papantla. But although the temperature was more our style Veracruz had other crazy weather conditions prepared for us; it was blowing a gale with grey clouds threatening to rain at any moment.

We hadn’t booked any accommodation but had done our usual research online for some reasonably priced hotels and their locations. The ADO bus stations we have been using since Puebla have WiFi so we hung out for a while to see what looked suitable online. Tom was the brains behind our eventual accommodation in Veracruz. For once we didn’t search centrally but instead decided on the hotel right behind the bus station without even looking at other hotels for comparison. It was a bit of a splurge for us but the nice sheets, mattress, pillows and bathroom made it so worth while. The hotel even had room service, which we didn’t use but it’s nice to have the option right? I wish I could carry this room into all the places we visit now and in the future it was such a nice change. Continue reading

Xalapa, Cantona and Xico

After travelling in the bus for two hours through some strange misty landscapes we arrived in Xalapa. One of our reasons for staying here for a few nights was to hopefully have a easier trip to visit Cantona. We had booked ourselves into our first hostel in a long time and once we arrived settled into our room. The only thing we needed that night was some food. Happily we found some tamales nearby and tucked into two each. In our time in Mexico we have discovered a love of atole, a warm sweet drink made from corn meal. This shop sold it in chica and grande sizes. Underestimating the richness of the beverage Tom ordered a grande to share. The flavour of the day was vanilla and it was like drinking a litre of custard. Not that that’s a bad thing as we both really like custard but needless to say we were quite full afterwards.

Museum of Anthropology

Museum of Anthropology

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Puebla and Cholula

So after five weeks in one place we finally finished up in Mexico City and moved on. Not far mind you, Puebla was a short two hour bus trip and we arrived without fuss. Getting to our accommodation (again airbnb) was another issue entirely. A nice gentleman helpfully informed us that we could take a local bus then the new Metrobus line to get where we needed to go. Being brand new the Metrobus was even free the entire time we stayed in Puebla which was great. The only problem was that it was rush hour and the buses were packed full like sardine cans. Boarding with our packs was a mission and we finally squished on one. The weight of the pack plus the other people crammed shoulder to shoulder around us was quite unpleasant to say the least. We finally made it to our stop and popped out from the press of bodies in the bus into fresh air.

The Cathedral

The Cathedral

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