Cancún, Mexico

A while back I got an invite from a friend of mine to attend a wedding in Cancún. Of course I was all about it. Weddings are fun, Mexico is fun and let's face it Mexico has some great diving. So you know I was going to take advantage of that. I had never stayed at an all inclusive resort before but I knew how it worked. You pay the one fee up front and then you can drink and eat for free on the resort. Good deal and it's good for people who are scared of getting stabbed or whatever.

Anyway, I'm always a fan of leaving the nest so of course the very first thing I tell everyone is that we need to leave the resort for the Bachelor Party. Thankfully I got some cool ass friends and they agree that in order to celebrate Mexico right we got to leave the comforts of the resort. A lot of people recommended the Coco Bongo in Playa Del Carmen, I personally had never heard of it but saw signs for it and wasn't that enthusiastic about going to something that seemed like it was marketed towards tourists. Not my choice though - the group and more importantly, the groom said it sounded cool.

We get the ride in a private van down to Playa del Carmen which was about 45 minutes if I am not mistaken. It may sound weird but the ride down was really great. I spent a lot of time as a child driving from state to state as we moved, so riding with my face against the glass looking at all the cool stuff flying by in a blurry motion was really great. Mexico really is a beautiful country and I feel it gets way too much bad coverage for the bad stuff that happens in certain parts. Some parts of the road even had this eerily familiar feel of the southwest United States.

We arrive in Playa Del Carmen and had VIP tickets to get into Coco Bongo, so thankfully we didn't have to wait for the line that was extending across and down the street. After going through this long passage of people who really just looked pissed at us for walking past them we get to to main area which looked like it was a boxing ring or something. It was at this time that I thought to myself "Okay, this isn't an ordinary bar". The seats slant up like a stadium and the tables were small and close to one another with barely enough room for 3, and we had 4 people. 

So there we are crammed into this small table when they bring us our first bottle; I believe there were two bottles included with our package. Before we know it we are having a good time and they are PACKING people into this place. It was a tight fit, so I planned on staying right where I was. We had good seats we were probably only about 15 feet away from the stage and slightly elevated so we could look down at it, but be about eye level with the performers. 

Then it started, there were performers coming out swinging on ropes and doing flips. I turned to my friend and go "What the hell?". They went from performing and dance choreographed recreation of the fight scene of Bane and Batman in "The Dark Knight Rises", to Spider man fighting bank robbers, to Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal". Honestly they did so many pop culture references in this show it would take too long to remember and list them all. But know this, it was a really surprising show with a lot of talented dancers and performers. 

After killing the bottles we had and moving out after the show and having some other fun for the groom (all in good taste), we grab some more beers and head out to catch our ride back. It was about 4 am at this point and I see a taco stand on the road. "We gotta eat some tacos man!!" I yelled out to my buddies. I had been talking about eating at a taco stand or truck since we even announced we were going to this trip. I buy us 5 tacos, two for me of course because I'm me. I see this green stuff that kind of looked like guacamole and decided to put a ton on my steak taco. I had onions, cilantro, some lime, and this mystery green stuff. Spoiler Alert: It wasn't guacamole and it was spicy as hell. After the burn wears off though the humid night gets cooler. It's almost as if the spicy food is so hot it is hotter than outside so it becomes more bearable.

The steak was nice juicy and flavorful, the onions were crisp and the cilantro balanced the tacos out. The tortillas of course were corn and had that nice little bite to them. Not too soft but not too hard. The mixture of all the flavors wasn't enough and I went back for two more. The dude at the stand looked at me like "Really... this drunk asshole wants another taco?". At like 10 pesos a taco though how can you go wrong? That's like 50 cents. Damn right I want more tacos! They were amazing and I was drunk. No regrets.

The next morning of course I had my first dive, which of course they tell you don't drink before you dive. I had 3 dives while I was there. One was a reef dive, which I love to do. The second was a wreck dive which I try to do anytime I can because of how unique they are. Lastly, and probably the best dive was a cenote dive. These are these underwater caverns that are apparently pretty common in the Cancún area. I was told by the instructor on the resort that if I dive I HAVE to dive the cenotes. 

The reef dive was pretty typical of a tropical reef dive. Saw lots of fish near the reef, some clown fish, lion fish (admired at a distance of course), and the coolest part was this huge sea turtle. He was looking at me and I was looking at him and he kind of just floated away. It's always cool to see a sea turtle. It makes me laugh more thinking about the turtles in "Finding Nemo" because I just picture that turtle going "Right on duuude!" as he floats away.

The wreck dive was loads of fun. I got to a wreck dive shortly before this one in North Carolina of a downed WWII plane, but this was a large Naval Ship. We went down guided by rope and the water was really strong this particular day. Getting down is hard but once you are below the waves it was all good. We entered through the bow, and went down. Buoyancy control is really important here as you go through the doors on the ship and navigate our way to the back. The ship was teeming with life and at one point I even found my self in the same room as a lion fish. Again, observe from a distance and get out of dodge. I saw a few sharks on the outside coming up and a lot of the excitement started eating up my air; definitely gotta work on that. 

Lastly the cenotes dive. It was a bit of a drive to get there, again enjoyed it. Beautiful landscapes, beautiful jungle, beautiful people and beautiful skies. The weather was great and I was on a bus with some other divers who were all really cool people. Just a great time. Once we get to the dive site the dive guide told us what not to do, etc. Because you know, don't die and all that. Going into the dive was super cool it was like this fresh water pond with a big cliff going over our head. Dive down and there was this cavern long ways about 40 feet long. You squeeze into there and then follow the cavern and your guide with only your flashlight to help you see.

The first room we come into had these huge rays of light pouring into the otherwise pitch black cavern and into the water lighting everything in it's wake. This was one of the few times in my life that I was just amazed by the beauty of something that I stopped dead in my tracks. After the first initial 'beauty-shock' I follow my dive buddy further in and I started getting fond memories of going into bat caves when I was a kid in New Mexico. It was just like that with stalagmites and stalactites closing in on the floor and roof respectively, but filled with water. The water mind you was fresh water and just so clean. It honestly felt like you could drink it. I wouldn't recommend it personally but it is crisp and clear. Half way through the dive you pop up in a breathable spot where you take a small break look and the light peering up, observe some bats before going back down and returning to your entry. 

What a dive. Once in a life time experience and I can't wait to do it again. If you ever find yourself in the Cancun area, do yourself a huge favor and get a few dives in. Particularly the dive into the Cenotes. 

Enjoy your day, thanks for reading, and good night.

-RJ