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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

If you didn’t take advantage of We Move Forward into 2012’s lowest promotion price don’t worry there is still time. The offer has been extended until January 31st!

Read more about this awesome event in Isla Mujeres in my previous blog post We Move Forward into 2012

*** I am not being financially compensated for this blog post. The views and opinions are strictly my own

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I was recently asked by Go Overseas to write a post about Mexico.They are a great site that provide  valuable information about  either teaching, studying or volunteering  abroad. They also feauture many interesting blogs about expat’s experiences living in numerous exciting locations.

I was asked to give a short blurb about Mexico’s background, a few helpful tips and recommend some of my favourite places in Mexico. It was the first time that I have been a guest blogger and I really appreciate Andrew Dunkle (Senior Editor) giving me the opportunity to contribute. I must admit that I found it somewhat challenging writing a structured post and it reminded me of my school days. 🙂

Check out their site and if you are interested check out my post: Travel With a Purpose-Mexico

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The last stop on our amazing Easter Yucatan Adventure took us to the cenote Il Kil. After checking out of our hotel we crossed the street and parked in the cenote’s lot just as two very large tour buses pulled in and a huge group of tourists descended from the buses, cameras in hand, rushing towards the very same entrance gate that we were heading to. We all handed our tickets in and were guided through the souvenir store en route to the cenote where luckily we lost about half of the people from the buses as they were waylaid by sales people trying to peddle ornaments, blankets and other keepsakes.We hurried along trying to lose the herd but quickly realized that the cenote was already full of people who had arrived on earlier buses.

Cenote Il Kil from above

As we approached the steps leading down to Il Kil we stopped and first admired the view from above speechless. I had looked at videos on You Tube of Il Kil before we had decided to go but they couldn’t even begin to compare to the sight before us. The crystal blue water, surrounded by vegetation was truly beautiful. We made our way down the steps until we arrived at the cenote’s edge where we joined a crowd of shouting, pushy people. We stowed our belongings and dove into the cool water. Hubby felt cold after a while and wanted to dry off  but I wasn’t ready to leave yet.

Me, floating after everyone had left

As I floated on my back I suddenly became aware of a silence that enveloped the underground cavern. I looked around and to my delight realized that the majority of people had left. I imagine that they were called away to continue on their tour. I relished the silence and swam under the small water falls letting the water crash down over my face. As I surveyed the area around me I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place, so serene and lush with vegetation and natural beauty.

Loganiza appetizer

Finally, I made my way to the steps to get out leaving behind me a profound sense of peace that I had experienced while swimming in the deep clear water of Il Kil. We made our way to the parking lot and decided to stop for something to eat before heading back to Cancun. We came across a great little restaurant and ordered some local favourites. We started off with Loganiza ( seasoned pork meat sausage) with pickled red onion and then I had salpicon, (shredded deer meat with radishes, cucumber and seasonings) and Cesar had pork leg seasoned with achiote paste (annatto) and sour orange. The food was amazing!!! I only wish I could remember the name in order to recommend them. The restaurant was clean and the waiter was very friendly.It was the best meal of our trip.

Salpicon de venado

We headed for home feeling refreshed and relaxed and the topic of conversation on our drive back? Where should we go next?

Pork leg Yucatan-style

Here is a link to a short video that we took while we were away http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pokOWLwbFp4

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Continuing on from my last blog entry chronicling our trip to visit several cenotes in the Yucatan over Easter break  I will pick up where I left off. We made our way along the path to a wooden staircase leading down to the first cenote, Chelentun,where we were greeted by a huge group of people all toting their cameras and swim gear. Once down the stairs I peeled off my clothing and amidst flashing cameras I dove into the cool crystal blue water.There was a beam of sunlight shining down from an opening above which lit the cavern up and enabled you to see the bottom though the cenote was quite deep. There were stalactites hanging down from above which added to the beauty of this natural wonder.

Bolonchojool

After swimming for our alloted 30 minutes we took a few pictures and returned to our cart.On our way to our next destination we had a bit of excitement as our cart derailed and Luis and Jose quickly mounted the cart once again onto the tracks and we were off again!. We arrived at Bolonchojool unscathed and Luis told us that this particular cenote was a favourite among visitors to Cuzama. We walked to the cenote’s entrance which consisted of a small hole reminiscent of Alice and Wonderland’s rabbit hole. It had a makeshift wooden ladder burrowing deep into the earth. There were people trying to go up and down it at the same time even though there was room for only one person at a time…you gotta love Mexico! I gingerly made my way down encountering steps that creaked and buckled under my weight—eeek!Once I arrived ,again there was a large group of people but I easily ignored them as I was captivated by Bolochojool’s incredible beauty. Amidst stalactites and beams of natural light I again stripped down and swam lost in the purity of this underground world.

Going down the ladder at Bolonchojool

Our last stop on this incredible tour was centote Chak-Zinik-Che. Another beautiful spot where once again we swam and snapped a few photos. Then it was time to board our cart for the trip back which involved stopping the cart and taking it off the tracks when 2 or more other carts came our way as there were only one set of tracks going to each cenote. I was amazed at how efficient our guides were and we were quite amused by the whole experience. As the other carts sped past the Pony Express came to mind. Once we arrived at the entrance I took an apple out of my bag and offered it to Pirata who sniffed it and turned his nose up at it!! My family has a guest ranch and I have never seen a horse who didn’t love a fresh green apple. I tried giving it to one of the other horses and they too declined.Jose told me that they didn’t like apples…I imagine that they have never been offered one before that day.

Chak-Zinik-Che cenote

We thanked our guides and made our way to our truck it had been a truly amazing experience.We were hungry and thirsty so decided to look for a place to stop before driving on to Chichen. We came across a sign for a place called Hacienda Tepich. We followed the signs and were quite surprised when we arrived at an actual Hacienda. I will leave that for another day and another blog.I hope that you have enyoyed reading about our Easter Yucatan Adventure so far.I would love to hear your thoughts.

Pony Express

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As I mentioned in my previous blog my husband and I decided to get out of Cancun on Sunday and visit a few cenotes in the Yucatan. There are many cenotes scattered all over the Yucatan and Quintana Roo and gradually through the years we are getting to know them all. We had originally planned to leave Cancun Sunday morning and go to Chichen Itza to visit Il Kil cenote then spend the night in Chichen and on Monday visit Cuzama and then make the long drive home. Hubby wisely suggested that we visit Cuzama first and then drive to Chichen and spend the night and then go to Il Kil the next day.

We wanted to get an early start so we planned to be on the road by 6am and we made a quick pit stop at McDonald’s and had breakfast on the road…not a very healthy way to start the day, I know, but it was convenient. We turned on the radio and much to our dismay heard that it was actually 7am and not 6am as the clocks had gone forward 1 hour and we had forgotten–damn…one hour lost. We had anticipated a 4-4.5 hour drive to Cuzama  but we were pleasantly surprised to arrive after only 3.5 hours; however, I was none too pleased that we had already spent about $40 CDN on toll highways and consumed 1 tank of gas!

Hubby enjoying a sausage McMuffin and egg

We passed through a town called Acanceh on our way to Cuzama  hubby and I were quite amused to see  their “taxis” which were small motorcycles attached at the back to a box like structure with a seat. It reminded me of the “tuk -tuks” in Thailand except the motorcycles are in front and the ones in Acenceh were much more  primitive. http://www.into-asia.com/Bangkok/tuktuk/ Hubby was using our Flip recorder to catch all of the sights as we slowly made our way through town to Cuzama.

Once we arrived we were greeted by a gentleman who explained to us what to expect on out visit. Normally the tour of the 3 cenotes takes 2.5 hours but because there were so many people due to Semana Santa they had extended it to 3 hours. The cost was 200 pesos (about $17 )  for our guided tour on a horse-drawn cart along an old railway track. Our guide, Luis Antonio, and our “driver” Jose ushered us onto our cart to begin our journey with our horse Pirata (Pirate) leading the way. I asked Luis about the railway tracks and he informed me with a nostalgic look that when he was a young boy his father and his father’s friends used to cultivate “milpa” corn and they put the crude railway tracks down to move the corn from the fields into town. After many years of almost drought like conditions they were forced to seek work in Merida to support their families and they had to give up their families’ business. Now many years later the tracks have been repaired and the carts have been adapted in order to carry both national and foreign tourists to enjoy the natural wonders of that area.

Luis and our cart minus Jose and Pirata

We arrived at our first cenote Chelentun after a rocky ride along the tracks that involved Luis stamping his foot down along the cart at every turn to keep us on the tracks…imagine Fred Flintstone driving techniques. Luis told us we had 30 minutes to explore. We excitedly left the cart and made our way along the path to the cenote.On that note I will end this blog and continue it on another day soon.

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Everybody shout “ROAD TRIP!!!”  Semana Santa (Holy Week) is upon us again and is probably one of the most important Catholic holidays next to Christmas that is celebrated in Mexico and other Latin countries. It starts March 31st and ends April 4th. Neither myself or my husband are Catholic but my hubby gets to enjoy several days off due to this holiday and I get a long weekend. YEAH! As Mexican nationals descend upon Cancun from various places across the country as well as the usual Spring Breakers from the States and Canada we have decided that it is time to get out of dodge at least for two days.Our destination…the Yucatan Peninsula to visit various cenotes. If you don’t know what a cenote is  click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cenote

I often write about and review restaurants in Cancun as my hubby and I are true foodies at heart; however, we also love the outdoors. I grew up in Vancouver and I remember many lazy days spent at the beach or tubing down the river and of course camping along lakes. Mind you, now when I visit Vancouver I can’t believe I ever swam in these places as they seem so cold now after being here for 15 years. I am particularly fond of fresh water so I always enjoy visiting one of the many cenotes in Quintana Roo or the Yucatan Peninsula. This year as money is somewhat tight  (as anyone living in Cancun can attest to 🙂 ) we made a last-minute decision to go away for the night on Sunday with a friend.

We will be heading out early Sunday morning to Chichen Itza (about 2.5 hours from Cancun) but not to visit the ruins as we have all seen them may times before but to spend the day at the cenote Il Kil which is also an ecological and archeological park. We will be staying at a small reasonably priced hotel Dolores Alba http://www.doloresalba.com/indexmain.htm for about $55CDN/night (breakfast included) On Monday morning we will make our way to Cuzama http://yucatantoday.com/en/topics/cenotes-cuzama where a horse drawn buggy will take us along an old railway track to visit three more cenotes. Then we will make our way home to Cancun Monday evening ready for work Tuesday morning. I will of course blog about our experiences at a later date and include photos. Needless to say I am excited as not only do I love to explore new places but I also LOVE roadtrips…the open road, great tunes and good friends.We have had a rather cool winter that has gone on longer than usual this year so I hope that we are in for good weather.

If you are interested in reading about other cenotes that I have visited you can click here https://ashlied.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/las-mojarras-cenote-instead-of-the-beach/ and here https://ashlied.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/my-weekend-away-part-2/

Where will you be spending Easter this year?

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I recently went to Vancouver (my hometown) for a quick visit  with my Dad and I had a chance to catch up with my best friend and my cousin and his family. As always I enjoyed my time there and I even got to see some of the leftover Olympic spirit. It rained pretty much the whole time that I was there but as I had checked out the 10 day forecast before I left I was not surprised though I had forgotten how cold Vancouver could be this time of year.

My Cousin Graeme and I at White Rock-brrrr

I caught a couple of movies (Alice and Wonderland 3D and Shutter Island–both worth seeing) and also got to eat out a lot at some of my favourite restaurants and eat all the great ethnic food that Cancun lacks. I even had time to hit the Yale and listen to some great live blues–always a blast! No trip to Vancouver would be complete without also visiting Victoria to see my sisters and White Rock to visit with my cousin and his lovely family.

My sisters and my Dad

It was great to hear my native tongue everywhere and to observe the differences between Vancouver and Cancun and I am looking forward to going back in the summer for a longer visit with my husband.After 10 days it was time to go home again and now it  all seems rather surreal as I settle back into my life in Cancun. I am a proud Canadian by birth who makes her home in a foreign land who is equally proud to call Mexico her home and to be a Cancunense by choice.

Olympic torch lit for the Paralympics

We have lots planned for this weekend which definitely includes a day at the beach even though Cancun has been rather chilly this year so far I need some fun in the sun. Stay tuned for more blogs on life in Cancun and places to go.

Go Canada Go!

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