Adventures in Quintana Roo: Part One – CouchSurfing in Cancun
“De Plane, de Plane!!”
Before navigating through Quintana Roo en route to my first ‘living’ destination, I had to first manage to navigate three airports and a Mexican bus terminal , and it was all to begin within only a few hours. It was time!
I was running around like the White Rabbit himself, mumbling, “I’m late, late, late, for a very important date…” as I rapidly began transferring the tenaciously organized piles of travelling clothes, random medications, jungle-living and hygiene necessities into my backpack. Almost immediately it was at capacity (including the additional daypack), so I moved on to the next bag, a carry-on rolling suitcase. I know, I know – I have read the multitude of advice columns condemning bringing “too much stuff”; it makes long-term travel extremely cumbersome & a down right pain in the ass. But I plan on being on the road for close to two years… and I’m a “Chic” for crying out loud! I need my (insert stupid unnecessary item here)!
It must have been comedy central to see me lugging enough baggage for three people through the Phoenix airport; thank God it was a midnight flight to Georgia, so any embarrassment was kept to a minimum. I had no clue how I was going to manage all of this stuff once my parents saw me off and I landed in Mexico, at which point I would have to literally transport all this stuff solo. “Never mind that,” I told myself, “just get on the plane without chickening out.” I am following my dreams – I’m actually doing it. I have a one=way ticket to Cancun, and I’m actually doing this, Wow.
I was to fly into Atlanta, Georgia, have the pleasure of welcoming dawn with a four hour layover (with no complimentary airport Wi-Fi I might add), then take a second flight into Cancun. Believe it or not, I only had one massive but very brief panic attack the whole way. I awoke from a shallow ‘Economy plane seat’ slumber with my heart beating 200bmp and was pierced suddenly, in the silence & darkness that accompanies a midnight flight anywhere, with a sense of absolute “aloneness”. It hit me like a Mack truck. And then I remembered that I wasn’t alone. I was born and called to do this. I am on a mission of Love and the very moment I took those fearful thoughts captive & remembered that, I was instantly & sublimely lifted out of the darkness and filled with a renewed sense of peace.
Three airports later I was in Quintana Roo, Mexico, with several pit stops to make before hitting the Belize and Guatemala borders.
First stop, Cancun!
Now I would like to quickly share my navigation once I landed. I hope this helps any other would-be “AuthenChic Adventurers” out there. Travelling alone can be scary. For me, it’s been great for the most part so far, so don’t let the idea that you will be doing everything by yourself freak you out. I read on another travel blog somewhere that ‘you are never really alone unless you want to be’ and I have found that to be true. Here are some details:
for the BACKPACKER’S BUDGET
CANCÚN, Quintana Roo
- Ground Transportation: The most budget-friendly and really comfortable way to get from Cancun Airport into town is via the ADO bus line. If you will be spending any significant time exploring the Q-Roo area you will become quite familiar with these babies.
From Customs go downstairs and out the Arrival doors. Turn RIGHT and ignore the plethora of taxi drivers who will assail upon you. If they seem like they are being “kind” by offering to help you with your bags, know in advance that they certainly expect to be tipped nicely. It is not a long walk, even with the four LARGE bags I was lugging around at the time. Keep heading straight – when you see the Departure Terminal on your right, you will know you are getting close. Keep straight ahead and you will see a booth on your right where you will buy your bus ticket into the city of Cancun. The ticket cost me 45$MXN (about $4 US). A tad further down the strip you cross over to your left where you will board your bus. I took this picture so you can see what the buses & the loading area look like. This is the cross walk to where passengers load the bus.
The bus will let you off at the ADO Bus Terminal in town. From there, you can take a taxi or local bus where ever you need to go. My Advice is to steer clear of any taxis just outside the Bus Terminals; they charge sometimes almost double of what it will cost you if you simply walk across the street and flag one down. If you’re heading to the Hotel Zone, it will be easy peasy to find a taxi or even a bus to the area. If you want to stay in the area, which is convenient to shopping, the local buses to the beach etc., there is a pretty good Hostel just one block away from the ADO terminal. Side Note: There is a place within the ADO where you can safely check your backpack(s) for a very small fee. This way, if you need to walk around and find a place to stay etc., you can do so without the extra weight. I did just that and although I found the place I was looking for almost immediately, it was nice to be able to have that option.
- A Crash Pad : Although I didn’t need to spend the night in a Cancun Hostel, I had several hours to kill before meeting my Couchsurfing (CS) host, so I went to find one of the two Hostels I had written down directions for that were near the ADO. I found one of them, Mayan Hostel, within minutes, as it was only a block or so from the terminal. For 8$ US, they allowed me to hang out there and use the Wi-Fi until it was time for me to meet my host. That seemed a bit pricey for what I needed considering that their overnight fee for a dorm bed is only $12 US, and includes a full-on Breakfast… oh well – beggars can’t be choosers and I really needed to get in touch with my parentals and catch up on some things online. The Mayan Hostel seemed like an okay place to crash for a few days. The other guests were really, really nice. The room where they let me keep my bags was kind of dark & dank, but I’m sure it is just fine when you’re ready to hit the sac. They also offered an unmade bed if I needed to take a nap (I had been up nearly 36 hours at that point). That was nice of them. The rooftop terrace was the main place where guests were hanging out, every single one of us on our laptops; but we managed to have some insightful and entertaining conversation despite our media appendages!
While I was hanging out at the hostel, I immediately began getting rid of ‘excess baggage’. I left behind my beloved Linus Blanket and an extra pair of Keen shoes. Not much, but both were strapped onto my already 50+lb backpack and I just couldn’t justify the need for either. All in all, my hours at Mayan Hostel were well spent and with directions in hand and luggage still everywhere, the manager of Mayan graciously helped me to flag down a taxi which would take me into the city of Cancun where I was to meet ‘Ambassador Paco’, my CS host.
To be Continued…