Our very first trip outside the US, apart from the Philippines of course, was in 2010. We went to Cancun with a group of college friends. It was not without debate. Due to Mexico’s dangerous reputation of drug cartels and gangs, we had to convince one of our friends to push through. It is sad how media can damage an entire nation. In the end, our friend went anyway.
Prior to this trip, we were pretty much traveling mostly within the country. Lots of beautiful places we haven’t seen yet but we wanted to see the rest of the world too!
Mexico was my first exposure to international travel as an adult (not including our family trip to Hongkong years ago). Let me say I was a naive and eager tourist then. We did the all inclusive thing which makes it so much easier specially when it is your first time and when you’re traveling with other people too. The only big decisions you really have to make are should I have a burrito or quesadilla? Cactus juice or tequila? Endless buffet of food and drinks. Really. It’s that hard.
On the top of my bucket list was to see Chichen Itza, one of the new seven wonders of the world. Pictured above is El Castillo also called the Temple of Kukulcan, a 75 ft tall pyramid dedicated to the Mayan god Kukulcan. There are other ruins around this archaelogical site that are equally as magnificent as well. The grandeur that was Chichen Itza, a dazzling ancient city that was once the center of the Mayan empire in Central America.
The following year, my husband and I came back to Mexico, this time with a friend of mine and her family. We stayed at Playa del Carmen, at another all inclusive resort by the beach.
Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Mayans. It is not as grand as Chichen Itza but it is supposedly the third most visited archaelogical site in Mexico.
To me, both sites have their own beauty and charm. While Chichen Itza was grand and imposing, Tulum was more low key and picturesque. Sure, both of them are always crazy busy with tourists and on both times we went, it was scorching hot! Tulum was a little better though, the closer you got to the cliff side, the ocean breeze blew away all that hot stickyness. You can even take a quick dip in the waters below!
I was enchanted with Mexico, from its ancient ruins, to the smiling people to the delicious food. Those short trips were merely an introduction. It didn’t even scratch the surface of this misunderstood yet exotic country. I came home sunburned and with a few extra pounds in our baggage (who can resist all those colorful souvenirs!). The next time I come back, I will have to pack lighter.