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Travel Adventure - Backpacking Latin America's Gringo Trail Backpacking Latin America starting in Cuba, then travelling from East to the west coast of Mexico before making our through Central and finishing in South America.

Merida and sleeping in the jungle in Palenque

MEXICO | Monday, 22 June 2015 | Views [965]

Merida 

We checked in to our hostel in Merida which was a lot bigger than the one in Tulum. Very spacious, a large swimming pool, in a central location, the staff were very helpful and we had our own private room in this one for $30 for the room! Pretty good price! We haven't spent more than $15 each for a room yet and so far we have spent well under our budget! 
Which is great but I know we'll need that money for an internal flight or a good tour or something similar, somewhere down the track. 
Merida was a nice little, relaxed town. It got extremely hot an sweaty walking around downtown so we were thankful we had a pool to cool off in back at the hostel. In the evening we walked along a strip which seemed to be a wealthy part of Merida which had these incredible old mansions lined along. Apparently there was a boom in Merida back in the day and these were the rich people's homes. There was also a few Aztec monuments along this street. We had dinner and drinks at a cool old saloon type place, covered in Mexican  decorations. Even though the food and 2 for 1 cocktails weren't that good, I liked the atmosphere. We sat by the pool back at the hostel and Vibered mum and dad. It was good to chat to them. Dad has just had a hip replacement and they were keen to hear about Cuba as they are thinking of travelling there next year... I don't think I have them the greatest impression.
The next morning we chilled in Hammocks and read by the pool before going back to the markets for lunch to a street vendor who made an amazing vego nachos for me the day before. We bought some plums and watermelon and the fruit markets to take back to the hostel and eat by the pool and also some bananas and muffins for breakfast the next morning as we were staying at a place that didn't include breakfast and was not near the centre of town. 
We could have done a day trip today but by the time we'd checked out and organised ourselves we just stayed in Merida. I had already seen Chitchen Itza which Matt wasn't too fussed about seeing and swimming in more cenotes would have been great too coz it was so hot and we loved the last ones but all where all day trips when we needed to go the bank etc today before getting back to the hostel for the Mexican cooking class they were running that night. The chef was really good and we made a cactus salad, learned how to make tortillas then made empanadas with them. It cost $2.50 each and was a really good class, learnt a couple of things and got to eat the food we made for dinner.. Matt even got to show off his knife/chopping skills in front of the class ;)
 
 
Palenque 
We then took our first 9 hour overnight bus to Palenque. The bus system is quite good over here, and I even managed to sleep some of it which I cannot do at all on planes. So far we've only taken the 1st class buses which have comfy seats, air con and toilet etc. Although we have heard some scary stories of overnight buses being hijacked etc . The guy in the hostel said he was on a bus to Acapulco and a guy with a rifle who he thought was from the cartel came on and ordered all the men off and were checking their passports. He said he was shit scared and was thankful when he let them all get back on the bus. A security guard did come on our bus with a torch and checked all the travellers passports an then we were good to go. Would hate to get on the wrong side of them though :-/
We were lucky a guy approached us at the bus station when we were getting a taxi to our hostel as we had read reviews that the people who ran our hostel weren't very helpful and this taxi was an all day driver that took us to the ruins and two of the popular waterfalls. There was not much of a hello when we arrived and our  booking wasn't registered in their system. Not sure what happened there but we showed them the receipt of our paid booking and he showed us to our little hut which was situated in the middle of the jungle. We heard and spotted howler monkeys in the trees too. Their noise was extremely loud and sounded more like a large cat call than a squealing monkey. 
We were picked up an hour later by the tour company we purchased those tickets from, hoping they weren't dodgy. It wasn't and there ended up being about 15 other people on the service too. We saw the Palenque ruins which were awesome. They were massive and scattered all throughout the jungle and the first ruins I had been able to climb on. We then went to Misol Ha waterfall which was one long waterfall and you could walk behind it, then to Agua Azul waterfalls which were a big bigger and had a blue tinge to the water. There were all restaurants and markets here so we ate but waited around for over an hour waiting to go back. It was so hot and once you saw the waterfall and ate there wasn't much else to do. It ended up being a fairly long drive back to our hostel but we drove through the mountains, valleys and countryside and was very scenic.
We heard good things about the restaurant across the road from where we were staying at so went there for dinner. It was a really cool place under a large thatched roof with jungle all around and a creek running next to our table with glowing fireflies darting throughout the trees. It reminded me of fairy books I read when I was young. It had a hippy vibe with a spiritual mural painted on the back wall which an awesome acoustic band played in front of. 
We slept in the next morning until check out at 12. We had nothing planned today as we were catching another overnight bus to Oaxaca that night. So we just had lunch at the same restaurant and had the pool to ourselves so just chilled by the pool all day. There was no Internet here either so was good to relax. 
I am writing this at the bus station in Palenque waiting for our 15hour overnight bus to Oaxaca - this should be interesting and uncomfortable! Haha hopefully ill get some sleep again :) 
 
 
 

Tags: howler monkeys, jungle, markets, merida, mexico, palenque, ruins, waterfall

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