Cancun, Mexico: The side that no tourist knows about.
January 1, 1970
by Alx Galvez Bates
Cancun is THE place to be when you think on Mexico, because that was the plan when Cancun was made 46 years ago.
If you have been here, I bet you stayed at one of the coolest hotels in the Hotel Zone, the things you did were some like: you danced and partied at Coco Bongo, explored one of the new wonders of the world at Chichen Itza and maybe did some snorkeling at the beautiful beaches of Isla Mujeres. Those memories I bet they are exciting and priceless. But let me tell you something important: Been there done that.
Being Mexican born in Cancun has been one of the great blessings in my life. I live in paradise! But not exactly the one you saw. The paradise I live in is actually even better.
For the ones who haven’t been in Cancun, let me show you why you should come.
What you can do in Cancun besides going to Chichen Itza.
Isla Blanca, two ecosystems next to each other.
Isla Blanca is my favorite beach in my hometown, because it is not known by tourists, there is no crowds (if you don’t go on a weekend, because that’s when locals go) the water is beautiful, and calm. No buildings or streets, is practically a virgin portion in the city of Cancun, which is a blessing.
The interesting thing in Isla Blanca is that the sea gets together with the Chacmuchuc lagoon. On one side there’s the beach and at the other the lagoon and both are beautiful and great to swim in. It’s pet friendly so there’s no way that little fellow will stay outside. The lagoon side is my dog Ringo’s favorite part, because is not shallow and he can run and run, the funny thing is that he’s not into water much.
When you are finish swimming you need to taste a delicious fish fresh from the near waters and a cold beer to relax from the heat.
Isla Blanca is the best place to relax from the craziness of the city. It’s located 40 min from downtown; you can take the bus at Tulum Avenue, and walk about 15 min to the beach.
I made this video a while ago, I went to Isla Blanca with my best friends, we had a great time there, also you can see other parts of that week (sorry for the embarrassing dance).
Holbox, An scape from reality
Have you ever wanted to just disappear? I mean just for a while, to just turn off your laptop your cellphone and your tablet and just breathe and, I don’t know, look at the sky? How about to open a book for a change while you have this amazing view:
Or maybe take a little nap in here?
Holbox is one of the most beautiful islands near Cancun that transport you to the near past, where nobody is looking down to they’re gadgets and actually look at each other’s faces. It’s a small town where the fastest vehicle is the golf car; there are no cars but bicycles. But actually the only things you need to move are your feet. It was a little cloudy, and even rained a little but it was a refreshement from the heat we had that day.
This beautiful island is 3 hours from Cancun to Chiquilá by bus and then a 30 min ferry that crosses to Holbox. In total I spent 240 pesos for a two way bus, and 240 pesos for a two way ferry plus the place where you can stay, I stayed at a cabana near the beach, it costed 900 pesos a night, is a little high but I was celebrating. There are a lot of hostels a lot cheaper to stay in.
The cabanas I stayed in: Hostel Ida y Vuelta
Other things you can do at Holbox:
- Go to the 3 islands: Bird island, Passion island and cenote Yalahau.
- Watch the awesome whale shark.
Since I only went for one night, I didn’t have the opportunity to do those tours, but I fell in love with Holbox and I’m planning to go again with more time to see the 3 island and the whale shark.
An Esquite from Parque de las Palapas.
This is the place to go if you want to taste some of the great mexican flavors. Parque de las Palapas is a park in the middle of Cancun’s downtown, we locals go just to hang out, and obviously to eat some delicious Esquites.
Esquites are mexican delicatessen that you can find anywhere on the street, they are made with corn, cheese, mayo, lime and hot chili. It sounds weird but honestly you need to try them, nobody comes back from the dark side of Esquites without loving them.
While you eat your esquite, you can go for a walk around, there is a mural on which I took part on the make, mural La Ceiba, beautiful work made with tile; the reason this mural was made is to raise awareness of the school that is in front, for a time there was this idea to make a parking lot for the park because it gets really crowed, but actually that is the first school in Cancun, so is full of history and memories of the people who built Cancun.
Every Saturday, there is some presentation at Parque de las Palapas, which are free of charge, like movie presentations or dance demonstrations, is really fun to go. There are some delicious restaurants and bars around to drink a beer and meet really cool people.
It’s easy to get to Parque de las Palapas, just take the bus to Tulum Avenue downtown, and you’ll get there by asking anybody near you, just need to walk through one of the streets nearby, Cancun downtown is like a labyrinth to walk in, most of the streets end on the same place mysteriously.
A delicious diner on one of the underground places in Cancun
Mora Mora is one of my favorite restaurants in Cancun, the food is delicious and the wine too, but the cool part is the place, first you need to knock to enter, only when they let you in you can see the place, which is like a big house full of murals and paintings because is also an art gallery. You eat under the stars and trees on the backyard. You feel very relax and is also fun, some weekends there are local bands playing so you get a really great environment.
Where to stay in Cancun?
There are some affordable places, and cooler than a hotel. The hostels are around downtown, this is one that looks great and near Parque de las Palapas, all the important buses that go around the city are near, and also you have the bus station if you are feeling adventurous to go to all the near pueblitos (small towns).
This is the info for this particular hostel:
So this is a little of the greatness of my hometown Cancun. We have a lot more places to see and awesome things to do, so I think I might do another post about it, by now I leave with the hope of making you want to come and see the real Cancun, I know we will be happy to see you here.