Mexican Inspired Fashion

I put together this fashion list inspired by everything Mexico! Mexico is a country full of colour and culture. From the markets of Tulum, to the streets of Valladolid, to the house facades in Rio Lagartos, there are colours and patterns everywhere.  I used that inspiration to find some fun fashion finds. And of course, I had to feature hats, because it was so hot in Mexico that hats were essential!

mexican fashion inspiration.
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mexican fashion inspiration..
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mexican fashion inspiration
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mexican fashion inspiration...
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We Went Swimming With Whale Sharks in Mexico

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This wraps up our Mexico trip and it does so in the most amazing way imaginable. When I first arrived in Mexico I didn't even know that swimming with whale sharks was an option. It was only by talking to my Mexican landlady in Tulum, who apparently goes every year in Isla Holbox, that I found out about this amazing experience.

Our summer away was very unplanned. We had a rough idea of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see but we generally didn't book anything until a couple of days before we were ready to move on. So when we found out about the whale sharks it was easy for us to plan it into our trip.  So on one of my last days in Mexico I enjoyed one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and one that I would do again in a heartbeat.

We set off really early in the morning from Playa del Carmen and caught a bus to Cancun, and from there a two hour boat ride to somewhere near Isla Mujeres. Then all of a sudden it was time to jump in the water. Warren and I were the first to go and we kind of had no idea what was going on. We just jumped in and right there, in front of us, was a huge whale shark. It was incredible.

The whale sharks, which are roughly the size of a large bus, would swim around the surface to eat the planktan and then go back down again after about 5/10 minutes. They're big friendly giants and are quite harmless to humans. We'd swim next to them until they went down then hop back onto the boat to give someone else a go or until another one appeared. The longest we had to wait in between whale sharks being at the surface was about five minutes. 

The first time I jumped in I have to admit I was quite scared. The sheer size of them is enough to make anyone nervous. And when one turned around, opened it's mouth wide (that's how they eat the planktan), and started swimming straight at me I had to swim as quickly as possible out of the way because I was certain I was about to get swallowed up. However, despite my initial nerves, I soon relaxed and reminded myself that whale sharks are vegetarian and I really enjoyed the entire experience. Warren and I were buzzing for days after. 

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Me in the background taking pictures of the whale sharks
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After spending about an hour with the whale sharks we headed to Isla Mujeres for a bit more shallow snorkeling and a bite to eat. Since Orlaith had decided not to swim with the whale sharks this was a chance for her to get into the water and have a paddle.

I'm really scared of boats and water in general (Orlaith and I joke about what a scaredy cat I am about most things) and I have a tendency to get sea sick, however on this trip I was really lucky not to get sick. There were a few points I thought I wasn't going to make it but luckily I was able to breath through it until the unwelcome feelings passed. Unfortunately there were some other people on our boat who did get very sick and felt too ill to swim the whale sharks. Mental note: take seasickness pills next time!

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Some of the photos in this post were taken by our lovely photographer, Ivan, from a company called Yinbe Zame who was hired by our tour operators Sea Friends Tours.

Tulum | A Travel Guide

During my two weeks in Tulum I was able to experience a few places that I'd recommend for food & drinks, scenery and great places to hang out. And a few places that I definitely wouldn't recommend. So I'd like to share some of my favourite joints with you, in case you ever visit.


Food & Drink

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Panna e Cioccolato
Av. Tulum 72Tulum 77400Mexico
Amazing gelato here. It's Italian, not Mexican, but if you want good ice-cream go to who does it best! We tried different flavours every time we visited and not once were we disappointed. There were two shops along Avenue Tulum and apparently another one on the beach somewhere.
Website


Super Carne 

Calle Orion Lote 15, Tulum, Quintana Roo
This place is a meat shop and sells amazing meat, run by an Italian meat enthusiast. We bought from here every time we wanted meat to cook at home and we were always left so satisfied. It's located on Orion Sur just after La Parrillada restaurant. The guy who owns La Parrillada owns the meat shop so grab someone from inside the restaurant to help you.


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La Nave
Av. Tulum Oriente Mz 3 Lote 7, Tulum, 77780 Tulum, QROO, Mexico
Orlaith and I only got a pizza and some orange juice here but we really enjoyed it. The juice was so good we ended up drinking five glasses between us! Friendly staff and good prices. On Avenue Tulum.


La Fournee
Carretera Tulum Ruinas - Boca Paila Km 5.5Tulum CP 77780
An authentic French patisserie. There were a few 'patisseries' in Tulum who's croissants tasted like thick bread rolls. This one served the best pastries and good coffee for a very reasonable price. I loved it.


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Papaya Playa Project
Km 4.5 Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Tulum Quintana Roo 77780 Mexico
On the beach side of Tulum this is the first beach club you come to on the 'beach road'. I loved the atmosphere, the music, the drinks (not so much the food) and, of course, the view. However if you visit make sure to double check the bill before paying :)
Website


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Ahau Tulum
Carretera a Boca Paila Km 7.5 Tulum beach zone.TulumMexico (Formerly Esmeralda-K)
Another beach bar on the far end of the 'beach road'. This place has the whole package. We loved the food and the atmosphere was just perfect. Everyone was so friendly, guests and staff, and we had one of our favourite days here.
Website


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Puro Coraz√≥n 
Carretera Tulum / Punta Alen km 5.5, Quintana Roo
Also on the 'beach road' strip, this family friendly bar is ideal for good cocktails and entertainment. They had really great live music the evening we visited and everyone was super friendly. We didn't rate the food dish we tried highly but I can't comment on the rest of their food, I've heard it's good. I had one of my most enjoyable evenings here!
Website


Chedraui Supermarket
Avenue Coba Sur
While I am all about buying local we did make one visit to Chedraui supermarket. It's a normal supermarket with pretty much everything you need. Due to an intolerance I buy dairy alternatives which I could only find here.


Things To Do + Places To See

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Gran Cenote
109 Hectares Km 25 Quintana Roo Mexico
Gran cenote was my favourite out of all the ones we visited and the easiest to get to (we cycled). A bat cave, water turtles and beautiful crystal clear water. We had a fabulous day here.
Website


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Dos Ojos Cenote
Dos Ojos is a great cenote to spend the day at for scuba divers and swimmers alike. There are two big water areas and hammocks all over the place for relaxing in. There's also a small tuck shop there but they don't sell much apart from biscuits and crisps.
Website


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The Pit Cenote
Orion Sur Centauro Sur, Tulum 77760, Mexico
The Pit is great for scuba divers but can also make for an interesting swim. Of course I managed to find a jumping platform like any big kid would (just be careful there's no scuba divers surfacing before you jump in)!


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Tulum Ruins
The Tulum ruins were so convenient to visit (we cycled there from the other end of town) and had lots of information boards. If you have time and don't mind the heat get a tour guide.
Website


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Coba Ruins
I liked the Coba ruins except for the lack of information boards. You'll ideally need a tour guide or guide book here. Coba is, currently, one of the last Maya sites that still lets tourists climb any the structures, and it's just the ancient pyramid. At the top of the pyramid you get a great view over the jungle top. Bring comfy shoes, there's lots of walking.
Website


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Chichen Itza Ruins
Chichen Itza is about 3 hours from Tulum by bus. We were staying in Valladolid when we visited but a lot of people we spoke to made the journey from Tulum. Either way, one of the new Seven Wonders Of The World, this is a site not to be missed. Bring a hat, it gets hot. Ik kil cenote is close by, we couldn't make it there because of a lightning storm.
Website


Getting Around

Tulum is so easy to get around. It's a small town and so many places can be accessed by walking. Although you can learn from my mistake and not try to walk the 3km to the beach from town in the midday heat.

There are bicycle rental shops all over and offer cheap rental prices and child seats.

There are also taxis swarming the town and offer really affordable prices (however it's worth doing a bit of research on prices, many taxis try to overcharge tourists. And carry small notes on you, they like to pretend they don't have change). Also, many of the taxis don't have seatbelts so, if you have kids, hold on to them haha.

Another option is to rent a car during your stay. We didn't do this but I've heard it's cheap.

When travelling in and out of Tulum the bus/coach service is fantastic and cheap. There are ADO bus stations in most towns. We used them for our entire trip travelling around the Yucatan Peninsula.

There's another bus service we used once called colectivo, which is smaller and works a bit differently. It runs more frequently but is a lot smaller. It picks up people along the way depending on how much space it has available.

Cozumel

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While staying in Playa Del Carmen we decided to do a day trip to Cozumel. It was easy enough to hop on the ferry and get there in around an hour. When we arrived we then jumped on another little boat with a glass bottom and were taken to some nice spots to snorkel. Orlaith held onto a life jacket and got pulled around in the water like a celebrity dog (or something). Even though she had learnt how to swim pretty well by this point she still hadn't quite come around to the idea of putting on goggles and looking in the water. 

We went to three different spots to snorkel with the boat where we saw hundreds of fish, and then we hit the shore for a humungus lunch (Warren had a ten course meal) where the waiters all thought Warren was Jason Statham and were very attentive. After lunch we took our giant bellies to a spot called Money Bar which is a good place to snorkel without having to hire a boat. We hung out in the water for an hour or so before catching the ferry back home.

It was such a nice trip, much more beautiful than what we saw of Playa Del Carmen however still incredibly touristy. I mean, every shop was trading in dollars instead of pesos. Come on Mexico! We didn't come here to pretend we're in the USA!

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Playa Del Carmen

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After Rio Lagartos we did the most gruelling journey to Playa Del Carmen. The annoying thing is the two places are so close to each other but there is no road connecting them. Or if there is a road none of the bus companies used it. We spent about eight hours travelling in total and on the way I managed to leave Orlaith's backpack behind at one of our stops. It had all her toys and books in it, including all the new ones we had bought along the way. Major fail!

We managed to get a really amazing apartment for an amazing price in Playa Del Carmen, and I think that paired with us being so tired by the end of our long day of travelling we just decided to stay in Playa Del Carmen for the rest of our time in Mexico. We both regretted that decision in the end. It was so touristy and just what we had been trying to avoid. If we could do this trip again we probably would have gone back to Tulum for our last week instead of spending it in Playa Del Tourism.

In the garage of our apartment block there was a family of stray cats living there. Stray animals are so common in Mexico, you see strays everywhere on the streets. Of course Orlaith and I wanted to take them all home with us! We bought a huge amount of cat food and started giving these little beauties some much needed nutrition. All the kittens were very shy and not used to people but the mummy cat became our friend and would come and hang out with us after she ate. Orlaith was obsessed with 'our cat in Mexico'.

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Rio Lagartos

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Rio Lagartos is a cute little fishing town about two hours from Valladolid on the northern side of the Yucatan Peninsula. It's charming in it's own little way however there are one or two things that I think are worth mentioning in case anyone is planning on going. The first, very important, thing is that the closest cash machine or bank is one hour away by bus or car. You cannot draw money anywhere in Rio Lagartos so if you come, come with cash! The other thing is you should have a strong stomach for the smell of fish if you plan on visiting as there is a constant whiff lingering in the air. OK, now onto the good stuff!

What drives the tourists to Rio Lagartos are it's flamingos and pink lagoon. It's also great for bird watchers apparently. However I found the tourist companies somewhat dishonest and really driven by making as much money as possible which I found a shame. However I didn't let it get in the way of enjoying my experience.

We booked an early morning boat trip to see everything and the whole trip was just beautiful. We set off at sunrise and saw some beautiful birds (including flamingos), some interesting fish and even a crocodile. We then went to the pink lagoon (laguna rosada) which gets its pink colour from tiny microorganisms high in beta-carotene. Lying in this pink lagoon is like lying on top of a giant helium balloon due to the high salt content, as soon as I lay in the water I practically popped straight out again. It was a strange but really fun sensation.

After having a paddle in the pink lagoon we went to a mud bath and covered ourselves in mud before heading to a natural spring to wash ourselves off. The whole trip was really special and the most perfect way to start the morning. Luckily the fish smell didn't follow us out onto the water, but it sure returned when we got back to shore haha.

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