Monday, March 14, 2016

A Local Experience in Playa Del Carmen: Local Quickies Review

snorkeling with the Local Quickies in Playa Del Carmen!
Have you ever gone on a trip and taken a tour, only to think "wow, this is exactly what every other person visiting this area has ever done". Isn't that a let down? Whenever I am traveling, I always like to find something a little unique, a little local, and overall - just a little bit different from the same thing that every single other tourist in the area is doing. Which is exactly why a few weeks ago, I was so excited to take a trip with Local Quickies in Playa Del Carmen!

best tour in playa del carmen
beautiful beaches in Tulum with Local Quickies!
Yes, Local Quickies is a tour group - but it is so much more than that! Rather than herding groups of tourists in the same direction every day, Local Quickies is meant to be all about hanging out with friends! Bonus points that your tour guides on the trip are going to be locals to the area, and have some of the best knowledge of the area and are more than happy to spread it. In any case, let's take a quick look at our day!

The day started bright and early with an 8 AM pick up right outside of our condo in Playa Del Carmen. We hopped in the van and headed to Akumal, a gorgeous beach located just south of Playa. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Akumal, Akumal directly translates to "Place of the Turtle" in Mayan language, and boy is it obvious!

Just one of the many, many wild sea turtles we saw!

Once we arrived in Akumal, our group donned snorkeling gear and headed out into the ocean hoping to catch a glimpse of wild sea turtles. Not more than five minutes into the ocean and we had spotted our first turtle grazing on sea grass! One of the best parts about snorkeling with the Local Quickies is that all of the snorkeling is done completely in the wild, with no cages or pens. We were able to see so many sea turtles, and learn about them as we went! It was very interesting to learn that the sea turtles in the Akumal area tend to stay there feeding until they are about 9 or 10 years old, at which time they naturally know to migrate to better feeding grounds that will meet their needs.

Wouldn't you love to kayak or zipline this cenote?
After a morning swimming with the sea turtles and tons of other wildlife, we were off to explore the swiss cheese of the Mayan Riviera! Never heard of it? I'll be honest- I had not either! As we hopped into the van, Mariano, our local guide, took the time to educate us on the local ecosystem. Essentially, the Yucatan Peninsula is somewhat like swiss cheese made of limestone: throughout the entire peninsula, there is an underground network of cenotes, natural sinkholes, that are connected.

Check out how beautiful and clear that water is!
The entire network of cenotes in the Yucatan is comprised of fresh water pools and rivers that are all interconnected, and ultimately empty out into the ocean. Cenotes were very important to the Mayan culture, as the name cenote translates to "sacred well", and many Mayan villages were built on the edges of these cenotes.

Just another day in paradise with Local Quickies
We visited the a private cenote and had plenty of time between our group to relax, swim in the crystal clear blue water, sunbathe, and take a jump off the cliffs! After we had relaxed and dried off, we went for a walk through the stunning, authentic Mayan village before heading off the lunch for the day.

beautiful Mayan place of worship
one of the houses in the Mayan village
a well located within the Mayan village
One of the best parts about taking a tour with the Local Quickies was the great exposure we had to authentic aspects of life. Rather than partaking in another touristy activity, we were able to see how some of the Mayan people actually lived by walking through their village. After our tour through the village, we hit the road again for a quick lunch stop.

our amazing lunch spot!
Again, Local Quickies exceeded our expectations and provided us with an authentic, roadside Mayan meal featuring cochinita pibil, a slow roasted pork dish that has been marinated with oranges and cooked underground in banana leaves. Trust me when I say words don't do it justice! The cochinita pibil is served with all of the fixings, including handmade tortillas made fresh on the spot.

Really, Tulum, could you be any more picture-perfect? 
Once we had all eaten our fill, it was back to the shuttle to spend some time on the beach in Tulum! We were instructed that if we liked, we would walk to see the Mayan ruins on the beach of Tulum. However, it was not highly recommended, as we were told instead to wait until we boarded our catamaran home and could see the Mayan ruins as they were viewed from the ocean hundreds of years ago!

You can see the ruins from the beach in Tulum
from several kilometers away the ruins were VERY impressive!
Of course, I'm not going to lie - I walked over towards the ruins, and I was not that impressed from the beach. The Tulum ruins are built on the cliffs of Tulum, and are believed to have been constructed prior to 564 A.D. Eventually, the city of Tulum was abandoned and not discovered until the Spaniards sailed to Mexico and saw the ruins peeping over the cliff hills. In any case, after time on the beach, we loaded up the catamaran and began our departure back to Playa Del Carmen.

Sailing with the Local Quickies!
Let's take a moment to talk about this catamaran ride. With Local Quickies, you will get to set sail on the largest catamaran in the Caribbean, and my gosh is it impressive! The catamaran raced around the world twice prior to being converted to commercial use. As we loaded the catamaran, we were each greeted with complimentary cocktails and refreshments until departure.

Of course, it wasn't all fun and games! The guys were enlisted to help with the sails, and impressively enough were able to get the sails fully open! After the sails were opened, we set sail for several hours back towards Playa Del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras.

The entire ride was met with complimentary cocktails, refreshments, fresh guacamole, music, dancing, and an overall relaxing yet festive mood. The entire trip followed the scenic coast, and for quite some time as we left Tulum we were able to view the impressive ruins. The ruins only got more impressive the further away we got! Eventually, they slipped out of view and it was the perfect opportunity to relax and take in the beautiful ocean views.

Dance parties on the catamaran are a must!
As always, all good things eventually came to an end and we made it back to Puerto Aventuras. We departed the catamaran and reluctantly said good bye to the rest of the crew and an amazing day. For most of the day, it had been our group of just six people joined by our local guide. Parts of the day we were joined by others, but each individual on the tour was warm, welcoming, and ready for a great time!

Overall, the best part about the day was how generally relaxing it was. Yes, we were off on what could have been a traditionally touristy tour, having irrelevant information tossed at us. Rather, each individual we encountered genuinely loved their job and wanted to spread knowledge of the Mayan cultures and traditions, education about the sea turtles and sea life, and ensure that each passenger had an amazing time. If you are looking for the best tour in Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Aventuras, or Cancun - look no further! Local Quickies will make sure to exceed your expectations in every way, shape, and form!

Wouldn't you like to join a tour with the Local Quickies?

6 comments:

  1. Please, share your secrets! How do get to work with all of these fantastic travel companies?! Looks like a great vacation!

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    1. Thanks Mar! Its taken some work - but my best advice is just to ask! Everyone has to start somewhere!

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  2. Such an amazing experience!! You are feeding my nostalgia, it's all good though. I love all your posts about Mexico :)

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    1. Thanks Isabel! I can only imagine how it feeds nostalgia. When is your next trip home?

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  3. I took this tour... and its exactly everything that she spoke about. It was amazing, informative, FUN FUN FUN.... if your ready to party like a local, and Hang out and have "FUN", Please do this tour and embrace something different. We are now booked for another tour with Captain Quickie in 2 weeks.... cant wait.

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    1. Thanks Richard! I am happy I was able to write a review that everyone else can reciprocate the feelings of! Hope your next tour is amazing!

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