This place had the personality of a rock star mixed with the feel of a Caribbean island
I snorkelled with with sharks and manatees, drank myself silly at THE GAP (mind the gap!) a space between two islands with a bar, grill and slides and partied at the sports bar till sun rise. This place is slow, like my grandma slow, bless her cotton socks. Ideal.
With two other travellers, we ventured down from the east of Mexico via Chetumal. It was a quick boat ride to the island via the border where my fellow traveller paid the geeza behind the counter to let him pass as he’d lost his Mexican visa card. Like candy to a baby. Our hostel was Bella’s Backpackers opposite dirty mcnasties (which does what it says on the tin). It’s a super chilled place with a kitchen and back-garden chill-out area. We grabbed the three bed front-garden cabin lodge.
I was super keen to do the blue water hole dive but decided against it after the prices and comparing it to Tulum where I’d recently done an epic cenote cave dive. I have heard great things mind, but essentially it’s just a hole and money was getting tight. The snorkelling boat trip was ace, sharks everywhere, manatees chilling at the bottom of the ocean and all in crystal clear waters. GoPro was having a field day.
I found the locals here funny chaps, always trying to chat up the gringo travel chicks and loving their drunk antics on the dance floor. If you speak any Spanish they’ll give you the time of day, other than that once you’ve bought BBQ’d chicken from them they’ll leave you be. I destroyed lobster and seafood each evening for dinner, it was too cheap and too good not to. The Lobster ceviche won my heart.
- Stay at Bella’s Backpackers
- Travel here from Chetumal in Mexico via boat
- Arrive to the Chetumal port by midday to make the ferries.
- Take one of the snorkel boat tours, or a few. The water visibility is top here.
- Dive on the black hole if you’re experienced enough. The dive shops here are well established
- Party at the sports bar, it all goes down there
- Eat the lobster it’s one of the best and cheapest I’ve ever had
- Screw up your visa cards or lose them. They make things difficult at the boat border crossing and you’ll have to bribe.
- Expect face pace, the place has it’s own time rules.
This place was tiny. I could walk round it within 30min and there’s only one main road running from the port side through to the end. It’s massive off-the-grid welcome break.
Tips for healthy eats
- You’ll find little vendors selling veg and the usual simple grains for cooking and plenty of fruits stalls.
- The restaurant’s sea food offering is insanely fresh. Most caught on the morning before touching your plate.
How to get meat for that protein hit
- For eating out you’ll be hard pressed to beat a 50g hit ceviche bowl.
- There’s a couple of guys BBQing chicken legs and thighs each evening along the main walk way to the beach, cooked in jerk seasoning you cannot pass up this daily feed.
- Beach days, I’d take nuts, fruit and a can of tuna for lunch and snacking
Where to exercise
There’s a few quiet areas along the beach fronts, small docks and plenty of palm trees to hang a TRX from. Have a walk along the front piers and you’ll find your zone.