Climbing a 1300-year-old Maya pyramid, diving and cooling down in a cenote, snorkling or kayaking around the Caribbean reefs, biking through the jungle, living la pura vida on Tulum’s beaches, dining a traditional mole at a Mexico City fusion restaurant… I have to admit, I don’t know exactly which of these adventures my personal highlight was.. But what I can do is to recommend: pack your things and vamos a México!
Last month I combined business with leisure (and pleasure) and joined a friend to travel the Yucatan peninsula and make a pit stop in Mexico city to get inspired for a new collection for www.silviagattin.com. It was my first trip to Mexico (and for sure not the last), such a large country, stretching 5km into the sky and along 10.000 km of coastline, with a city of 21 (!!!) million people at its centre and countless tiny pueblos everywhere.
After a comfortable Condor flight we touched down at Cancún, an American tourist hot spot, which we abandoned immediately to cruise with our little rent-a-(racing)car direction Valladolid – on Yucatan highways where getting lost is nearly impossible as curves are a foreign word and streets are simply and monotonously straight (which makes you fall asleep quite easily, so ¡cuidado!). The peninsula is covered by a jungle and steadfast traditions of the Maya, the mystery of the ceremonial centers created by their ancestors, inbetween colonial masterpieces such as Mérida and Valladolid and finally followed by white sand beaches. Around here, the past is the present and the present is the past, what you witness in the towering temples of the Maya and in the cobblestone streets of the colonial villages. Time has a different meaning and brings you down to awareness, fusion of nature, spirituality and leisure.
Valladolid, the 3rd largest city in Yucatan, was our first stop being known for its quiet streets and sun-splashed, pastel walls. This provincial little town is poised at that magical point where there is a lot to do, yet it feels still small, manageable and affordable and thus kind of hippie-sh and also makes a great hub for couple of visits. Such as breath-taking Chichén Itzá, the most famous and best restored of the Yucatán Maya sites where many mysteries of the Maya astronomical calendar are made clear when one understands the design of the terrific time temples. Another Maya highlight are the ruins of Cobá set deep in the jungle, where most of them have yet to be excavated, but still with the possibility to climb up the temples and enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding forrest. For the ultimate fun factor don’t forget to rent a bike to visit all archaelogical sites there. Just a couple of kilometres away, on the sugar sand, jade-green water, balmy breezes and bright sun coastline, another ancient Mayan get-together awaits you: the ruins of Tulum and thus their only center at the coast. But Tulum stands for more: it has one of the top beaches in whole Mexico, interesting and fun cenotes, terrific snorkeling and a variety of cool restaurants for every budget; actually everything that will make you want to tear up your return ticket home..
For more civilisation don’t miss Mérida and its colonial history with narrow streets, broad central plazas and thus meeting points for salsa dancers, market sellers and playing children and the region’s best museum.
Vol. 2 online next week: The world behind Coqui – Coqui