Our Trip To Mexico
Interestingly enough, Mexico was not in our initial travel plans, as we have already visited this amazing country. However, as we have been stuck in an apartment in Chile for 4 months due to COVID-19, we decided that it was time to change our plans in order to safely adapt to the new normal way of living. Mexico was the best choice, as it was not too expensive, it has warm weather all year-round, and it was open to tourists.
We weren’t able to make very clear plans, as every region in Mexico has different rules based on the pandemic. We started in Playa del Carmen in July, and until September we were only able to visit Cozumel, Cancun, and the surroundings. Afterward, we visited most of the Yucatan peninsula, including national reserves, pink lakes, magical towns, cenotes, and jungles. In November we are taking a bigger trip to the capital city, Ciudad de Mexico, which will include visiting some Aztec ruins, waterfalls, and more magical towns.
After Mexico, we plan to visit Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Afterward, we are supposed to restart one of the tours that have been canceled due to the pandemic and visit Machu Picchu, Bolivia, and Chile. Hopefully, after South America, we will be able to continue our journey through the Pacific Islands and Asia.
How COVID Impacted Us
The pandemic has definitely had an impact on our travels, we had a lot of tours and flights canceled, and there was a lot of uncertainty for a long time. We decided to accept that it is not in our control and to do our best to adapt. Right now, we are trying to adopt a slower way of travel and to protect ourselves more. Even in Mexico, we always wear masks and use hand sanitizer everywhere we go. We avoid crowded places and big groups of people. We have done a few road trips throughout the Yucatan peninsula, but have chosen to rent a car and avoid public transportation.
We have had some amazing experiences in Mexico, most notable were visiting the pink lakes of Las Coloradas, Rio Lagartos Natural Reserve, the magical yellow town of Izamal. From the more popular sights, we definitely recommend visiting Cozumel for snorkeling in one of the biggest barrier reefs in the world, and Chichen Itza, with its beautiful history.
We allocated 6 months to visit Mexico, and we believe we will manage to visit everything we wanted by the time we leave. This country is huge and we won’t have time to see it all, but we made a shortlist of points of interest that we can visit safely, given the current situation. As we are digital nomads, we also have a lot of work to do, so we need a very good organization in order to achieve a healthy balance of work and travel.
Favorite Culinary Experience
The most amazing culinary experience we have had was at Rosalia Chay’s place, which has been featured on BBQ: Chef’s Table on Netflix in September. There, we have been able to taste the most traditional Mayan foods like Cochinita Pibil and Relleno Negro. Rosalia offers a truly authentic experience, welcoming guests in her modest house in Yaxunah, near Valladolid. Guests have the opportunity to see a real-life pib, which is an underground over, where the meat is cooked for 12 hours. They can also have a try at making tortillas, a skill that is definitely not easy to master.
How We Managed Our Expenses
We have a monthly budget in mind that takes into consideration accommodation, food, personal expenses, and sightseeing. We update this budget month-by-month, depending on the activities we want to do. The way we manage our costs is to check the income we receive in a month minus the expenses, taking into consideration a margin of 20% for unexpected expenses. We usually travel on a budget, we usually look for a flat/house that has good WiFi, kitchen and it is clean. When we do not travel, we cook most of the time, in order to save money.
However, there are times when we take a more extravagant trip, for instance to a unique hotel or a more expensive tour, because we do not want to have any regrets after we leave the country.
How We Decide Where To Go Next
There are three things we take into consideration when we plan our next trips. One represents our personal wishes, for instance, Chris always wanted to see the Great Wall of China, Easter Island, as well as to eat bugs in Thailand. The second aspect is the list of countries that I (Julie) have already seen, so the priority is to go to countries I have not visited yet, in order to achieve my goal of seeing 80 countries by the age of 30. Finally, we have to consider the limitations of the pandemic, we constantly check the international travel conditions for the countries we want to visit, as well as the number of cases in each place. Safety is the most important aspect right now, and there are a lot of things we consider before we travel to another country or region.
Advice For Travelers
First of all, we advise not to try to control everything. Most times, the best experiences appear when you don’t plan for them, while other times, things that happen are not in your control, so the best thing to do is to adapt. It is great to have a plan, for things to see or do in a specific place or region, to know the opening times and prices, but leave some time for unexpected events too. Just like with budgeting, it is best to have an error margin of 20%.
Secondly, we suggest that when traveling, to always comply with the rules in the host country. We see many tourists here in Mexico that do not wear masks or litter, which is really disrespectful.
Finally, if you always wanted to travel but never really got to do it, we suggest to stop finding excuses and just do it (of course, better to do it once the pandemic is over). You can travel in so many ways, even with a low to non-existent budget, you can volunteer, get a job abroad, there are so many options nowadays. For us, travel is the best life experience and the best way to improve yourself as a person.