My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets
1. Isla Holbox- Awww, my happy place. This small island off the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula is relatively undiscovered. No huge resorts, no theme parks, no timeshare salesmen, just small palapa style hotels on an unbelievably gorgeous stretch of beach. Holbox is best known as a jumping off point for swimming with whale sharks, a once a year phenomenon that will knock your socks off. It's also a great place for bird watching, with a population of flamingos and other birds gathering on the "Isla de Pajaros" off the west side of the island. To get to Holbox, you have to make your way to the small pueblo of Chiquila, about 2 1/2 hours from Cancun. Once in Chiquila, make your way to the docks and catch a small boat for a 20 minute ride to the island. Be sure to bring cash, there are no ATM's or banks, it's a truly rustic retreat. There are some "high end" palapa hotels like Sandra's, but reasonably priced hotels can be found. To really get in the rustic groove, bring a tent and camp out at Ida y Vuelta's camp ground. For a fantastic meal, you must try the famous lobster pizza at Edelin's, heavenly! This is truly a place to get away from it all and one of the best kept secrets around.
2. Cenote Azul- Cenotes are becoming more and more popular with tourists, especially with the development of "eco-parks" like Hidden Worlds and Aktunchen. For those who don't know, a cenote (pronounced "seh-noh-tay") is a natural sinkhole in the limestone, usually filled with fresh water. They were the main source of water for the ancient Mayans and considered to be sacred places. Quintana Roo and Yucatan are chock full of these wonders, many of them still undiscovered. Cenote Azul is still a local's secret! While you'll pay $50 USD (or more) to go to the cenote parks, Cenote Azul is a mere 50 pesos to enter. Take a walk down a rocky jungle path and before you even see the cenote the aroma of "fresh" will hit you. At the end of the path you'll discover a little Eden, a great place to swim and refresh, investigate the beautiful jungle fauna and even snorkel and chase the abundant little catfish that thrive there. Jump off the cliff if you dare! You won't find many tourists here, but on Sundays the local families fill the rocks around this natural pool.
3. Tacos Rigos- "Que Ricos los Rigos" (how delicious is Rigos!) is the tag line for this taqueria in Cancun. With over 20 years in business downtown, it's a favourite with locals for their delicious and inexpensive tacos. Go for lunch and order from the "comida corrida" menu, a starter (usually three soup choices), a main and a dessert for 53 pesos, a bargoon! I'm addicted to the regular old tacos de arrachera, but Hubby loves to freak me out by ordering the "tacos de ojo" (eyeball tacos). The walls are covered in a huge mural of cartoon characters, bright and garish and ever so fun. Rigos is not too far from Market 28, so we occasionally see tourists in there but it's still pretty much a secret spot for most travellers.
Now, it's my turn to nominate five bloggers to participate in the "Three Best Kept Travel Secrets". I'm going to step outside the box and nominate some folks that are not necessarily in Mexico and not necessarily travel bloggers, I'm just dying to hear what they have to say!
1. Sara of La Gringuita Diaries in Chile
2. Fned of Fned's blog in Paris, France
3. Minshap of Both Sides of the Coin in Puebla, Puebla, Mexico
4. Gary of The Mexile in Mexico City (DF as we say)
5. Mindy of The Rosas Standring Family in Tulum, Mexico