Sleeping properly was never in plan for Mexico. Having the flight at 6am, we were just preparing ourselves for looong siesta on the beach. Ana, Chiara and me took a 2-hour flight from Mexico City to Cancun. To my surprise – they are in two different time zones although in one country, so we were one hour closer to Europe.
We decided to stay in Playa del Carmen, which is cheaper, a bit less touristic and not as ‘Americanized’ as Cancun itself. Well, on the streets we have seen mostly tourists from the US or South America anyway.
Playa del Carmen is located in such a place that if you swim around 250 km you get into Cuba and when you drive 250 km South along the seaside – you reach Belize.
We started the day with tacos and beer for breakfast (holiday mode on!) and got into the Airbnb – really fancy one, we even had a swimming pool with panorama on the rooftop! Perfect for fancy pre-party photos.
The first impression of Yucatán and Playa del Carmen? Combination of Goa’s style (just souvenir shops, local products, tattoo studios, restaurants and bars), Spain’s atmosphere, Bangkok’s nightlife and Maldives’ weather.
After fixing serious stuff such as food and tequila supply and a travel agency for the tour next day, we went for the walk on the beach and found a great party place – you could party with your own drinks ‘using’ the music coming from the bar nearby. We were not the only ones to do that!
The most interesting thing in the town was the spectrum of people around – on the beach, in the street, in the restaurants. From the rich American families, through the old Germans, groups of 3-5 single gringo ladies like us, handsome and sporty guys in their late 20ies, teenagers on their first holiday alone, to typical Gonzalez – our term for the stereotypical Mexican family.
Trying to cook the dinner in the evening we figured out that NO, it’s not possible to cook pasta on the pan (even the Italian didn’t succeed), so we ended up eating chips with guacamole (made by the Polish, while the Mexican took care of margaritas!) and the quesadillas with Oaxaca cheese (something between mozzarella and Polish oscypek) for the rest of the trip. And I would never guess that I will be FRYING water on a pan to make a coffee.
The first evening we were very lucky – we came across the newly open club called The Hidden Bar, offering the free entrance and drinks as their advertising. Music was great and most of the guys handsome, what to want more?
The next night we obviously went out too, but did a tour between a few different clubs. At some point we ended up in a place filled with presumable sons of the Narcos and the waiters doing everything to make us entertain them… well, we were escaping pretty quick.
Nevertheless, coming back home around 2-3 am I still didn’t feel in danger. Maybe it’s misleading but I still felt like in Europe, not crazy and mysterious Latin America. The only thing is that the streets were not patrolled by the normal police, but fully armed and really serious soldier-like officers. It made me feel insecure, as if there really was something to be afraid of, but Ana explained me that it is in case of some public mess or rebellion. What in Europe would be just a fight of two groups of friends or hooligans supporting the opposite football teams, with Mexican temperament tends to convert to the huge massacre of the crowd.
Not counting the excursion, all the four days of our stay in Playa del Carmen were about beach, rooftop pool, all night long parties, sleeping a couple of hours to start from the beginning. We ate very good seafood too! And obviously tacos. We even went to a very local family restaurant serving food directly from their garage. Real Mexican spirit!
I couldn’t get over chilli, though… it’s insane, they put in even on top of fruits. Not to mention any kind of sauce! The sensation is different from the one of Indian masala, but still – even if you can feel the real taste of food, you still get fire in your mouth.
The New Years Eve party was one of the best ones in my life. We cooked very good dinner, drank cocktails on the rooftop and then headed out. The streets were never that crowded before! All the masses of tourists and locals went to the beach to see the fireworks coming from one of the hotels. The show was really amazing. We also wanted to follow the Spanish-Mexican tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight but we pretty much screwed that, not counting the grapes correctly (‘Wait, isn’t that number 13? How many did you put in my cup?!) and forgetting to make wishes eating each of them. Then we decided to walk by the beach and search for the promising group of people to join. We were not disappointed!
I always claim that couch surfers are different people. Thanks to them I never feel alone. I always feel as if I was part of some huge family! We’ve met a group of CSers on their New Year’s event and spent a wonderful time!
When we started getting cold on the beach, we all headed to the main street to search for the party, but the party found us first. Every bar was playing loud music so people were dancing on the streets. And it wasn’t a few people… Huge groups, like on real dancefloor!
It was magical to dance salsa on the street. When one bar closed, all the people were just heading to the next one and that’s how we have spent time until the sunrise, when we got back to the beach.
In the evening of 31. December I was feeling pretty upset – again one year older, still not having anything stable… This party definitely raised my spirits. I’ve started the year 2018 with a huge smile, traveling, in the middle of another crazy adventure.