Teens (and adults, too) ~ ziplining, hiking and cave snorkelling in the jungle is no excuse to look drab!
Any day trip you make in the Yucatan, Mexico, home of the ancient Mayan, whether it be tripping around Chichen Itza, hiking through the Tulum jungle or ATVing along ancient Mayan sacbe’s, it is cool to be fashionable and not packing the kitchen sink.
Being a local in the jungles and beaches of the ancient Mayan world all my life and knowing a lot of adventure guides I have written “What To Prepare and What NOT to Wear” guidelines that are shared in two parts.
My name is Landis Grace and welcome to the jungles and adventures of the ancient Mayans.
1) DO NOT bring a huge backpack that is ugly and makes you look like Marco Polo. In a style that matches your swimsuit bring a small stylish backpack or even a beachbag with long handles that you can use like a backpack. I like the small backpack better because it has pockets but the beach bag will do, too. As long as it matches your swimsuit.
2) DO NOT bring your wallet. Wallets are heavy – Put the cash you think you will need for the day (preferably pesos but American dollars are accepted mostly everywhere), some identification like your health card, social insurance card and a credit card in a sandwich size ziploc bag to keep it dry from the water bottle, wet towel or even in the unlikely event of rain. Leave your important identification like your passport and the rest of your cash in the safe in the hotel. Don’t bring another smaller purse to put in the big purse – it adds unnecessary weight and if you have two purses your ‘purse-instinct’ might let you leave one of them somewhere.
3) DO NOT wear hiking boots – they are ugly, heavy, take too long to dry and you will not need them! DO wear some nice sandals, of course comfortable without tall heels so you can walk in them without socks, yuck, and the best would be sandals that could get wet and would dry quickly… leather is okay, but leather doesn’t dry fast. Even though the weather is perfect here in Mexico there are the odd puddles ~ and you want to be able to happily stomp through them not worrying about the state of the shoes afterwards! The jungle is the place to get back in touch with your inner child, not spending the day in wet leather hiking boots!
4) DO NOT get caught with uncharged batteries or a full chip on your camera or phone! Make sure you charge up everything the night before you leave – and download any photos you don’t need ~ you don’t want to be fumbling for your battery or deleting photos to make room as that spider monkey whooshes past you on your jungle walk! And – ziploc bag the stuff you don’t want to get wet!
5) DO NOT go without food! We have precious sugar levels to keep up! There is no reason why we have to starve waiting for the lunch stop. When you are booking your trip ask if lunch “comida/komeeeedah is/es incluido/inclueeeedoh”. Even if it is, it will probably mean a designated stop at a designated time so until then you might get hungry. Try to take small snacks from your hotel the morning of your trip to suffice on the bus, or between the opportunities of finding a snack or lunch stand. Grab some hard snacks like apples, cookies or oranges from your hotel, and have everything pre-washed with bottled water if it hasn’t been already. You can do like the Mayans and pre-peel the oranges so all you do is eat from the bag. Throw some paper towels in the ziploc bag as well. Don’t bother with food like bananas and grapes as they get soft and squishy in minutes in the Mexican heat! Once you are inside the ruins, there may be no time nor availability for food.
6) DO NOT dehydrate! Grab a lime or two from your hotel and squirt some in your water bottles ~ it tastes better. Maybe even add a little sugar. And this is another suggestion – a lot of people like to freeze their water bottles the night before, but I do not recommend this – first off, it will go from being frozen to lukewarm very fast and in the meantime unless it is in a ziploc bag it will make a mess in your beach bag or backpack with the condensation. Leave it room temperature, that is the best for your stomach anyways. (the plastic bag is still a good idea anyways though)
7) DO NOT have streaky makeup ~ no, no, no ~ chicas, this is why waterproof mascara was invented – in another small plastic bag bring a small mirror in a crash-proof compact, waterproof mascara for touchups, lipstick (that matches your swimsuit and backpack) and a couple of paper napkins for sneezing, cleaning or wiping. If you are a fashion queen you could bring a hair brush, but a small one. Bring some extra hair elastics.
8) DO NOT bring a huge container of sunscreen! Transfer a small amount of sunscreen into a small plastic bag or small bottle. Start the morning with some on, and you won’t have to reapply until mid way through the trip, and probably only once.
9) DO NOT eat food from vendors that cannot be cleaned by you. Some of the local people will be selling food like bags of peeled oranges, pineapple, or peanuts outside the entrances of most of the ruins ~ I have personally eaten those but I wash fruit first with my bottled water. Peanuts in the shell are better or course. Unless you are starving though, best not to chance anything. It’s not necessarily a cleanliness issue, because I am fine with all the foods I eat here in Mexico, but when I go back to Canada every summer my stomach feels queasy there for awhile – so I think it is just what we become accustomed to – so don’t take a chance if you don’t need to.
So now you know what your backpack is filled with for your trip. – camera, phone, plastic bag as wallet, plastic bag with a small amount of sunscreen, water bottle, compact, tissue, lipstick, mascara, maybe a hairbrush, elastics and for the first half of the trip anyways, apples, oranges and cookies. Not bad. You are probably thinking what about towels, and swimsuits and changes of clothing and all that stuff? Well I have some really good jungle fashion ideas about that, too, that I will share with you in DRESS FASHiONABLY iN THE JUNGLE! ~ How to Prepare and What to Wear on your Mexican Jungle Tour PART 2.