Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets

My friend Steven who writes the blog Travel Ojos nominated me to share three of my best travel secrets on A Canuck in Cancun as part of Trip Base Blog tag. The final list of travel secrets will be published in a special blog post and shared everywhere! (Now I am not sure I want to tell, the point of a secret is shhh, right? Just kidding of course, happy to share a couple off the beaten path places that I love). If you are a regular reader of this blog, you've heard me speak of these places before, but let's share the wealth, shall we?

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


Katie said...

Great secrets, thanks for sharing!

Have been to Isla Mujeres which was cute but certainly not undiscovered!

Isla Holbox sounds much more tranquil!

Sam and Bob said...

Have been to Holbox and Cenote Azul. Now I'll have to try Tacos Rigos.

Thanks for sharing!

minshap said...

oh dear! I clicked in here eager to see your secrets revealed! Now it turns out you want me to spill mine too?? Okay, but you're asking alot, as I will have to delve deep to be able to gather the information as thoroughly as you did! The final results should read like a komplete tour guide of Mexico!

Sara said...

Somehow I missed this post. Of course I can participate! I can probably get something up tomorrow.

Gary Denness said...

I know I'm very late in doing something about this, but you know....I've been living in Mexico a while now! A month late isn't so bad....! Great idea by the by!


getmesomejuice said...

we're going to the El Cid Vacations Club in Cancun next month. and now i'm really craing for that taco place!!! mmmm-hmmm!!! :)

Thomas said...

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Thomas said...

Thanks for publishing such a informative content. I was looking for such type posts. Please keep it up on regular base i would like to view your posts on regular base.....BEST WISHES


Unknown said...

Thanks for the information! Love your post. My sister was married to a Canadian and lived in Waterloo for 7 years. We are taking a trip to Cancun this summer (July) and look forward to going off-the-beaten-path.

Thanks again for sharing. I am sure you have more little secrets you can share. (smiles)

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