Travel Bean: Hola Mexico


Hola Mexico!

Visiting Cancun has been something that I have wanted to do since watching Spring Break on MTV when I was a teenager. Earlier this year, I finally decided to visit. The stories I always heard about Cancun were about the resorts, beaches and partying all night with unlimited alcohol. I looked closer into activities and some interesting sites in the area and came up. Last year I received my PADI scuba certification and I wanted find a good location to dive while in Cancun. I came across the MUSA, which is an underwater museum with approximately 500 sculptures.The where the waters are extremely clear. The more I read about MUSA  more interested I became.  So I booked the dive trip.

A bucket list item of mine is to visit all 7 wonders of the world and I realized that Chichen Itza was only about a two-hour drive from Cancun. Chichen Itza is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, and rightfully so. Chichen Itza is perhaps the largest, most famous and most accessible Mayan site. This ancient Mayan ruin in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is a rugged place of soaring pyramids, massive temples, startling carved columns and do-or-die sports fields.

The focal point of the region, an amalgam of an older Mayan city and newer Toltec settlement, is the towering Castillo pyramid, which is fraught with cosmological symbolism. Its four sides contain 365 steps (depicting the solar year), 52 panels (for each year in the Mayan century as well as each week in the solar year) and 18 terraces (for the 18 months in the religious year). Inside the Castillo is another temple accessible up a narrow stairway. This trip is a full day trip; you can spend hours at Chichen Itza looking at the different ruins. I found a company that offered day tours from Cancun and I booked.


Castillo pyramid in Chichen Itza


I arrived in Cancun and I must say that the immigration line was the longest I have ever seen. I waited in queue for at least an hour. The host of my BNB sent a driver to pick me up and take me to the apartment. In Cancun I was able to book a two-bedroom luxury condominium for $71.00 a night. That is a much better deal than a hotel room on the beach for over $200.00 a night. I was very impressed with the condo, residential area and onsite staff.

I was located in the downtown area of Cancun and I must say that if you leave the tourist zone that is designated hotel row on the beach there is a big language barrier. I like being off the beaten path; this is where you see how people actually live in different parts of the world. There were restaurants, shopping, stores within walking distance from where I stayed, which was a plus. There was a dentist office nearby, and I was curious to know the price for a procedure called “zoom.” I have found it to be ridiculously expensive in the United States. The dentist quoted $150.00 for the procedure and these dentists are recognized by the American Dental Association with good reviews. Imagine that!Due to being on a tight schedule I had to decline the procedure but a return trip is definitely something to think about.

The food is amazing and very economical for what you get. I spent three days in Cancun and had a great time. I experienced the culture, history and learned more about the city. It cleared up my perception that people usually only visit Cancun to party and lay on the beach.  Not that there is anything wrong with that but I found out that Cancun and surrounding areas have a lot to see and do. So if you are debating visiting Cancun, GO!

 


Diving with sculptures off the coast of Isla Mujeres


Ruins at Chichen Itza


 

Cancun


-Leonard Bean, Columnist

I’m a native of Florence, Al. I spent most of my teenage years in Birmingham, Al where I attended Homewood High School. I attended University of North Alabama and I’m also a United States Air Force veteran. I have lived in all regions of the United States. I currently reside in Baltimore, MD. I work at the Army Research Laboratory testing small autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles. I am an avid traveler and live a nomadic lifestyle that consumes most of my free time. I love checking off bucket list items, learning other cultures, and meeting new people

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