My time in Playa del Carmen and the Yucatan peninsula was the biggest and best adventure ever! I had more amazing experiences in two weeks than I ever imagined possible. I spent my first few days at my Spanish school in Playa del Carmen being utterly dumbfounded by the incredible blue of the Caribbean Sea, the whiteness of the sand, the warmth, the sunshine… the just plain TROPICALNESS of everything! I felt like I was living on the best holiday postcard you have ever seen, or, better still, living on the exotic set of a James Bond film!
After a week of relaxing on Playa del Carmen I decided it was time for some adventure and I went to the Xel-ha ecological water park – it was the most incredible (and tiring!) 10 hours I have ever spent! We arrived first thing in the morning, and in a small group rode bikes along a path through the beautiful, peaceful jungle dodging Iguanas and tropical birds along the way. Then we got kitted out with life jackets and in pairs were assigned our VERY OWN SPEEDBOAT!! I couldn’t believe it when they said we could drive them ourselves, I was so excited!!
Okay, in boating terms, my speedboat was probably the equivalent of a dodgem car. But it was fabulous nonetheless, I was let loose on the Caribbean followed our leader along the coast… Honestly, I lost my voice from all the whooping and squealing and yee-hah’ing I did! It was awesome! I thought it couldn’t get any better, I was wrong! Our next stop was the canoes. We each got a canoe, at the mini jetty, paddled a little along the coast until we got to one of the waterways that ran into the sea. We followed our guide into the waterway and before we knew it we were canoeing through shady, beautiful, peaceful, breathtaking mangroves. The water was so clear we could see life scurrying around in the reeds and tree roots beneath us.
Every so often our guide would pause and point out some amazing bird or lizard or insect in the trees around us. I was just dumbstruck by the beauty and nature surrounding me. We reached the top of the waterway, left our canoes, and walked for a few minutes through the jungle, to get to a large pond. Next was one of the most amazing memories I have of that day. We each got snorkels and dived into the pond, from there we followed out guide into a river. The small river then went deeper into the jungle, and before we knew it we were snorkeling through the very same mangroves that we had canoed up! I saw the tiniest crabs, and beautiful fish, then, the most amazing thing happened. The water started to sparkle and blur – just like someone was sprinkling glitter in it! The water got cloudier and we snorkeled through twinkling bubbles! Turns out that what we had just swam through a phenomenon that takes place where the freshwater meets sea water!!!
Playa del Carmen and the Yucatan peninsula was quite literally the most exhilaratingly, tropical, beautiful place I have been in my entire life. I cannot recommend it highly enough – you will be blown away by the beaches, wild jungles, amazing wildlife, mojitos, mayan ruins… in fact, I could spend all day listing the things I loved about the place. I had so many brilliant experiences; I will remember my time in Mexico forever as THE trip of a lifetime!