Tony and Lindsay

Multi method travelers. We camp, stay in hostels and hotels, hitchhike, take buses and taxis and airplanes and trains and boats. Essentially, we love to just go search for what people think are the ends of the earth. But hey, the earth is round!
Living in: Alaska
  • Day13

    Bacalar

    January 29, 2017 in Mexico

    Arriving in Bacalar was eventful. Naturally before we hopped on the colectivo in Carrillo we both drank a little too much water. By the time we arrived in Bacalar we both, but especially Tony had to pee. In getting off the colectivo, distracted by the search for he nearest tree, Tony left his tablet in the colectivo. Pfffff. We figured since the colectivos goes between the cities (Carrillo to Chetumal and back), we can come back in a few hours to check as they pass back through.

    Then, time to find a place to stay. Holy shit it's hot. Walking past the main road down towards the Bacalar Laguna, after just a block, we've both worked up a sweat. Somehow going a direction opposite of the center we find a private room for 400 pesos with a shower and bathroom, though it smells of delicious moldy socks.

    After a few minutes of relaxation without the backpacks strapped to us, it was time to get back to the main road to wait for the colectivos - but eventually we had to give up after about an hour or two. It was too hot and it was time to check out Bacalar. Walking back we checked out the Bacalar Playa, an cute little swimming area that is just 10 pesitos to enter, complete with a restaurant, diving docks all around, kayak rentals, palapa umbrella rentals and such.

    We grabbed a bite, then went back to the room to get away from the heat, and realized we've been had - this room comes with a complete set of cobwebs, no screens on the windows, janky fan, and an unkempt bathroom that's connected to the room by a half ass wall, hence he moldy sock smell. We figured we would deal with the room until the next day.

    That night Tony went out alone searching for a better hotel not long after sunset, and came upon the centro of Bacalar - the loudest birds chirping over the main park, where kids are teeter tottering, hippies from around the world congregate to sell bracelets, and the occasional 1990 Honda accord passes by spewing Banda with hardly a good bass amplifier but a chrome muffler. Eventually finding better hotel for the next night, turning some corners to head back came up the Galeón Pirata, a place that his life music most nights. This time around a lovely mix of Mexicans and travelers alike enjoyed an alternative classic rock inspired group from Chetumal. The night grew mild and bearable, with the exception of the musty room, which we slept fast and in he morning vacated faster.

    The next few couple days we jumped in the laguna at the Playa Bacalar, watching he locals do back flips off he docks into the water, and rented a kayak to cross the laguna to catch a glimpse of a dilapidated restaurant in the shape of a concrete boat, and around a few marshy areas we decided to get out, which was a bad idea. After landing the kayak, Tony stepped onto the sand and immediately sank in with one leg completely submerged into the quicksand. Luckily the kayak was there to prevent the lightening sand from totally eating him alive. We decided to not get out of he kayak there hahah. After 2 hours for 10 dollars, we returned the kayak and decided to jump back in the water and get a bite at their restaurant during a most gorgeous sunset.

    There are some cenotes in the area with Cenote Azul being the most famous. We decided to skip them after hearing about a great little town to visit called Mahahual. A dreamy fishing Mexican pueblo with an influx of Cruise ship tourists twice a day for about two hours. After a quick trip to Chetumal (Tony insisted on getting a new tablet), we hopped on a bus to head back to the Caribbean coast, to dreamy Mahahual....
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  • Day1

    Cancun

    January 23, 2017 in Mexico

    Tony and I arrived to Cancun nice and early in the day. We found the bus downtown easily and had arranged an airbnb before leaving the states so we had a destination. Once we arrived at the bus station downtown, we found the ATM was out of money so we walked towards our place for the next couple of days. The heat always catches me off guard coming from a cold climate so I got grumpy per usual... Tony is ever the positive energy. 😊 He kept us on course and we found an ATM along the way. We made it to our spot which was really nice and met our host. We went to find some grub and enjoyed our first of many tacos.
    We spent the next couple days learning the lesson of not doing too much walking on the heat when you're not used to it (grumpy pants me) and enjoying the luxuries of busses even when they are packed is great. 😝 We spent too much time in the fancy hotel district trying to swim though the waves were quite big (apparently uncharacteristic of Cancun but weather is weather) but we found great food, friendly people and when we broke down to get sunglasses and snorkels from the evil empire aka Walk Mart we were offered another adventure...
    Leo approached us as we were leaving with a proposition. He could tell we weren't the timeshare/luxury sort but if we went and pretended to be he could hook us up with two round trip ferry tickets to Isla Mujeres (where we planned to go anyways ) for 20 dollars which would include transportation and a golf cart rental for the day (all of which would usually cost at least 100 or so). So we decided, why not? We just had to meet him at Wal Mart, he would get us there, we would have free delicious breakfast and listen to the schtick and then be free to go.
    We wondered what we had gotten ourselves into but away we went. Leo was obviously a bit nervous since we had all our stuff with us so we already had to say we were staying on the island. We had to say we were staying at the Royal Cancun and that my mother or friends had a timeshare there and we had to pretend one of our debit cards was a credit card.
    We got to the resort and went through the motions. We then were met with Ingrid: a fantastic, fast talking ray of sunny silliness that showed us around the resort and told us about the fascinating world of the time share residential hybrid being built and that we even considered, especially when she informed us that the first Latin American Disneyland was being built two minutes away!!!
    After too many (complimentary) margaritas the three of us were giggling and chatting about everything from meditation to Swiss heritage. We finally broke away, having made a new friend we felt even richer... We had a cab that took us to the ferry, round trip tickets in hand and 600 pesos cash for the golf cart which we never rented. 😝

    On to Isla Mujeres! 😉
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  • Day7

    Felipe Carrillo Puerto

    January 23, 2017 in Mexico

    We arrived in Felipe Carrillo Puerto in the late afternoon and found a hotel for 500 pesos. It was definitely an upscale place too, air conditioner and lovely space to spend a night. Though we are multi method travelers and I for one typically prefer camping, we certainly enjoy the luxury Mexico affords us. It's hot here, I don't know if you've noticed? 😜

    We ditched our stuff and confirmed there was no bus to Viage Chico, had some dinner and decided to wander around until the sun went down. We were enjoying our walk around Felipe, and stopped at the Mayan Church of the Talking Cross. There were four men there, all priests, one particularly friendly that told us a bit about the church. It is a blend of traditional Mayan worship and Catholic influence, and the priests rotate between pueblos every week. He showed us his beautifully carved stick with a bird at the end, and even joked with us that it was used to whip those who came in with shoes on or were disrespectful somehow. He had sleepy, soft eyes and was truly a kind man. It was lovely to feel so welcome there. Religion isn't really our thing but spiritually, the Mayan people have such a gentle, kind vibe, it's hard not to feel drawn to their culture and themselves as individuals. They still maintain the teaching of their native language and much of their traditions have continued to be passed down. The older women still wear beautifully stitched white dresses with floral patterns at the collar and hem, and have lace flowing from the bottom. You're hard pressed to find two people who look closely alike; there is a tremendous amount of diversity here.
    From the church, we wandered some more and found a bar where a man was singing and playing keyboard. We started to walk right by, dancing in the street, but as we waved to the man playing keyboard, we decided we should go in. So we did!
    Once we sat down, of course the ten or so people inside all stared at us as we ordered two Sol's (Mexican lager) and we giggled as we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. We enjoyed the music and the beers with a plate of salt and lime, and the waitress even brought us some snacks: chicken wings and some other chicken chunks with a sweet sauce, all complimentary. Finally the guy playing music asked where we were from after he played some English language songs and we got up to dance... We answered and a couple came over to invite us to dance more and welcome us to their town. It was loud and hard to understand at times but hilarious and truly an excellent experience. We danced some more and laughed and drank more Sol's. There was a bit of a rustle when the alleged owner who was very, very drunk wanted to dance but didn't like how we were dancing without him, and the couple we were dancing with had words with each other... Then the alleged owner came to sit and talk with us but being as intoxicated as he was, got a bit silly and eventually we had to put our foot down to leave but he insisted on paying for all of our beers! All in all, we felt welcome and genuinely accepted there and truly enjoyed ourselves.
    We had some delicious snow cone like slushy mixed with ice cream on the way back to the hotel and slept like babies.
    The next day, we found a slightly cheaper hotel with a big, beautiful courtyard for 450 pesos right next to the square. We went to the museum and had a lovely, albeit forced tour from a sweet old man named Pedro who patiently showed us all the artifacts and inspired art from mayan history. We learned that the Mayans were beekeepers and also had an amazing array of musical instruments which we got to play with. Lots of flutes and drums. Pedro showed us some old games the kids still play to this day and patiently repeated things when we needed him to.
    Afterwards we had lunch and relaxed until it was time to go to the feria!!!! Tony had messaged a couchsurfer about things to do in Felipe and she told us the weekend was fair time. We made our way there and ogled all the food (lots of cut up hot dogs mixed with French fries and fried plantains), games, and people. Lots of stuff for sale too; everything from Tupperware to artwork. When we got to the end of the fairgrounds, we came upon a rodeo! It was free to enter so we went up to catch the last hour or so of the action. We sat up on the wall with the niños and watched the young men and rodeo clowns harass a young calf and be chased by a bull in that order. We chatted a bit with a man who sat next to us about how this place, this tranquility in Felipe is what Mexico is really like: the happenings at the border, the violence there, it simply does not exist away from that place. He welcomed us and of course, we talked a little about Trump. The whole world is simply watching and wondering what it all means. We have met quite a few Mexicanos who went to the USA to live for awhile and decided to come back home. They prefer it here. Other than intense heat, the quality of life is quite nice really. Relaxed, community/family oriented, friendly, great food.... What else is there?
    We went back to the fair and I convinced Tony to go on the Twister ride... Definitely not regulated like other countries! Hahaha... We may have both suffered a bit of whiplash but it was fun anyways and we really liked how much fun everyone was having. 😝
    We turned in for the night and left the next morning for Bacalar, still working on a plan to get to Punta Allen but starting to surrender to the road's plan for us. 😄
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  • Day7

    Muyil

    January 23, 2017 in Mexico

    Tony and I left Tulum with the intention of catching the collectivo to Punta Allen-only to be told multiple times that it was no longer running. We had our doubts about the taxi and collectivo drivers telling us the truth because gringos love conspiracy and it'd be easy to assume they just wanted us to spend the 700 pesos on the cab ride... but we confirmed it wasn't running with the owner of Serenidad in PA. (We also found out later on that day through the same source that the way to PA was a taxi to the entrance of Sian Ka'an Reserve for no more than 350 pesos, then a small boat for 250 pesos each which included luggage. Another option to skip the taxi portion and go cheaper was a shuttle from ITours in Tulum that leaves at 2/2:30pm everyday to the entrance of Sian Ka'an where the boats launch for 50 pesos a person). We will return to try it out and update in turn.

    Alas we didn't have this information yet and had found some information that led us towards Felipe Carrilllo Puerto and a possible bus/boat to PA that way, so we hopped on a bus south. We decided to stop at the ruins in Muyil because it was in a beautiful corner of the Biosphere and offered our first official set of Mayan ruins to visit. The collectivo driver dropped us graciously at the front and we left our packs with the gentleman collecting 40 pesos a person for entrada.

    The ruins were quite lovely and empty of people; we had skipped the ruins in Tulum due to a late start, there were just far too many people for our tastes. (We will return!) We enjoyed the feeling of having the place (almost) all to ourselves. There was even a lovely little path through the jungle (for an extra 50 pesos per person) to the laguna, where we found an awesome lookout tower and saw all around us the beautiful wilderness of the Sian Ka'an stretching as far as we could see without the touch of man to blur it even a bit. The expanse was a lovely little reminder of a jungle version of our mountain home. ☺

    After we wandered las ruinas, we retrieved our packs and went across the street for some bebidas frías to sip and contemplate our next moves. We had read about a route online that involved a bus to Viage Chico from Felipe Carrillo Puerto, followed by a boat to Punta Allen...so we decided that we would head to Felipe and stay for the night in a truly Mexican town. (We discovered later that no bus goes to Viage Chico and a boat from there to PA would be thousands of pesos).

    We discussed our mode of transport briefly (Tony wanting to hitchike and I preferring to take a collectivo) and after a bit of a rustle, we jumped on a colectivo and made our way to Felipe Carrillo Puerto, a town that quickly stole our hearts. (Spoiler alert!) 😜❤
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  • Day1

    Beginning the Journey in Tulum

    January 17, 2017 in Mexico

    Lindsay and I stayed at an inexpensive hotel in Tulum for a couple days. . Renting a bike was a fantastic was to see the Cenotes, Ruins, and Beaches.

    There are many Cenotes in the area. The two we visited were just down the street from each other, and are a part of a huge underground cave structure, but for serious cave divers. The Cenotes themselves serve as amazing swimming, snorkeling, and (short) cliff jumping into cerulean colored water that makes your skin feel silky smooth. Maybe it's all the bat poop that's fallen into the water.

    Different Cenotes for different things: the first one was Cenote Calavera. It felt so quaint being there, almost like being in someone's backyard. You can bring your own food, drinks, and music if you please. Not a lot of space, but it's super chill and relaxed. Nice to put up a hammock and listen to everyone having fun. In the darkness are hundreds of bats hanging up above.

    The second Cenote was Gran Cenote with a totally different vibe. You purchase your ticket through a person less mirror window using a microphone and speaker, then continue through a turnstile into a pretty nice looking property with cheap snacks and cold coca cola. There are plenty of nearly naked Europeans and South Americans around, some even getting into trouble by taking off their tops (we deducted that they were from France). This Cenote is well developed with bathrooms, showers, platforms for getting into the water, and locker & snorkel rentals. Very diverse Cenote with shallow rocky areas and very deep dark drops where cave monsters will attack from, and a nice tunnel to go between platforms.

    We took a 35 mile bike ride the day after, snapping only a few photos of fisherman and the beach. We were just happy to get away from all the cars in Tulum. :) visiting the ruins will happen a other day, but more on Tulum later.

    We were intrigued to find a little lobster and fishing village on a map, called Punta Allen. It's at the end of a long road where the land spits out a narrow peninsula as part of the Sian Ka'an Biological Reserve. We've read stories of Mexican Cats, colorful birds, crocodiles, and massive fish there, along with more intentional inhabitants and the occasional tourist. Finding out how to get there hasn't been easy, the 45 km road is bumpy and know to take 4 hours to get there. The colectivo, a public transport van, has gone there intermittently over the years, but online research has mostly suggested we rent a car. Instead, I think we will hitchhike.... Coming up next, the Road to Punta Allen!
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