Posted by: ivolution | January 17, 2008

Diving In Cancun – Cave Diving

South Africa has some amazing diving. With places like Sodwana being in the Top 5 dive spots in the world, I was really notChac Mol underwater system sure what to expect of Cancun and the diving experience in Mexico. Plus, I’ve done some fresh water dives into caves and tunnels and I tell you, I really didn’t enjoy those. What did get my toes tingling was the history and aura surrounding these 5 000 000 year old caves. There was no way I was going to let this opportunity pass. 

Diving Tip
Before you go on this dive make sure you’ve done at least a refresher diving course or a dive within the last 6 months. You need to have done at least 10 – 15 dives as well before attempting a cave dive. It’s more than a beginners dive and if you’re claustrophobic, don’t even think about it! You’ll panic!The dive we took was the underwater system known as Chac Mol. Take a look at the map to the right of this paragraph. An amazing underwater system with some of the most intact and unspoilt stalactites and stalagmites I’ve seen. There is not an abundance of sea life, so if you’re looking purely for life, this dive won’t appeal to you. But if you’re into rock formations and unusual diving experience, it’s a must!!! I’ve attached some amazing photo’s from the cave dives!One of the most spectacular features is where the salt water meets the fresh water. It’s called a thermocline. An amazing phenomenon which I don’t think you’ll get to see anywhere else in the world. There is literally a line that separates the two waters. A blurry vision whilst swimming through the salt water opening up into a 20/20 vision with 30 meter visibility once you’re in the fresh water.

Background on the caves in Cancun and Yucatan

This region of Cancun is home to the worlds Number 1, 2 and 3 largest caves / cenotes and underwater caverns in the world. This system of caverns is made up of 3 major caves. The second-longest (Sistema Sac Actun) and third-longest underwater caves (Sistema Nohoch Nah Chich). Then the Sistema Sac Actun (White Cave System) which now holds the title of the world’s largest underwater cave.

Where to Book?

I manage to book this dive through the Gran Caribe Royal hotel that I was staying at and paid roughly $90 for 2 dives, including equipment, drinks, transport and lunch. This was apparently a total ripoff 🙂 which of course you only find out at the end of your trip. If you walk down the main strip in Cancun you’ll come across loads of travel agencies. Walk into one of them and ask them from some quotes. You’ll get the same trip for roughly $65.

cavediving-cancun.jpg cave-stalactites.jpg underwater-caves.jpg

Other Cancun Articles: Hotels in Cancun | Nightlife in Cancun

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Posted by: ivolution | January 6, 2008

Gran Caribe Real Resort

Gran Carib Royal HotelThe most amazing thing about the hotels in Cancun Mexico are the “All Inclusive Packages”. After many an article and hotel review I came across a little diamond, affordable diamond called Gran Caribe Real. The Gran Carib hotel is part of the Real Resorts group of hotels. The Real Group of hotels consists of 5 hotels through out Cancun and it’s surrounding peninsula. The Gran Caribe Real, The Royal Cancun, The Royal in Playa Del Carmen and the Real Playa Del Carmen.Swimming pool, beach view!

The amenities and services offered were 5 start. Unfortunately I got caught by booking all my travel packages and tours through the hotel. DON’T GET CAUGHT. This will end costing you $120 for a travel tour to the Cozumel Island instead of $60 if booked via one of the local travel companies on the main road.

Restaurants and Dining

Gran Carib private beachOverall the dining experience at the hotel is not amazing. It’s definitely worth your while to go for the all inclusive package as it can save you a whole lot of money should you feel like spending the day at the pool or at the hotel beach. With a selection of 4 restaurants though, it’s the one aspect of the hotel that could do with a little bit of a face life. The breakfasts are out of this world, with spreads to die for. A good selection of fruit, omelette’s and cereals. Lunches consist of your average American fat food selection, ranging from toasted sandwiches to hamburgers. The dinners are mainly buffets, with Maria’s being the TOP restaurant in the hotel offering an authentic Mexican dinner in a quaint and warm atmosphere. Not recommended if you’re single, you kinda get a couple of looks :).

Partying

Hotel bar, dancing,music, drinking!During the day, this hotels pumps. There are two swimming pools which offer great entertainment in the form of DJ’s, games and GREAT GREAT COCKTAILS. The waiters and waitresses walk around all day serving you cocktails, another reason to go ALL INCLUSIVE. The beachfront has these amazing sleeper couches where massages are the order of the day. Unfortunately, the beaches were washed away by the storms of the Hurricanes and this is far from the greatest swimming beach in Cancun, but all in all nice to TAN!

The evenings consists of everyone drinking the night away in the central bar, with live music and dancing until 11:00pm where everyone goes back to their rooms to get ready for the nights partying at Coco Bongo or Senior Froggs.

Pricing

I’ve travelled an awful lot over the last 3 years and I must say that a 6 night 7 day all inclusive package at a 5 star hotel for $1000, is an incredible bargain. If you’re looking for some booking information and pricing on this hotel, visit the Gran Caribe Real Official Site. My recommendation is that you book directly through their official site and not via travel sites, the specials are a whole lot better.

Steve’s Overall Hotel Review

It’s a hotel suited mainly for family’s and romantic getaways, but as a single lone traveller, I loved every minute of it. The food was average, the cocktails and drinks were FREE so I can’t complain, but what really really impressed me, was the services and ability to communicate in all languages.

Overall I give the Gran Caribe Real a 8.5/10 rating.

Posted by: ivolution | January 6, 2008

Travelling to Cancun, Mexico

Travelling Cancun MexicoCANCUN MEXICO, it’s got a ring to it!

When I started planning this trip, the only thing I had in my head about Cancun was a naive, PARTYING, DRINKING AND BIKINI BABES from Brazil. Boy, was I right and yet soooo wrong. Coming from South Africa, Cancun is not the tourist or should I say holiday destination of choice. It’s a long trip and there’s so many island holidays closer to South Africa to keep you busy. Luck has it though, that I have a passion for South America, so when I found out I was going to a conference in Las Vegas, Cancun was number 1 on my priority list.

Cancun is the jewel of Mexico, and I bet one of the main sources of income for that country too. There’s a history and a magic that thrives in this city – a little trip to Chichen Itza will show you just what I mean. It’s a place for the single traveller (That’s me), for the newly wed, for mates to party up a storm or for a family to enjoy and incredible experience that you will not easily forget. Service and hospitality that I’m sure most will find hard to beat (Vegas, watch-out, Cancun’s hot on you heals).

So, I think a good place to start this article is to give you some tips. The where to go’s, what to do’s, what not to do’s etc…

Planning the trip

The one thing about planning a trip through a travel agent is that you tend to be sucked into the sales hype. They have a couple of contacts, hotels etc that they’re friendly with and they get great deals which is awesome, but what ends up happening is that you end up spending your holiday in the “tourist” venues. Great for family’s, not so great for travellers, and this a travel diary… I got suckered but was lucky enough to roam around Mexico enough to see where I’ll be settling next time I hit Cancun.

The East Coast or Mexico, or the Peninsula as I will refer to it, is basically split up into 2 sectors. Cancun north, which extends out to the North Eastern point of Mexico, is a Las Vegas on the ocean. It is rows and rows and miles of hotels. Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredible, the shopping is great, there are some amazing shopping centres with designer brands, labels, and some restaurants (that I will mention later in this post) to die for, but, if you’re going to Cancun to dive, to explore and to feel the real MEXICO, you want to go further South. You want to go to Playa Del Carmen. That’s right;

PLAYA DEL CARMEN

Mexican Village

It’s the adventurous side of the Cancun Peninsula. The hotels are spread out, the beaches are amazing ( and private ).  The snorkeling is incredible and unsupervised. This is the real Mexico. You can ride out to some beautiful little villages and pick up artifacts and authentic Mexican curios. 

That’s my little summary of Cancun, below I have links and  posts about what I did, where I stayed, my likes and dislikes. Please feel free to comment and argue, it’s a free for all and a knowledge base from an unbiased perspective. Happy Cancunning!!!

Where to stay in Cancun:

Gran Carib Royal Hotel

Where to eat in Cancun:

Dining In Cancun

Where to party in Cancun (nightlife):

Senor Frogs

What to do in Cancun:

Cave / Cavern Diving

Posted by: ivolution | December 30, 2007

Dedications of a Travel BLOG

The women in my family. Well 3 of them at least. Something happened to me 2 days ago, where I HURT alot of people I loved without realising it. In fact, I still haven’t quite got over it, but I’m trying. I also had some sleepless nights since then and then I remembered, Steve, your Travel Diaries. So let me start off by apologising first and foremost to the readers of this Diary; for I do not know where I’m going to begin, but I do know that people will enjoy it and I dedicate this BLOG to the people that I love most in this world, MY FAMILY – P.S. They’re in Madagascar at the moment, so they’ll be writing some stuff for me pretty damn soon!

 Also I’ll get a better photo but I needed something to put up!

So my first travel BLOG post will be “Travelling to Cancun, Mexico“. Little piece of useless history, BLOG – Stands for WebLog. It’s a web diary basically. Hence, Steve’s Travel Diary!

Posted by: ivolution | December 26, 2007

Steve’s Travel Diaries, A Site is Born!

Welcome. It’s my first post and hopefully not my last. It’s the birth of Steve’s Travel Diaries. Something that’s been a long time in the making so expect alot from this little BLOG.

Before I get down to the nitty gritty of what this BLOGS about I thought I’d give you a little history about where this came about. After spending the last 3 years of my life, in and out of hotels, big cities, tubes and restaurants I realised that I’ve never actually come across a site, that’s had personal reviews and basically good content for travellers. Not just any travellers might I add, but travellers that don’t have 3 months to explore a city the size of Rome. Travellers that spend 3 days working and 2 days exploring.

 So, Steve’ Travel Diaries (a name inspired by Che’ Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries) is a site aimed at providing travellers, with a guide to the world’s greatest cities, what they offer and what to do if you only have 2 or 3 days to do it in. The information in this site will only be from personal experiences and will be very honest. If the restaurants food was CRAP, you’ll hear about it. If the dingy hotel in New York city got rave reviews on expedient.com but actually ended up costing me $250 a night for a HOLE in the WALL, I’ll show you photo’s… If Cancun has night life like no other city and service that puts Las Vegas to shame, you’ll be the first to know. So… if this interests you, BOOKMARK me today!!!!! YOU WON’T REGRET IT.

And so on this day BOXING day, the 26th December 2007, Steve’s Travel Diaries is born. A new era in travel sites and hopefully an inspiration and guide to you all…

 Merry Xmas to all, and may 2008 be the year of exploration and dreams, FULLFILLED!

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