The next morning, after waking up to a nice cool room (albeit at 5am thanks to our good friend Jet Lag) and some fresh fruit and muesli for breakfast, we felt much better and ready to start our Central American adventure!
First up, we decided to check out the touristy Cancun beach in the Zona Hotelera. The beach itself is absolutely gorgeous and neither of us pale Europeans had ever seen sea so blue before. Sadly, and unsurprisingly given its status as a Spring Break destination, it’s surrounded by huge clubs, sky high hotels and American restaurants. Even the ‘local’ markets were selling straw hats for $58 a pop!
There are also a large number of spring breakers out here hunting for targets for their holiday fling – saying ‘no’ seems to just result in the phrase, ‘Ah, come on, what happens in Cancun, stays in Cancun!’.
Yeah, still no.
Nevertheless, we had a lovely day basking in the sunshine and arrived back at the hostel suitably burnt. A lovely dinner at Mercado 28 downtown and then back to the hostel bar to find some friends and make the most of the hot tub and rooftop bar. We met lots of people who were either starting or finishing similar journeys, all of whom had much more positive things to say than our American friend from yesterday.
The following morning we woke up to pouring rain and slightly sore heads so we decided to give the beach a miss and check out some more of Cancun downtown. We found a quirky little local food market and tried some Mexican beef stew with rice and beans, tortillas, coconut water and, for some unknown reason, a side dish of celery and pasta soup.
We’ve already been struck by how wonderful and friendly the Mexicans are. Everyone is so helpful and they seem to be happy all the time! Our Spanish is also improving rapidly as we haven’t yet encountered anyone with a particularly good level of English. It will be interesting to see how this varies as we travel on – we had expected Cancun to be the most English-speaking place so we may need to up our Spanish game!
We’ve hung around here slightly longer than planned – there is only one hostel on Isla Mujeres so we’ve been waiting to reserve a spot. Cancun is a little too built-up and touristy for our liking so we’re looking forward to moving on tomorrow, although the hostel has been excellent and the beaches are gorgeous.