madebywave Travels: The Mexico Story.
When I was invited to my friend’s wedding in Cancun earlier this year, I decided to make it into a real adventure. That’s why last month, I spent three weeks travelling around Mexico and took the opportunity to fall in love all over again with the country that stole my heart many years ago.
Travelling with two close girlfriends, our trip began in Mexico City. While I have been to Mexico many times, this was my first trip to the capital and we spent a couple of days exploring its culture.
Every part of the city is extraordinary but the standout for me was a visit to the house where Frida Kahlo was born and worked. Now a museum, it is an absolute gem and totally unmissable.
After spending some time at the Museum of Modern Art and the Archeological Museum, we took a day trip 40 minutes outside the capital to the Teotihuacan Pyramid complex. Its sheer size and scale reveals the power of the ancient Aztec city – it took my breath away and reminded me just why I created the madebywave Aztec bags in tribute to this incredible empire.
Another standout moment was a visit to the Metropolitan Cathedral - the biggest church in Latin America - and the Palacio Nacional which hosts original murals from Diego Rivera.
After the chaos, culture and crazy beauty of Mexico City – which has inspired another of my bag designs - we travelled up the Caribbean coast to the wedding in Cancun. It’s a great place to spend a couple of days as a stopover for some light, easy entertainment. It’s also a wonderful base from which to enjoy diving at Cozumel.
The wedding was beautiful but I was happy to leave Cancun and travel two hours south down the coast to Tulum. This is one of my favourite places in the whole of Mexico and it motivated one of my clutch bag designs with its colourful, tribal patterns.
Nestled by the sea, the town features amazing beaches that stretch for miles. Considering its incredible beauty, Tulum is totally unspoilt and there are just a handful of hotels. You won’t find high-rises here - it’s all about the boutique villa hotels with just one or two floors where luxury surrounds meet chilled out, bohemian vibes.
Hey Mr DJ
In the high season, top DJs travel in from Ibiza to seal the town’s cool credentials. The local cuisine is out of this world and the shopping is very special.
If you can tear yourself away from the pristine beaches for a spot of sightseeing, the pyramids are a short cycle from the hotels' zone. We spent a week in Tulum which was the ideal length of time to relax and enjoy the beaches, practice kitesurfing, go for long runs along the shore and explore the local national parks, such as Xel-Ha.
If you travel just south of Tulum, the natural biosphere reserve offers a glimpse into the diverse local nature and wildlife, while the Caribbean coast is also famous for its distinctive cenotes.
I believe the best way to explore Mexico is by car - we took the opposite route to many travellers and drove the road from Tulum to Merida, the capital of the Yucatan. The journey took just one day but we stopped along the way to see Chichen Itza - one of the biggest pyramid complexes in Mexico and a world-famous sight.
We also stopped in the old town of Izamal where we admired the beautiful convent and its resident Franciscan monks. This town is well-known because all its main buildings are painted in a sunny shade of marigold - the houses, the monastery, they are all bright and beautiful! It’s impossible not to be charmed by such a place.
We stopped briefly to see the caves before arriving at our hacienda, just 40 minutes from Merida. It was a true oasis! As historic and beautiful locations similar to a National Trust palace in the UK, a handful of haciendas the along the Yucatan have been converted into hotels. These are wonderful places to stay and soak up the local culture.
Away from the hacienda, Merida town itself is gorgeous and full of colonial architecture. We had a great time shopping for embroidered, handmade clothing and upgrading our summer wardrobe! We also paid a visit to Celestun - a national park one hour from Merida. It’s famous for its huge colony of pink flamingos which is quite a sight to behold!
All At Sea
Our holiday flew by so quickly and soon we were travelling to our final stop – Los Cabos on the Pacific coast. Situated on the very tip of the Baja California peninsula, it is a world away from the country’s east coast. From the hot, jungle-like surrounds of Tulum where vegetation and forestry sprawl as far as the eye can see and the colonial side of Merida, you are greeted on arrival at Los Cabos with a huge desert surrounded by mountains and harsh yet stunning landscapes.
It’s a romantic destination with a lot more than initially meets the eye. We loved to spot the majestic blue whales in their natural habitat – the sea is dark blue and very deep in comparison to the turquoise waters on the Caribbean side. What an adventure!
Upwards and Onwards
I only left this breathtaking nation a few weeks ago but I want to go back as soon as possible. Mexico has also inspired a whole new collection of madebywave products. I am working now on a collection of handmade toys inspired by sea life and diving. These toys will be made by local ethnic tribes in Mexico and I cannot wait to add them to my shop.