Adventure in the Yucatan Peninsula: Day 1

Hello all! So happy to be back with more travel blogging after a year long break. Between work and COVID, it’s definitely been a bit harder to get out in the world, but hopefully there will be even more adventures to write about in the future.

A few disclaimers: firstly this is not a solo trip. While I do a fair amount of solo travel and have several posts on this blog dedicated to that, this trip was one with my family. My parents are also big on travel, so when I have opportunities to join them on world exploration, I often do.

Secondly, I know as of June 13th Mexico has been moved back to a level 3 COVID level by the CDC. When we were traveling Mexico was at a level 2, so much less of a risk. If you are traveling please make sure you are staying up to date on current rates of infection and when in doubt consult with a travel medicine doctor if you can.

Now, why Mexico? And why the Yucatan? While both my parents and I are teachers and can take longer vacations in the summer, my brother has a more limited schedule and was only able to get away for about a week. Therefore, the family felt an international trip needed to be to somewhere not too far away and involving minimal jet lag. As I have always wanted to see some of the Mayan ruins and cenotes (caverns with water in them), I seriously pushed for the Riviera Maya and thankfully the family agreed. So with plans in place, we took off after the school year ended.

Day one was focused mostly on flights and getting to Cancun. Once we arrived we were picked up by our rental car company Yes Rental. They were very helpful and friendly and got us set up in our car so we would be able to explore lots of places in the area.

With the rental car taken care of, we started off driving down the coast to the town where we’d be staying the night, Puerto Morelos. We enjoyed the sights on the drive, particularly this fun crocodile mural (pictured below).

Our hotel for the night was called the Amar Inn, a cute place on the beach with little cabins with palapas style rooves made out of palm leaves.

With no specific plans for the afternoon, we figured a little beach time would be a good way to unwind after all the traveling. However, it wasn’t quite the tropical paradise welcome I was expecting. The sky was gray, and the wind was really blowing, remnants of the hurricane that had rolled through a few days before on the opposite coast. Sadly it just wasn’t quite warm enough to really enjoy the water as much as I’d anticipated. And on top of that there seemed to be a huge amount of seaweed piled up in the surf.

Me–disappointed by the stormy weather rather than the sunshine I expected

I’ve read up a bit on the seaweed problem since our stay out of curiosity. Turns out it’s an algae called Sargassum, which has been a problem along the Riviera Maya on several beaches in recent months. Sadly it means the waters aren’t quite as crystal clear blue as they normally are, and it also does cause some bad smells when decomposing on the beach. We’ll hope this becomes less of a problem for Mexico in the future so the beaches can go back to their usual beautiful conditions.

After the beach disappointment, we headed back and threw clothes back on to head into town for dinner. There were several restaurant options that looked good, however, we settled on trying La Sirena, a Greek inspired restaurant in town.

The restaurant ended up being great, good food and a beautiful top floor deck to enjoy the ocean views even with the wind still blowing like crazy.

I had a lamb dish and a pina colada to celebrate the start of a tropical vacation followed off with an apple tart ( I wanted the baklava but they were out).

After the meal, we walked around the city center a little bit before heading back to the hotel for a swim in the pool. Puerto Morelos definitely is pretty small, but we found it charming in its simplicity. Likewise the pool at the hotel was nothing fancy, but it felt nice after a long day of travel.

It was an amazing start to the vacation! I look forward to posting more about the upcoming days so stay tuned for more.

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