Travel: Mayan Ruins, Beaches and Dancing on Bars

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It's been a while, and it seems like the month of July flew by for me. My second week of July was spent in Vegas and the last week of the month was spent in Mexico. This was my first time in Mexico and I wanted to avoid Cancun as much as possible, so we settled for the next best reviewed beach area: Playa del Carmen. At the time, it didn't seem or feel like I was taking many pictures, but once I got back and started reviewing them (and editing them) it felt like it was never ending, so bear with me! I'll also be doing a review of my favorite eats, drinks and hot spots later on!

Right after getting off the plane, we felt the need to celebrate the safe arrival to our destination. (We also had about 45 minutes til our bus would arrive to take us from Cancun Int'l Airport to Playa del Carmen.)

After settling in at our hotel (which was fantastic, look up Hotel Kinbe) I wanted a quick picture on the gorgeous beach that I would be calling my backyard for the next five days...

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After a day of traveling (5 AM Eastern time to 5 PM Central time), I was STARVING. For those of you that know me, you know that I am not exactly fond of Mexican food. Well, it turns out that I just don't like Mexican food in the United States. What I am definitely a fan of, though, are their drinks - CHEERS!

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Day 2

Let's start the second day with this awesome picture of me being frightened by a baby lion cub that growled at me as I was petting it. (This isn't the only picture of me you'll see with wild life.. Stay tuned!) Apparently, these people donate the money you pay to take a picture with the lion. I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that they do so.

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So at the time of taking this photo (and seeing this ritual multiple times while I was there) I didn't understand it. When I came home, my friend (thanks Su-lin) explained the whole thing to me. They're called "voladores de papantla" and they each represent a direction: north, south, east, west. Then there is one more in the middle that represents the sun. He will stand, "dance" and play music in the middle while the other 4 let go and "flying." Pretty crazy isn't it?! No harnesses or anything.

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We ventured off just one street over of Quinto Avenida (or Fifth Avenue, which is the main stretch of touristy shops and restaurants) and found a little restaurant named Don Sirloin.

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Of course, after ingesting some amazing food, what do we do? Go be beach bums! Our favorite bar in the beach area has to be Club de Playa Lido. Great food, great service, and an amazing house cocktail. Little did I know, a bits away in Chichen Itza, a storm was in full force. But in Playa del Carmen, all we had was a gorgeous sunset.

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Day 3

This was our TOURIST day - we signed up for a tour of Tulum and Coba. Although Tulum was a bit crowded for my tastes (many tours and people traveling on their own funneled into Tulum as a first stop), the overall experience was marvelous.

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For those of you that aren't familiar with Tulum and Coba, they were both areas that were Mayan civilizations. Tulum was considered a marketplace for the upper class. There were walls all around the city and the lower classes lived outside these walls. This place is also home to some giant iguanas..

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Tulum is also home to some of the most gorgeous beaches. Rather the water being the Gulf of Mexico, the beach that I got to take a picture on the cliff of were the waters of the Caribbean Sea. Our tour also took us to Paraiso Beach, which had some of the most gorgeous blue waters. My one complaint about all this ocean water: the seaweed - YIKES!

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Our second to final stop on this tour was Coba - home of the tallest pyramid on the Yucatan peninsula. It doesn't look that tall in this picture, but oh boy, considering my fear of heights, I hope you all are proud of me!

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TADA! 42 meters (or 138 feet) later... Can you tell I'm dying? Getting down was not fun, good thing there's no pictures of that.

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Our last stop on this tour was visiting a Mayan family that lived close to Coba. There, they sold handmade crafts (jewelry, house decor, keychains, etc.) and the children were just absolutely adorable!

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After waking up at 7 am, trekking through the jungle, climbing up and down a 42 meter pyramid, you think I'd be exhausted... Well, THINK AGAIN! After freshening up and a change of clothes, we headed out to dinner. Again, we ventured off of Quinto Avenida and to a place we had found the night before, a charming place called Tacos de Playa. These oyster shooters were amazing!

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After some grub, we headed to the (apparently) "World Famous Tequila Barrel" - where girls get free shots for dancing on the bar. When have I ever turned down the opportunity to perform?! Granted, I wasn't as able as the Norwegian hottie who did some amazing bar work, I did show off my Shakira skills and gained a couple of fans (see: older gentleman in hat, who later asked me for a picture...)

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Day 4

After 3 Mojitos, 2 shots of Tequila, and a Jagerbomb... I only have one photo for day 4 and it's from the deck of where I ate (okay.. picked at) my breakfast.

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Day 5

After a day of recovery, I cherished my last day in this little paradise. After running around picking up last minute souvenirs, we stopped at a little taco place to grab some food. They had the most hilarious wall art, and I snapped a quick one of their rendition of the classic three monkeys art...

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Now I told you all, that lion cub wasn't the last you'd see of me with some wildlife.. Here's a toucan we've creatively named Toucan Sam! He gave me a kiss and then proceeded to try to consume my seashell earrings.

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Playa del Carmen was one of the most charming places I've ever visited. The people were so friendly and welcoming, which is so odd to be in a place where tourists frequent. The food was amazing. And the beaches left me speechless. Hopefully this isn't the last that Playa del Carmen will see of me.

TravelRisa Xutravel, oldpost