Road trip across Yucatán

Last month my mom and I spent a few days in the Yucatan Peninsula, It was AMAZING! The trip started with a direct flight from Guadalajara, reaching our destination in less than three hours. We picked up our rental car, got a little lost (thank you Maps), checked in at our hotel and just before the sunset (cocktail in hand) our vacation began.

First stop: Cancún

We stayed two nights at a beach front property in the hotel zone, where we spent the first day sunbathing, drinking margaritas and swimming in the caribbean.

Dinner Cenacolo

To end the day we drove to the close by Kukulkan plaza and had dinner at  Cenacolo, we ordered the beef carpaccio “Cenacolo” to start the feast, the rest of our dinner included the house salad (picture left), pizza Margherita and the spinach cannelloni.

The flavors were a little bland, the cheese in the pizza was extremely salty and after hearing splendid things about this place I felt a little disappointed.

A good night sleep and coffee in the early morning were the energy booster we needed to embark on the first archeological visit of our trip. We drove south for an hour and stopped at a road side little “fonda”, we had “tamales oaxaqueños” and tacos de “cochinita pibil” for breakfast. The latest would become our obsession for the whole trip, this traditional dish is made with marinated pork and it’s main ingredients are achiote, orange juice and banana leaf. The dish is slightly sweet, a bit spicy and full of flavor.

With our appetite satisfied we drove the final thirty miles and arrive to the mystical archeological site of Tulum, early enough to avoid the crowds.

Tulum, Templo Dios del Viento

I just can’t stop being amazed at the Mayan astronomical and mathematical knowledge and how they perfectly incorporated that onto the architecture of their cities. After a three hour guided tour of the site we dipped in the warm turquoise caribbean sea, relaxed on the beach and absorbed all the magic of this incredible place.

Our adventure continued as we drove inland and headed to Coba, this archeological site is mostly covered by jungle, but if you visit you get to climb the highest pyramid of México’s Maya world: Nohoch Mul, the view from the top of this pyramid is breathtaking.

Coba Nochoch Mul

Cobá is a very large site and the experience is very unique since most of the ruins are covered by vegetation and you walk through the jungle to reach the buildings that have been restored, if you have time I recommend you walk the trails and enjoy the surroundings, make sure you bring mosquito repellent, plenty of water and comfortable shoes. Another fun way to explore Cobá is riding a bicycle or hire a bici-taxi, both are available at a moderate price.

Bike rental Coba

After climbing Nohoch Mul we headed back to Cancún and got ready for dinner at La Habichuela restaurant, the place is perfect to enjoy a quiet dinner, the music was soft and from our table we had a great view of the garden, It was a peaceful experience and the food was excellent.

Tuna_TartareAs soon as we got settled, the sommelier presented himself and offer us a glass of pinot grigio.

We started our dinner with the Oasis tuna tartare, the mango and avocado perfectly balance the smokiness of the tuna, and the chipotle vinaigrette give a unexpected twist to the dish, this tartare was so good I could eat it everyday.

The dinner continue, mom ordered the Shrimp Xtabentun, with chiltomate. We learned that night that Xtabentun it’s the Mayan liquor of excellence, made with anise and fermented honey from bees that had been fed with nectar of the xtabentún flower. This dish was aromatic with delicate flavors and slightly sweet.

I ordered the Chicken pibil, it was saucy and delicious.

Cochinita Pibil, La habichuela Sunset

As we say in México “barriga llena, corazón contento” which means full tummy, happy heart! we were exhausted and went off to sleep with a happy face…

Stay tune, next post is about the following two days of our adventure: The magic town of Valladolid and Chichén Itzá one of the new seven wonders of the world.

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