Our journey from Mexico to Canada took us via Houston and Seattle before finally arriving in Canada. The final leg particularly stood out to us due to the minuscule size of our aircraft. Was it normal to cross the border via toy plane we wondered?
We found Casa de los Suenos hotel and bar completely by accident – fairly hidden at the south end of the island, it is a little gem worth seeking out. The bar backs onto the calm waters between Isla Mujeres and Cancun, and a dock down at water level provides visitors with the use of kayaks and snorkels.
Though there are numerous great places to eat a hearty midday meal on Isla Mujeres, Barlito in particular stand out for us. It has a glowing reputation as the prime spot for freshly home-baked bread, super friendly staff and beautiful views.
Whilst tootling around the west side of Isla Mujeres on our hired golf cart, we noticed some signposts bearing illustrations of turtles, leading to a small island-size sea life centre tucked away from the main drag. A cheap 30 pesos (£1.50) allowed us to feed the turtles, learn the names of different varieties, and hold a range of sea creatures in the indoor aquarium section. Continue reading
Mango cafe is somewhat famous upon the island amongst tourists and locals alike. Whilst most visitors make a beeline for the town, make time to venture away from the main tourist streets towars the south of the island – you’ll not only stumble upon some more interesting sights and eateries, but you’ll locate this gem which serves the best (that’s right, we said it) breakfasts in the world.
The cafe specialises in favourite breakfast meals but with a carribean twist; this small 20-seat cafe has food so tasty you won’t be able to limit yourself to just the one visit.
Unsurprisingly it is currently rated number 2 on Tripadvisor. We recommend ordering the breakfast quesadillas for egg and bacon lovers, or the large and fluffy hot cakes for a sweet tooth. Not a place for those on a diet, each meal is huge and stuffed full of mouth watering ingredients. And don’t forget to try every flavour of juice – yes even the hibiscous and tamarind! Continue reading
Three of our six flights from Perth to Mexico were with Air China – two of which were long haul. Armed with eye masks and neck pillows, we were hoping to snooze through the majority of our 35 airborne hours. Continue reading
There are nearly 100 hostels spread all over Australia, and if they’re all like the two we sampled, YHA is doing something very right indeed! Both YHA hostels we stayed in were fun and welcoming, with clean rooms, excellent facilities and a laid back atmosphere. Continue reading
Although our budget was tight, we decided we just couldn’t leave Queensland without swimming amongst the only living organism seen from space: the Great Barrier Reef. We went door to door along the numerous tour companies in Airlie Beach negotiating our hardest – and my yells of ‘just book us on any boat’ mixed with Charlotte’s cries of, ‘I just want to see Nemo!’ were fairly successful: we bagged a full day trip out to a snorkelling pontoon for $140 each (cheap by Australia’s standards).
The voyage out to the pontoon was traumatic. The sea was incredibly choppy, and the boat persistently rocked for the best part of two hours. The waves lapping at the side of boat were nothing to the waves we felt internally. It was a scene of total devastation. Crew members were called back and forth to clean up various messes and the sick bags were passed out in towering bundles. We sipped our cups of tea quietly and tried to avoid looking at the poor blue-tinged children behind us. Continue reading
Charlotte’s mum came to visit us for a week in Bangkok – it was brilliant to see her and gave us a real boost as we were starting to become a bit homesick by that point. Whilst Catherine really enjoyed the madness of Bangkok, elephants have always been a passion of hers and so we headed to Chiang Mai for a couple of nights…
It was such a treat to visit Charlotte and Sarah in Thailand, so when Charlotte suggested we spend a day at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai I was ecstatic. We boarded the overnight train from Bangkok’s busy station around 6.00 pm on Sunday evening and arrived in Chiang Mai refreshed and happy around 10.00 am the next day. Before heading for our hotel we paid a visit to the official office of the Elephant Nature Park in the centre of Chaing Mai and booked the last two places for the next day.
We were collected from our hotel at 8.00 am by the tour guide in a very smart mini bus and were introduced to the rest of our group (about 10 of us). The journey was just over an hour’s drive up into the hills and we were given an overview of the Park’s mission – to protect, nurture and rehabilitate rescued elephants in a natural, loving environment.
The Park was founded in 1996 by a local woman named Sanguden Chailert (or Lek to everyone who knows her) and is the only one of its kind in Thailand. ‘Lek’ means ‘small’ in Thai so it’s ironic that she is so akin to these magnificent giants! The elephants under Lek’s care come mainly from private owners and she has had to negotiate fees to enable them to join her herd. Some had outlived their usefulness to loggers, whilst others were no longer of any use to trekking camp owners.
The food here is incredible and the Friends Restaurant is unsurprisingly rated at number one on Trip Advisor for places to eat in Phnom Penh. Whilst we were guilt ridden by our calorie consumption of this exquisite Asian tapas, this was outweighed by our money going towards such a good cause…