The Last 3 Adventures Of Our Journey Through Mexico
After exploring Merida, Chichen Itza, Izamal, and 2 cenotes, it was time to reach the end of the Mexican Peninsula.
The last 2 locations I wanted to visit were Playa Del Carmen, which I heard some interesting things about, and Cancun, which is famous for party-tourism.
A bus from the white city of Merida to Playa Del Carmen takes only 4 hours, which felt like a breeze compared to the 10-14 hour bus rides I had done previously.
Merida to Playa del Carmen to Cancun
After being disappointed with Cancun, my adventures would take me to origins of one of the worlds most favourite excuses to get drunk: tequila in the town of Tequila, Mexico.
And finally, a quick stop over into one of Mexico's most popular festivals, that attracts over 7 million Mexicans and cowboys and cowgirls every year; the San Marcos Festival.
Where Is Playa Del Carmen?
Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Needless to say, I wasn't impressed by Playa Del Carmen at all.
Keeping in mind, that my previous adventures in Mexico were focused on historical towns and cities like Guanajuato, getting stuck driving up volcanoes and learning about the French invasions of Mexico, and more or less lots of history and intrigue.
Playa Del Carmen, is what I would label as a tourist trap town.
It's evolution is strictly based on laying on the beach, staying in a hotel, eating at overpriced restaurants, renting overpriced scooters and cars, and paying for overpriced tour packages.
Many people DO come to Playa Del Carmen, to disconnect from their jobs, and the cold weather of the season, but that wasn't my personal interest, so I stayed here for a brief 2-3 days, before taking a bus up to Cancun.
The southern-most general entrance into the beach area of Playa Del Carmen
Walking along the beaches of Playa Del Carmen. Not the most impressive sand to look, especially during peak season.
This ferry will take you to the adventure-tourism island of Cozumel.
The actual colour of the water at Playa Del Carmen
Portal Maya in the Parque Fundadores
Mayan actors putting on a show in Playa Del Carmen
Sea Turtles in Playa Del Carmen. Maybe they still exist, or maybe the pollution had killed them off
The beach in Playa Del Carmen. There is a lot of dried up seaweed
Walking north along Playa Del Carmen
From the rooftop of a club in Playa Del Carmen
Looking towards the southern beach from the rooftop of Playa Del Carmen
Fancy-looking hotels wall off the beaches in Playa Del Carmen
There are many small boats, that either catch fish for the restaurants, or provide private tours in Playa Del Carmen
The only volleyball court available in Playa Del Carmen
The beaches in Playa Del Carmen are very narrow
A massive hotel beside the beach in Playa Del Carmen. I could not enter due to security
A massive hotel sits along the beach of Playa Del Carmen
A fancy hotel with a bridge, and open-concept, makes this a pretty cool looking hotel in Playa Del Carmen
On the sands of Playa Del Carmen
Paddleball in Playa Del Carmen
Tourist police station in Playa Del Carmen. Keeping the neighborhood safe
Walking down the main streets of Playa Del Carmen
Professional photos on display in Playa Del Carmen
A really cool professional photo of the Mexican indigenous peoples (presumably)
Fancy models on display on the main streets of Playa Del Carmen
A mayan-inspired Cigar shop in Playa Del Carmen
Mayan-inspired statues in the main streets of Playa Del Carmen
A mayan performs a seashell call in Playa Del Carmen
A storm front coming into Playa Del Carmen
A bright red central American flower in Playa Del Carmen
Day of the dead statues in a tequila shop in Playa Del Carmen
A storm front comes this way over the streets of Playa Del Carmen
At night time, this area is filled with party-goers, and hungry restauranteurs in Playa Del Carmen
The Flying men of Mexico getting ready to perform their flying trick
Colourful souvenirs for sale in Playa Del Carmen
Colourful souvenirs for sale in Playa Del Carmen. Christianity is melded with indigenous cultures
So What About Cancun?
Cancun is a simple 1 hour bus ride north of Playa Del Carmen. Honestly, this was the least impressive city to visit.
Economically, it's an amazing development; the government found a nice area, and risked a large investment into the beach areas, which has evolved into one of the most visited places on the planet for beach and hotel relaxation.
But aside from that, when you take a bus along the coast of Cancun, all you can see are enormous hotels that completely block your view.
This is strictly a hotel city, nothing more.
Furthermore, the city has grown so rapidly in popularity, that their main arteries between the airports are completely loaded with traffic, to the point of me missing my flight to Guadalajara… it's that bad.
So because I missed my flight due to a terribly backed-up road system in Cancun, I had to make a different journey to Guadalajara:
Mexico Cross country planes, buses, cars
Booking another flight was going to be $300 USD, instead of the $100 that I had paid initially (luckily, I was refunded the ticket).
To quickly change the plans, I booked a flight from Cancun to Leon, Mexico (3 hours in the airport, 2.5 hour flight).
Then took a bus from the Leon Airport, to the Leon bus station (1 hour). Then another bus from the Leon Bus station, to the Guadalajara bus station (3 hours). Upon arriving, I went to book a car, and drove to Tequila (1.5 hours).
To get a fresh, deep dive into Guadalajara, Mexico, go here.
Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico
Tequila, Mexico is, of course, tourist-central.
But there is a lot of history to be learned, about how this little town introduced one of the most influential and popular drinks on the planet.
Renting a car, and doing the tour myself was the option I decided on, it was only a 1.5 hour drive away from Guadalajara (probably faster).
Tequila is a small town, with the entire surrounding areas consisting of farms that grow ‘agave'; the plant that is distilled into the tequila drink.
By international agreement, tequila can only be produced and imported from Mexico (as recognized by the USA, Canada, and a few others).
The central square in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico
Perhaps one of the founders of Tequila
Leonidas having a beer in Tequila
Sampling tequila, and learning about the differences between them
The 5 different tequilas sampled. Each produced, and aged in different ways.
Plaza Principal in Tequila, Mexico
Jose Cuervo Street in Tequila, Mexico
The history of the oldest tequila distillery in the world
With Don Vicente Albino Rojas, for whom the ‘Crow Tavern' was called.
Parroquia Santiago Apostol in Tequila
A look inside the ‘Taberna De Cuervo' (San Cuervo distillery). The oldest tequila distillery still in operation
Commemorating drinking on top of barrels in the town of tequila
Leonidas Posing in front of a historical mural representing parts of Tequilas history
A contemporary mural commemorating dance, and femininity and festivities in the town of Tequila
Contemporary mural representing the females of Mexico
A statue representing the men who worked tirelessly to produce tequila for the masses in the town of Tequila, Mexico
Parroquia Santiago Apostol in Tequila, Mexico
The Santiago Angel outside the Parroquia Santiago Apostol in Tequila Mexico
A military guard makes sure there are no issues today in Tequila, Mexico
A (muscovy?) duck of interesting designs and colours on a tequila farm in Mexico
A (muscovy?) duck of interesting designs and colours on a tequila farm in Mexico
Cactus-styled bottles of tequila for sale (~$35 USD)
Santa Catrina, a mexican pop culture figure. Bottles of tequila
Deciding on the next move inside a tequila farm in Mexico
An underground tequila bar on a tequila farm in Tequila, Mexico.
A metal horse sits inside an underground tequila bar on a tequila farm in Tequila, Mexico.
A muscovy duck sits around waiting for something interesting to happen on a tequila farm
Guadalajara to Aguascalientes
Upon completing the brief 3 hours adventure into Tequila, I sped back to Guadalajara, Mexico to get some well-needed sleep. The following day, I had to quickly decide whether I would drive to Aguascalientes, or simply take the bus. Driving would require paying for additional days for the car ($30/day), gas (about $50-80 for the entire trip), and toll-fees (possibly another $20) – and then I would need to drive the car BACK to Guadalajara to avoid paying a fee. The other option was to simply take the bus (~$20 USD). The decision was taking the bus, and taking a well-needed rest on the bus.
Guadalajara to Aguascalientes
Feria San Marco in Aguascalientes, Mexico
I visited Aguascalientes previously (along with San Luis Potosi, and San Miguel De Allende).
The city of Aguascalientes was very generic when contrasted with other Mexican cities, and 1 day was all you really needed there.
But then I learned about the Feria Nacional De San Marcos (Saint Marco Festival), so it was a good excuse to visit again.
As a quick summary, has been held for the last 190 years (since 1828), is held for about 3-4 weeks, and attracts almost 7 million visitors per year.
Colonial-mexican dances and attire during the San Marco Festival in Aguascalientes
Apparently, this is a Mexican version of the bobble-head (the heads don't actually move though)
A statue of someone important (of course) in Aguascalientes
A Mexican guitar performer prepares for a long day of serenading visitors in Aguascalientes
Preparing for a long day of playing music in Aguascalientes
Despite an entire festival and event happening around us, we are still entrenched into the emotions of our own lives, as projected through our phones
Sitting around, waiting to perform in the San Marcos Festival
A guitar player brushes past to his next performance during the San Marcos Festival
Spicy clamato michelada. My most favourite drink in Mexico
Performers in San Marco Festival getting ready to make some money
Groups of musicians walk around, and annoy the hell out of you, while you drink at an outdoor bar
Dancing to ‘Banda' music on the streets of Aguascalientes
A girl posing as Santa Caterina, a famous caricature in Mexican pop culture
Meat on a stick for sale in Aguascalientes
Walking through the colourful streets of the carnival in Aguascalientes
A family posing for a stereotypical Mexican-looking photo in Aguascalientes
Various souvenirs from American pop culture for sale in Aguascalientes
Entering the massive dome that covers a large portion of the festival (in case it rains)
Aguascalientes To Guadalajara To Puerto Vallarta
Upon completing the San Marcos Festival adventure, it was finally time to return back to my friends place in the historical beach-city of Puerto Vallarta, and get back to work (and editing the extensive number of photos from Mexico).
Aguascalientes to Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta
Unlike the first time that I flew to Aguascalientes for only $80 USD, I couldn't get an inexpensive flight the second time, or within the time-frame that I wanted (back to Puerto Vallarta).
So the bus system was the best alternative.
In total, it took 3 hours by bus from Aguascalientes to Guadalajara, then a 3 hour stop in the Guadalajara bus station, and then another 6 hours to Puerto Vallarta, and finally a 1 hour taxi to my buddies place.
All in all, it was a great conclusion to the traveling done in Mexico.
I visited 40 Mexican cities/towns in total over the course of 4 months.
Mexico is amazing, and I am DEFINITELY coming back!