Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mahahual Waterpark "Lost Mayan Kingdom"

Lost Mayan Kingdom Mahahual
Our recent Mother/Son Road Trip was such a blast and a big part of it was our day at Lost Mayan Kingdom in Mahahual. The waterpark has been open less than a year, aiming at the cruise ship visitors who dock in the Costa Maya and they have done a fantastic job of creating an excursion for families that love adventure.

Love a waterpark with elevators! 
We had the great fortune of visiting on a day with no ships in port, we had the park almost completely to ourselves! Max better not get accustomed to this VIP/private water park treatment or I am in big trouble.

Adventure Dude
The concept of the park is unique, centered around a giant pyramid from which all the ziplines and waterslides originate. To the delight of my knees, there are no stairs or towers to climb, the elevators whisk you to the floor of your choice. With twelve waterslides and several zipline courses, the elevators were definitely a life saver. 

Max and I hit the ziplines first, fast and furious adrenaline! The staff were amazing, so friendly and funny though they take safety very seriously of course. They accompanied us through the whole course and I was really interested in their stories of life in Mahahual, a totally different vibe than Cancun (and very tempting to move there!) 

Never choose the easy path

The hanging rope bridge course offered easy, intermediate and advanced paths. Guess which one little Maxito chose....

Reach the bottom, go right back up again

After a quick lunch break (YUMMY hamburgers from the onsite food truck), we were ready to take the plunge on the waterslides. I took my turn on most of them then went for a nap in a hammock while Max gave the staff a run for their money to see how many times he could do each slide. His fave was "Chaac" racing down the slide on a mat, I lost count of how many times he went up and down on that baby.

Oh that smile
I finally convinced him to STOP and take a break with me on the Jaguar River (some say lazy, but that's just so negative). We chilled out, enjoyed the peace and the sunshine and the scenes that line the river depicting a Mayan jungle expedition. 

I thought we were done for the day, but try telling an energetic ten year old boy that it's time to leave his private water park. Yeah, no. We did a few more runs on the waterslides and I was SPENT. I managed to convince him it was time to go, after 17 "Just one more PLEEEEEASE!" moments.

A big thanks to all the folks at Lost Mayan Kingdom for a wonderful day, the activities were awesome, the adrenaline surge was fun and the staff made us feel like family. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the Costa Maya region! 

** We were provided complimentary entry by the park but all opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mexican Caribbean Road Trip - Detour to Tulum, Lo Siento Mucho Calakmul

In our last episode, Canucka and Max were leaving Mahahual, embarking on part two of their road trip, next planned stop, Calakmul in Campeche.

Uh oh, that is not a happy face

Aaaaaand, Calakmul isn't happening. After leaving Mahahual, we took a little pit stop on the highway for ahem, a visit to the bushes (it's not a road trip til you've peed in the bushes). I noticed smoke or steam coming up from under the car, opened the hood and was whacked with a wave of heat. I topped up the oil and coolant (we were literally in the middle of nowhere) and slowly made my way to Felipe Carrillo Puerto, the closest town. The kind mechanic basically said "you are screwed" and I made the decision to NOT drive 6 hours into the jungle with no cel service nearby. Sorry Campeche, next time!

Zazil Kin Cabañas Tulum

So what's a girl and her son to do with cancelled plans, no place to stay and a car in trouble? Start driving towards home. Slowly. Stopping to cool down every twenty minutes. 

Tulum beach at Zazil Kin

We made it to the town of Tulum and the crowds of semana santa visitors. I didn't have much hope in finding somewhere affordable to stay on the beach, but took a chance and headed to my fave little cabañas at Zazil Kin with fingers crossed. LUCK. They had ONE cabaña left and at a decent price. Bad luck with the car, good luck with the hospitality gods, thanks universe, I owe you one.

Where the dawn is born, sunrise in Tulum

Sunrise is early. Yep, stating the obvious

We enjoyed the rest of the day on the beach then hit the hay. We woke up for the sunrise because YOU MUST see the sunrise in Tulum. The archaeological site of Tulum was originally called "Zama", meaning "the place where the sun is born", you miss the sunrise, you miss the magic.

Canucka in her happy place underwater

Max boogie boarded, I chilled with my book and we wasted the day away on the beach. On one of my lazy beach walks I asked a boat captain "How much?" for a snorkel trip to the reef. We chatted, we smiled and I got an AMAZING price and set us up for the next day's first tour out. First stop was a spot right in front of the archaeological site for picture time with the pyramids, then off to the reef.

CHEESE. Dang we look good in orange

We were accompanied by a group of tourists from Spain, lovely to meet them, frustrating to snorkel with beginners. I know, I know, we all have to start somewhere but being kicked in the face by flailing out of control fins just isn't cool. Max and I got away from the cluster, fought against a strong current and killer waves and had ourselves a blast. The captain promised us a private deep sea fishing trip, next time Capi!

Straight shooter under the sea

It was now time to go home to Cancun. Carefully. Slowly. Not overheating the car on the highway. Max was a perfect road trip partner, his adventurous spirit and instinct to help, his lust for new experiences and his laid-back attitude when things don't go as planned made this trip a dream. We bonded together as well as finding time for ourselves to be individuals. Frankly, I am tearing up as I close this out, oh sentimental Canucka! Sharing this time with my son, the good and the bad, is an experience I will remember forever and I hope he will too. My little dude is becoming a little man and I am blessed to be witness to the growth of this incredible person. As with all great road trips, this was not just about what we saw and did, it was a spiritual, life-affirming experience. (I promised myself I wouldn't cry, damn!)

Best Road Trip Ever.

Thanks so much for following along in our journey! I do hope it has inspired you to do something incredible with your loved ones, just take the leap and go, the return is far greater than the risk.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mexican Caribbean Road Trip - A Mother and Son Adventure

Mom and Max aka "Team Light, Love and Positivity". Booyah.

Being a single mom is not an easy job. And I am quite sure that being the only child of a single mom can be a bit trying for an energetic ten (almost eleven!) year old boy. We love each other to pieces but in the day to day routine of life we occasionally butt heads, pretty common situation especially as we both get bored easily.

The entrance to Blue Kay Mahahual

So, how do we survive the "semana santa" two week spring vacation without killing one another? ROAD TRIP. Truthfully, it is a bit of a crazy time to try to travel, the whole country is on vacation and has the same idea. Prices are high, availability is low, but where there is a will, there is a way and I was determined to find a great escape from big city Cancun life.

The Canucka in paradise

After hours of research, obsessing, and occasionally being sidetracked by Bali or Greece or Egypt or cats doing silly things, I settled on a trip to Mahahual, a small village on the sea in the south of Quintana Roo in the area known as "Costa Maya". Looking at the maps, I realized how close we would be to the state of Campeche and extended our plans to include Calakmul. After that, it was up in the air, either drive back via Yucatan stopping along the Ruta Puuc or heading back up the Riviera Maya way. Not having a plan was PERFECT, I mean really, isn't that the beauty of a true road trip?

Small but charming cabañas at Blue Kay

We packed up the car, downloaded audio books, loaded up on snacks and hit the road. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the drive flew by, 4 1/2 hours and we were out of Cancun and in our cabaña at Blue Kay Mahahual and three seconds later in the ocean. The next five days were pure bliss and relaxation, five days not wearing shoes, not cooking or cleaning, just hanging out with my best buddy. We fished, snorkeled, swam, walked along the malecon, napped in the hammock (ok, I napped, ten year old boys DO NOT NAP apparently). We had one terrific day at the new waterpark, Lost Mayan Kingdom (that's a whole other post, coming soon!) feeding our need for speed and adrenaline.

Max's "office" for a few days

Max showed his entrepreneurial spirit and got himself a "job" on the second day. He was desperate to go kayaking and bike riding so he offered to work at the activities booth in exchange for use of the equipment. Dude had ALL the kayaks rented out within 15 minutes to the delight of the concession. I lost him to that hut for a couple of days and he was in heaven, they even paid him and fed him and he made friends with EVERYONE.

Max drumming up kayak business

We both fell in love with Mahahual and really didn't want to leave (don't tell Max I told you, but he had a few tears at check-out). The town has a truly unique vibe, like a small pueblito in Yucatan set on the gorgeous Mexican Caribbean sea. No big hotels, no big stores, not even an "Oxxo" convenience store. It is still relatively undiscovered and not a major tourist destination, unless you happen to arrive in one of the cruise ships that regularly dock here. There are small boutique hotels and cabañas and camping and the malecon is dotted with rustic beach clubs. I was thrilled that the reef was close enough to swim to, no need for a boat trip (though I will take a snorkel trip to Banco Chinchorro next time!) I imagine it is like Holbox ten or fifteen years ago before the luxury hotels started charging an arm and a leg for rich tourists. We felt safe, welcomed, relaxed and cozy, I had no qualms about letting Max run free in paradise.

We said our goodbyes and "hasta prontos" and loaded up the car for the next chapter in our Mexican road trip adventure. Where will we end up? Stay tuned!

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