A short and sweet trip to Cancun, Mexico

What was to be a short solo trip to a wedding turned out to be a surprise (!) when my significant other joined at the last minute.

Cancun lives up to its name as a party town for American tourists. The roads are wide, five star resorts line the main street, and the palm trees are so perfectly aligned that it gives you the sense that the city was built for tourism. It was indeed a carefully planned tourism project in the 1970’s. The government officials picked a fine spot. Cancun is full of beaches with turquoise coloured water and unobstructed views of the horizon. It is a paradise for those who love water sports.

Cancun turquoise beach

Our top picks are:

  • Diving with whale sharks. This is a seasonal activity and we were lucky to be able to see one of the largest marine creatures given that it was only the beginning of the season (end of May). We rode a very rocky ride (filled with sea sickness) of 27 miles out into the sea before any whale sharks were spotted. These giant creatures may look slow paced but it was actually hard to keep up with them as by the time you jump into the water, they could’ve swam away. Their size did scare me for a moment but they are not known to be harmful to humans (they dine on planktons). At one point, we were about 5 feet away from these 30+ feet creatures. It was exhilarating.
See how close we were to these giant creatures!

See how close we were to these giant creatures!

  • Surfing. We are absolute novices but where would be a better place to give it a try? The beach was surprisingly quiet and the waves were gentle enough for beginners. Not that it helped much – I could still only “ride the waves” for about two seconds.
Viewpoint: Punta Sur at Isla Mujeres, an island only 8km long. We toured the island in a golf caddy.

Viewpoint: Punta Sur at Isla Mujeres, an island only 8km long. We toured the island in a golf caddy.

As with any physical exercise, we deserved much relaxation afterwards. We would highly recommend the Jungle Spa, a local community project where women use the Mayan technique in the massages. We tried the “aloe vera and banana leaf wrap” massage in which fresh aloe was smothered all over our bodies. It was an absolute treat. You do need a taxi to get there as it is in the middle of nowhere, hence the name.

Beach in Puerto Morelos - quiet and less touristy than some of the ones closer to the centre.

Beach in Puerto Morelos – quiet and less touristy than some of the ones closer to the centre.

Dinner recommendations include Du Mexique (homely French restaurant), Lima 1205 (excellent sunset view) and Le Cepages (a rather romantic restaurant with excellent customer service and the waiter called us Mr Jason and Ms Sharon).

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Top Things to do in Copenhagen

1. Check out the #HappyWall at the large cobblestone square near Nyhavn docks. The structure is 100 feet wide and is made out of 2,000 wooden boards that can be flipped to change colours. Go wild and express your creativity – make patterns and statements.

The #HappyWall in central Copenhagen. Nothing like a bit of colour to brighten up the long winter days!

Nothing like a bit of colour to brighten up the long winter days!

Tell your clueless partner what you're thinking.

Tell your clueless partner what you’re thinking.

2. Cycling. Copenhagen is definitely one of the most cycle friendly cities in the world. So friendly that we decided to challenge ourselves to a 45km cycle ride outside the city, starting at Hillerod and ending at Gilleleje. Never mind that we lost our way at one point but we were rewarded with views of blooming meadows, the Baltic coastline and quiet back alleys.

Cycling along blooming meadows. Such beautiful colours on a sunny day.

Cycling along blooming meadows. Such beautiful colours on a sunny day.

3. While at Hillerod, check out the Frederiksborg Castle, a royal residence for King Christian IV in the 17th century. An impressive work of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. We didn’t go inside but even the gardens were beautifully sculpted.

Frederiksborg Castle

The gardens with the Frederiksborg Castle in the backdrop. Note the triangular shaped trees.

The gardens with the Frederiksborg Castle in the backdrop. Note the triangular shaped trees.

4. Walk along Nyhavn, a pedestrian strip along the harbour front full of brightly coloured houses, cafes, bars and restaurants. Have a drink or eat an ice cream (as we did). Chill out. Relax. Get a sense of why the Danes are consistently ranked as the happiest people in the world.

Nyhavn Copenhagen

Nyhavn Copenhagen

5. Climb the Church of Our Saviour for a far reaching view of Copenhagen. Unlike many other viewing towers we’ve been to, this one is unique in that the spiralling staircase winds around the outside of the building instead of the inside. Get a kick out of scaring your partner.

View from the top!

View from the top!

No trip is complete without a taste of the local food. Our best experiences were:

1. Eat smørrebrød at Schønnemann’s. Established in 1877, this is a perfect lunch place to try the traditional smørrebrød, a piece of rye bread topped with ingredients like herring, smoked eel with scrambled eggs. Finish it off with two shots of Danish schnapps.  Ensure you book ahead because this place is popular! Says Rene Redzepi himself. This is true for most decent restaurants, otherwise you may end up like us, being turned away three times before we are able to score a table outdoors, eating our pizza in the shivering cold.

Schønnemann's - Atmospheric restaurant with chandeliers and the best smørrebrød.

Schønnemann’s, an atmospheric restaurant with chandeliers and the best smørrebrød.

2. We like to check out the coffee scene wherever we are and hands down The Coffee Collective in Jægersborggade was a winner. We particularly liked the fact that it works directly with farmers in developing countries to ensure a sustainable supply chain. The place is tiny so don’t expect to hang around for long – you’re better off grabbing a freshly baked pastry from the bakery a few doors down!

3. For a lovely seafood dinner in an intimate setting, try Fishmarket. Its menus are filled with delicious items such as bouillabaisse, baked cod, turbot and a variety of ceviche.

I guess the famous Noma will have to wait until we’re rich!