Playa del Carmen, Tulum & Cancun ’07

10 years ago, I fell in love with Mexico. I have probably been back there 10 times now – tanning trips to Playa, all inclusive resorts in Cancun, checking out the new and trendy Tulum.

Although in 2007 I wrote:

“Cancun and Playa del Carmen is nothing like I expected. But it was naive, I expected a small and beautiful beach, roughly like Morro de Sao Paulo. Of course I was mistaken, as a beach as known as Cancun wouldn’t ever be small. You get a lot of tourists, all year round. And it’s practically the US backyard”

At that time, Playa was small. It was where backpackers would choose to go, with affordable accommodation (probably paid US$20/night at a private room on a hostel, and one night we stayed at a camping + hammock site right on 5th Avenue! That property was probably sold for millions) and a couple bars innovating with electronic music by the beach. Nowadays… if you’ve been there, you know it. I’ll write another post about it, ASAIC.

These are more of my 2007 impressions (1st,  Playa del Carmen):

In despite of Burger King, McDonald’s and other capitalist and domineering multinationals, I really enjoyed the cities. They are developed cities, and the sea has that turquoise blue that can not be seen anywhere, I believe it is only on the beaches of the Caribbean itself. And the Mexican spirit is fun, very much in tune with Brazil. We’ve been walking with our sombreiros (the typical Mexican hat), and everyone shouts Viva Mexico! Viva!
Such as Brazil, Mexico is a country of many contrasts. The state of Chiapas maintains a lot of the Mayan culture, while here in the Peninsula Yucatan the cities have a giant influence of the USA, of the globalization and the capitalism. And festive despite the problems. Just like Brazil, making Carnival out of the chaos.

Now telling a little of my trip. We arrived here in the state of Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula on the 15th afternoon. We stayed at the Urban Hostel, 100 pesos per day (10 dollars), with a room of our own but shared bathroom and breakfast. Good spirit, lots of fun travelers. Everything here is much more expensive, and we had to walk a lot to tan as far as possible from the hotel region, which is very crowded.

Many people on these beaches practice topless, I think the influence of the Europeans who come to spend the holidays here. Marina joined in and went skinny dipping.

And of Tulum, that was just about the ruins in 2007:

The next day, on the 16th, we went to Tulum, to see the Mayan ruins next to the beach … Once again we were able to pay nothing, with our student cards and that little weeping at the entrance (because in fact only Mexican students are exempt).

I liked the ruins, but I really loved the beach. SO beautiful! Tulum was the port city of the Mayans, they sailed the coast of Mexico to Belize for commercial relations – yeaah, do you think they were underdeveloped? Nope, they weren’t that far from sailing all the way to Europe.
We spent the day at the beach, topless – no one here is impressed.



And of Cancun:

On the 17th we went to Cancun, and already imagined that it was a bigger city than Playa del Carmen. It really is, with a downtown and a Hotel Zone. But I liked it. I prefer a small beach, without buildings or hotels, but I found Cancun a good city to live in. It has everything a big city can offer, and the beach is well maintained, as the city is too. Felt a bit in the US, but with Mexicans. I liked it, I even had thoughts of moving here after graduating…

The sea is even bluer, although I was told it was calmer, but after the hurricane last year the water got more agitated. Leaving the beach we went to Hard Rock Cancun, which is next to the famous CocoBongo. We met some Brazilians who told us that it really is a must, it’s worth paying 25 dollars – the real price is 45, but they said we got it for 25. Perfect.

Good times when you could get into Coco Bongo for only US$25.


The next day, the 18th, the schedule was to go to Isla Cozumel. But we arrived on the ferry to discover that it is very expensive to go, and that to get to a beautiful beach we would have to take a taxi or rent a scooter… all this to stay only 3 hours on the island? We decided not to, and sunbathe in Playa del Carmen instead.

This time we stayed in the busiest part of the beach, and it was fun. It is not that bad to enjoy a beach full of tourists, because they were mainly nice and educated people.
At night we went to Cancun, we decided to have a day of luxury for a change! We were going to have dinner at Hard Rock because Ma never been. But there were a lot of options, and we went to Señor Frog, a restaurant-ballad, a funny one. There was a presenter on the stage who played with customers, there was free tequila time, conga line with servers throwing tequila straight into the mouths of those in line! There was a contest of the ‘best white guy funk dance’ and another that the participants had to cross a pool on a tightrope, and if they fell they got wet (and they did)! This kind of thing.

We ate very well, delicious fajitas.
Then we went out and went to CocoBongo. We paid 20 dollars, and it was really worth it. It’s a club but more like a show house with several performances, like the Moulin Rouge, Michel Jackson, Cristina Aguilera, Shakira, The Mask, Bettle Juice, etc. But it was very good, and it was open bar right! Lots of tequila. But we’re fine…

Jesus. Nothing like the energy of your early 20s:

We left Coco Bongo and went to Isla Mujeres, an island that is 30 minutes from Cancun, by ferry.
And this beach I think was the most beautiful we found here, the water is calmer, the sand very fine and blue. Gorgeous, and we stayed until you see the sunset on the sea. We were going back to Playa del Carmen , but we decided to sleep here. The town is also very nice, little – I think it’s kind of like I expected Cancun to be.

Funny enough, I got back to Isla Mujeres a few years later, with my husband, and it was disappointing. It is all about perspective and timing, I guess. Would love to hear your thoughts on that. Write me!

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