There is no doubt about it, holidays are essential.
I’m not talking about a few days off to paint the dining room or put those shelves up I’m talking about an all-out, off-grid, bank-busting, different hemisphere, immersive experience. That’s a holiday.
So I consider myself more than a little lucky to have just enjoyed 10 days in Mexico in The Grand Velas Resort on the Mayan Riviera.
These massive resorts are not everyone’s cup of tea but they are the very definition of luxury. And due to the sheer scale of the place it’s possible to lose yourself in a spa, a jungle pool, in one of the many bars or anywhere along the vast expanse of impossibly silken silver sands that line the equally impossible azure bath that is the caribbean.
Mayan civilisation is not on the European history syllabus and more’s the pity. The real Mexicans (Mayans Incas, Aztecs etc) were busy making star charts, writing books and working out the meaning of life while most other civilisations (except perhaps the Egyptians and maybe some Romans) where bashing each other with rough-hewn flints. They even had their own football league although they couldn’t call it that as you could only strike the ball with your hips.
The civilisation was astonishingly advanced but it fell apart mainly due to their reckless abuse of natural resources and an obsession with human sacrifice which must have been unpopular.
And most unfortunately, their manuscripts which recorded more than three millennia of learnings was burned over the course of five days by the invading Spaniards under Cortez. These bold invaders later felt a bit bad about this as they mistook the many icons of skulls, snakes and crosses as heretical having failed to work out that the Mayans had never heard of the Christian religion and it’s own crosses symbolised something quite different.
Yes, I took the running shoes although the beach sand was so soft it was like wearing fur-lined Kayanos. I jogged the 2-mile length of the Resort main drive too under the watchful eye of my own personal security guardian on a quad bike.
Tequila is the Mexican drink of choice and Don Julio is the Tequila of choice. This stuff is fierce; it doesn’t so much give you a hangover, it gives you a half-life.
Evidence of the history and architecture of the place is everywhere but most, like Tulum which we visited for a day, are heavily trampled by tourists. So when you can find them, it’s the natural features of Mexico that made the biggest impact on me. I dived in the fresh and clear waters of the Grand Cenote (Big Cave) and snorkelled over the Coral Reef off Cancun – the second largest of its kind next to the Great Barrier Reef. I made the above little film from clips off my Go Pro. I hope you like it.