Know the Rivera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
January 1, 1970
by Luisa Danaé
LODGING / VOLUNTEERING. PLAYA DEL CARMEN.
I was living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Working as a volunteer at the Hostal MX. Many travelers around the world, like me, were living there, receiving support from the hostel in exchange for a few hours of service. There are many different activities that can be assigned, such as gardening, serving breakfast, housekeeping, as a receptionist, and so on. I worked as a bartender with a schedule from 9 pm to 2 am with one day off per week. This I think, is a big help for travelers. Because you only have to work 5 hours per day and the rest of the day you are free to go, do and/or undo as you please to do so. Also, if your intention is to stay in a hostel or hotel as a guest, this place, in my opinion, has very good vibes, and is very comfortable. Of course, if you like the “hippie” style, this place is ideal for you. Hostal MX has shared rooms as well as private rooms. You can share a room with either 12, 8 or 6 people. Keep in mind that all rooms have a single bathroom. I had never been staying in hostel with this characteristics. So I had no idea of how it was going to be like sharing my personal space with so many other people. When you stay there you are given a locker to store your things. It is your decision if you want to rent a padlock so you have more security. When I arrived at this place I knew absolutely nothing about Playa del Carmen.
I arrived at Cancun’s airport and from there I took an ADO line shuttle to my destination. I paid 170 pesos for that and it dropped me off on 5th Avenue, which is the main avenue in Playa del Carmen where tourists and natives walk from end to end; You can find everything there like restaurants, souvenir shops, bars, etc. On the way, I met a very friendly woman, who recommended me a hostel I could stay at. She gave me directions and when I got off the truck, I took my way. I was carrying many bags and snow jackets, and the warm weather made the walk much more tiring. After walking a few blocks, and not finding the Hostel the woman recommended me, I started looking for more options. That was when I found the Hostal MX. I did not have much money to spend, so I was looking for the cheapest one. I paid $40 dls for the first night for a shared room with 7 more. I asked about volunteering, but they told me that they had to review it. I only had to wait, and the truth is that I really liked this Hostel, the concept is very relaxing. It has a small artificial cenote adapted in the common area. It has hammocks around the hall, where of course you can hang out and read a good book. Paying for a night at Hostal MX includes a breakfast which is served from 7 am to 10 am. Of course, if you do not arrive within these hours, you will lose your breakfast. You can also buy your own groceries and make use of the kitchen and their utensils whenever you want.
At the beginning of volunteering, I was sent to the top floor of the Hostel where the other volunteers also were. There are altogether ten bunk beds, and each volunteer is entitled to a bed. Outside of this space are the bathrooms. Two showers and three WCs. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to live there, and meeting the people that I had the pleasure to meet. If you, like me, like to meet new people and you are looking to work as a volunteer, working in a Hostel will definitely be one of the best options. I highly recommend the Hostal MX.
MAYAN RUINS OF TULUM.
While living in Playa del Carmen, I was recommended many places to visit. One of them was Tulum. Which is characterized by having incredible cenotes everywhere. So I decided to go visit one of them.The transportation within Quintana Roo is very convenient. There are vans programmed with certain routes and which are making continuous stops on small beaches that many people often visit. That’s how I got to Tulum from Playa del Carmen. Arriving at Tulum, the first thing I did was to visit the famous Mayan Ruins of Tulum. They have a transportation service the can take you there for 20 pesos round trip. If you have a valid student credential, entry is completely free. Otherwise, it has a price of 100 pesos. Honestly, it is totally worth it. You also have the option of hiring a guide on this tour through the Ruins, I didn’t and I simply decided to read the description of each monument as I was going around the place.
At the end of the tour, I went to find a hostel to spend the night. I had some friends who were waiting for me at a Hostel called Posada Casita Linda. This hostel has shared rooms, private rooms, and tents. I rented a tent for 350 pesos per night, and I spent the night there. This hostel also includes a breakfast that is served until 11 in the morning. For the campers, there are two WCs and two showers. Posada Casita Linda also rents bicycles so you can take a tour around Tulum. It should be noted that you do not have to be a guest to rent it. But, if you are, the price is a total of 100 pesos per 24 hours. Leaving a deposit of 1000 pesos for each bicycle, or a valid passport. When I rented the bike I asked for recommendations about the Cenotes, and a worker from the hostel recommended the Gran Cenote. I took the road to the Mayan ruins of Coba to get to it; The Gran Cenote is located between kilometer 3 and 4.
The entrance to the Grand Cenote has a cost of 150 pesos. This does not include the snorkel equipment, which I think, at least the goggles, are totally necessary. I would like to recommend that you take your own to avoid spending more money. Thinking about this experience can still make me sigh. Seeing this majestic place, adorned with natural light over the caverns, was breathtaking, I could not contain my excitement; it is an experience that is totally worth it. I can still feel the cold water around my body. It has a beautiful turquoise color and it’s totally crystalline. When I was underwater myself I could see different types of fauna; like guppies’ fish, catfish, turtles, and more. It is 10 meters deep. Adorned with series of rocky ground and white sand at the end these 10 meters. Swimming in this place made me feel an amazing connection with nature. It is definitely a magical place.The Maya considered the cenotes as the entrance to the underworld, and not just anyone had the privilege to enter. Only the priests and hierarchs of the tribes were authorized.If you are planning to visit Tulum, you can’t leave without visiting some of these magical cenotes. Live this experience, and enjoy it as much as I did.