[Forgive the lack of photos, we are on an island with weak internet signal and they won’t upload tonight.]
As mentioned, we are seeing only a sliver of the huge landmass that is Mexico, and in a couple of days we have experienced three very different places which are core components of the traveller / tourist experience.
1. The hills
We left San Cristobel de las Casas on Tuesday with regret. It would have been wonderful to stay longer but we had bought our plane tickets for Tuesday evening and they are the kind of Ryanair-tungsten-inflexible tickets where you are more likely to win the lottery than persuade the airline to change the date.
Life was a breeze at 2200m above sea level and the traveller enclave of San Cristobel cast its spell on us. The sun, the colours, the sense of authenticity which the Yucatan peninsula lacks, having sold part of its soul to the US dollar.
We had the option of 20 hrs on a bus back to Cancun or a 1.5 hr flight, and as keen as we are for the girls to really understand bus travel… we took the plane.
2. Las Vegas on Sea.
Cancun. Wow, what a place. Forty years ago there was just a little fishing village and there followed some of the most successful central planning the world has ever seen. The Mexican authorities wanted a successor to Acapulco and Cancan has grown like a weed; it is vast, towers of concrete on every corner just like its spiritual cousin Las Vegas. If a building isn’t a hotel it’s a large ‘Mexican-themed’ restaurant or casino. There are now 2 million people in Cancun and the new town is the fastest growing part of the area.
We spend 12 hours there, a quick night in a flat (host guidance: don’t swim in the lagoon, it has crocodiles in it) and we’re off to paradise.
3. Holbox – self proclaimed ‘paradise’
Now we are in paradise, and if your image of heaven is turquoise water, white sand and hot sun, then this is the place. We are in the time of the key Mexican summer holidays, so the 25 minute ferry to Holbox Island had as many locals as tourists. It was heaving and the island is at capacity, buzzing to the tune of heavy spending.
Holbox has two natural gifts. First, the beach, which could go head to head with any Caribbean beach you mention. Second, whale sharks. They come to feast on plankton-rich waters over the summer (June to August). They are the largest fish in the world, huge creatures, and the lure of swimming with them fills the ferries and packs out the hotels.
So is it paradise? Almost. Nothing can be too perfect, which is nature’s other gift to us, and the mosquitos and horse flies harass humans of all skin colours.
Photos? To follow tomorrow. We are getting up early to do some harassing of our own, but we hope the whale sharks won’t mind.