Walking with the Gods in Athens

While the main focus of our Great Global Get-Together was the Greek Isles, we are certainly happy, no, let’s make that ecstatic, that it included a couple days in Athens. After all, how could we learn about ancient Greek culture without getting to the heart of it all?
CONTINUE READING >> 

Thanks to Road Scholar for providing this lifelong learning adventure through the Greek Isles! As always, all opinions are our own.

While the main focus of our Great Global Get-Together was the Greek Isles, we are certainly happy, no, let’s make that ecstatic, that it included a couple days in Athens. After all, how could we learn about ancient Greek culture without getting to the heart of it all?

To understand the city we had to glean the reality from the myth because, as with everywhere we went on this journey, the two are entirely intertwined.

Did the goddess Athena actually win a contest with Poseidon (the god of the sea, not the planet) that named the city? Probably not, but that story certainly contributed to Athens becoming one of the greatest cities of the ancient world.

Even the competition struck us as a bit small for gods. The two were offering the city gifts and the best would become its namesake. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and water sprung forth, however it was saltwater so… not so good.

Athena offered the citizens the first olive tree, which is definitely better, but still seems a bit chintzy for a gift from a goddess. That certainly didn’t matter, her victory is evident everywhere, and so are olives. Maybe not such a bad gift after all.

The citizens must have agreed because even after thousands of years the Parthenon still stands in her honor. Perched atop the acropolis, this temple is without a doubt the symbol of Athens, and has been for well over two thousand years. A little worse for wear no doubt, but majestic none the less.

We learned from our intrepid guide, Dionysios, that ingenious architectural techniques employed by the Greeks helped to make it so sturdy. On close inspection we could see that the columns are not straight up and down, and they are also slightly bulging in the middle.

In fact, every line of the magnificent temple is ever so slightly curved. Oddly enough, this is to give the impression that all of the sides are perfectly straight. The optical illusion works to fool our eyes into seeing a uniform rectangle with identical columns. This explains the phenomenon much better than we can.

The Parthenon is only one of many tributes the Athenians dedicated to their patron goddess. Another is just a stone’s throw away, the Temple of Athena Nike. Built around the same time as its much larger neighbor, the version we see now is actually a reconstruction.

As with so many ancient monuments, more recent inhabitants often snatched the stones from the originals to make other structures, and like the Parthenon the remarkable statue of Athena in this temple is also long gone.

Luckily, one likeness of the goddess remains in the form of a relief from the parapet of the roof that is on display in the Acropolis Museum. Even luckier for us, that was to be our next stop.

Originally the museum opened in 1874 and was up on the Acropolis, but as more and more artifacts were unearthed it became apparent that a bigger venue was needed. A location at the base of the famed rock outcrop was chosen and a completion for the design held but, as with almost everywhere in Athens, when construction began they discovered more ruins beneath the site.

A unique, and we think very cool, solution was implemented. Openings were left in the entrance walkway and glass floors in the interior so visitors can look down at the ruins below. Windows were also set so that views of the Acropolis dominate the upper level that houses the original frieze from the temple.

Another highlight of the museum, and one of the only exhibits that allows photographs inside, are the Caryatids of Erechtheum. Caryatids are female figures that serve as columns, and the Porch of the Maidens on the Erechtheum is perhaps the most classic example. Replicas support the porch on the temple up on the Acropolis, but the originals are safely tucked inside the museum.

Even though the temple is small, it had importance much beyond its size because it marks the place where Poseidon’s spring flowed forth and Athena’s olive tree sprouted. It is also said to be the burial site of the mythic kings Cecrops, first king of Athens, and Erechtheus, who according to Homer’s Iliad was raised by Athena.

The fact that this recorded history goes back over three thousand years shows just how much this has been a dynamic capital city almost since civilization began. There is also much more to it than just the Acropolis, so we set out to see as much as we could in our limited time.

Our second day began bright and early at The Panathenaic Stadium. It is also known as Kallimarmaro, meaning beautiful marble, and we must say that it is quite a sight to see a stadium that holds up to 80,000 people made entirely of marble, the only one in the world.

This was the original Olympic Stadium from back when the games were called the Panathenaic Games centuries before Christ. It was completely restored for the 1896 resumption of the modern Olympics and also served in the 2004 games.

Once again our gifted guide came through with a fun fact (he is named after the god of revelry after all). The cost of refurbishing the stadium was so prohibitive that a common Greek saying was spawned, “Who’s going to pay for the marble?” The answer was a businessman named George Averoff, and the donation earned him a permanent place right outside the stadium, carved in yet more marble.

The rest of our final day in Athens was spent exploring the area around the base of the Acropolis, in the neighborhood known as the Plaka. This is the oldest part of the city, so everywhere we looked we encountered millennium on millennium of antiquity.

Originally this was the residential area of the ancient city and it is sometimes called the “Neighborhood of the Gods” since it sits in the shadow of the Acropolis. Now it is a tourist haven filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and still some ruins from long ago.

Most of those relics are in the Agoras, both Roman and Greek. These were the central public areas, much like the Forum in Rome, and fortunately have not been built over. We came to the Roman section first and were most taken by the fully intact Tower of the Winds.

At first sight the forty foot high structure may not be overwhelming, but as we learned about its function we were duly impressed. This is the world’s first weather station. The tops of the eight sides each depict a direction of the wind carved in relief that a vane pointed to in the breeze.

There were also sun dials on each wall and a water driven clock inside, so this could rightly be considered the world’s first clock tower.

From the Roman area we moved on to the Greek side, which predates it. Mostly we wanted a close up look at Temple of Hephaestus. We had seen it from afar while on top of the Acropolis and were bound and determined to get a better view.

Looking very much like a miniature Parthenon, this is widely held as the best preserved temple from all of ancient Greece. It is likely that it survived so well because it had the good fortune to be converted to a church around the year 700 AD and continued in that capacity until 1833.

From the best preserved temple we made our way to one of the worst kept, the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Yet even though only sixteen columns remain, it is still remarkably impressive.  When construction began in the 6th century BC it was to be the largest temple in Greece, but wasn’t finished until Rome had taken control.

Emperor Hadrian managed to finish it over 600 years later, but after only a century a barbarian invasion ransacked the shrine. After that, much of the marble used in its construction was pilfered for building nearby houses and churches.

Guess we can’t blame them.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a home made from mythological marble?

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See all of our previous adventures in Greece!

Thanks to Road Scholar for providing this lifelong learning adventure through the Greek Isles! As always, all opinions are our own.

Delivering Supplies to a Little School in the Jungle

With GivingTuesday coming right up, we want to help our friends at Pack for a Purpose and share our story from when we brought school supplies to Costa Rica.

Now you don’t have to go anywhere to help communities all over the world… CONTINUE READING >>

With GivingTuesday coming right up, we want to help our friends at Pack for a Purpose and share our story from when we brought school supplies to Costa Rica.

Now you don’t have to go anywhere to help communities all over the world by donating, just click this link!

Delivering school supplies in Costa Rica with Pack for a Purpose

During our stay at the Parador Resort in Costa Rica, we learned a great deal about their commitment to the surrounding area, not only environmentally but also as a member of their community.

In addition to being a leader in sustainable tourism, they are involved in several civic projects.

What we're giving through Pack for a Purpose

We discovered one of them, Pack For a Purpose, from the Parador website as we were preparing for our visit.

In a simple and effective way to lend a helping hand to schools, Pack For a Purpose asks that travelers make room in their luggage for needed supplies.

We were moved by the idea and happily stuffed pencils, pens, protractors, and other items listed on their website into our bags. click here to see more about Pack For a Purpose

Anita Primary School near Quepos, Costa Rica
The one-room schoolhouse we visited.

Upon our arrival at Parador we met one of the managers, Moises, who has taken a special interest in the program.

He offered to take us to Anita Primary School, one of the four schools they help out, for a firsthand look at the effect the program can have. We were honored to accept his offer.

Housing at the Palma Tica Plantation near Quepos, Costa Rica
Housing at a palm plantation

In Costa Rica, government education is well-funded, compulsory, free to all citizens, and highly regarded, but there are schools that are not a part that system.

The Anita School was built specifically for the children of immigrant workers on one of the sprawling palm plantations in the Quepos area.

A child does her schoolwork at a palm plantation school in Costa Rica

There is an interesting history to these schools, and the little villages that are home to them.

Early in the last century, the United Fruit Company set up shop in Costa Rica to grow bananas.

At the time, there was little-to-no infrastructure in the area, so everything had to be built from scratch – roads, bridges, trains and ports for shipping, and housing for workers. The housing consisted of little villages, each with a church, a pulpería (a small store with a little of everything), and a school – all surrounding a soccer field.

In the 1940s blight hit the bananas, so the company decided to plant African oil palms instead. The trees thrived, saving the plantations and these villages.

The new owner of the palm plantations, Palma Tica, continues to offer basic first-through-sixth grade education to the children of the workers. But, truth be told, these are spartan accommodations at best. Isolated and showing their age, these communities get by on the bare minimum, and the schools are no exception.

Palm plantation harvesters carry their poles and sharp scythes on bikes
Palm plantation harvesters carry their poles and sharp scythes on bicycles.

Palm plantation harvesters carry their poles and sharp scythes on bikes

Carts pulled by buffalo are used to transport palm oil fruit in Costa Rica
Carts are used to transport palm oil fruit Photo credit: Alejandro Marten

Mostly migrant workers from Nicaragua fill the difficult, low-wage jobs.

These jobs include cutting large clumps of dates from the extremely tall tree tops and hauling them off to the plant to be refined.

While the conditions may be better than what was left behind in Nicaragua, they are far from ideal.

We will carry this in our hearts forever…

Delivering school supplies in Costa Rica with Pack for a Purpose

Driving several miles down a dusty dirt road through the dense rows of palms, we reached a one-room schoolhouse.

Professor Marino welcomed us, gave us a brief overview of the little school and introduced us to his pupils.

Delivering school supplies in Costa Rica with Pack for a Purpose

He has been teaching at Anita School for twelve years and, though many of the students are only here briefly, Professor Marino can take pride that he has watched several go on to university with scholarships.

Math class was in session and, like the old frontier one-room schoolhouses, all grades are taught simultaneously with each child at their own grade level.

Delivering school supplies in Costa Rica with Pack for a Purpose

The folks at Parador had combined the contributions from many guests to make bags for each of the children, and their eyes really lit up as they dug in.

Like kids with Halloween goody bags, they dumped the contents out on their desks and excitedly examined their haul.

By far, the most popular item in each bag was the colorful soft rubber, solar-powered calculator that we’re sad to say we didn’t contribute.

Whoever packed the calculators in their suitcases brought real joy to this group of children – we wish you could have been there to see their happy faces.

Delivering school supplies in Costa Rica with Pack for a Purpose

Though the excited students no doubt enjoyed the distraction from their math duties (as any kid would – ugh math), we knew we needed to move on and allow their routine to resume so we reluctantly said our good-byes, thanked Professor Marino, and stepped outside.

The playground at a palm plantation school in Costa Rica

Moises explained to us that the commitment from Parador goes beyond school supplies.

Staff from the resort also perform routine maintenance, painting and fixing up as needed, and even built the children a playground. While he elaborated, it was plain to see his pride in this little school.

Most deservedly so, job well done.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Want to help? Go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/scott039s-campaign-for-pack-for-a-purpose-inc

A HUGE gracias to Parador Resort and Spa for setting up our visit! As always, all opinions are our own.

DELVE DEEPER:
See more about Pack For a Purpose
See more about Parador Resort and Spa

See all of our adventures in Costa Rica!

What’s Really Important: A Black Friday Antidote

Last year, in our post-turkey bloat, we grabbed the remote and settled into something we rarely do. We vegged in front of the boob-tube. Immediately we felt bombarded.
The blaring onslaught of Black Friday ads was funny at first, but after an hour or so, being yelled at to BUY! BUY! BUY! the commercials didn’t seem so funny anymore…

CONTINUE READING >> 

For the soul - Christmas Gift Suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness.To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example.To yourself, respect. -Oren Arnold

We saw this quote and just had to share. It struck us that we may be losing sight on what is truly important this holiday season.

Christmas Gift Suggestions
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
-Oren Arnold

Last year, in our post-turkey bloat, we grabbed the remote and settled into something we rarely do. We vegged in front of the boob-tube.

Immediately we felt bombarded. The blaring onslaught of Black Friday ads was funny at first. We sat and mocked in our usual GypsyNester fashion.

But after an hour or so, being yelled at to BUY! BUY! BUY! the commercials didn’t seem so funny anymore.

They had become insulting and irritating.

In fact there’s no waiting until Friday anymore, we were right in the midst of what seemed to be the first Black Thanksgiving. Stores are now opening up on Thursday night for their “Friday” sales!

The evening news carried a segment with “professional shoppers” bestowing tips on how to survive Black Friday. One ad had the gall to suggest that Black Friday was the day of the year we should be looking forward to most.

It seems every year we hear the horror stories of folks — in a frenzy to buy the hottest items at the lowest price — camping out on freezing sidewalks, coming to blows with their neighbors, and being trampled by fellow shoppers.

We doubt this year will be different. Except that now it starts right after Thanksgiving dinner… or maybe even before.

Trust us, we will not be a part of it.

Now get off my lawn.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: You’ve heard our rant. How do YOU feel about Black Friday? Do you brave the crowds?

Talkin’ Turkey: What Travel Taught Us About the First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is upon us. Cue the pictures of cheery Pilgrims supping with the friendly natives and images of The Mayflower triumphantly landing at Plymouth Rock.
Ah yes, all of that happy history we were taught as baby boomer children… and almost none of it is true…. CONTINUE READING >> 

The Mayflower replica in Plymouth, Massachusetts
The Mayflower replica in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Thanksgiving is upon us. Cue the pictures of cheery Pilgrims supping with the friendly natives and images of The Mayflower triumphantly landing at Plymouth Rock.

Ah yes, all of that happy history we were taught as baby boomer children… and almost none of it is true.

We were not on a quest for truth when we made our pilgrimage to Plymouth, Massachusetts, just taking in a little history, but once we were there, a little digging certainly opened our eyes.

The first hint that our 1960s grade school instruction may have been a tad embellished came when we hit the visitor center to ask for directions to Plymouth Rock. “Hope you guys brought a magnifying glass,” snarked the lady behind the desk as she pointed down the road.

The Plymouth Rock monument

Without fully grasping the gist of her statement, we headed across the road toward the monument that houses the famous rock where America’s first colonists landed.

Giddy with the exhilaration that can only come from setting one’s eyes on a truly epic piece of history, we leaned over the rail and peered down into the hole where Plymouth Rock is displayed.

Plymouth Rock - it's TINY!
The thing is tiny. At best one pilgrim could “land” on this pebble.

On closer inspection, turns out almost everything we were taught while we were drawing turkeys using the outlines of our hands was a complete fairy tale. The actual first Americans, the”friendly Indians” from those stories, were simply so emaciated and weak from the smallpox they had contracted from previous European visitors that they had no strength to fight off the invaders who were busy digging up their graves, raiding their food supplies, and commandeering their fishing and hunting grounds.

Wait a minute, previous visitors? Yup, the Pilgrims were no where near the first settlers in America. The Spanish arrived in the South and West over one hundred years earlier, and other Europeans had been tromping around New England stealing food and spreading disease for decades, centuries if you count the Vikings.

So at Plymouth a few leaders of the depleted remnants of the local tribe of Wampanoag people decided to employ the old “if we can’t beat them, join them” strategy in the hopes of surviving. Not quite the gracious “hey, welcome to America, here let us show you how to grow corn and eat turkey” that we were fed as youngsters.

Plaque commemorating the National Day of Mourning
Plaque commemorating the National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Furthermore, this was the Mayflower Pilgrims’ second encounter with natives. The first time around wasn’t even remotely friendly. The Mayflower first landed on the tip of Cape Cod, where Provincetown is today.

There’s even a huge monument marking the landing.

Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, Massachusetts
Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, Massachusetts

However, these indigenous inhabitants had not been nearly wiped out by viral onslaughts from previous pioneers and were not real big on having their buried food stores dug up and stolen, so they were decidedly unfriendly and sent the Pilgrims packing.

Hold on just a dad-blame second there, what do you mean first landed? Everyone knows the Pilgrims first set foot on North America at Plymouth! We’ve seen the pictures.

There they are, stepping out of the boat right onto Plymouth Rock.

Wrong, fact is there wasn’t even such a thing as Plymouth Rock until over a century after the Mayflower’s landing. It wasn’t until 1741, 121 years after the Mayflower, that 94-year-old Thomas Faunce claimed he knew the exact rock that the Pilgrims first trod upon.

A few years later, in 1774, the townsfolk decided that the rock should be moved to the town meeting hall.

But for some reason the good people of Plymouth decided that only half of the rock needed to be relocated, so they split it in two. Over the next century, the rock was moved hither and yon, and chunks were hacked off of it for shows and souvenirs. Ultimately in 1880, with only about 1/3 of it remaining, the famous stone was returned to its original spot on the waterfront in Plymouth and the number 1620 carved into it.

Over the years the lore has been woven into the Thanksgiving story until it became more legend than history. But feel free to share this real tale around the holiday table, it’s got to be better than talking about politics.

Bon appétit!

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

A Dose of Dos Cancúns in Mexico

Just over forty years ago, there was nothing but jungle and sand along this isolated stretch of Caribbean shoreline. 

You may equate Cancun with beaches, relaxation, and high-rise resorts — and you’d be right — but there is another side of Cancun that we discovered.

Find out how we found the wonderful in each… CONTINUE READING >>

Cancun, Mexico

When we learned that we were heading to Cancún, Mexico, we proceeded to do our usual pre-travel investigation and discovered that the thriving tropical resort destination is made up of two distinctly different districts.

Cancun, Mexico

The real estate along the narrow strip of beachfront on the island that the Mayan people called Kankun, meaning nest of snakes.

This area is almost exclusively hotels and resorts, with a smattering of beach bars, restaurants, and tourist traps sprinkled in.

The bulk of the city — the part where people live — is onshore.

Mango vender on the beach in Cancun, Mexico

This was by design; the entire development was planned by the Mexican government.

Just over forty years ago, there was nothing but jungle and sand along this isolated stretch of Caribbean shoreline.

In 1970, as an economic engine for the new state of Quintana Roo, the Cancún project began. At the time Isla Cancún had only three residents and the nearby port on the mainland, Puerto Juarez, had just over one hundred.

David explores the tourist area of Cancun, Mexico, GypsyNester.com

Resorts along the beach in Cancun, Mexico

The idea to build luxurious, high-end resorts along the water and bridge them to a city providing services and employees was by all accounts wildly successful.

Cancún is now home to over half a million residents and welcomes over four million visitors a year.

However, the huge majority of those tourists never venture off of the island into Cancún City, known locally as El Centro.

We wanted to break that habit and experience both Cancúns.

Resorts along the beach in Cancun, Mexico

We spent our first three days in one of the all-inclusive, walled-off resorts along the beach, and it would be preposterous to pretend that it wasn’t beautiful, and didn’t cater our every possible need.

It’s no wonder so many vacationers come. Who doesn’t like total relaxation in an exclusive and elegant setting? We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

Veronica relaxes in a hammock in Cancun, Mexico, GypsyNester.com

Still, something seemed to be missing – authenticity. It occurred to us that we could have been almost anywhere that has beaches and tropical weather. There was nothing particularly Mexican about it, not even the food.

Headed to El Centro

So we decided that spending a few days in what we came to call “the real Cancún” was in order. A fellow traveler, longtime expat in Mexico, expert on all things Yucatan, and new friend, Tim Anderson, filled us in on the hot spots and we headed into town.

Tacos Rigos in Cancun specializes in tacos de cabeza or head tacos, , GypsyNester.com
Tacos Rigo in Cancun specializes in head tacos; David needs a moment to adjust to the idea.

There are buses and taxis that run back an forth, but renting a car in Cancun can be easy and great way to see everything without the worry of a schedule.

We had been lamenting the resort’s lack of local food with Tim, so the first of his recommendations was Tacos Rigo.

Once he explained that they specialize in tacos cabeza, head tacos, we knew where we were headed.

It was practically a dare.

Preparation involves steaming a whole cow’s head and removing certain parts.

Cheek, tongue and eyeball tacos in Cancun Mexico! GypsyNester.com

Most common are Sesos (brains), Trompa (lips), Cachete (cheek), Lengua (tongue), and Ojo (eyes), adding a little onion and cilantro, and filling corn tortillas to make these traditional tacos.

We ordered the tongue and cheek (though we were serious about this – no tongue in cheek for us!), confident that these would be perfectly palatable, and were not disappointed.

Eyeball taco in Cancun Mexico! GypsyNester.com
Are you looking at ME?!

However, we were reasonably reluctant about the eyeballs, and rightly so… let’s just say they were not a pretty sight.

With a few off-handed remarks such as “watch this,” and “we should watch what we eat,” we managed to consume a fair amount of the serving, but jeepers, creepers, we won’t be ordering any more bovine peepers!

See more about the food in this region of Mexico!

Dolphin statue in Parque de las Palapas, Cancun, Mexico

Another of Tim’s suggestions was the Parque de las Palapas, which just happened to be directly behind our hotel.

The park is named for the palapas, or thatched roofed huts, that encircle it and served as Cancún’s first town square.  It has become a central meeting place for the city’s citizens.

As evening approached we walked the two blocks over to the park and happened upon what looked to be a street fair.

Kids driving electric cars at Parque de las Palapas in Cancun, Mexico

Dozens of kids were driving electric cars every which way, mostly managing to dodge the bulk of the crowd that was mostly ignoring them.

Attention was instead focused on a dance demonstration, or perhaps contest, in progress on the big stage that dominates the plaza.

Dancing at Parque de las Palapas in Cancun, Mexico

Cooking street tacos in Cancun Mexico

Booths selling food and craft items lined the edges of the grounds, and larger tents with open-air cooking and seating filled a large section.

Grabbing a snack, we took a seat and watched the couples whirling and twirling across the stage.

The difference between this community celebration and the well-rehearsed performances we encountered in the hotel zone was stark.

Traditional dancers in Cancun, Mexico

That’s not to say that the talent, or entertainment value of one is superior to the other, it is just that they are coming from entirely dissimilar points of view.

In the city, both the performers and the audience seemed to be having an equally good time.

Back at our hotel, we could hear the festivities carrying on until well into the night, providing a happy musical lullaby to drift off to sleep by.

The next day we explored the city on foot and began to notice a very interesting — and unique — aspect of the mainland municipality.

A cart selling lamps in Cancun, Mexico

We had never before seen a city where nothing is over forty years old.

All of the traditional locations exist — churches, government buildings, monuments, and squares — but everything is modern. None of them are historic.

We ended up back at the Parque de las Palapas and, just as the night before, a party was in full swing.

Traditional Mayan dancers perform in Parque de las Palapas, Cancun, Mexico

Tacos al pastor in Cancun Mexico

This time traditional Mayan dancers were on stage and the crowd was loving it.

We mingled and wandered, grabbing some tacos al pastor from one vendor, and esquites, a regional version of elote with the corn cut off of the cob, from another.

Elote from a street vendor in Cancun, GypsyNester.comSee more about the food in this region of Mexico!

You didn’t think we’d not try some REALLY weird food, did ya?

Chapulines, or crickets is a street delicacy in Mexico

Feeling frisky, we even tried the delicacy of chapulines, which are crickets.

They are common in the nearby state of Oaxaca, where many residents of Cancún came from, so several vendors had large buckets of them at the ready.

David eats a cricket in Cancun Mexico, GypsyNester.com

We passed on buying a big bag for all night snacking, instead opting for a small scoop just for tasting, and popped a couple in our mouths.

Because they were fried with plenty of spices, it was easy to overlook the fact that we were eating bugs, but as with consuming the eyeball tacos, it helped if we kept our eyes closed.

WATCH: We eat our way through the Yucatan – calorie count not included, for your guilt-free viewing pleasure!

See more about the food in this region of Mexico!

Back to the beach!

On our last day in Cancún, we hopped on a bus back out to the hotel zone. While the two districts feel completely different, there is some population crossover.

Playa Tortugas beach in Cancun, Mexico

A couple of the beaches intermingled among the private resorts are public and have become popular with the residents from the mainland.

Playa Tortugas beach in Cancun, Mexico

We chose Playa Tortugas, Turtle Beach, for our afternoon hangout.

Much more than a sandy swimming spot, the Turtle sports a huge bungee jumping platform (that no force on heaven or Earth could have compelled us to jump off) along with a pier and marina providing ferry service to nearby Isla Mujeres.

David enjoying a cerveza at Playa Tortugas beach in Cancun, Mexico, GypsyNester.com

We were content with getting our feet wet in the surf and sitting with an ice cold cerveza… dos por favor.

Looking out over the blue Caribbean it was easy to see why people from near and far flock to spend their vacations in these two Cancúns.

It doesn’t suck.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See all of our adventures in Mexico!

YOUR TURN: We found that both sides of Cancun have their merits, which one is YOUR cup of tea?