¡Vive la Experiencia! (Live the Experience!)

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That’s what we’re doing. Sometimes it’s difficult to just take it all in, and truly experience your surroundings. This notion dawns on me while at a beachside restaurant, filled with tourists.

Tourist Friendly Restaurante La Buena Vida, Akumal

I’m thinking to myself, “I’m not sure I like this place, there are only tourists here.” Then, I remind myself – pick any sunny, beachside restaurant in the world, and chances are, it’s filled with tourists.

How I try to dodge the tourists; get the photo before the big tour bus is unloaded, wake up early to get to the premier destination – before the tourists get there.

Boats at Playa del Carment

Early morning, Playa del Carmen

Cobá Arena – part soccer, part basketball

Pyramid in the Painting’s Complex of Cobá

But you know, I’ve decided to look at this differently, or I should say, more honestly. I mean, I’m at a tourist destination after all! Who am I to complain about the tourists? I have fallen into a hypocritical trap. So, now I am embracing this. We are being happy tourists, supporting tourism in Mexico.

the Happy Tourists

Or supporting the local thespian, trying to make ends meet:

Maya Warrior (who ♥’s tips) at El Cedral archeological site, Cozumel

Or, supporting a nature reserve, in their effort to conserve 5000 acres of jungle and protect indigenous animals.

What are you looking at?

The Lesson

Take it in, it’s OK to be a tourist, but it doesn’t have to be the primary experience of your travels. When we travel, we have a desire to get off the beaten path. To discover places which many have not seen before. But, how do you find these treasures? The best way is to talk to the locals. One thing I believe is, there are many (MANY) more people who are kind, warm and caring, than there are who aren’t.  And, when you show a genuine interest in them, they are willing to share. So, here are a few of our little discoveries:

Street Vendor for Fresh Fruit – or in this case, coconut water in a baggie (it didn’t all fit in my canteen)

Ever visit a shop that makes piñatas?

Our host at Camp Akumal Jungle, recommended a cenote (a natural pit, or sink hole) where they rappel you down, to the freshwater pool. When I saw the hole, I could only think Indiana Jones. Where’s my hat & whip? Here we swam with bats flying over our head!

Oh yeah, whose idea was this?!

and, Woody draws the short straw for going first.

Another awesome tip we got: many beachside developments have become private, with attendants manning a gate that allow or don’t allow, people through. If you have the name of an establishment (usually a restaurant) on the other side of the gate, you get a “pass” and you can be on your way to some of the more beautiful and quiet beachside establishments.

Secret Password: Chimico’s!

How ’bout this: have you ever had a corn popsicle? Would I have ever thought to ask for one? No, not until it came highly recommended by the shopkeep. As a matter of fact, I was unfamiliar with the word “elote”, and didn’t know what he was recommending. He was imploring in his mannerism for me to try it. Today, I cannot have enough of these things – paleta de elote.

¿Qué color es tu paleta?

About Hali

Just a travel junkie trying to find my voice in the blogosphere. I enjoy sharing my photography and fast facts I learn in the places I travel through.

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