Amecameca, Edomex (Mexico City Metropolitan Area)

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Amecameca, or colloquially Ameca, is a small town in the State of Mexico, once again within the Mexico City metropolitan area.

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In the city centre, there are several structures, such as this arch.

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But the two volcanoes close by are much bigger attractions.

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Or rather, the Paseo de Cortes, where the Spaniard allegedly passed, or the hiking trails up.

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Within the city, one could walk up a smaller hill to a church.

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Or to the hacienda, an area that’s basically like a hotel resort/theme park.

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The volcanoes are not that frequently visited, and travelling up there wasn’t entirely easy. It took me literally hours just waiting and waiting. There’s a small museum up there but nothing much. Kept worrying about not being able to get a bus back to Ameca.

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The hacienda was genuinely decent. It’s got something for everyone – there’s a maze, there were pools, there’s a lake with stuff, there were workshops, there were museums, there were biking trails, and there’s this historical building, where the famed Mexican poet The Rev Sister Juana Inés de La Cruz lived for several years. She’s the woman featured on the $200 banknote, and this was the literal scene. #feminism

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There were two workshops – one to make your own volcano, another one to make cheese (I wasn’t sure if I did it right).

Pachuca, Hildago, Mexico

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Pachuca is the capital of the state Hidalgo. The state was named after one of the independence heroes, the priest who started the revolution.

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The clock tower downtown is its main attraction. In general, it isn’t a particularly touristy place.

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This collection of colourful houses on the outskirts is another main attraction.

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As well as the football stadium. Although I can’t imagine seriously playing soccer here, what’s with the danger it presents with the solid ground.

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The tower is wonderful.

Cancún, Tulum, Cobá – QR, México

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Quintana Roo was clearly a beautiful place to be, but even though it’s one of Mexico’s top tourist attractions, I resisted going there.

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Even though I do enjoy swimming, and the Caribbean sea is definitely wonderful, I visited many places like this as a child with my family, to Thailand and Malaysia. 

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Although of course Mexico has what Malaysia and Thailand can’t offer – Mayan sites.

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And not just one either – Cancún has one, then there’s Tulum, and there’s Cobá (pictured here).

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In Cobá, since the main pyramid was kilometres away, visitors were encouraged to hire a bike. This trip was the most exercise I had in a while!

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Not far from the hotel zone, Cancún itself also boasts a Maya site, reasonably close to the main public beach.

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Bus is straightforward but traffic could be quite bad. There’s Uber, despite the opposite of cabbies, but relatively expensive. (Or the hotel zone is simply quite remote from the actual city centre.)

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The tours were costly, but Tulum was definitely worth a visit. I went on a tour every day, basically. I didn’t choose those adventure parks.

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The cruise tour was a total rip-off though. I suppose if you were on a cheap honeymoon (it’s not cheap tho), it’d be OK; but it’s just misleading. They didn’t have most of the things they advertised, and this was literally the “swimming with sharks” park (and not even included). It was a total waste of a day, not that I had anything else to do.

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The best thing about Tulum is the fact that the Maya town is right next to the brilliant sea. Quite packed.

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Much of the beach was private but this was public. Also had a massage.

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The small boat was extremely filled up and there’s little shelter.

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They advertised swimming with turtles but taking photos of myself was the only thing I really got to do on that tour.

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On my last day, I joined another tour. This time it was a half-day snorkelling tour, and it was much, much better. First of all, I actually saw turtles.

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I didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t allowed to use sunscreen, and I did have sunburn despite it being only several hours.

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And even though we didn’t go to the main museum site near the women’s island, we did see something! Unlike the full-day tour that likewise advertised it but never showed us anything.

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We even got to a wrecked ship.

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Even though the water was clear and appeared calm, it was in reality considerably challenging. The currents were strong and we had to be focused 100% because it’d be dangerous getting cut by the wreckage.

Campeche, Edzna, Calakmul – Mexico

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Campeche is a sparsely populated state on the coast of Gulf of Mexico. The capital is known of its walled city.

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Whilst the rest of the state is basically a biosphere and several Mayan sites.

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The state has only around 800,000 people, and the city 200,000. The walled city wasn’t big but quite nice in general. In fact, it’s one of my favourite places in Mexico.

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The archaeological sites were also nice, especially given the fact that they were big, but with few tourists. It’s quite expensive to get all the way to the other side to Calakmul though, even though Edzna was accessible (you’d need to know where to get off, though).

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There were several peaks in Calakmul and one of them contained two peaks at the same time. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible to take a very good photo of it from another peak.

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Surrounding the intriguing site was acres and acres of preserved area. It was an exorbitantly long drive between the ticket office and the actual site, as a result. The most interesting thing about it, however, was the animals. One of them was the monkey that could produce the sounds of a jaguar. 

I literally thought it was like Jurassic Park at one point.

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The city itself was right next to the sea, but pretty hot. It’s nice in the evenings though, with the sea breeze.

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Not as pretty as the Caribbean sea, but with a history of piracy none the less.

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Edzna was an ancient city near the state capital, easily accessible by a minibus.

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Calakmul, you basically need to go via a tour operator. But since there aren’t that many tourists, you have to pay quite a bit to do something like a private tour.

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It’s definitely worth it though. I’ve been to many Maya sites, but this still was unique to me.

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And there’s another site nearby, too.

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Real de Catorce, SLP, Mexico

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Real de Catorce was an abandoned mining town in a remote area in the state San Luis Potosí. It was a long way to get there – first to the state capital, then a bus to Matehuala, then another two buses to the town.

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The town only had a one-way tunnel and so it took quite a while getting in it. It’s quite small and honestly, I didn’t find it all that interesting.

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San Luis Potosí, México

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My trip to San Luis Potosí, the state capital of the same name, was originally for Real de Catorce and the Edward James garden, but the city turned out to be my favourite. I’m glad I didn’t skip it.

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Whilst Puebla is definitely nice and colonial, SLP isn’t shabby either. The historic centre was absolutely beautiful and a hotel room in the centre of the town was incredibly cheap.

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It’s quite lively, with loads of people partying. The restaurants closed early though.

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My favourite shot.

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They copied Carrie Underwood’s Grammy performance.

Xilitla / Las Pozas (Edward James), SLP, Mexico

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Xilitla, another magical town. I travelled to San Luis Potosí, the state capital, then headed to Ciudad Valleys, then got another bus to the town. The town itself had nothing.

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The main attraction is the surrealist garden designed by Oxford-educated architect Edward James. It’s very far from the town actually, and I got off and walked up the hill to it. After that, I hitchhiked to the town (dangerous, I know).

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I couldn’t be bothered to actually go inside though. The queue was three-hour long and we were less than two hours before closing. It was the end of a very tiring trip and so I just observed it from the outside for a while and left.

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