Cancun 2020 Day 2 – Chichen Itza sunrise tour, Ik Kil Cenote, Marlin beach and flight to Lima

Day 2 started early, like 4am to be precise. Got out of bed and prepared myself before heading downstairs to meet up, supposedly at 430am. I didn’t see anyone around and couldn’t remember where the meeting place was until the receptionist brought me to the place for tea and asked me to wait for the staff who had only just arrived and were busy preparing breakfast.

Restaurant for the meet up

It was a simple meal consisting of a pastry and coffee but it was enough for me. I was the earliest and while I sat there busy with my phone jotting down my memory of yesterday, people were started to come down from their rooms to this meet up location. Soon the guide was organizing and separating the people into groups and then we were on our way into the Chichen Itza grounds, through the special entrance connected to the resort a short walk away.

My pastry in a cup of coffee
Tickets into the Chichen Itza site

There was a senior couple where the wife was wheelchair bound and the husband was trying his best to push her around. There was a certain section of the road where it got really difficult to push as the rocks on the ground were too big and obstructing the wheelchair. This was made worse by the fact that there weren’t any lights and it was difficult to see. They were on the verge of giving up but we tried to help them as best as we could, like providing light and helping them move the wheelchair. With personal this experience, I preach to everyone who wants to travel to do so while they are still fit if not it would be a struggle for both the person and their travel partner.

Entrance at the resort
Follow the sign

The fun thing about this guide was he was able to present the facts in an amusing way and I learnt a lot from this tour. One thing was that whatever was portrayed in the movies were in fact misconstrued due to misinterpretation of the wall carvings! Mayans were portrayed to offer human sacrifices and chop off heads at the top of the temples but that was not really true according to the guide. There was also demonstrations of the acoustics capability (like echo that mimics the sound of the kukulkan bird when clapping in front of El Castillo) and astronomical powers of the Mayan people as many of the buildings there had been designed to meet the various sun events. The facts were further reinforced with photos shown on an IPad. Lastly, being an avid photographer himself, he provided the lights to make the photography in the dark looked fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed the sunrise tour.

Before the break of dawn
Where we stood for photos
A cenote underneath the pyramid?
A little bit more light
Rack of skulls carvings to scare invaders
Silhouette of a dragon mouth
Explanations of carvings on walls at ball court
Panoramic view of sunrise
With more light
Lighted up

The tour took place in the main site where the temples and the ball court were. There were other ruins around but it was more for ourselves to roam around to see. There was the observatory that my room had a view of, which became out of bounds for all visitors due to recent graffiti act carried out on the walls. However I managed to sneak pass the guard as it was still early and catch a glimpse of what’s there. However, I forgotten what was the meet up time and stupidly walked out of that section to check with the guide. Then when I tried to walk back to that section, I was prevented from going through.

Panoramic view of the area where the observatory was
Other smaller pyramid and ruin
El Castillo – walking back observatory
Pathways around the area
A hut
Inside the hut
Another temple ruins
Cenote at Chichen Itza

Made a phone call back to Singapore to connect with my son who was supposedly about to sleep. Managed to show him the Mayan pyramid as I bade him good night.

Bade few of the tour mates good bye and paid the guide 120pesos of tips as I thought he was great and even got his contacts just so that I can share these with people who were interested.

The good thing about starting early was that there was still a good amount of time available in the morning and the guide suggested that I visit Ik Kil cenote as I wanted initially and to get there early (like once-it-opens-at-9am-early) to avoid the crowds. Therefore I went to the cafe back at the resort to get a pastry and an Americano for 57 pesos, before returning to the room to get ready. Brought along the towel just in case and drove less than 10mins to Ik Kil cenote.

Retail shops at the resort
Bought myself a sourvenir
Tu Uk Cafe at the resort
Pastries for breakfast, please!
My breakfast

The cenote had a gate and going through it, I realised the place had turned into a compound of sorts, with carparks and big changing rooms with showers and lockers for rent. There were safety vests available for rental too. Carpark was free and a road marshal was guiding the first few cars into the spaces. I went ahead to pay the 80pesos for entrance fee and then proceeded to the lockers to rent one at 30pesos, where I was given a wrist band with a locker key. Kept all my valuables into the locker and just brought along my phone. I couldn’t find towels rental but didn’t care much anyway so just proceeded to a required shower first before climbing the spiral stairways down to the waters.

Entrance to Ik Kil Cenote
Ik Kil tickets counter
Ik Kil sign
Huge compound!
Directions to the cenote
Locker rental
Got my keys and band
Seating area near the lockers
Shower before entering cenote

Once I entered the cave, I could already feel the chills of the cold air, much like what you would expect from the cave. Plus the shower before was quite cold too, this made me already feel cold even before going into the water. Upon reaching the bottom, there were already quite a number of people there, and people were already jumping off from a flight on stairs into the waters. I watched a bit before taking my move – climbed down the stairs into the cold water. An initial cold struck me but quickly my body adapted to it and it felt nice swimming in the fresh spring water of the cenote. The water wasn’t clear though and thus I couldn’t see too far into the water except my own legs. In fact I couldn’t see much as I have left my glasses and my phone in between my slippers on land.

View from the top
At the cenote, people jumping off from the left!
Flight of stairs to get to the cenote

I got out after moving along in the water for a while and just did a bit of people watching. The problem with solo traveling was that you would need help sometimes to take photos of you doing stuff. I contemplated first if I should do the leap into the water and second if someone could video that for me on my phone. Eventually, after waiting like forever, I left my glasses and phone again and proceeded to the jump off from the location where everyone was jumping from. There was a lifeguard there in control of the human access and after a quick intro and some tips on posture from him, I stepped off the edge and was plunging down into the water. In that split second of G force followed immediately with waters gushing into the nose, I felt the familiar cold hitting my body again. I quickly recovered, swimming up to the surface. However there was no video evidence to prove this deed and memory would only be best remembered by myself only.

Last photo before leaving

I stayed to people watch a bit more before snapping some last photos and heading out to change out into dry shorts. Drove back to the resort and went straight into the bathtub to bath. There was still some time compared to my initial itinerary and thus I made the best out of the tub with the view.

By 1130, I have checked out and was on my return journey back to Cancun. First was a gas top up at the town of Piste with 400pesos that filled my quarter full tank. The pump assistant was well versed in what the tourists always wanted to check due to the massive amount of scams warnings online. He showed me the amount entered and showed the resetting of the previous volume before proceeding with top up. I paid with a 500 peso note and getting the change was easy.

Driving back was same as the previous days of driving into Chichen Itza. The tolls were same as with 80pesos upon entering the highway and nearer to Cancun, 328pesos. I saw there were 2 times where the police were stationed along the road to probably catch speeding vehicles and on this stretch to Cancun, there were more road works that turned the 2 lanes to 1, compared to the road in the opposite direction. But this wasn’t a big deal anyhow as I blasted my music over the speakers throughout the 2hr15mins journey to the Cancun downtown.

The GPS brought me to the restaurant Chila Y Quil where TripAdvisor reviewers had recommended them for serving awesome Chilaquiles, where one IG traveler (@wetravelmexico) had recommended that I should try these local dishes. So there I was parking the car at the available carpark just outside the restaurant and entered the local restaurant that had really warm and friendly waitresses.

After sitting down, the waitress helped me with the menu, explaining the dish and how I wanted it. Went for the biggest size and her recommendation of pork slices without spice and Jamaica drink. When the food came, it was a point of no return as I dug in and finished everything. It was really good! I paid 120pesos including tips. On my way out, while I took some photos of the place, I was asked to take photos together with the waitresses which I gladly did, a selfie with them. Shared the photo with them by sending the photo thru their restaurant Facebook page. Was good fun!

On the outside of the restaurant!
Inside the restaurant
Chilaquiles – yummy!
The warm ladies of Chila Y Quil
Restaurant location

I was still having the idea of visiting the beach and was in a better attire than previously. So I punched in Playa Marlin. After entering the hotel zone, I was again worried that I couldn’t find a car park and so I just parked at the multi storey carpark at the Plaza La Isla mall. Then I walked the remaining distance to the beach, the nearer I got there the more I regretted as I realised there were better parking options.

Giantic Mexico Flag
Plaza La Isla

I entered the small road and as I looked at the map on the phone, I was suddenly hit in the head. The sharp pain ripped through my skull and as I touched my forehead, there was blood. I quickly took out some wet tissues to clean up and applied compression to stop the bleeding. With the throbbing pain, I stood up slowly to see what attacked me and found that I had walked straight into a thick branch that was same level as my height! I was ultra pissed but moved on anyway; thankfully was just a small superficial cut. The beach entrance was not too far away and upon entering, I was again greeted with the beautiful view of the crashing turquoise waters! This time I got close to the waters to enjoy the view and the sand in my toes and the cold but impactful waves upon my legs. I was already thinking of a revisit to this beautiful beach.

Entrance of Playa Marlin
Beautiful beach
Perfect weather and not too rough waves
Panoramic view of Playa Marlin
Another panoramic view away from the view

Didn’t spend too long there since I had a flight to catch and so went to the shower facilities there to wash away sand on the legs before I trekked back to the carpark. Along the way, I stopped at the Fashion Harbour which carried the high end brands, to take a photo of the lagoon and then used the restroom at the mall to clean up and throw away my bloodied tissue. A quick walk around showed that the mall was pretty massive with lots of retail choices and there was even an aquarium there.

High end brands at Fashion Harbour
Many branded retail stores
Not many people around though
Fashion Harbour
Panoramic view of the lagoon from the Fashion Harbour

Paid my carpark fees of 20pesos and I was on my way back to Easy Way car rental. I remembered there was a gas station near the rental company and drove there to top up with 250pesos to get it back to the original level when I took over the car and drove that few meters back. Upon arrival, the return was done very efficiently and even though I was half an hour overdue, they didn’t charge me more. Got on the shuttle back to the airport and we bade farewell to each other.

Cancun airport

Check in at Aeromexico where I was given both my tickets all the way to Lima (transit at Mexico City). I proceeded straight to the gates, passing through the Xray inspection quickly. Spent some time window shopping and spent my remaining 207pesos on a pen, both to serve as a pen for me to fill up any immigration forms and then later as a gift to be given to K when I returned back to Singapore. The pen had a really cute Mexican doll with funny eyes dressed in Mexican costume on its end.

Check in counters
Colorful massive duty free shops
Retail shops
At the gate

I was still feeling full from the lunch, probably due to the expanding tacos so I went to the gate to sit after strolling along the entire length of shops and waited there for the call to board.

The staff informed about the full flight and asked passengers to check in excess luggage for if not, they had to prepare to pay if caught. To be safe I checked with the staff if it’s ok to bring my backpack which was positively acknowledged.

The boarding took a while with so many people boarding. The plane became airborne only at 8pm. I was feeling really fatigue, probably due to the jet lag hitting me and so slept for the front portion of the flight. Woke up in the middle just as they were serving peanuts and drinks and then I spent the remaining time, jotting the events that happened.

On board Aeromexico

Soon thousands of twinkling lights of Mexico City came into sight as the plane made the final approach. The plane landed and I disembarked and proceeded onwards to the transit. Once there, I tried to look for my flight on the board but couldn’t find it anywhere. Went to ask the information counter and was informed that it would be at gate 60 (they also explained that the board may not be updated), which was quite a distance away.

Mexico City view from the plane
Transit through Mexico City
Mexico City airport
My destination was not on the board!

Since I managed to get an upgrade to business through a bid, I tried to access the Salones Premier lounge. However the receptionist told me that my ticket did not allow me any access for free but if I would like, it would cost me 22USD. I wasn’t keen on spending any money since there wasn’t a real motivation for food (plus I’m still kinda bloated).

Salones Premier Lounge

I went to the loo and while sitting inside the cubicle which had a box of used toilet paper next to the toilet bowl. I can’t help but think if this was going to be hygienic for users of the toilet, especially when these get filled. Also didn’t realized that there were still many countries that seemingly looked developed but still having sanitary pipe chokage issues due to toilet paper…

Returned to the gate 60 to plug into one of the free phone chargers so as to ensure my phone got enough juice to last till I get to Cusco the next day night.

Charging stations a blessing!

Soon it was time to board and while the staff was saying something over the speakers, I didn’t understand what he said. So I just stood there and wait for the time to board. And because I had scored the upgrade, I was one of the first to board. (Story continues in Day 3)

Different queue lanes for different section boarding

Cancun 2020 Day 1 – Arrival into Cancun, Hotel Zone visit and Chichen Itza light show

Day 1 started with getting to Changi airport after my son fell asleep at homr as I left for my solo trip. The airport counters didn’t have a lot of people and I checked in my backpack and spent the rest of the time on one of the airport computer station to continue updating my blog for the last trip. With undivided attention, I managed to complete the Vietnam trip blog before taking the sky train to the gate.

Lunar New Year decorations.
Free touch type computer stations at the airport

There weren’t many people at the gate too and I cleared that pretty quickly. The flight SQ22 direct to New York had only business class and premier economy seats and while I walked through the aisle of business class, I noticed that there weren’t many passengers there. But the premium economy section was full!

Settled into my window seat beside another man and then it was an almost 18hrs flight to Newark International airport.

Premium economy seats

The flight itself was pretty smooth, other than a short period of turbulence. The premium economy seats were more comfortable than the economy (maybe after miles redemption with a 51% discount made it all the sweeter!), though it was not my first time taking, I thought I enjoyed the flight a little more than last. I did however felt very uncomfortable with my shoes and had to loosen the laces to ease the throbbing pain that felt like a gout flare up on my foot (later realised that the feet can expand when on a flight).

Spent quite a bulk of time watching movies, such as Charlie’s Angels, Terminator, Maleficent, Godzilla and Hobbs and Shaw ( and I liked Terminator, Maleficent and H&S) and the other parts mostly sleeping. There were food served 3 times with the first meal being my book the cook chicken supper which I thought was nice, followed by a pizza and pudding treat and lastly another book the cook pancake and omelette for breakfast which was tasty too.

Chicken supper meal
Pizza in a box
What it looks like inside

I liked the slightly more luxurious toilet comparing to the normal economy ones, where there were toothbrushes available in the toilet, which I took the opportunity to brush my teeth after waking up.

Sunset over the horizon

Landed into the airport at 510am and thankfully there was no line though it was initially quite confusing if I was at the right line. I managed to go to the automated machine and I cleared that really quickly and then it was off to the luggage belt. By 530 I already found myself outside and contemplating what I wanted to do. Been thinking of paying the Statue of Liberty a visit before the next flight but was quite turned off by the price of the transportation to Liberty State Park (USD18 on Uber) one way which I thought was too expensive. Plus it was just freezing outside and I am not dressed to deal with that cold.

Night view going into Newark
Inside Newark airport
Newark airport on the outside
Sunrise at the airport
New York Downtown in the horizon

Instead I spent some time calling home and talking to mommy and K, just to update them on my whereabouts. I also took my painkillers and gout prescription to help ease the pain on my foot, trying to prevent an escalation of pain on the first day of my trip.

At about 7am, I went to the departures board and found that the check in for my Viva Aerobus flight is open. However it didn’t mention which counter and in Terminal B, there were actually 3 levels of check in available for a variety of flights. I went through all 3 floors and couldn’t find it. So I checked with the ground floor and one staff told me to check level 2. Asked another staff on level two and she told me to proceed to level 3. At level 3 I asked the Singapore Airlines counter and they pointed me to go further. I still couldn’t find and check with another staff and she told me it’s just those counters next door. And the board didn’t indicate the Viva Aerobus logo. *roll eyes*

Check in counters
Check in counters for Viva Aerobus

I checked in pretty quickly and I decided to bring along my backpack on board the plane myself, for the thought of a quick exit once I landed. Then I went through immigrations which cleared pretty quickly too. At the gate, there was not much to see as I went around one of the shops. Then I settled in a restaurant, called The Unusual Times, for some breakfast because I didn’t think I would get any food onboard this flight.

At the departure gate
The Unusual Times restaurant

Ordered the sandwich and a regular coffee which was served pretty quickly but I thought the food tasted great! All these for 20USD including tips.


Soon they were calling for boarding and as I had paid a little more just to sit at the front few rows with our own dedicated overhead compartment space, I got to board earlier. Settled in quickly after the initial wait and glad there was an empty seat in between myself and another passenger seated at nex to the aisle.

View from plane of downtown NYC

We took off on time and as the winter skies provided a clear view of the land below, I just stared out and enjoyed the ride as there were no other form of entertainment available. There were free snacks being served, and I chose the dried cranberries (the other one mango) which had a little spiciness with it. A free drink came with it and I took the coke light amongst the other soft drinks (mineral water not available as it was meant for mixing).

View leaving NY
Dried fruit snack and forms to fill
Dried fruit in the package

The views got better as we got closer to Cancun, the waters and clouds made like a canvas paint on the ground. The shoreline of Cancun was beautiful as well.

View from the plane, somewhere above America
Islands somewhere in the water
Like water colours
Cancun shore line and lagoon
Another view of Cancun

We landed 1hr ahead of schedule and disembarked without much problem. Went to loo before walking to fill up the immigration and custom declaration forms and seeing the snaking queue. There were 3 sections of immigration counters and I chose the last one by counting the number of active counters there were, but it didn’t really matter as the other sections seemed to move just as quickly.

Then as I moved to the custom for exit, I found a chaotic mess of people queuing to get through it. I was shocked but still joined the back of some of the people anyhow. After moving forward then I realized that there were actually quite a number of lines to the xray scan for the bags. That didn’t take forever luckily and I exited the arrival after passing through.

Crowded at customs

First thing I did was to head to the atm but found that these only dispersed USD. I thought why would I want USD in Mexico? So I didn’t draw as I already had USD with me.

Cancun airport arrival
ATM machines at Cancun that disperse USD

Followed the picture instructions given by the rental car company, I went to the meeting point right at the gate but didn’t not find my name on a any signboard. A lot of helpful people were offering taxi and cars and buses but I told them I already got myself a car and waiting for the driver. Some even go as far to offer to call them on my behalf. I didn’t know what were their ultimate intention but I declined anyway.

The meeting place outside of the airport

I called the company and they said they will arrive in 5mins. While waiting, I went into the building in an attempt to search for another ATM. Found one damaged and another one pointed out by another friendly Mexican but I didn’t draw as the ATM didn’t have the Maestro/plus/ usual suspects stickers with the fear that the machine will makan my YouTrip card and that would be disastrous since I have all my money in that card.

Easy Way van came along with a staff holding a board with my name and I hopped onboard. He introduced himself and I immediately recognized him as the same person in the email. He seemed sincere and was unlike the many horror stories I read online about staff of rental companies trying to rip off tourists. He even dropped me off at one of the gas station to use the ATM there, which also didn’t have any stickers on the ATM but I tried and it worked.

The standard procedures happened in the office of Easy Way and I paid for the same amount for what I had requested online reservation, which including the full insurance coverage I had asked for, at a price of USD79 per day. Charged it to my credit card using local currency and then got my car checked before I got onto the road.

Easy Way car rental
The black car was the shuttle from airport to the company

My first stop was to go get my Hard Rock Cafe tee that I would usually do when traveling. So I drove to the hotel zone (long strip of land lined with hotels and retails and beaches catered for tourists) and visited the Hard Rock hotel. The carpark attendant, on understanding the reason of my visit, decided to give me a voucher to redeem a free gift. It was incredible. The hotel itself also looked pretty nicely designed.

Driving to the hotel zone
Hard Rock Hotel
Walking inside the hotel
At the entrance of the hotel

After the quick visit for my purchase, I drove further northwards in the hope to find a carpark to park my car so that I could get down to take some photos of both the sandy beach and the Nichupté lagoon. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any while driving along and only managed to get one pretty far from both the lagoon and beaches. After parking, I walked to the Nichupté lagoon first.

One of the ferris wheel at the hotel zone.

The shortest route led me to an area behind a building and I saw a sign on the fence warning of crocodiles. And not too far from the sign, there was a croc sunbathing in the sun! Took some photos and proceeded to walk to the beach. I found that both the lagoon and the beach as surprising hard to get to as there wasn’t a place to walk to it; seemed like for most these parts of these places were owned by the hotels (at least for the beach).

Warning sign
Is that a croc?
Zoomed in on the sunbathing croc
Panoramic view of the lagoon

I managed to find a Mandala beach entrance that offered a direct route to Playa Forum and I walked through it in my worst dressed beach wear – in my jeans and sneakers. Because of this, I wasn’t able to walk anything past  the edge of beach sand for fear that the soft sand will infiltrate my shoes. From the distance I saw the white stretch of soft sand that went into as far as my sight could reach but what stood out was the turquoise blue waters with waves crashing onto the beachfront! It looked amazing! I took whatever photos that I could master to capture the view but fell seriously short in getting a good image.

The route to the Playa Forum
Playa Forum panoramic view

As soon as I was arrived at Playa Forum, I had to make my way back to the car and be on my way as I had to get to Chichen Itza for the light show at 7pm and it was a terribly long drive of 2.5hrs to reach there. Walking through the streets that had many buildings, some had retails and others empty, I felt that this place really deserved more time than I have given it. Took a picture of the signboard of the famous Coco Bongo club and pretty soon I was in the car ready to drive.

Cancun sign
Coco Bongo club notorious
Retail shops around

Then it was driving all the way, surprised that the GPS made me return to the same hotel stretch saying it was faster and then onwards to route 180 before the 110km/hr 180D. The entire route had many straight roads and were super easy to drive without many cars. The road was well maintained as well. There were two tolls one was somewhere in the middle which was 378 pesos and the one nearer was 80pesos. There was also a police stop which I went past without an issue, as the police asked if I knew Spanish which I replied no.

The first toll
The toll closest Chichen Itza
Going through the small town of Peste

I arrived into Mayaland resort carpark after getting into the wrong route twice, once to the main road to Chichen Itza and once to a Mayaland signboard but the guard told me to go around following the GPS. When I reached the resort, the sun was already about to set.

Mayaland resort

I went to check in at the surprisingly busy reception and was given a room on the 2nd floor. Also paid for the sunrise tour of 1500pesos that will start at 440am the next day. I was in a rush to get to the light show not realizing that Chichen Itza was one hour behind Cancun; I had a little bit more time than I thought.

Went back to the room first to rest a bit and unpack before going to the restaurant which was when I felt very neglected. Nobody attended to me while I waited at the entrance and time was ticking away. I didn’t know if I could make it for the light show if I get dinner. I felt maybe it was because I am Asian and didn’t know Spanish and may not know English and that was why I was being ignored? After approaching one of the staff, I found out that the restaurant closed at 930 but was assured I would be able to return in time for dinner.

Bedroom with 2 beds
Open type wardrobe
Standing shower and toilet
Bathtub with a view!
Panoramic view from the balcony

I went to the reception who told me that I need to drive all the way back to the entrance to enter for the light show (as I initially thought I could enter through the resort private entrance) and so I drove quickly into a pretty crowded carpark and saw a huge crowd already waiting to go in.

The observatory in twilight, taken from Mayaland
Chitchen Itza entrance at night
Crowd waiting for enter

The show began with a lighted up version of the buildings in the site and the people can walk around a prescribed route around to take photos. It was my first time there I couldn’t resist all the selfies I had with the El Castillo. There was no guide in the night tour so it was just photos all the way.

El Castillo and the temple
Ball court
Ball court and El Castillo
Another view
Tzompantii with El Castillo
Venus platform
Walking along with the crowd
Temple of the warriors
Temple close up

Upon completion of the route, I took my seat of A16 in front row and was surprised that my seat view was pretty aligned to the main temple. It was so much different while booking the tickets online as the position shown was more to the right of the temple but in reality it was slightly to the left of the temple center (reference when facing the temple).

View from A16

We waited until everyone was seated, and was slightly worried of the slight drizzle that it would actually rain. Nothing happened literally, not even the light show, as one of the staff came to inform that the show had to be cancelled due to technical difficulties. I was shocked but it seemed normal to everyone as as the people all just stood up and left. Many found themselves at the counter, queuing for rebooking or refund. For me, I just left because it was ridiculous for me to wait in queue while I can go online (the same website to purchase the night show tickets) to refund my tickets.

Seating arrangements

I refunded my carpark costs of 80pesos as well by returning the carpark stub at the exit and drove back to the hotel. Went straight to the restaurant to eat and ordered Mayan cuisine. There were complementary tortilla chips with sauces of various spiciness and I shocked when I tasted one of them which was super spicy. Quickly down some beer to put out the fire in the mouth. My main dish arrived consisting of 4 tacos that had ingredients of  lechon and cochinita, 2 pieces each and it tasted really nice. I also loved the sides that were paste made from beans and some greenish ones which I didn’t know what they were made of. The dinner costed 290pesos with tips.

Carpark ticket
Stalls outside Chichen Itza still opened
Tortilla with 3 sauces of different spiciness
Main dish of 4 tacos
Mexican beer

Returned to the hotel totally drained with my longest 23rd Feb ever (30hrs starting from the 23rd Feb in Singapore). Filled up the massive tub and enjoyed my dip in which I fell asleep a few times. The TV sucked of any shows as it wasn’t receiving any signals and I didn’t get Wifi. But it’s fine, I started to jot down stuff before resigning for the night.

Swimming pool at night
Hall way with stairs to the 2nd level
Night view, a little eerie
Pool table
Another part of the hotel

Escape Plan to Mexico, Peru and Brazil February 2020

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to Mexico, Peru and Brazil:

Total duration 10D9N
Singapore is 13hrs ahead of Cancun, Mexico and Lima and Cusco, Peru and 11hrs ahead of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Flight time is 17hrs 50mins on Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Newark, New York. 
Flight time from Newark, New York to Cancun is 3hrs 35mins on Viva Aerobus.
Flight time from Cancun to Mexico City is 2hrs 45mins on Aeromexico.
Flight time from Mexico City to Lima is 5hrs 50mins on Aeromexico.
Flight time from Lima to Cusco is 1hrs 21mins on Latam Airlines.
Flight time from Cusco to Lima is 1hrs 30mins on Avianca Airlines.
Flight time from Lima to Rio De Janeiro is 5hrs 10 mins on Avianca Airlines.
Flight time from Rio De Janeiro to Rome is 10hrs on Alitalia Airlines.
Flight time from Rome to Singapore is 11hrs 50mins on Singapore Airlines.

Early morning flight from Singapore to Newark on 23rd Feb at 1250am and arrival in Newark in the morning at 530am on the 23rd Feb.
Same morning flight from Newark to Cancun on the 23rd Feb at 925am and arrival in Cancun at 2pm in the afternoon.
Flight from Cancun to Mexico City on the evening of 24th Feb at 740pm and arrival in Mexico City at 925pm with a transit of 2hrs 30mins and overnight flight to Lima on the 24th Feb night and arrival into Lima at 645am on 25th Feb morning.
Same morning flight at 910am from Lima to Cusco on the 25th Feb and arrival in Cusco on the at 1033am on 25th Feb.
Flight from Cusco to Lima on the morning of 28th Feb at 1055am and arrival in Lima at 1225pm on the 28th Feb.
Same day overnight flight from Lima to Rio de Janeiro in the night of 28th Feb at 930pm and arrive in Rio de Janeiro in the early morning of 29th Feb at 440am.
Flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome in the afternoon of 1st Mar at 4pm and arrive in Rome in the morning of 2nd Mar at 7am.
Same day flight from Rome to Singapore in the morning of 2nd Mar at 1050am and arrive in Singapore in the early morning of 3rd Mar at 540am.

Cancun Day 1 - Arrival into Cancun, Hotel Zone visit and Chichen Itza light show
Cancun Day 2 Chichen Itza sunrise tour, Ik Kil Cenote, Marlin beach and flight to Lima
Cusco Day 3 Flight to Cusco, Sacsayhuaman, Cusco City and train to Aguas Calientes
Machu Picchu Day 4 - Machu Picchu morning tour, Sun Gate and Inca bridge
Machu Picchu Day 5 - Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu museum, Aguas Calientes and train to Cusco
Lima Day 6 Cusco walkabout, flight to Lima and Lima tour and flight to Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro Day 7 - Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro day tour to Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain and Carnaval Champions Parade.
Rio de Janeiro Day 8-9-10 Flight to Rome and flight back to Singapore, Home Sweet Home

This escape plan was planned as a solo trip for a couple of reasons. First, my other half does not have enough leave and so I had to go on my own. Second, everyone has an impression that its not safe to travel to Mexico and South America, so I had to go alone first. Lastly, the itinerary is not very enjoyable due to a lot of time spent on traveling so I had to do it alone. I planned it this way because having flown so far away from Singapore to this part of the world, I would want to clear see all the 3 wonders situated around this region so as to get the best out of my time (unfortunately not money)!

Budget nature: Budget Buster

Costs of living was pretty affordable in these places except for the touristy areas. However, due to how I have planned my itinerary. My choices of accommodations include those that were just next to the sites (like Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu) and flights that were inflexible due to the tight schedule and some of these are expensive. International flights flying from countries to countries were expensive too.

Complexity: Difficult

A lot of time was required to plan this to get the best movement. Flight planning was very challenging as not all routes were available country to country (such as from Cancun to Rio de Janeiro) and as I had chose to redeem miles for 2 of my flights, waitlist created some adjustments to my flights. I even screwed up one overnight flight which I bought wrongly resulted in money going down the drain.

I was also timing my itinerary to be within the schedule of 10 days, to fly off on the midnight of Sunday and to return on the early morning to minimize any impact to family time. Also I was also timing to attend the Champions’ Parade of the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval. In trying to visit the 3 wonders, cater for the long journey to and from Machu Picchu and getting to watch the Carnaval, this is one of the most difficult itinerary I have planned to date!