Mexico, land of the Aztecs, Maya, and Spanish conquistadors. This beautiful country is full of myths, legends and the mysterious stone ruins that guard them. Visit the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan peninsula to see the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza, and then travel to the valleys of Oaxaca for the best food in the country. Colonial cities dot the countryside, and beautiful beaches run endlessly along both coasts.
Is it often said that the wealth of a county is to be found in its history and culture. In this sense, Mexico is a fortunate nation as it does not lack either of these ingredients. On the contrary, it possesses a varied and interesting history which has enabled us who live in this country to inherit a very rich country. (Iñgo Fernandez).
Mexico is a paradise for explorers and adventure seekers. It combines everything: nature, local experiences, history, culture, great food & breath-taking views. There is a special energy that connects you to its lifestyle and people. We travelled there to share with you this life-journey experience and for the next few minutes we hope to take you there with us.
The Yucatan peninsula is a chaos of colours, jungles and experiences. One of the main Mundo Maya centres, Yucatan is located on the northern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula in south-eastern Mexico. In the northern centre of Yucatan one finds the world-famous Chichén Itzá site and that’s where our trip started. The brilliant ruins of Chichén Itzá evidence a dazzling ancient city that once was the center of the Mayan empire in Central America. The stepped pyramids, temples, columned arcades, and other stone structures of Chichén Itzá were sacred to the Maya, and a major urban center of their empire. You can get emotional while standing in the middle of such important ruins, the ruins of one of the most sophisticated civilizations. As you walk in the gardens inside the jungle you can see part of the remains that unravel untold stories and mystic lives.
Viewed as a whole, the incredible complex reveals much about the Maya and Toltec vision of the universe—which was intimately tied to what was visible in the dark night skies above the Yucatán Peninsula. The most recognizable structure here is the Temple of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo, this glorious step pyramid demonstrating the accuracy and importance of Mayan astronomy.Tulum
After our amazing experience in the world-known landmark, we headed towards Tulum. Tulum is located on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The town, often called Tulum Pueblo, as well as nearby Tulum Mayan Ruins are in the heart of the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean Sea. This place has a vibrant energy that just keeps you awake and present. There are so many things that you can see and experience in Tulum that every day becomes an adventure! We stayed in Acacia, a project for nature lovers and travellers that want to immerse themselves in something new . The Bungalows of Acacia are located in the town but the feeling you get is that you are inside a crazy jungle. Every morning we took our colorful bicycles and went out to explore Tulum. The town is filled with cute local shops that serve tasty food with a vibrant smile. The local families were gathering all together eating chicken tamales and tacos. For us it felt so familiar, like we belonged there.
Tulum can be seen from two different perspectives, the luxury one where you lock yourself inside a resort and live the instagram life and the one where you stroll around local neighborhoods where poverty doesn’t mean unhappiness but instead it means living ontologically. We preferred the second one, where you can see the reality. Beside the beautiful architecture in some places most houses are built from wood and iron, there are hundreds of stray dogs around and people selling different local products. At first you feel overwhelmed but after some thought you can appreciate (almost) everything, the only negative thing apart from the stray dogs being the garbage that was seemingly everywhere, even inside the jungle. We met local people and chatted with them about town issues, politics and their need for change. It felt beautiful meeting people from a totally different culture but yet having such a connection.
For me, you should experience everything in any place you travel, it’s the only way to understand a culture and to gain real experiences.Products:
Our products travelled with us, the fish pocket knife, a folding knife combined with a bottle opener is the perfect travel necessity—in part because its unique design (the knife blade is its fin, the bottle opener is its tail) will always bring a smile to your face. Another item that accompanied us everywhere was the scarf by Aysha Tengiz, a London based artist working within illustration, animation and textile design. She turns to everyday life and ordinary objects to ignite new ideas and give colour and personality to your daily outfits. The full moon bag by Monk & Anna kept our things stylish and safe. A bag designed with great care and with a lot of small details, it is part of a collection of minimalistic yet esthetic designs inspired by Japan, nature, fashion and craftsmanship in general.
We stayed for a couple of days in Tulum and then continued our road trip towards Valladolid. Valladolid is an incredible hidden gem located deep in Mexico’s Yucatan jungle. This place is still off the beaten path, so it offers an opportunity to experience authentic Mayan culture and history that you just candidly can’t find very easily in the tourist-oriented beach towns like Cancun and Tulum. From wandering its colorful streets, to exploring the cenotes of Valladolid, to immersing yourself in Mayan culture and history, there are so many things to do here.
We stayed overnight to truly soak in Valladolid, however if you are truly pressed for time, it is possible to explore it and the nearby Cenotes and Mayran ruins on one of those day trips from the larger coastal towns. Now you wonder: “What is a cenote?” A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater. The regional term is specifically associated with the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, where cenotes were commonly used for water supplies by the ancient Maya, and occasionally for sacrificial offerings. They look like something from the National Geographic documentaries. There are tens of thousands of cenotes in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, and some of the best cenotes are near Valladolid.
Valladolid is also called the magic town because of its important role throughout Mexican history, its archaeological vestiges and the colonial buildings and of course because of its cultural richness. There are many things to check out in Valladolid, one of the most recognizable points of interest in the city being the towering Iglesia de San Servicio (sometimes called the Cathedral San Gervasio), located just south of the main square. The Spaniards built this cathedral over a demolished Mayan pyramid, using some of the pyramid’s stones to build the new temple. Another area that you shouldn’t miss is the Calzada de los Frailes: a quiet, mostly-pedestrian street whose colorful walls and doorways are just so eye-catching. You’ll find a handful of restaurants and cafes, and a number of boutique shops, our favorite one was the Coqui Coqui boutique that sells homemade perfumes and creams. There’s no specific “thing to do” here, but that’s all part of the experience.Products:
The totem candles accompanied us during cozy afternoons in Merida and Tulum. They created the perfect atmosphere to relax and enjoy the moment. The Totem Candle is cast in unscented paraffin wax from forms originally created by turning beeswax on a lathe. Each candle is like a small sculpture, elevating it from an everyday pillar candle into a special object. In addition, whenever we wanted to capture the colorful landscapes of Mexico we used the crayon by MoMa. When the founder of toy company Kid Made Modern was a kid, he left a box of crayons in a hot car one summer. When he returned, all the colors had melted together, becoming one giant multi-colored crayon blob.
After our lovely experience in Valladolid we “hit the road” towards Merida, the capital and the largest city on the Yucatan Peninsula. Merida is full of colorful streets and stunning architecture. We found Merida to be so much more than just charming. The buildings themselves may be old and reminiscent of glorious days of past, but Merida is a far cry from outdated or quaint. We started discovering the city by wandering around and whenever we saw a museum, a shop or a restaurant that we liked we just entered and explored. For me this is the only way that you can truly explore a place; it doesn't matter how many guides you will read before your trip, if you don’t get lost and find hidden gems there will always be something missing!
Paseo de Montejo is a notable avenue in Mérida. It is named after Francisco de Montejo, the Spanish conquistador who founded the city in 1542, and is the location of some of the most iconic buildings and monuments of the city. Inspired by the French boulevard, the avenue is flanked by trees and has several roundabouts along its course. Many beautiful mansions were built along the avenue by wealthy Yucatecans of the 19th century.
Adding to the cultural allure, the people living in Mérida, many of Mayan descent, are such a friendly and welcoming bunch. Everyone is so kind and full of good energy that you immedietaly feel part of the community. Another aspect of Merida’s culture to enjoy is the unique Yucatan cuisine. The food throughout Merida is delicious and distinctive to the region. Merida was definitely one of our trip’s highlights and we can’t wait to visit it again.
Our trip in Mexico continued in other states such as Oaxaca, Mexico City and Quintana Roo. Every place has its own beauty, traditions, history and culture and there are so many stories to share. We hope that you escaped with us for a while. We fell in love with it, with Mexico - and its people - is an incredible place with a rich history and wonderful food.
Mexico is an incredible country to backpack around, drive through, or just vacation in. There’s a ton of stuff to do and the locals are some of the friendliest people on the planet. From Mayan ruins and lush jungles to pristine Pacific Coast surf beaches to Mexico City’s art and food scene to Mezcal to beautiful Oaxaca, Mexico is just amazing!