“Travelling. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
This is it, lovely people! The last country we’re overlanding with our sweet Suzy.
A grand honeymoon. The most exciting adventure of our lifetime, for now 😉
We’ve been on the road for 10 months, explored 15 countries and spent 300 days together. A lot of laughter, sharing fears (mostly mine), thinking, adventuring but mostly loving each other for better and for worse. This journey has brought us closer together, litteraly.
We’re ready to get back to Belgium in 3 weeks.
But first, let me tell you how wonderful Mexico is!
What did we like in Mexico?
- Camping at the beach! Setting up our roof top tent under coconut trees (not too close), cooking whilst feeling the white sand between our toes, sleeping in with the sound of the waves and taking a refreshing dip in the ocean after breakfast. Definitely something we could get used to!
- Splendid snorkeling! There are so much opportunities! Whether it’s close to the beach, in cenotes or in the middle of the big blue ocean. Go! Buy your own material (you can get good quality for a cheap price at Wallmart). We spotted sea turtles, rays, colourful fish, weird seaweed and Whale Sharks. Unforgettable!
- Cenotes all day every day in Yucatan. Hidden in caves or in the middle of a jungle, you’ll find beautiful turquoise cenotes almost everywhere!
- Cheap, succulent, street food. Yes!! There are plenty of vendors where you can just grab a chair, ask to serve you ‘la especialidad de la casa’ (just take it, even if you don’t know what it is), talk to the locals and enjoy a good meal.
What didn’t we like?
- Mexico seems to be the favorite holiday spot for Americans, so we’ve encountered a lot of tourists. We weren’t special anymore 😉 Prices go up, waiting lines emerge and you can’t gossip in your own language anymore. Good thing: if you speak Spanish and tell them you’re from Belgium you get instant sympathy credits, fun chats and discounts. Not that any of them know where Belgium is, but that’s just a detail 😉
The highlights of overlanding the Yucatan Peninsula
- Do you want to be certain to see sea turtles? Go to Akumal. Renting a life jacket is mandatory. You can go with your own snorkeling gear or rent a set but don’t hire a guide! Just go swim on the right side of where the boats are and explore on your own. The second time we went out we had a turtle all for ourselves for like 15 minutes. In the area where the tour guides are there might be more but you’ll have to share them with 20 other swimmers.
- Looking for a turquoise cenote with plenty of fish in a jungle setting? Go to Cenote Azul. Don’t forget your snorkeling gear. It was way too hot to sleep in our roof top tent so we sought and found refreshment in this mystic cenote before opening hours (8AM) and they let us in! The early bird gets the worm (or plenty of fish) 😉
- Are you more of a cave man/woman type of person? Find peace at Cenote X’keken and Samulá. They’re 200 meters apart. We were the first to arrive. The positive thing: there was no one around 🙂 The negative: the sun isn’t high enough yet to light up the place through the holes in the cave’s roof 🙁 Up to you what kind of experience you prefer!
- A lot of romantic Maya ruins in Mexico! We visited Chichén Itzá and Palenque, with and without a guide. Don’t hesitate and always go with a guide! It’s always more interesting if you can catch up on the history. Otherwise you’re just strolling around a couple of old ruins and pyramids and you’ll be bored of it after 15 minutes – at least, we were. Find yourself a guide and split the cost with another couple. Don’t follow a group of 20 people 😉 And as always: go early in the morning or in the late afternoon to avoid the heat and big crowds.
- Life’s a beach and then you dive. Fan of real diving, with bottles and all? Take a diving course at Isla Cozumel. It’s a great place to do an initiating dive, including plenty of barracudas and sharks. I doubt any reef will ever beat the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, but still is a marvel to spend some time under water with most of the crew of finding Nemo and many more 😉
- It was a nerve-racking, breathtaking and wonderful experience to swim with Whale Sharks in Holbox! They are as sweet as they are huge (up to 18m) and look super majestic in the big blue ocean. To be honest, I was almost shitting my pants on the boat. When we saw the first Whale Sharks appear, I saw another big shark swimming at the other side of the boat. “Hi folks, big people-eater just swimming here!” Of course, no one was listening, too excited to meet the Whale Sharks. I almost bailed out but then I thought about Annick, an ex-colleague super diver, who mentally coached me trough it. I non-stop held on to the hand of the instructor who “encouraged” (more forced) me up close to the giant underwater dancer. Once there, I instantly forgot about the other shark, the big deep below me or anything else… Time stopped and I actually really enjoyed swimming alongside the Whale Shark… and then I ran out of breath 😀 Damn they swim fast! Would I do it again? After a margarita or tree, yes, totally! And for the ones who know me personally, yes, I stepped out of my comfort zone. Hell, I was a million miles away from my comfort zone, but I did it. Proud Misses standing here!
- Pink beach please! Strolling through Instagram, I often came across this drop dead gorgeous pink beaches in Mexico. I was super excited to go at Las Coloradas! Turns out it’s actually a salt mine. Yes, the water is an awesome dégradé of pink. Yes, it has sand surrounding it. No, you can’t swim 🙂 No, it’s not a place to bring your towel and spend a day. But, it’s beautiful, you can ride around the salt domain for a couple of hours. Just watch out for the mosquitoes and don’t let your husband convince you that it would be fun to drive in the mud and take a video because of its awesomeness. It really isn’t. We got stuck at the first try. It was noon, burning hot and we didn’t have any food. The video sucked (nothing to see) but at least Dimitri could laugh about it, did all the digging and was a proud man to get Suzy out of the mud after 40 minutes 😀
- The Canyon del Sumidero is perfect when you need a break from driving during the day. We took a 2h30 trip in a boat in the afternoon. The view of the canyon is great. You see a waterfall shaped like a Christmas tree up close and if you’re lucky, you’ll even spot some big ass crocodiles, which we did 🙂 If your agenda is full already, you might skip this one. If you have time, do it.
- Hierve el Agua is the most beautiful natural pool we’ve seen in Mexico. It’s located on top of a mountain. Don’t forget your swimwear up there! Infinite mountain views all around. In the distance you can spot a petrified waterfall. There’s a hike up to it.
- What to do in Mexico City? A night out with fake fights (don’t mention that to Mexicans or they’ll never talk to you again) and brilliant masks of course! Welcome to a Lucha Libre fight. Don’t buy your tickets in advance but just buy them at the entrance. Buy a mask outside – every mask looks awesome – and go cheering in the crowd. It’s simple, the bad guys are usually in black and red. The good guys are in rainbow colours. Enjoy the show!
- In need of a splash of colour, great food, happy people, film festival nights, vibrant musea, music plays, local markets and mariachi bands all over the place? Then we’ve got just the town for you: Guanajuato! We’re staying in an delightful airbnb with Geoff, Sue and their dog Panda, the greatest British hosts in Mexico 🙂
Where to next?
At the moment we’re heading up north in Mexico to cross the border to Texas.
We’ll be visiting my sister who lives in New Orleans with her husband and the most adorable little munchkin we haven’t met yet! After that we’re selling Suzy in Texas where she’ll continue her adventure with a new family. Finally we’ll head to Miami where we’ll take a flight end of September back home.
Hello to new adventures!
To our family and friends back home: we’re so looking forward to give you real big hugs!
To our friends around the world: we had a blast sharing our adventures with you!
Sarah & Dimitri