Page 2 of We are the Foreigners Travel Blog Posts

While in Quetzaltenango (Xela) we weren't really sure what to do. It seemed like a good place to cross the border to, but we hadn't really done any research; and neither had anyone we traveled with. It was a city: big and busy. We wandered on our first day, as we often do, looking for interesting things: markets, Spanish schools, a hat for Dan. We had good luck on the first two, not so good on the last one. Upon recommendation from another traveler we looked into Celas Maya Spanish school and it seemed really good. Lots of activities in the afternoon to practice Spanish and get a better feel for Xela. They went on excursions to textile cooperatives, coffee plantations, the Fuentes Georginas (more below), and many other things you might not be able to ... read more

After San Cristobal we headed for our first border crossing in Central America. We'd heard some daunting things about going through the Guatemalan border and opted to take the shuttle service for MXN350 for door to door service. The shuttle picked us up at 0630hrs from the Iguana Hostel and drove around town picking up others for at least an hour before we got on the road. Stopping for breakfast at 0930hrs. We'd been reading a lot about the Mexican Tourism Tax and spent a lot of time trying to figure out if we'd paid it, and how to avoid paying it again. When we reached the Mexican immigration office one official came to our bus and told us that since it was busy in there (many shuttles were out front) to give all our papers ... read more

San Cristobal (Con't) One day we participated in a hike that Anthony, a hostel volunteer, wanted to go on. We took the colectivo to Zinacantán for MXN16 where we stopped for Micheladas (MXN40 for 1L of essentially a Mexican caesar). As we walked out of town we were stopped by the tourism office and told we should have paid a fee of MXN15 to enter the town, but since the colectivo hadn't stopped we had no clue. We kept walking once he was distracted by a tour bus that showed up. We walked over the pass to Chamula, where we found out how half a litre (we shared one michelada) of beer affects Dan during a hot hike. It may have been primarily the heat, but the beer probably didn't help. Ashley was a trooper and ... read more
Zinacantan to Chamula hike

The last several days were spent in San Cristobal de Las Casas. We got there from Palenque by taking two Colectivos: one from Palenque to Ocosingo (MXN60) and hopping onto another straight away Ocosingo to San Cristobal (MXN65). Being higher in the mountains, San Cristobal was a blessedly cool place when we arrived. We hoofed it to the Iguana Hostel that we'd emailed, but never gotten a confirmation for. Thankfully they did have space for us. This turned out to be a great hostel with a mix of private rooms and dorms, totalling a max of 27 people. We spent a lot of time chilling here; in both senses of the word. Nights were downright chilly and days were pleasant to sit out in the sun. We went to the market just a couple blocks away ... read more
Iglesia Guadalupe

North America » Mexico » Chiapas » Agua Azul March 3rd 2015

After much deliberation we decided to head to popular Agua Azul as a day trip on our own from Palenque. We caught the colectivo on 5a. Poniente Sur (Prof. Ydalio Huerta) for MXN35 (the better colectivo was MXN40). It took about an hour to get to the stop for the falls, then hopped a taxi for MXN20 down the road to the falls. During the taxi ride there were two toll booths where it cost MXN15 and MXN40 respectively to continue. These were manned by the local/indigenous population who the government had historically tried to kick off the land. It seems like they would have had ties to the Zapatistas, a militaristic group set to defend the indigenous populations rights and way of life. The falls themselves were beautiful with 4 different places to go swimming. ... read more
Floating down the river

North America » Mexico » Chiapas » Palenque March 2nd 2015

Got into Palenque this morning at 0630hrs after the over night bus. We only got woken up once by some military personnel checking passports; they didn't want us so we got through fine. We had the breakfast we bought for the bus ride and headed to our hostel, just a short walk. We spent a little time there locking up our things and researching. We decided to take the colectivo to the ruins right around 8. It wasn't hard to find the colectivos to the 'ruinas' on 3a Poniente Norte (Allende) just north of Central Poniente (Benito Juárez). For MXN20 they would get us the 7 kms to the ruins. It cost MXN30.50 to enter the national park, and an additional MXN64 to get into the ruinas themselves. There were yet again guides, but as always ... read more

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida March 1st 2015

Hit up the Museo del Mundo Maya. We thought it'd be a good thing to do to get a little background on the ruins we'd been visiting since we hadn't been taking any guided tours. We hopped the city bus on Calle 56 between 57 and 59 for MXN7 and got off at the Gran Plaza, a big mall close to the museum. We still had to walk about 15 minutes along the major road to reach the museum. It cost MXN150 to get into the museum. Much of the information was in English, but all the movies were in Spanish so they just turned into nice places to sit for a few minutes. It started out as a history of the areas geology, flora, and fauna; it didn't really seem to tie into the Mayan ... read more

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Homun February 28th 2015

After yesterday's shopping disappointment we decided to go swimming in many cenotes. Rafa and another hostel guest suggested we head to Homun that had several that you could visit and just hire a motorbike taxi for the day. We caught the colectivo on Calle 67 between Calle 50 and 52 (odd numbered streets run east/west, even streets run North/south). While we were looking for the one to Homun another colectivo driver asked us if we wanted to go to a cenote. When we told him we were already wanting to go to Homùn and asked where that colectivo was, he was going to send us to a completely different direction. We stayed the course and found the one we were looking for maybe 2 vans ahead, a telltale sign on the wall beside where it stopped. ... read more
Cenote Yaxbacultun
On the tuk tuk with Pepe

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Ek Balam February 25th 2015

We took our time waking up today, but we were still up by 0700hrs. We headed to Ek'Balam via a taxi colectivo from Calle 44, between Calle 35 and 37. We were summoned from across the intersection by the driver. The price to Ek'Balam was fixed at MXN160, but we opted to wait for two more passengers (the max they can take being 4) to spread out the cost. It took about 1/2 hr before two locals showed up for the trip. They weren't going to the archeological site, but somewhere beyond. We'd recommend to set up going with other travellers ahead of time to avoid the wait at either end, especially the ruins side since it's more difficult to tell who came with a tour and who might need to share a colectivo back to ... read more
View from the pyramid

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Chichén Itzá February 24th 2015

This day we headed to Chichen Itza. Woke up bright and early to catch the 0730hrs colectivo just north of the ADO station on Calle 46 in Valladolid. It was under an hour ride in a significantly reduced quality van than we rode along the Mayan Riviera. This one had spare wooden seats to fill in space beside the doors, and for much of the ride there was someone seated behind the back seat. This ride only cost us MXN30 each despite being a longer ride. We arrived at Chichen Itza before any large tour buses, but there were a couple 12 passenger vans already unloaded. It cost a staggering MXN216 for a ticket to enter the site. Another Dan (from Ottawa) mentioned that guides cost MXN500 for a tour, but since we were so early ... read more
Hostel cookup

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