In 2010 my parents took me to Mexico for my high school graduation. It was one of my favorite adventures of my life. It was the first time I got a good taste of the “travel bug”. It was defiantly the first time I experienced culture shock. I remember the first thing I saw when we left the airport was a guard standing on the street with a giant gun, which is something you would never see where I come from.
Once we got to the hotel we looked around at the pool, bar and tennis courts. It was a pretty nice family hotel. It wasn’t five start or on the beach. But it was cute, had air conditioning (which is most important!) and a bus that went to a private beach that the hotel owned. Our hotel was all-inclusive so you could eat and drink as much as you’d like. I was drinking piña coladas the whole time. One night they were doing games for kids and they pulled me up on stage. I told them I was 18, that I didn’t belong there with the kids, but the guy didn’t listen. After that I went to get a piña colada and they wouldn’t put alcohol in it!! He didn’t even care had an adult wrist band! So for the rest of the trip my parents had to order all my drinks for me!
My mom and I were totally okay that out hotel wasn’t right on the beach. We would rather explore the county, learn about the culture and see as much as we can. My father on the other hand was a little upset that we only spent one day on the beach and it wasn’t even for very long. To be fair though, look at that water. It is stunning!!
While we were there we did a couple of amazing day trips. The first one we went to Tulum (above) where there are many well-preserved ruins. It was one of the last cities inhabited by the Mayans, from approximately 1200 AD – early 16th century. At the end of the 16th century it was abandoned. It used to be an important trading port for the Mayans.
After we went to Tulum we drove to Coba. Coba is an old Mayan city where people first settled around 100 BC and 100 AD. Most of the construction was done around 500 AD to 900 AD though. It was once a powerful city but was abandoned when the Spanish came. It still hold spiritual value for the surrounding modern villages. It doesn’t look like it’s that big – but let me tell you it is! I was so exhausted climbing up the stairs, but the view from the top was amazing!
Another amazing day trip we did was going to Xcaret. I got to swim with dolphins!! Which I had wanted to do my whole life, so that was pretty great!! I spent almost all of my money for the trip on that one activity but I have zero regrets about it!! There was also many gorgeous animals there and some very strange ones I had never seen before. (I’m so torn on animal captivity. 1. I love to see new animals, but 2. they belong in the wild!) Like when else could you capture a photo like this (below). We went snorkeling in the underground river which was really cool! We also went snorkeling in the middle of the ocean. The boat ride out there scared me so much. I’m afraid of boats and it was going so fast it was just barely on the water! Once out in the ocean we were free to swim where we wanted. My dad found a really cool coral reef that he wanted to swim through. But I was to scared, the waves were so strong and I’m not the best swimmer. I though I was going to get pushed into it and get cut. We also saw some giant sea turtle swimming. I remember trying to follow them so I could take a picture with my under water camera, but man are they fast!!
The rest of the time we spent wandering the streets of Playa Del Carmen. It was so beautiful there. Just look at those colours! It was hard not to smile. Everything was so beautiful, it was my frist time being in a different culture. Although these streets were stunning, not all of them were. There was some streets that were so dirty, and people literally build their home out of random things they had found. It amazes me how some people live, but can still find ways to make their world beautiful. Going to mexico was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Going there made me see how diverse the world is, and how there is so much beauty to explore.