While planning our travels, we tried to keep up with the summer, so we continued to go south. And so, our next stop was Costa Rica - one of the greenest countries in the world. As we get to a new country, we often stop in the capital so we can immerse ourselves deeper into local culture. But the idea of settling in San Jose, one of the top 10 most polluted and ugliest capitals in the world, didn’t sound great. At first, we thought of living by the sea, and we were even choosing between cities on the Caribbean and [...]
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Chichen-Itza Perhaps, the most famous Mayan complex in Mexico is Chichen-Itza - a large city covering over 80 hectares. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit what is recognized as one of the seven wonders of the world. It is believed that the first Mayan settlement was founded right here in 455 AD. The city quickly developed and expanded, and by the end of the 9th Century it became a strong State, controlling almost all the northern Yucatan territories. In the 10th Century it was taken over by the Toltecs, becoming the capital of these tribes. The influence of Toltec [...]
Mexico is a large country divided into a few dozen states. Cancun and Playa del Carmen are located in Quintana-Roo. We decided not to limit ourselves to this region, so we planned a trip to the northern areas of the peninsula and explore the Yucatan state territory. After all, that’s where you can find one of the largest ancient Mayan complexes in Mexico - the city-state Chichen-Itza. History of Valladolid Halfway between Cancun and the ancient Chichen-Itza complex lies a little town called Valladolid. At first glance it may look like yet another provincial town, but it actually has a rich, [...]
Tulum Tulum is one of the most prominent archaeological sites in Mexico. Despite its relatively humble size (it’s significantly smaller than the Mayan Chichen Itza site), the settlement is unique in many ways, since it’s practically the only settlement built by the shore. The Mayans preferred to settle farther from the shore and deeper in the jungle. The first settlement in the area was constructed in the 12th Century. By then, the majority of the Mayan settlements were in decline, but Tulum continued to thrive and develop, as it was the only sea port and the largest trade center. This is [...]
Cancun’s environs are famous for their unparalleled nature and the number of historical sites related to, first and foremost, the mysterious Maya civilization. We’d dreamt of seeing these ancient Indian sites with our own eyes, so the instant we settled in Cancun, we decided to begin exploring the surrounding areas. Thanks to our rental car we were free to travel the peninsula at our leisure. One of the sites on our list was an archaeological site - Tulum, and Playa del Carmen - a small tourist town located half-way, which tourists often prefer to Cancun. Playa del Carmen: History Playa del [...]
Island of Women (Isla Mujeres) Island of Women (Isla Mujeres) is located 13 km east of Cancun. It’s small — 7 km long and about 650 m wide — and very beautiful. It takes about half an hour to reach the island by ferry (there are both private and municipal ones). https://youtu.be/lC1bWue4XwU The island settlement is very little and consists of five quarters. Medina is the main pedestrian street lying along the west coast of the island. That’s where all cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, and tourist centres are concentrated. The infrastructure of Isla Mujeres is certainly less developed than that [...]
Public Transport You can move around the city by bus or taxi. By the way, Uber is available here, but it has certain limitations. Several years ago, you were able to go to any part of Cancun using Uber. But city taxi drivers began to complain to the police. Uber drivers were literally caught and fined because they had no licence. The company paid all fines for its employees, but when losses from fines became higher than profits, it was decided to divide the city. Hotelera is currently served by the local taxi company only, while Uber works in the non-tourist [...]
When autumn came to Madrid, and we could no longer go for evening walks without wearing sweaters, we decided to hit the road again and move to a warmer place, as our boys were not used to such chilly weather and could easily catch a cold. Our next destination was Cancun, the most popular resort in Mexico and one of the most popular tourist spots in the Caribbean. Travelling to Mexico with children may certainly seem surprising. The country is notorious for its bloody cartel wars, violence — against tourists as well — and a low standard of living that increases [...]
Las Ventas Arena Walking in the centre, you can’t help noticing a majestic red-brick building constructed in the Neo-Mudéjar style. It’s the Las Ventas bullring erected in the early 20th century when corridas were particularly popular. Bullfights are held from March to October, but Las Ventas doesn’t stand empty at other time as well. Concerts, sports competitions, and various cultural events are organized here. There’s also a small bullfighting museum within the arena. It exhibits the portraits and biographies of famous matadors as well as bullfighting equipment and outfits. Madrid Río Park We often visited the Madrid Río Park located along [...]
Golden Triangle of Art Planning our trip to Madrid, we surely added the visit to the Golden Triangle of Art – a complex of three art museums located on the Paseo del Prado – to the list. The Prado Museum is one of the most famous places in the capital. It has a collection of 8,000 paintings and several hundred sculptures including the works by Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens, Goya, and other renowned artists. When entering the museum, we were given a plan with all major masterpieces marked, but even having it, it’s easy to lose your bearings here. The building [...]