By Kath Freer
When I mentioned to Craig, co-owner of The Red Tree House, that it was our year-long honeymoon, his eyes lit up. He upgraded us to the huge, open plan honeymoon suite complete with balcony overlooking the quiet terracotta-tiled courtyard. We could hardly believe it!
Tucked away in Mexico City’s leafy suburb of Condesa, The Red Tree House was the perfect place to kick start our Mexico explorations.
Our three days there were a happy combination of exploring Condesa, with its palm-lined esplanades and parks, braving the bustling streets of the city centre and chilling out in its many plazas.
We moved south towards Oaxaca and then to San Cristobal right in the heart of the Chiapas, now beginning to appreciate the sheer scale of this country and the vast distances between the pins on our Google map. Well-planned long distance bus travel is the order of the day, travelling at night to save cash.
We had allowed ourselves £50 per day between us but struggle to keep it at double that, tempted by en-suites with hot showers not to mention “executive class” on buses and beers in the afternoon.
Budget in mind, Planet Hostel sounded promising as we arrived at San Cristobal bus terminal at 7am after the 12-hour night bus from Oaxaca. Call us gullible but the sales guy’s promise of lockable rooms, internet and free breakfast for 200pesos (a tenner) a night was undeniably tempting.
The reality was a small room, bright orange walls, a weird smell and a leaky sink. Nevertheless, we loved San Cristobal and its artisan shops, cool cafes and atmosphere food markets with pyramids of orange, purple grapes spilling out of bowls and piles of bright yellow bananas. Plucked chickens lay on their backs while women wielded sharp machetes ready to slice and dice.
We dined on delicious tacos crammed with all manner of meats, cheese, vegetables and refried beans. The food in Mexico is wonderful and I’ve eaten so many empanadas and tamales that I’m beginning to resemble a round tortilla myself.
We visited Palenque, site of some of the most famous Mayan ruins in Mexico, travelling through jagged jungle-covered mountains, past two waterfalls – Agua Azul and Misol-Ha – deep into the heart of eastern Chiapas.
Palenque was first occupied 1,500 years ago and then lost until the Spanish invaded in the 1700s. The site stretches for 20sqkm with some 500 buildings, only 20% of which have been uncovered so far.
With howler monkeys overhead and huge stone pyramids surrounded by a dramatic backdrop of jungle canopy, we tucked ourselves up in our thatched roof cabana, feeling part of an Indiana Jones movie set. Stunning.
Our final few days in Mexico were spent in a romantic beach hut in Tulum on the Maya Riviera. South of busier Cancun, Tulum is slowly opening to tourism. We lay swinging in hammocks, kicking silky white sand and cooling off in the turquoise Caribbean sea.
Now, this was exactly the sort of honeymoon I had in mind. Next stop …… Honduras!