Contest Alert ūüö®¬†

One of our favourite Moto companies Lords Of Gastown is about to head out on its first Lust 4 Dust Run to Moto Week in Mazatl√†n Mexico via Coachella. 

The first leg of the trip is from Vancouver to Vestal Village California where they are having an invite only party at an undisclosed site outside of Palm Desert. 

You and your favourite Moto Homie can win your spot along with a crazy amount of swag from some rad brands like Biltwell Inc.Two Brothers Racing and BMC Motorcycle Co. just to name a few! 

For full contest details head on over to Instagram and check out @Lordsofgastown‘s page. 

Full disclosure we’re hoping that we win but figured we should share there info with everyone #SupportThoseWhoSupportYou 

Good luck ūüĎä ūüŹć 

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Mexico to Australia – The good, the bad & the ugly

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After 17 glorious days in Mexico with family and friends for the wedding we’re ready to start our honeymoon adventure travelling around Australia’s east coast.

Being in the tourism industry we live much of our lives at odds with a hangover, so it seemed fitting to start our honeymoon in the same fashion. The night before we left Mexico was my fathers 60th birthday AND my parents 38th wedding anniversary, and with 40 odd close friends and family there, we had a great party! At the time of course it was a great idea! especially sharing the bottle of Johnny Walker Platinum with dad and a few of his buddies, needless to say waking up at 6:00am the next day was rough.

With our bags packed and final goodbyes given we set off to return our trusty rental Jeep Wrangler in Cancun. This seemed like a fairly easy task, we have rented vehicles on multiple occasions in the area and were always able to easily locate the rental offices near the airport….. This time not so much! To be fair we never really looked into where the Cancun office for America / Tulum / Cancun (all the same company) Rent a Car was so we must accept some of the responsibility on this one. We had left Tulum at 8:00am giving us plenty of time to get the Jeep washed (it was in desperate need of a clean) make the 1.5 hour drive to Cancun and be at the airport for our 1:30pm flight, well planned we thought!

We pulled off at Playa Del Carmen at a seemingly quiet little car wash service to clean up the Jeep in an attempt to mask the fact it was not always on a “paved” road. We pull into the tent and we’re surrounded by 6 teenaged boys rags and buckets in hand. The oldest looking one asks what kind of clean we want and for $80 pesos they were off! It was incredible, seriously loud dance music starts and like something out of a music video these six kids get to work with incredible efficiency and in about 10 minutes the Jeep is sparkling.

We continue into Cancun still with plenty of time to return the car and get to the airport to make our 1:30 flight. After 40 minutes or so driving around the airport and surrounding area we give up and use McDonald’s for in my opinion the only thing it’s good for, free quality WiFi. The rental office is not by the airport, there’s one in downtown Cancun and another in the hotel zone about 20 minutes from Cancun international, so we speed to the hotel zone now getting worried about making our flight on time. Once again the staff at Tulum Car Rental were fantastic and extremely helpful. We explained the time crunch and the shop manager had a 5 second once over of the vehicle then got one of his staff to drive us to the airport so we wouldn’t miss our flight. By the time we arrived at the airport it was almost noon so we were cutting it close, to our delight the line up at the Delta Airlines counter wasn’t too long so we were safe‚Ķ..

We get to the counter and are about to apologise for running a little behind when the Delta desk agent says “wow, you’re early” We laughed thinking he was poking fun at the fact we we’re rushing to make clear security and make our flight when we realised that he wasn’t kidding. He handed us an itinerary that was not even close to what we had booked! Our original flight plan looked like this;

CUN – ATL Departing 1:30pm – ATL – LAX Departing 7:30pm – LAX – BNE Departing 11:30pm. This was a great series of flights, no long layovers and we were avoiding the hassle of Sydney and a domestic flight change in Australia which entails a bus service to another terminal that seems to be 15 miles from the international one.

Our NEW itinerary however looked like this;

CUN – LAX Departing 7:30pm – LAX – SYD Departing 8:00pm the following day! – SYD – BNE.

WE WERE LIVID! If these changes had been made to our entire itinerary why were we not contacted? If we had known this ahead of time we could have spent the day on the beach in Tulum, planned a day of sightseeing in LA and told people expecting to pick us up in Brisbane about the changes. After some deep breathing we decided that there was nothing we could do at this point and had to suck it up, after all what is travel without a challenge or two. If you have never been to the Cancun airport, you really don’t want to be super early for flights as you are essentially stuck there as it will cost about $50 US Dollars to get into town. So as you can tell from the above photo we “relaxed” in the airport for the next 7.5 hours.

We arrived in LA and quickly made our way to the Delta customer service desk to tell them what had happened and that we were not impressed, our main concern was trying to find a hotel room in LA on a Saturday night before American Thanksgiving. After what I will call a spirited debate the staff at Delta were able to set us up at the Airport Marriott for $79 (we are still “debating” on who will foot the bill) and on the bright side we now had a full day to spend in Los Angeles.

The next morning we checked out early, left our baggage with the concierge and asked front desk what to do for our one day in LA. The desk agent was fantastic she gave of a list of options then gave us free bus passes to get us down to one of her favourite areas in LA called Manhattan Beach. Despite the hassles with our flights we ended up having a fantastic day at the beach. Manhattan Beach is a small coastal town located between Santa Monica and Long Beach, it’s a trendy spot with lots of great little shops and restaurants. We spent our day wandering the main drag with little side ventures into the residential streets to admire the homes and high-end cars that fill the area. For lunch we went to one of the coolest little dive bars I’ve ever visited called the Shellback Tavern. Located right above Manhattan Beach Pier this little surf pub has it all. Great food, friendly service, old wood floors and a bar and cash registers that haven’t been updated since it opened. The servers working the floor knew just about everyone who walked through the door, from teenagers to a couple who sat beside us who I’m guessing were at least in their seventies. Combine the views, ambiance, service, food quality and the fact that menu prices range from $3 – $15 this is a must do if you’re passing though LA.

Shellback Tavern the best give bar in So Cal

Shellback Tavern the best give bar in So Cal

After a what turned out to be a fantastic day in LA we returned to LAX to catch our flight to Sydney. We were delighted to find out that the flight was nowhere near full which meant that we had a full row of three seats for just the two of us! 14.5 hours later and we were in the beautiful land down under. Wasting no time we rushed through the terminal to fulfil a couple of Aussie cravings we both were having

Caramello Koalas, BBQ Shapes and beer!

Caramello Koalas, BBQ Shapes and beer!

The trip had started off on the wrong foot, as we felt like we were robbed of a day in Mexico but all in all it worked out for the best. It goes to show that especially when travelling, if you just smile and roll with it, you never know where you might end up!

Chat soon Ewan & Carly

Our Favourite Riviera Maya Beaches

Carly and I have been visiting Tulum and the surrounding areas of the Riviera Maya yearly for the past 4 years and have done our best to see as much as we can. There is so much to see and do I know we will be visiting this region for years to come. In today’s post we will share a small list of some of our favourite beaches in the area. There are many great spots to relax, swim and catch some rays but these top our list.

Beaches!

We’ll start with beaches as this is the reason most of us from colder climes visit this region of Mexico. You can find beautiful beaches from the hustle and bustle of Cancun all the way down to the quiet out-of-the-way town of Punta Allen on the southern tip of the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. Our favourite beach on the Yucatan peninsula is Playa Paraiso, also referred to as Tulum Beach by some, though not to be confused by the beach at the ruins themselves.

Beach beers at Playa Tulum - Tulum Mexico

Beach beers at Playa Tulum – Tulum Mexico

Playa Paraiso

Playa Paraiso

This beach is ranked as one of the worlds best beaches and for good reason. Still a relatively undeveloped area (no big resorts, just small eco cabana rentals and a couple small hotels) Playa Paraiso is open to the public and has spectacular swimming, decent snorkelling and great views of the Ruins at Tulum. The reef right off shore used to be incredible but it is starting to die off in some places now. We have camped and or rented cabanas on this beach many times and love the laid back vibe. The tranquility of this area has made Playa Paraiso our “home” on many trips and it’s beauty will keep us coming back for years to come. Be sure to visit our friends Suds & Luca, they run the beach bar at Zazil Kin. Beers are $25 pesos and happy hour (which seems to be all day everyday) means 2 cocktails for $60 pesos. The boys are fantastic, local and will happily introduce you to some of the local characters like Papy Pirata! Be sure to try the¬†Caipirinhas! Quiet by day, great fresh seafood right on the beach and opportunities for night life of nearby Tulum it simply can’t be beat. For the adventurous or those travelling on a backpackers budget accommodations can be found along the beach ranging from $50 pesos per night for tent sites at Mariachi, to hotel rooms that can run as much as $800 or $900 pesos. We usually stay in the palm thatched cabanas at Mariachi or Zazil Kin for around $300 – $450 pesos a night depending on the time of year.

Us with the gang at Zazil Kin - Tulum

Us with the gang at Zazil Kin – Tulum

Now if Playa Paraiso is still not quiet enough for you and you have a vehicle (4×4 is recommended) you can visit what we refer to as “our beach” as we have no idea what its actual name is and we have never really seen anyone else on it save a few local spear fishermen who simply say it’s a beach. If you head south from Tulum on the road to Punta Allen you will pass through Boca Pila then into the Sian Ka’an reserve. The road is never great but this trip was a whole new level of adventure! When we stopped at the gate to pay the entrance fee ($28 pesos per person) the guy at the post said “mucho agua” now I had heard this before and usually it meant a lot of puddles‚Ķ.. this really was MUCHO AGUA! Glad we had the Jeep Wrangler!

The "road" to Punta Allen! It's a Jeep thing!

The “road” to Punta Allen! It’s a Jeep thing!

Topes is spanish of speed bump! Kind of a moot point

Topes is spanish of speed bump! Kind of a moot point

The beach we visit on this road is about 15km into the reserve, you will see a windmill running wind power for a little eco resort and the beach will be visible on the left. This is roughly a mile if not more of white sand, crystal caribbean ocean and no one in sight, absolute paradise! Here are two pictures for you, the first a neat effect from a panoramic shot I took with my iPhone, the second a “had to be done” KCCO shot for our pals at The Chive!

A neat effect from a panoramic shot of the beach past Boca Pila

A neat effect from a panoramic shot of the beach past Boca Pila

KCCO from our Mexican wedding!

KCCO from our Mexican wedding!

If you continue to the end of the road after a swim you will reach the small fishing village of Punta Allen. It’s a quiet little town with some great restaurants and opportunities for amazing fishing tours, mangrove tours and if you’re lucky you may spot crocs, manatees, tapirs and tons of birds! I actually proposed to Carly on the beach at Punta Allen making the beach there another of our favourites for obvious reasons.

On this excursion we took our nephew with us to body surf and got really lucky and were able to watch a crocodile hunting fish in a channel right before town.

Body surfing at Boca Pila in the Sian Ka'an

Body surfing at Boca Pila in the Sian Ka’an

Last but certainly not least, if it’s snorkelling you’re after head north to Akumal. There are some great opportunities right off shore or if you hire a guide you can get out to turtle reef (not just a clever name). I love the ocean and all its creatures but there is something special about being in the water with sea turtles, and this area never disappoints. There is also Akumal beach which is lovely and again a lot quieter than the beaches in Canun or Playa Del Carmen.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section of fire away on Twitter and we would be happy to answer them for you. We will be back shortly with our next post on some of the other great sites and attractions in the area. Chat soon EW.