About Monica U
Lives in Sydney, Australia
Since Jan 2014
35-49 year old female
Globetrotter, foodie and lover of good festivals, digital marketing and writing. I have visited more than 80 cities around the world but have called Sydney home for the last 10 years. Previously , I lived in Cancun, Mexico and Playa del Carmen for 5 years and learnt to scuba dive. Having a partner that skies, Queenstown is one of our favourite destinations both in winter and in summer, and just a little "jump" from Sydney. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to cook a meal and share it among friends.
Reefs, Caverns & Caves
Specialty Museums, Scuba & Snorkeling
Islands, National Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas
Flea & Street Markets
Nature & Wildlife Areas, Theme Parks, Water Parks
While not the greatest in terms of accommodation, the traditional Mayan 'Temazcal' (sweat lodge/steam bath full of traditional Mayan medicinal herbs) at this small downtown hotel/spa will leave you feeling utterly relaxed. For the ultimate indulgence, why not pair the treatment with a full hour body massage?
If you are looking for a truly memorable adventure, rent a car and drive about 90 minutes south of Cancun towards Tulum. Here'll you discover an amazing natural wonder dating back to the times of the pre-historic Mayans - the Cenotes 'Dos Ojos.' Cenotes are underwater caverns that, according to the Mayans, have curative properties, and are also believed to be portals to the underworld. This amazing example gets its name (two eyes) from its shape, and it is the perfect spot for snorkeling, swimming and underwater diving.
Take the ferry from the Hotel Zone to Isla Mujeres where you can appreciate Cancun's first underwater museum, complete with ecological underwater sculptures created by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor. There are over 400 underwater sculptures to explore in total, all of which were created from special materials that promote marine life, and were designed to become artificial reefs. If you are not into diving, you can book one of several snorkeling tours in the area instead.
Immerse yourself in a natural paradise at Isla Contoy (also known as 'Bird Island'), located just 30 minutes north of Isla Mujeres. Protected by the Mexican government since 1961, the island features about 150 different bird species, 250 varieties of fish, 98 types of flora and 3 breeds of marine turtle at risk of extinction. South of the island, you can also explore Ixlache Coral Reef (the second largest in the world). The museum, the manglers and the lighthouse are also well worth a look.
If you want to experience shopping in an authentic local market, then Mercado 23 is for you. This place is an adventure for the senses. Stroll between the stalls of ripe fresh fruit, local herbs and seeds, fresh meat and chicken, and even clothes and shoes. There are also several small restaurants serving simple and traditional Mexican food, including 'comida corrida' - an entrée, main, dessert and water all for the price of a few dollars.
This amazing eco theme park lies about an hour's drive from Cancun in the Mayan Riviera. It is definitely an all-day adventure, and handily filled with attractions for the whole family. Visit the Hacienda Henequera, a 19th century mansion with original machines that were once used in the production of 'henequen.' Float down the underground rivers on top of a tube, or snorkel in one of the many natural pools. Immerse yourself in nature at the butterfly pavilion, the aviary and the orchid house, plus come face to face with jaguars, marine turtles and pink flamingos. Later, watch the 'Voladores the Papantla,' a traditional Mesoamerican ceremony in which acrobatic dancers imitate the flight of birds. Finally, at night, attend the 'Xcaret Mexico Espectacular' show, an exploration of Mexico's history through dance and song. A must-do for the whole family.
This fantastic Hacienda may be located in the Hotel Zone, but it is one of the few places frequented by locals and tourist alike. Step back in time here and discover the best Sunday Brunch in Cancun! The place simply oozes old-world atmosphere with amazing attention to detail, and its great-value buffet features some of the most authentic Mexican cuisine around. From pozole and tamales, to barbacoa, to cochinilta pibil, to mixiotes de pollo, you'll find all the Mexican favorites well-represented here.