CANCUN, Mexico. Day five. My birthday. “Eight dead bodies were found decapitated and dismembered.”

I look around, perplexed. Everything is peaceful. People around us are happy and relaxed. Everyone is smiling. No dead bodies. No guns. No drugs. The media has pulled things out of proportion. Most of all, I’m in a state of bliss because I’m less than arm distance away from a gentle giant. A plankton eating whale shark. I’m swimming my butt off on snorkel, taking photographs. The experience nearly blows my mind and I walk on Cloud 9 all day.

We woke up at sparrow’s fart to catch a bus to the marina where we checked in and boarded a speed boat with a small private group of amazing people. The ride takes just over an hour when our guide yells that they’ve spotted what seems to be about thirty whale sharks. Within minutes we’re in the ocean next to them having a borderline spiritual experience. It is a hard swim to keep up and after three jumps overboard to swim with them we are all breathless with excitement and exhaustion. Giant manta rays arrive as well, but time has sped by and we move to chill in the crystal-clear waters of Playa Norte on tropical Isla Mujeres.

Here our guides cut up fresh fish and make grouper ceviche right there on the boat. The fish is so fresh that I can’t resist eating raw fish all day and that evening I dine on tuna and white fish carpaccio while watching crocodiles in the lagoon as the sun sets on an incredible day.

We were in Cancun for seven days and made the most of it by touring a distillery with tequila flights that made me sleep the whole following day. We spent a day sailing to Isla Mujeres while drinking Mexican champagne (Sol beer), we read on the beach, swam in the ocean with good friends and ate incredible food in incredible locations. We used mind-boggling cheap public transportation everywhere and I danced barefoot in the sand to a Mariachi band that played just for me at El Fish Fritanga. We loved this restaurant so much that we went back four times.

Things in Cancun are reasonably cheap and extremely clean, with the cleanest public rest rooms in the world. This was a surprise for me, as well as a very big deal. The people are amazing, friendly and polite and I felt safe at all times. Even more so than in my home town.

We fell in love with Cancun, so in love that we booked a week on Isla Mujeres for our twentieth wedding anniversary in December. Cancun, you stole my traveler’s heart. I cannot wait to come back.

Follow me on Instagram at johannaharlencooks for some Mexican food photos and for our book’s Instagram photo gallery follow us at tasteofgorgeous1

For additional photos of beautiful Cancun, follow the link below and don’t forget to check out our gorgeous dessert book at www.atasteofgorgeous.com


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