Hola Mexico!

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We just went on a super awesome Mexico trip, driving down the Yucatan Peninsula to explore the side/route not taken- the Caribbean side! It was great 🙂

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We landed in Playa del Carmen, which I didn’t really like…It felt like Las Vegas to be honest! Big loud bars, party scene, touristas everywhere and just very overwhelming. If we were there for longer, I know we’d see the ‘real’ Playa del Carmen, and not just the touristy veneer, but for first impressions it was nuts~ Plus we went to a restaurant, the food was quite good but they screwed up our order, when we called them on it, they straight up lied…And we could tell. Bad move, people.

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A diff restaurant, much more humble.

But at least the order we did get tasted good? Ha. Regardless, we were eating what they brought, not what we wanted.

Then we rented our car and were off to Mahuahual. I can’t even say the name right to this day….Much less spell it correctly. It’s a wayyyys off, basically 3.5 hours from Playa Del Carmen. It feels eerily like you’re in the middle of nowhere, haha. And then boom! You are at the ocean, and it’s a really cute little town. Very touristy and has a cruise ship port- but it was very quiet when we were there. It can be a bit of a party town too, down at the far end.

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The condo at Mahuahual.

We had a condo rented via air bnb and it was AWESOME! Cool, breezy, large, good internet, clean and had a fantastic blender that I made GREAT use of. Thumbs up! We did a fair amount of snorkeling and walking around in Mahuahual. We saw about 5 rays, I found a very large snail, almost as big as a conch! I also saw a lionfish.

We got pretty sunburned, but that was okay because soon we were on our way to the jungle! We then spent 1 day at a jungle lodge in Calakmul and it was scorching hot. Holy jeezus, it was stifling when we got there and our cabin sure didn’t have A/C….But they did have a pool! We spent a lot of time in it. Dinnertime and we saw some agoutis scampering around the forest!

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We spent a lot of time at the pool…it was scorching hot! 

The next morning there was much confusion as the state we were in was in a different time zone…Ha. We got up (too early as it turned out) to have breakfast and then head to see the Mayan ruins at Calakmul (the reason we went there in the first place). The ruins are located deep in the biosphere, on a 60-km long journey on a seriously pot-holed and pitted road. It was a long and arduous drive. We did see what may have been a tapir?? several toucans, and a wild turkey attacked our car too, which was frightening.

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Toucan friend

We made it to the ruins and I bolted out of the car and ran straight to the washrooms (another story entirely….bees and or flies. YIKES). There are no services there other than washrooms, so you have to be careful with water and food- you must bring everything with you, and there is nowhere to buy those items at the jungle lodge, so you have to come prepared early.

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We then walked what felt like forever to see the ruins, hidden among the jungle. They were VERY impressive…looming out of the trees. Tons of them too! And we were practically the only people there, only a handful of others. It was screamingly hot too.

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We explored/climbed until we ran out of water and had to go back to the car, having exhausted most of the ruins- at least the neat ones. Back on the bumpy pothole road we went, this time straight to Bacalar, home of the second-largest freshwater lake/lagoon of the famed ‘seven colours’ water.

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It was not disappointing. It was gorgeous! Windy as fuck as we soon learned…But gorgeous! We spent some times swimming in the lagoon, renting space at a fancy and well-maintained beachside resort-type setup in town.

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We then went to explore the centoes (big water caves with freshwater) that was famous in the area- Centoes Azul. It was very cool but the idea of basically this giant pit of bottomless water that goes straight down is kind of frightening when you’re used to seeing and walking on the bottom of the ocean/lagoon floor…. Also I got attacked by a fish that was trying to bite my legs. Reminded me of piranhas!! I screamed and shrieked and swam for the ladders to get out.

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Cenote Azul

We wrapped up our time in Bacalar enjoying some truly fantastic food- I had a very reasonably priced whole roasted octopus, we ordered some GREAT ice cream- Ian had queso flavoured! I had ‘mamey’ flavour (kind of like a cakey vanilla?? It’s red?) And our last night we had what can only be described as a cauldron of meat. Hahahah. Yum though!

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Cenote Azul

Our journey home was arduous, stressful and had me going from 0-100 in like ten beats. UGHH. What we learned from that was- the less moving parts, the better. Next time just get a car from the airport and remove the extreme stress of returning the rental, buying bus tickets, getting on a bus, getting stuck in gridlock traffic, getting into a major huge lineup at the airport (ok maybe that part is inevitable…) but yeah. Freaking stressful.

Anyways, I can recommend our journey. It was amazing!!

Light upon the lake: Mexico vacation update!

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Ah yes, I managed to escape the dreary rain/cold/wind of Christmas in Vancouver Island and went to the incredibly hot, beautiful climate of Huatulco Mexico, in the Oxaca province. It was HOT!!! And so so so sunny all day, every day. The sky was this limitless blue, sky blue that went on forever, each day.

We stayed at the Dreams resort, on Tagoluna Bay. There were a few other smaller resorts in that bay, and the area is known for its 7 famous bays, all good for swimming, snorkeling and goofing off.

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It was about 30-35 degrees everyday, which meant we didn’t do a ton of walking around/exploring (sooo hot) but we did a lot of swimming, snorkeling and laying under the palapa. The resort was really nice, had 5 different swimming pools, two were adults-only which is awesome and made them much quieter.

The service at the resort was fantastic, the employees were all lovely and nice and super responsive. The food was really good too, I enjoyed sushi TWICE! And steak, ceviche, seafood salad, pasta, guacamole, crickets (yes I ate those too) and really good cotija cheese. Yum!! They also had decent sparkling wine and Baileys too, and made some good margaritas, haha.

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So, I ate, drank, swam, snorkeled, paddle-boarded and kayaked for a week. We also went into town twice, to Las Cruceitas. It was smoking hot, holy god. We didn’t last that long in town that’s for sure, it was stifling and about 40 deg. We did buy and drink two coconuts though! Yum.

For an all-inclusive, this was a fabulous option and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to folks, particularly if you’re doing what we did and meeting up with family at the resort. It’s pretty hassel-free, easy way to hang out with family and not want to kill each other by the end of the trip! (wink wink).

🙂

Back to reality, sadly. And basically monsoon season right now too. The bright spot is that I missed Oats like CRAZY!! I couldn’t wait to get back riding. Oh and my husband, dog and bun bun too 😉

Back from holidays! (nothing was the same)

A week away feels so much longer, particularly when I was coming down from several months of extreme stress, pressure and sickness.

And WOW it was worth it. Such a great holiday, such a great time.

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Greetings from sunny Sayulita!

We visited Sayulita in Mexico, close to Puerto Vallarta – roughly an hour away. An easy place to get to, and an easy place to like. Eternal summer.

We did everything. Horseback riding on the beach, hanging out with friends, boogie boarding at the main beach, swimming in the ocean every day, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, I went on one run, and a boat trip to the Marietas Islands (more on that later…).

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We even got to gallop on the beach!

I miss it. I feel sad to be back.

The food was so great, we cooked/ate a lot of meals at our VRBO rental- which was great, by the way. The only downside was the shared plunge pool that ended up being not-so-shared as our neighbour unit had a large family and kind of ended up occupying it. Oh well!

What did we eat? Octopus! Shrimps! So many shrimps, I felt sick. Shrimped out!

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Cooked my first whole octopus

We made fresh salads with avocado, queso fresco, salt and lime. That’s all you need for seasoning, as we found out. We drank Coronas (me) Pacifico (Ian) and then later, Agua fresca  Jamaica for me (when I was off booze).

Restaurants? We did that too! We ate at La Esperanza, pricier than the other joints but SO high quality- I had tuna steaks in hibiscus sauce on mashed plantains, and it was AMAZING. So much tuna I gave some to Ian because I was full and still kind of reeling from my hangover.

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Souvenir beach bag I bought for my sister.

We also did an entire night of street foot- we started with tacos el Ivan and got eight – ocho-tacos al pastor for super cheap, $100 pesos? Next we had hot churros, and then a beef tamale, and then corn in a cup. It was all so good! In the beginning of our trip, we ate ceviche from a street vendor and it was excellent and fresh. So much good food!

The only tragedy was our boat trip to the Marietas Islands. I was excited for it, and the boat ride out was really nice, we saw dolphins and blue-footed booby birds and their chicks at the islands!

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Ill fated boat trip, oh against my better judgement

We snorkeled a bit but I was freezing- the water was cold and kind of silty so it wasn’t great snorkeling so I swam back to the boat and hopped on a stand-up paddleboard. It was tough and tippy!

On our way back, we swam some more, had lunch and plentiful snacks, and ….my ultimate downfall, copious amounts of free flowing booze like pina coladas, margaritas, tropical drinks and shots. Jesus.

Anyways, you can see where this is going…I drank WAY too much, encouraged by the atmosphere and fun and I completely lost control. The minute I stepped off the boat and onto the bus to head back to Sayulita, I was throwing up uncontrollably. Ian gave me a water bottle and it fell uselessly out of my hands because I couldn’t even clutch anything.

Threw up out the window the whole way back, and we staggered to the plaza- we stopped there so Ian could go to the bathroom, and I proceeded to throw up over the back of the park bench in the middle of the day, bright sunlight. YUCK.

We staggered back to our place, and I was so sick I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom (yes puking in a bucket, please and thank you)…

Passed out apparently with my eyes open, creepily.

Threw up at night again.

Rinse, repeat.

So, Thursday was not a great day after but I rallied and we went to the beach and got a Chocobanana (great!) and I managed to eat some stuff later on. I wasn’t feeling too miserable, because I guess passing out at 5pm the day before gives you plenty of time to stew in your misery before getting it over with.

So, yeah I am kind of off booze for now, giving my poor liver and brain a break plus GAG.

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The endless summer of San Pancho

But, I LOVED Sayulita and San Pancho and would definitely go back. Love Mexico!

Hit the ground running

Yup that’s me! Back from my fabulous trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

To spare anyone a tedious recap, I’ll bullet point it. In short, it was SO NICE. Weather could be a bit iffy, depending on where you were- rainy/windy, or sunny but quite windy. Overall average between 25-27 deg, sun was HOT when it was out, so had to reapply lots of sunscreen.

Ocean was chilly but swimmable, I’m a bit of a chicken there so others might find it easier!

  • Do go trail riding. We went to CJM, which does kind of quiet/boring walk-only rides but the length- 2 hours, and scenery is amazing. AMAZING!
Trail riding at CJM

Trail riding at CJM

  • Go to the Nepali coast. We did the hike, and the beach there (Ke’e) and bought coconuts off some young guys truck.
Hiking at Nepali

Hiking at Nepali

  • Go to the brewery (Kauai brewery in Port Allen) smart friendly owners. Their Lillikoi beer if amazing!
  • Go to the rum tasting at Koloa Rum. It’s in the Gaylord Plantation, friendly and fun!
  • Snorkel at Poipei. It was super windy but we saw TONS of fish really easily. Busy but because it’s one of the best spots…
Sea turtle at Poipei beach

Sea turtle at Poipei beach

  • Buy fish from the grocery store- I had king crab meat for $7 bucks, and we bought huge ahi tuna steaks for like less than $8.
  • Don’t buy bread- it costs more than the fish!
  • Go swimming at any beach- there are zillions! We liked the beach at Kaap’a that had the Andy Irons memorial.
Beach time!

Beach time!

  • Buy a taro pie at McDonalds. It looks super bizarre (purple?) but so tasty!
  • Stay at two places. We stayed in a super creepy, crumbling resort (the Aston Aloha) for a few days and wow, did it ever feel like its heyday was 20 years ago- creepy but cool. Then we stayed at a jungle lodge off the beach and out of town for a few days. Got the best of both worlds!
  • Eat fruit from everywhere! We got mangoes off a tree (well, from a crazy looking but nice Hawaiian dude who beckoned us over to give us some he had been busy collecting off the ground..) SO GOOOD.
Starfruit

Starfruit

  • Apple bananas, pineapple, citrus- any kind, mangoes, starfruit. Try them!
  • Do a luau at least once. We liked the Smith’s Garden Luau.
Smith's Garden Luau

Smith’s Garden Luau

  • Understand that going to see Waimea Canyon is a crapshoot. We ended up with this: after a hair-raising stomach-churning 10 miles of driving…
Waimea Canyon disappointment...

Waimea Canyon disappointment…

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Holiday Hangover

Holiday Hangover

Back to work today after a glorious holiday, and man, it does not feel triumphant.

We spent time in Panama City, and then 3 nights on the San Blas islands. This is a photo that we altered (put in a vintage tint) and the island is called Isla Diablo (Devil Island).

I ate seafood twice a day, and it was good and cheap and fresh. Caribbean lobster, ceviche made from Corvina and pulpo (octopus), Ian had Mahi Mahi, we ate conch and fish…Oh, the seafood makes my mouth water even now.

I miss being on holiday, the heat and the water. We snorkeled, swam and sunbathed. It was lovely. Ian got crabs in his tent (camping was EXTREMELY rustic) and I crunched one crab under my mattress. Oops!

We had other causalities too…I broke my expensive sunglasses and Ians too for good measure. Shit!

More photos to come!