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Monday 9 Dec 2013
Cancun, Mexico

Mexico. Not quite what I expected...

Mexico, Belize, Guatemala.  The plan was simple: go and find a few of these Mayan ruins and eat some guacamole.

I'd thought I would be able to use an Intrepid/G-Adventures itinerary as a template and do my own thing, rather than pay for another group trip.  In the event, it actually taught me a lesson about what you're paying for on one of those trips: The reassurance of having a guide who can speak the local language; who takes care of the logistics; who organises transport and entry fees; who knows the good local food and can warn you of scams to watch out for.  In some countries, I would have had no problem to make my own way and have done so many time already.  

In Mexico, I found it much harder for several reasons.  I felt at a real disadvantage not speaking Spanish.  I am used to being familiar with the language and getting by with a combination of English, German and french, plus a handful of local phrases.  For some reason, I found Spanish a lot more difficult - perhaps because it was both familiar and alien at the same time.  We both felt uncomfortable travelling around, despite not actually being threatened anywhere or seeing anyone else in difficulty.  Maybe we were influenced too strongly by government and guidebook travel warnings, when in fact a bit of common sense and awareness goes a long way.  Was Mexico really so much worse than other places I have been?  I'm not sure, but I never truly settled here and we were both too afraid to venture into mainland Belize or Guatemala.  We met people who implored us to experience Guatemala, saying it was one of the best places they'd been, while in the next breath saying they'd never been so scared anywhere else.  Somehow that just didn't swing it for us.  Maybe travelling with others who had been there before would have meant I'd seen it differently, but I just didn't want to go somewhere that I'd be so on edge all the time.  

But whatever the reason, Christina and I didn't follow the Mayan temple itinerary I'd envisioned, instead following a dive itinerary that suited us just fine.  I'm still tempted to come back in future with a group trip and see more of the Mayan history and culture that attracted me here in the first place, but I'm sure I'll sneak in a dive or two when I do...

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Zoe's Big World Adventure Part II - #2 Mexico, Belize and Costa Rica

Travel blog by zobeedoo

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I met Christina in April. We travelled a bit of Australia together and both learned to dive. Now we're off to Mexico and Belize to see what the Caribbean and the Great Mesoamerican Reef have to offer, before I head down to Costa Rica for 10 days.

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